Council has 'no power' over Queenstown freedom campers


Tourists caught camping for free on private property in central Queenstown have lashed out at a Newshub cameraman.

Up to 30 vehicles have been parking on the vacant section every night with no toilet or shower facilities.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) wants the tourists to move on, but can't force them out.

That angers freedom campers at a vacant lot in downtown Queenstown.

One tourist took exception to a Newshub camera capturing him planning to camp for free on this private property.

"Where is the private property sign? Obviously you guys aren't ready for tourists here," the angry tourist yelled.

Another reversed his car up and revved his engine at 6am and made threatening moves to run the camera over.

Up to 30 travellers have been parking up every night for the last few months, instead of paying $10 up the road at the local campground.

Even pouring rain and cooler temperatures aren't enough to deter some campers from a free night's accommodation.

There are no toilets and no showers, and neighbours are fed up with the mess left behind, concerned campers aren't using the public toilets up the street.

Neighbour to the site Errol Billing said "it's a bit like a disease. It started off a few weeks and months ago, but it's going to increase something must be done about this no doubt about that."

The QLCD is working with the private landowner, but has no power to move the campers on.

Chief executive Mike Theelen said "he [the landowner] recognises there is a problem. We've been working very constructively with him around getting some signage arranged to make it very clear people are not allowed to camp there."

The owner says new signs will be put up warning occupiers that their vehicles will be towed if they are caught trespassing.