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Lake Camp — freedom camp

Linda Butler

This is one of the Ashburton Lakes in the Hakatere Conservation Park (Canterbury High Country). You reach it by turning off at Mt Somers then just drive straight. You eventually reach it on the left. It is known for some strong winds, so don’t leave things lying around.


Lake Clearwater is behind the cottages on your right. It is not a freedom camp. No motor boats are allowed on it, so it may be quieter. 


In the summer, Lake Camp is a hive of activity as it’s used by jet boats with water skiers or pulling biscuits, the odd jet ski racing around. The activity begins about 8am and doesn’t stop until tea time. It is so cool watching children learning to ski for the first time, or an adult trying to do a few tricks. Yes there are lots of tumbles. 


Walkers or bikers do a circuit around the lake edge. It’s about an hour’s gentle stroll to do the round trip. I guess you could try swimming back if you got tired of walking… 


There are only a couple of long drop toilets which can smell a bit strong when the wind blows the wrong way. But I love this place. 


There is something special about it. We are either watching the lake antics, or the birds fluttering around.


My best moment was going outside one evening to see a bright stationary light on the lake — oh wow, we were so high up that it was a reflection of bright stars reflecting on the water. It was such a clear night. There were thousands of thousands in the sky. I called my sloth out, that’s my hubby. He too was impressed. 


Then, in the morning, if you get up before the lake comes alive and there is no wind, you are mesmerized by the reflection. It’s something you need to see for yourself to believe. 

But careful if it’s winter. It can get deep in snow. 
No internet. No shops.


BY: Linda Butler

PHOTOS: ©2022 Linda Butler


If you get up before the lake comes alive and there is no wind, you get the reflections

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