Tramper on the Travers-Sabine


Applications are closed for the 2023/24 season. 2024/25 volunteer dates will be announced in September.


Volunteer for one or two weeks between December and April.


Each volunteer period runs from Tuesday to Tuesday with your induction on the Monday afternoon.


The primary role of a hut warden is to help visitors enjoy their stay. The wardens:

  • check hut passes 
  • give information to trampers
  • maintain radio contact with Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre
  • ensure the hut, toilet and hut surrounds are kept clean and tidy
  • undertake some minor hut maintenance as required.

What to expect

This volunteer opportunity is for one person. You may want to bring a friend for some or all of your duty.

Accommodation and facilities: Staff quarters are available at Blue Lake Hut. It has bunks and cooking facilities (LPG supplied) but no separate ablutions. The other huts on the circuit don't have staff quarters so wardens stay in the main hut with other trampers. Gas canisters are provided. Free shared accommodation provided in St Arnaud for the nights before and after the volunteer duty.

Food: You need to bring all food with you for the entire length of your duty.

Fitness level required: You need a high level of fitness, with the ability to walk for 6 hours or more over uneven terrain with a heavy pack, and to cope with the 1100 m ascent of Poukirikiri/Travers Saddle.

Experience required: You'll be a tramper experienced in New Zealand backcountry tramps, fully equipped with your own tramping clothing and equipment. Preference is given to those with a working knowledge of the Nelson Lakes area. A first aid certificate is helpful.

Skills required: You need to be fluent in English, have a practical outlook, and relate to a wide range of people in a friendly and informative manner.

Wasps: Wasps can be a real problem later in the summer. People with allergies must bring their own medications (epipens, anakits or other medication).

Age restriction: You must be at least 20 years old.

Biodiversity: The invasive microscopic algae didymo and lake snow diatom, Lindavia are significant threats to freshwater in the park. They stick to fishing gear, boats, motors and people, but are not toxic to humans or animals. Check, Clean, Dry all clothing, footwear and equipment before arriving. Unfortunately, Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa have been infected with lake snow. Any clothing or equipment that comes into contact with water in Rotoiti or Rotoroa can spread lake snow to other tarns or lakes. The Blue Lake hut warden has a key role in ensuring no items or persons enter Rotomairewhenua/Blue Lake. 

What to bring

You'll receive a factsheet if your application is successful. The information on the factsheet includes what to bring with you, details about your responsibilities and accommodation in St Arnaud.

What will be provided

At an induction session just before you leave for your roster, a DOC ranger will ensure you know your role, issue you with the necessary equipment and make sure you have read, understood and signed any health and safety information.

For more information about the track and hut, view the Travers-Sabine Circuit and Blue Lake Hut pages.

How to apply

Dates for 2024/25 will be announced in September. 

This is a very popular volunteer opportunity. We can't guarantee that you will be selected.

Safety checks

Everyone who applies for this position is subject to a DOC safety check and Ministry of Justice criminal record check. Information about these checks will be provided after you apply.

What happens after you apply

  1. All applications will be shortlisted by matching to role availability.
  2. We’ll send the shortlisted applicants the safety check form for you to complete.
  3. We’ll contact you about an interview time – the interview will be with a DOC staff member and it’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions about the role.
  4. We’ll talk to your referees.
  5. We’ll request a Ministry of Justice criminal record check – this takes around three days.
  6. DOC staff will assess all the material provided and decide on suitability.
  7. Once approved we will work with you to find dates that suit you and complete your induction.


Volunteer coordinator


Rotoiti/Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre
Phone +64 3 521 1806
Address View Road
St Arnaud 7072
Hours See visitor centre hours
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