Amenities at West Bay Campsite
Image: Shellie Evans | ©


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

The campsite is surrounded by mānuka/kānuka forest and is divided into two distinctive camping areas – Jetty and Buller. Both areas have their own separate entrance, ablution block and cooking shelter.

There is a cabin on site with power available and sleeps up to 2 people.

Both Jetty and Buller are divided into zones with sites nicely spread out amongst the trees. With the exception of the camp host site, all sites are non-powered. Most sites have hardened soil or gravel surface, most suited for campervans/caravans. There are a few grassy sites suited for tents.

The day shelters provide cooking benches (no stove, pots, pans, cutlery, etc). The ablution blocks have cold showers, toilets and full access shower/toilet.

West Bay camp hosts also monitor the Teetotal Campground. This is a standard, dog-friendly campground with non-powered sites, water supply and toilets. Most sites are gravel but there is a small grassy area for tents. Teetotal campground is the gateway to a recreational area with an extensive network of mountain bike trails.

The village of St Arnaud is about 2 km from West Bay, and about a 1 hour 30 minute drive 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.

The West Bay camp host may stay at Teetotal Campground where dogs are permitted.


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 minute drive or a 30 minute walk from the campsite.
  • providing information to campers, including the weather forecast
  • reporting maintenance requirements to DOC staff
  • monitoring the cleanliness of 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 will need to relate to 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 the 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:

  • own caravan/campervan or indicate that you intend to use the portable cabin
  • 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
  • solar shower (hooks are provided in the shower cubicles)
  • day bag/drink bottle for day walks
  • camera
  • swimsuit

What we provide

  • Free powered site to park your camper or caravan within the camp.
  • Full induction including health and safety briefing
  • DOC camp host identification.
  • Daily camp booking details.
  • Camp host pack including waist bag, Eftpos machine, visitor information etc.
  • Shower tokens for hot showers at the Kerr Bay Campsite if needed.

How to apply

Applications for the 2024/25 season will open in September 2024.


Once your duty is confirmed, 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.

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


Whakatū/Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone +64 3 546 9339
Address Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
1/37 Halifax Street
Nelson 7010
Hours Visitor centre hours and services
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