Tramper on the Travers-Sabine

Image: Ben Beiske | Creative Commons


Applications for 2020/21 season are now open.


To apply or go on the waiting list:

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

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 23 December 2020 and 27 April 2021.


Each volunteer period runs from Tuesday to Tuesday.


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 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.

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.

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 huts, view the Travers-Sabine Circuit page.

How to apply

To register your interest, complete 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 3 years (including the time you will volunteer with us), we don’t 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.

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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