Applying for activities
When considering your activity, take into account the fitness required, your availability, the work conditions, and personal commitments that may impact on your choice.
Any volunteers applying for hut ranger, hut warden or camp host roles must have the COVID-19 vaccination at the time of starting their role with DOC.
Confirmation of your booking will be sent to you when you have been accepted for your conservation activity. If applying several months in advance, notification of acceptance may not occur until closer to the activity but every effort will be made to notify you in a reasonable time frame. Many activities are oversubscribed and ballots will be conducted in these circumstances. Due to the popularity of our volunteer programme we are unable to guarantee that all applicants will be accepted for an activity.
Any changes or additional details of the activity will be advised.
If applying as a couple or friends, please specify this on your application form.
If you are can not attend an activity, notify the Volunteer Coordinator as soon as possible. Last minute cancellations may lead to the activity being cancelled.
Full refunds will be available to volunteers who notify us at least four weeks before the start of an activity.
Cancellations within four weeks of the activities departure will not be eligible for a refund.
Extreme weather conditions (flooding, snow etc.) may make it impractical to carry out the activity. In such cases, every effort will be made to provide an alternative activity. If this is not possible, we reserve the right to cancel the trip. A full refund will be made in this instance.
What to expect
- Accommodation is arranged, usually basic backcountry huts or equivalent (outdoor toilets, no shower, coal/gas cooking facilities) or camping in tents.
- Transport will be arranged from the pick-up location and to and from the work site.
- Food and cooking utensils are provided unless otherwise stated. Usually everybody helps prepare meals.
- Equipment and tools are generally provided unless otherwise stated.
- Meeting people and enjoying their company is an important part of Conservation Volunteer Activities. Time may be given to recreation and visiting local places of interest.
- Most activities are outdoors and require reasonable fitness and self motivation. Leaders have ultimate discretion of suitability of applicants for activities.
Fitness level guide
Low: Easily walk up to 2 hours over flat ground.
Medium: Comfortably walk with 5 kg pack up to 4 hours over uneven ground.
High: Capable of walking with 10 kg pack up to 6 hours over uneven ground.
Very high: Experienced at walking consecutive days with 10+ kg pack over steep, rough terrain.
What to bring
A full equipment list will be issued prior to the commencement of the activity.
Our volunteer goals
- Conservation volunteers are contributing to increased gains in the conservation of New Zealand’s natural, historic and cultural heritage.
- An increasing number and variety of people are engaged in conservation volunteering.
- Conservation volunteers are increasing their understanding of and commitment to conservation.
- Conservation volunteers are increasing their skills and confidence to carry out conservation work.
- Conservation volunteers find working with DOC a rewarding and highly valued experience.
All activities are subsidised by the Department of Conservation.
Other volunteer activities
- Search for DOC volunteer activities
- Join a conservation group in Southland
- New Zealand Trust for Conservation Volunteers has database of activities
- Southland Ecological Restoration Network lists community led volunteer projects
- South West New Zealand Endangered Species Charitable Trust restores Te Puka-Hereka/ Coal Island in Preservation Inlet
- The Pomona Island Charitable Trust restores Pomona Island on Lake Manapouri
- Kids Restore the Kepler a major community project focusing on young people
- The Kepler Challenge Birdsong project check stoat traps along the Kepler Track each month
Southland and Otago Volunteer Coordinator