Freedom campers sticking to rules

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Free and easy . . . Visitors Kim Tinker and Janus Jacobsen, of Denmark, at the Owaka freedom camping site in 2020. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON

EVELYN.THORN@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

There appears to be fewer freedom campers this season, according to Clutha District Council figures.

However, the district still remained relatively busy over the Christmas and New Year period, despite Covid›19 possibly discouraging some.

A council spokesman said in line with expectations, the vast majority of freedom campers seen by the council’s freedom camping officer so far this season were domestic travellers.

The occasional overseas traveller who had found themselves confined to New Zealand during the pandemic also passed through the area, however.

In total, 64 campers have been visited by the freedom camping officer so far this season.

Most were compliant with regulations including self› contained toilet facilities, meaning only three needed to be moved from regular freedom camping sites to areas with appropriate facilities.

Despite human waste, noise and litter being associated with freedom campers in Clutha in recent years, there were no significant reports of such issues so far this season.

The council›operated freedom camping site in Owaka behind the Catlins Inn Pub and Restaurant has remained a popular overnight stop for campers.

Last week Hazel and John Quinn, of Timaru, were enjoying the facility in their campervan.

Mrs Quinn said Owaka was a great place to stop and they had enjoyed their journey through to Papatowai.

‘‘It’s such a lovely area.’’

She said they had been treated with respect by locals and fellow travellers during their journey.

The council spokesman said it was a positive sign the majority of freedom campers were complying with regulations throughout the district.