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DOC campgrounds in December

Canberra, Australia
2 posts
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DOC campgrounds in December

My girl-friend and I plan to go camping on the South Island from Dec 19 to Jan 2 and were wondering about availability of DOC campgrounds. Many of those are on first-come first-served basis, no reservations possible. Will it be difficult to find a free campsite during that time of year? For example, along the Milford Sound highway 94 (north of Te Anau) there's a bunch of campsites that don't allow reservations. We are afraid that we arrive there sometime in the afternoon and all campsites are occupied.

New Zealand
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9,280 posts
11 reviews
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1. Re: DOC campgrounds in December

You will be camping during the busiest two weeks of the year and most DOC camping sites will be heavily occupied. The first week up until the 23/24th will quite possibly be fine, most NZers leave either afte Xmas day or just a day or two before. As you've found out most DOC sites don't allow reservations, if you're just a small 2 person tent & vehicle I'm sure you'll be able to fit in, it may not be on the prime sites but most DOC sites have quite a bit of space. I would make sure I arrive early to mid afternoon in some of the prime locations, it's been my experience of DOC sites that alot of people arrives late afternoon/early evening which is when you may have to juggle about to fit in.

Wellington, NZ
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341 posts
59 reviews
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2. Re: DOC campgrounds in December

Good advice above. Try not to arrive too late as even if you get a space you will be limited on choice and it might be boggy or on a slope. DOC campsites usually do not have marked sites, so there is usually room to squeeze in somewhere if you have a small tent, although your neighbours might get annoyed if you get too close.

Canberra, Australia
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3. Re: DOC campgrounds in December

Thanks! Greatly appreciated. We will 'risk' it and go for the DOC campsites before Christmas and for the time after Christmas we will make sure to reserve campsites (which we need to do anyways, for example, on the Abel Tasman track).

4. Re: DOC campgrounds in December

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