As the count down begins for the Alert Level 4, campers across the nation are being urged to relocate to holiday parks as districts are closing or limiting freedom camping sites. Queenstown Lakes District Council explained they wanted all who are camping to use commercial campsites.
Holiday parks, hotels, motels are considered essential services and will remain open through the COVID-19 four week period.
Arrowtown Holiday Park, Glendhu Bay Motor Camp, Queenstown Holiday Park Creeksyde, Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park, and Qbox on Bowen Street are all open and operating during the lockdown. Campers are advised to stay hygienic as all the holiday parks have high hygiene protocols in place. Campsites have provided separate zones for individuals who are in self-isolation from arriving in the country recently. A separate site was created for those who had COVID-19 and will be managed through health providers with emergency management welfare. QLDC added that if campers chose not to stay in a commercial campsite they must respect all existing 'Responsible Camping' boundaries and have a dedicated bathroom and shower onboard. The council will not be enforcing its standard two-day maximum stay for freedom campers so they can stay in one place during the lockdown.
Most pre-booked camping sites have closed, while some councils have completely closed freedom camping areas across the country.
"In light of the requirement for social distancing, packing people into holiday parks and closing the large areas available to freedom campers to socially distance themselves, is somewhat absurd," said the Responsible Campers Association.
There are many people in RVs etc that have no home base, this includes homeless people sleeping in their cars. We need to be making available freedom camping areas for these people which allows for minimal contact with others. Therefore we call on all councils and the Department of Conservation to relax rules around maximum length of stays and to stop closing these areas.