Tramper on the Travers-Sabine
Image: Ben Beiske | Creative Commons


This volunteer opportunity is now full for the 2017/18 season.


To be on the waiting list, complete the online application form or contact

Check out our other hut warden and camp host volunteer opportunities on the Nelson/Tasman volunteer pages.


Volunteer for a 7-night (8 day) period between 21 November 2017 and 30 April 2018.


Each volunteer period runs from Tuesday to Tuesday. Volunteers start at the Mt Robert car park and follow the below itinerary. Times shown are approximate walking times to each hut or destination.

Hut warden itinerary:

  • Tuesday: Speargrass Hut (3 hours)
  • Wednesday: Sabine Hut (5 hours)
  • Thursday: West Sabine Hut (5 hours)
  • Friday: Day trip to Blue Lake (6 hours return, then staying a second night at West Sabine Hut)
  • Saturday: Crossing Poukirikiri/Travers Saddle to stay at Upper Travers Hut (6-10 hours, depending on weather conditions)
  • Sunday: Either Hopeless Hut, Cupola Hut or John Tait Hut – allocated on a rotational basis during the summer (3-8 hours, depending on destination)
  • Monday: Either Lakehead Hut or Coldwater Hut (5-8 hours, depending on starting point)
  • Tuesday: Walk out to St Arnaud (3-4 hours from either hut)


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. The accompanying person must pay the applicable DOC hut fees, and won't be paid the daily food allowance.

Accommodation and facilities: Staff quarters are available at John Tait, Upper Travers and West Sabine Huts. These have 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. Free shared accommodation provided in St Arnaud for the nights before and after the volunteer 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.

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, accommodation in St Arnaud and food reimbursement requirements.

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 huts, view the Travers-Sabine Circuit page.

How to apply

To register your interest, complete the online application form

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


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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