View from Kerr Bay Campsite, Nelson Lakes
Image: Adam Eason | Creative Commons


Applications for the 2020/21 season are now open.

The campground is surrounded by beech forest and is divided into six camping zones, each with varying numbers of sites. Four zones have powered sites with hardened surfaces, while Kaka and Kiwi zones offer non-powered sites for campervans/caravans and tents.

A day shelter provides kitchen and cooking facilities (stove but no pots, pans, cutlery, etc). The ablution block has hot showers (token operated), toilets, full access shower/toilet and washing machine and clothes dryer. There is a sewage dump station within the camp.

The village of St Arnaud is about a 1 hour 30 minutes from Nelson or Blenheim. It's the gateway to the picturesque Nelson Lakes National Park.

There is a well provisioned village store (fuel pumps and 9 kg gas bottle swap facility), and a bar/restaurant.


Volunteer for one or two weeks between December and April.

We are also looking for camp hosts that can be available at short notice to cover unexpected events such as delays in camp host arrival or sickness. Ideally this host would be in the St Arnaud, Murchison, Nelson, or Blenheim areas, and be available on short notice.


Your duties will usually take about 4 hours a day depending on how busy the campground is. These include:

  • making visitors feel welcome and answering their questions
  • checking camp bookings
  • registering campers arriving after 4 pm
  • reporting to the DOC Visitor Centre at 8:30 am and just before closing time each day (except Christmas Day). The Visitor Centre is a 5-10 minute walk (partially uphill) from the campsite.
  • providing information to campers, including the weather forecast
  • reporting maintenance requirements to DOC staff
  • monitoring cleanliness of the camp although there is no requirement to undertake daily ablution cleaning

The rest of the day is yours to enjoy.

What to expect

Age: You must be aged 20 or over.

Skills required: You'll need to relate a range of people in a friendly manner, be fluent in English and have a practical outlook. Preferably you will have some experience relevant to this opportunity.

Wasps: Wasps are very common around Nelson Lakes National Park. People with allergies must bring their own medications (epipens, anakits, etc or other medication). The nearest medical facilities are at least one hour away.

Sandflies: The presence of biting sandflies can detract from your experience at the lakes. To minimise this problem, cover up and apply a good quality insect repellent to your exposed skin.

Dogs: Dogs and other domestic animals are not allowed in Nelson Lakes National Park.

What to bring

You need to be fully self-contained for camping. Applicants that don't have adequate gear will not be allowed to host. You will need to bring the following:

  • own caravan/campervan
  • cooking equipment: cooker, plates, utensils, pots, etc
  • wet weather gear
  • warm clothing
  • insect repellent
  • sun protection
  • walking shoes/boots, shoes for around camp
  • torch (head torch and hand torch would be wise)
  • personal medication/toiletries, including anti-histamines.
Optional gear
  • day bag/drink bottle for day walks
  • camera
  • swimsuit
  • bicycle

What will be provided

  • Free powered camp site to park your camper or caravan within the camp. The site has a gravel surface and it is not suitable for tents.
  • Tokens for hot showers
  • Full induction and health and safety briefing
  • DOC camp host identification
  • Daily camp booking details
  • Camp host pack including waist bag, Eftpos machine, visitor information etc.

How to apply

To register fill in the online application form

Due to compliance requirements with New Zealand law, DOC is required to police vet every volunteer.

The police vetting covers a three-year period, and if you are volunteering for DOC in multiple sites you only need to get it done once. If you have already been checked by any New Zealand agency within the last 12 months, including the time you will volunteer with us, we do not need to redo it, but will require certification.

If you bring a partner or friend, they also need to be police vetted to be included on the volunteer rosters.

Once you have been confirmed into a position, we'll be relying on you to proceed with the volunteer position. Please only apply if you can make the commitment - last minute cancellations and no-shows put us in a very difficult situation and jeopardise the effective running of our campsites

We'll view applications, and assign weeks as they come in and space is available. This is a popular opportunity so we can't guarantee that you'll get a place this season.


Volunteer coordinator


Rotoiti / Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 521 1806
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   View Road
St Arnaud
Postal Address:   PO Box 55
St Arnaud 7053
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