Luxury, campgrounds and sustainability are not normally words you’d associate with each other. So pause here and forget everything you think you know about campgrounds. Because this is exactly what you’ll find at Camp Glenorchy – all wrapped up into one irresistible package. With spots for campers as well as luxury cabins it really fits every budget and better yet, all profits go back to the community.
We fell in love with Camp Glenorchy. We fell head over heels with her looks almost instantly, but when we found out more about her we also fell in love with her heart.
We’ll start with the looks. And believe me we have no shortage of photos to show you what we mean by this.
Camp Glenorchy is an incredible re-imagining of what a luxury campground at the base of a mountain and the shore of a lake should be like.
It has huge cosy communal spaces where you can make your toast in the morning like all camp grounds should. Except this is truly like no camp kitchen I’ve ever seen before.
And yet it keeps the feel of what a kiwi campground always should be. There’s a friendly smile at the front desk. The managers stop by to chat. And fellow campers smile and say hi. And they all share their toast with bleary eyes and unbrushed hair.
We are lucky enough to go to a lot of beautiful places around New Zealand. It is rare though that all five of us fall completely in love with a spot. This however is exactly what happened when we walked into Camp Glenorchy.
For me it happened before we even arrived as we wound our way along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the 40 minute drive from Queenstown. We came around that road hugging the cliffs into a vista of blue lake, skies and snow-covered mountains that took your breath away.
For James it was the ease and relaxation that it’s impossible not to feel from the moment you walk in the door. Within 5 minutes James was installed in a chair outside, beer in hand like he’d been there forever.
For the kids it had to be the space. We had a 3 bedroom cabin and we were absolutely spoilt for space! The two youngest shared a bunk room and our eldest had a room and huge bed all to herself.
There were corridors to race through…
And a huge outdoor area flanked by those snow capped mountains.
It was also a very special spot for us because it’s the place that we got ready for our wedding on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
In such a tranquil location it was impossible to feel anything but excited as we got ready and it was just the absolute perfect space.
Camp Glenorchy absolutely changed the way I think about sustainability. It’s New Zealand’s first Net Zero Energy accommodation which before I went didn’t mean a huge amount to me. After going though it took sustainability from an abstract, somewhat unachievable concept into something not only achievable but oh so perfectly put together and liveable.
For all of us the tech and thought behind Camp Glenorchy just blew us away.
At face value Camp Glenorchy doesn’t look like a high tech kind of space. But the recycled timber and roofing from a number of buildings facing demolition belie an incredibly sophisticated heart.
Over the course of a year, Camp Glenorchy generates as much power via renewable sources as it uses. But it’s more than just the solar energy they create – which in itself that is amazing. Seeing how they impact energy savings is what truly changes the way you think about what is possible.
Doors shut automatically as you enter to keep in the warm. An iPad in each room allows you to control your energy usage with the touch of a button – changing shower length and room temperature. Starting in the design phase windows were positioned for maximum light and lights turn on and off automatically as you enter the room.
Rain water is collected for use, wastewater treated and composting toilets eventually end up feeding the gardens on site. I have to dwell for a little on the composting toilets because I don’t think any kiwi doesn’t have at least one long drop horror story. These little beauties are a long way from the long drop though! Completely odour free they are exactly like your toilet at home except for the wee breeze and no need to flush.
Oh and if you need one more reason to visit this amazing place – all profits from the operation of Camp Glenorchy, Mrs. Woolly’s General Store and other offerings will go to the Glenorchy Community Trust to be used for the people of Glenorchy.
In the area
You could be forgiven for not wanting to leave Camp Glenorchy. We wouldn’t blame you at all.
But if you do feel like heading out and exploring there is oh so many things to do in Glenorchy.
Dinner is just a quick stroll through quiet streets away.
We went to the Glenorchy Hotel and they had great dinners.
There’s the iconic wharf and shed which are well worth visiting.
And then there are loads of quiet spots on the lake. Perfect for contemplating…
Or you know, getting married…
Head on over to the Camp Glenorchy website to find out more and they do offer tours if you would like to look around.
Getting Lost would like to thank Camp Glenorchy for putting us up for the night before our wedding. As always, the thoughts and views expressed in this article are our own.