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The famous New Zealand scenery is protected by the The DoC, Department of Conservation in New Zealand. The wildlife, walking tracks, campsites and backcountry huts that backpackers enjoy are maintained and preserved by volunteers who also have a passion for New Zealand's natural offerings. Even with a visitor visa, you can get involved.
What are the benefits of volunteering for DoC?
Apart from the obvious significant contribution to the conservation of New Zealand, it is a way of learning new skills (great for the CV), getting fit, experiencing amazing areas of New Zealand, and making a few friends along the way.
What types of projects can I volunteer for?
There are a number of different projects you can take part in for a varying fitness levels, skills and availability. To name a few:
- Wildlife projects – tasks may include: wildlife monitoring, trapping pests, and public talks about wildlife.
- Group projects – a fun idea if you have a group of backpacking friends that want to volunteer for the day. These projects are also a good way for solo travellers to meet people. Tasks can be maintenance and wildlife projects.
- Restoration projects – tasks involve: collecting seeds, planting, beach cleanups, restore historical sites, weeding and pest control.
How do I apply to volunteer?
The DoC website makes it easy to select your chosen region and browse the volunteer projects. Once you have found a project you would like to get involved in, scroll to the bottom of the project's page for contact details. Under the title "How to apply" there will be instructions on how to simply book a place by contacting the the relevant DoC office. The project description may ask for specific skills or experience, so you should mention these in the application – much like applying for a job.
What is the cost? And is accommodation and equipment provided?
Although there is no fee for taking part in a project, there may be other expenses to consider. Projects vary on how much they offer volunteers in terms of accommodation, food and equipment.
How do I get more information?
See the full article on How to Volunteer for the Department of Conservation of New Zealand at BackpackerGuide.NZ.