Volunteer Hut Warden Prospectus

Summer 2023/2024

We are the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust (MLBT), the grassroots organisation that created and now operates and maintains The Old Ghost Road.

The beating heart of The Old Ghost Road effort has always been volunteerism, with hundreds of people from all walks of life having rolled up their sleeves and poured effort into the project. Sections of trail and all four of our backcountry huts were built entirely by teams of volunteers.

The popularity of The Old Ghost Road has exceeded our wildest expectations and we are once again looking to make the experience even more enjoyable for trail users by having a warden presence throughout the coming summer months. If this sounds like something you might be up for, please read on and get in touch!



This is an opportunity to volunteer on The Old Ghost Road.  As a volunteer hut warden, you will be an ambassador for trail users and play a key role in managing and maintaining our facilities during your stint.

A number of stints are available from December 2023 to April 2024 and currently available stints are listed on the application page.

As a volunteer hut warden you will be expected to:

  • Assume a welcoming, friendly ambassador role for the trail and hut(s);
  • Undertake minor track and or hut maintenance/repairs;
  • Check hut bookings where required;
  • Gather information on hut use and identify improvement opportunities or enhancements to the facilities or user experience;
  • Provide information to trail users;
  • Clean and maintain the hut, toilet, and hut surroundings; and
  • Maintain daily contact with Westport-based Old Ghost Road staff.



Accommodation: Accommodation separate to trail users is provided where possible. Some stints may require you to stay in a mix of accommodation types (i.e. shared hut bunks or summer sleepouts) and all stints include nights at both Lyell Saddle and Ghost Lake huts.

Food: We will maintain a supply of non-perishable food (including Go Native ready-to-eat meals) for your stay. Depending on what you usually eat, this may not be sufficient as your sole source of food. You will need to provide and transport your own fresh food for your stay.

Experience and fitness levels: Volunteers should be experienced backcountry users with reasonable fitness levels and a good appreciation of backcountry etiquette.

Other skills: You need to be fluent in English, and comfortable relating to a range of people in a constructive and friendly manner.  You will have practical skills and be able to carry out hut warden duties on your own. Preference is given to those with knowledge of The Old Ghost Road. A first aid certificate is helpful.

Age Restrictions: All wardens must be at least 20 years old.

Duration: Approximately 10 night stints. Repeat stints are possible if you desire.

Induction: We can meet with you at our Westport base or at the Lyell trailhead prior to your stint beginning to provide pre-stint information and a range of instructions to support your stay and set you up for success.  

Transport: You will need to make your own way to Westport (or Lyell) for inductions, and then on to the trail (approx 50 minutes drive from Westport) and allocated huts (via foot or bike).


You will need to bring your own:

  • Fresh/special food and drink supplies;
  • Sturdy footwear;
  • Warm and waterproof clothing and hat;
  • Sunscreen/sunhat;
  • Warm sleeping bag;
  • Torch, camera, book etc.;
  • Personal toiletries/medication, and
  • A mobile phone which must be carried as a key source of communication. 



We will provide volunteers with:

  • A supply of non-perishable food for your stint (to be supplemented by your own food supply if desired);
  • Written induction and safety briefing material;
  • Free trail accommodation (including cooking facilities and cutlery, pots/pans, bowls/plates etc.); and
  • A PLB to carry while on the track (if you would prefer to carry your own, you are welcome to).



If upon due consideration you feel you are a great match for the task and conditions, head on over to the application page to get the ball rolling. You can check out the available stints there, and if one or more suits, fill out the application.

Thanks in advance for your interest. We look forward to welcoming you.