Canterbury Camp Sites

The Department of Conservation is a government organisation charged with preserving and conserving natural areas of New Zealand. Campsites run by the DOC tend to be in areas of natural beauty with plenty of outdoors activities close to hand.

It is required to book in advance for serviced and some scenic and standard DOC campsites during peak season. This can be done online or at a DOC visitor centre. If bookings are not required campsites operate on a first come, first served basis, so bear this in mind if choosing a small campsite. If booking in advance, payment is taken at the time, if not, you will either pay at the self-registering post of your campsite or to the campsite warden as he/she does the rounds.

Campervans are welcome at most DOC campsites but please bear in mind dump stations are not present at all sites, so you may need to offload campervan waste at facilities in nearby towns and some petrol stations.

Fees to stay in your campervan at DOC campsites are charged the same rate as those in tents, e.g. per person, per night. Always check beforehand that it is okay to stay in your campervan before simply showing up. It's also wise to bear in mind that not every DOC campsite is accessible by vehicle. If in doubt, visit the DOC website for details of each campsite by region. 
There are no DOC campsites in Christchurch. There are however, a number of DOC Camp Sites in the Canterbury region. Here are just a few to choose from.
Aoraki/Mt Cook
White Horse Hill Campground. The end of Hooker Valley Road off State Highway 80.  This is alpine camping at its best. Not too high up that temperatures are freezing but lofty enough to feel as thouh you are camping among the mountains. Stunning scenery surrounds you with walks in all directions. The Mount Cook village is 2.5 km away and has a visitor centre, shops and restaurants.

Lake Pearson (Moana Rua)
Lake Pearson Campsite. Off State Highway 73, 35 kilometres south of Arthur’s Pass village.  This is a small campsite with 20 tent sites avaialble. The camp site is set by Lake Pearson, surrounded by rugged landscape, mountainous scenery and tussock grasslands. Although DOC class this as a "standard campsite" the water source is a nearby stream. There is a picnic shelter with tables. The location is good for bird watching, photography and fishing. 

Arthur’s Pass
Avalanche Creek Shelter Campsite. Public shelter, Arthur’s Pass Village, State Highway 73.  This is a super small campsite with only 10 tent sites available.  There is no booking function available so please do bear in mind that at busy times you may find there is no room. Toilets, picnic tables, bins and tap water are all available. T his is a good place to base yourself to explore the short and long walks in Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Please visit the DOC website for complete listings of DOC campsites in the Canterbury region.