Lake Camp is one of the Ashburton Lakes, which also includes Lake Clearwater, Emma, Emily, Denny, Roundabout and Heron. The Ashburton Lakes area is situated within the upper Ashburton district as you head towards the mountains. The Ashburton Lakes district stretches from the Rangitata River to the Rakaia River in the north. Lake Camp, like the other lakes are situated within the Hakatere Conservation Park. Hakatere is the Maori name for the Ashburton River.
You can access Lake Camp off Hakatere Potts Road, off the Ashburton Gorge Road. This is all accessible out the back of the Mt Somers township, depending on which direction you are coming from. This drive offers gorgeous views of various mountain ranges, and peaks known to most locals such as Mt Possession, Mt Barrosa and Trinity Hill.
Lake Camp, while small has a lot to offer, mainly as it offers one of the only lakes that allow powered boats. This means that on any given day the lake can be used for boating, skiing, swimming or fishing. I have been to Lake Camp twice, once in the snow during winter, and once on a very still day in autumn.
When we visited in winter the lake was iced over, the surrounding landscape covered in snow, and it was like we had stepped into another world. There was ice that extended most of the way across the lake, and we had a lot of fun cracking ice on the lakeshore and sending it scattering across the iced over lake. In winter, under snow, this can be an absolutely gorgeous location to visit and I had a lot of fun playing with the snow and ice. You never get too old for that sort of thing I find.
The Harper Range provides Lake Camp with a very sheltered environment, which as everyone knows is ideal for skiing, wakeboarding or biscuiting. It also means on a sunny day that this spot is very well protected from winds and is perfect for sitting down in the sun and stepping in and out of the lake when you get too hot. In winter, it can be great just having a look around, taking photos and playing with the ice. Depending on the amount of snow we have had sometimes the roads into the Ashburton Lakes are closed, but definitely head in there when it is snowy if you get a chance as the views will stun you.
Lake Emma and Lake Roundabout are accessible off Hakatere Potts Road before you get to Lake Camp. You do have to walk from the road to these lakes I believe, and there is a walk that connects Lake Emma to Lake Camp that I would really like to do one day. I don’t think it would be that exhaustive, but would give you gorgeous views of both lakes.