West Bay is a scenic campsite on the shores of Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes National Park. The bay is the starting point for many walking and tramping tracks in the park. It's popular with holidaying families and tourists for its good swimming and boating activities.

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.

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, cutler, etc). The ablution blocks have cold showers, toilets and full access shower/toilet.

The village of St Arnaud is about 2 km from West Bay, and about a 1 hour drive from Nelson and a 1 hour 30 minute drive from 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), a bar/restaurant and café.


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 4.30 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. If you would like to bring a dog, volunteer as a camp host at Teetotal Campsite just outside 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
  • 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
  • There is a small portable unit on the site that offers accommodation to camp hosts without their own caravan/campervan. The unit has a bed, lights, power supply, bedside table, foldable table and a couple of chairs. There is a gazebo that can be erected to accommodate cooking facilities. We can provide a cooker/gas and pots/pans/utensils if needed.
  • 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

To register fill in the online application form

Once you have been confirmed into a position, 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.


Volunteer coordinator

Rotoiti / Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 521 1806
Address:   View Road
St Arnaud
Full office details
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