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February 2016 Issue
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No. 13 – Spend a week living in paradise

One of the best gigs for a volunteer hut warden – Mueller Hut. Photo: Ray Salisbury

Become a hut warden

Do you find your summer tramping trips are too scheduled, sandwiched between airplane flights or the restrictions of annual leave and statutory holidays? Perhaps a week working for DOC as a hut warden might be the ticket. Somewhere you can slow down, drink in the views and relax. A place to call your own for a few days, without the need to move on each day.

While the Great Walks have their full-time, paid wardens over the summer season, there are many other corners of the backcountry where you can volunteer.

In the North Island you can be the resident guardian at such memorable locations as Egmont National Park, the Tararuas, or at Waitawheta Hut in the Kaimai Range. In the South Island, you have options at Nelson Lakes, the Mt Arthur Tableland, Lewis Pass, Mt Aspiring, Mt Somers and the crème de la crème of idyllic locales: Mueller Hut at Mt Cook.

You will actually have to do some work, though. A couple of hours’ cleaning the dunny, wiping kitchen benches or tables, and collecting hut tickets from the visitors. You’ll get to meet a multitude of amazing people and begin to develop an affinity for the land, perhaps returning to the same plot of terra firma each year.