Both DOC and the volunteers have given the ‘thumbs up’ to the first season of volunteer hut wardening on Nelson Lakes National Park’s renowned Travers Sabine Circuit, with many volunteers keen to do it again.
DOC staff at Nelson Lakes deliberately targeted new Zealanders with solid tramping experience to give the best service possible to other trampers on the circuit. The 12 volunteers selected spent one week in each valley with a day off in between. They overnighted at six different huts and the volunteer accommodation back in St Arnaud.
Almost all the volunteers are keen to return. Fraser Mackie, who has previously worked in Arthur’s Pass and Punakaiki said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday and would definitely work with St Arnaud DOC again given the opportunity.”
When asked what was the best and worst part of their role the answers were somewhat mixed. Keeping fit, enjoying the scenery and meeting other people were commonly offered up as the best things. The worst things; cleaning the loos and dealing with the wasps and sand flies, though overall the positives seemed to have outweighed the negatives.
The volunteers were offered a gas cooker and dehydrated dinners for each night they were in the hills.
Volunteer hut wardening opportunities will again be offered from mid December 2011 to early April 2012. Applications close September 30.