How Otago councils are rewarding 'responsible' freedom campers

Tens of thousands of visitors have streamed into Central Otago for the summer holiday season.

Many of them have arrived in campervans and caravans, looking for a place to park up - and councils are keen to reward responsible campers.

This mini village of campervans is a welcome pit stop for summer travelers.

You can't stay here for the night, but you can enjoy a hot shower, use the toilets, dump stations, and wifi - all free, provided you're travelling in a certified self-contained campervan or vehicle.

"You know, we do have freedom campers that are responsible," Responsible Camping project manager Craig Gallagher explains.

"They do carry their rubbish, they do carry their waste, they just want to do the right thing. So we're just trying to provide the service to enable them to do so."

Funded by a $500,000 Government grant, the trial sites in Frankton and Wanaka have already hosted more than 7000 vehicles.

Travelers in vans or vehicles without self-contained facilities including toilets can't use the free pit stop, and are directed to one of the district's 30 campsites.

Other councils are also working to reduce problems at its most popular campsites, including Lowburn, beside Lake Dunstan, which is chock-full each night.

But to ensure a steady turnover of vehicles, the Central Otago District Council's enforcing a maximum three-day stay for all visitors.