Volunteer Abroad New Zealand: Punakaiki Volunteering Trip
When joining this programme, which combines volunteering and travel, you make a contribution to protecting the endangered Westland Petrel and, at the same time, discover some of the most beautiful natural sites in New Zealand.
Your base is in Punakaiki, in close proximity to the breeding location of the Westland Petrel, one of New Zealand’s unique bird species. Each day, you and your international team are involved in different nature and wildlife conservation measures and, in this way, assist in preserving this wonderful bird species.
Visiting exceptional natural areas and wildlife habitats – such as the Pancake Rocks, Arthur’s Pass or the Tauranga Bay seal colony – enables you furthermore to experience New Zealand’s natural beauty in an incomparable way. Be part of a fascinating programme and combine traveling New Zealand’s South Island with your voluntary commitment to protecting endangered wildlife species.
- Help protect and restore habitat for vulnerable Westland Petrel colonies in New Zealand
- Travel and work with people from all over the world
- Visit the world-famous Pancake Rocks in Paparoa National Park
- Go hiking in spectacular Arthur’s Pass National Park
- Enjoy observing the fur seal colonies in Tauranga Bay, Westport
Ready to grab your backpack?
If you would like to learn more about dates and fees for this trip we are happy to help you. Just drop us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Chrissy, your travel agent for New Zealand
You are interested in joining this adventure? I am happy to help you! From the first steps until the end of the trip – I answer all of your questions and support you throughout your time abroad.
Conservation work in New Zealand
As a participant of this fascinating programme you combine exploring some of New Zealand’s most beautiful natural areas with dedicating yourself to the protection of the endangered Westland Petrel as a volunteer.
Arrival and orientation in Christchurch
First of all, you fly to Christchurch. Make sure to arrive in the city one day prior to the official start of the trip. You will spend the following night in a guest accommodation in town before setting off for the meeting location the next morning – the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch. Here you will meet your team and together you will start the journey.
Activities during your stay in New Zealand
The programme is characterized by a mix between exploring fascinating natural sites in New Zealand and helping to conserve endangered wildlife as a volunteer.
During the first half of the day, you and your team are usually involved in various conservation measures to protect New Zealand’s endangered Westland Petrel. In general, your tasks involve tree planting, weed control, seed collection, track maintenance and helping propagate plants.
The second half of your day is for exploring New Zealand’s incomparable landscapes. Magnificent Arthur’s Pass National Park, the world-famous Pancake Rocks and the fascinating fur seal colony in Tauranga Bay – you will visit some spectacular nature sites of New Zealand’s South Island before traveling back to Christchurch on the last day of the programme.
Accommodation during the programme
Together with other programme participants you’ll be accommodated in cosy cabins, close to New Zealand’s world-renowned Pancake Rocks. You’ll sleep in a bunk bed, use communal bathroom amenities and a shared kitchen area. You’ll be provided with three meals per day. Meal-preparation is a shared responsibility – participants take turns helping to manage the meal preparation and clean-up.
Leisure time as a participant in New Zealand
During the day you usually help protect New Zealand’s nature and the endangered Westland Petrel and explore special nature sites and destinations on New Zealand’s South Island. The evening hours can be used for your own activities: Spend time with your fellow team mates and review what you’ve experienced during the day, play games or discover the area of your volunteer accommodation – star-gazing and enjoying beautiful sunsets are particularly popular leisure time activities. If you decide to stay in the programme for more than five days, you can also use the weekend(s) for your own activities.
Arrival in Christchurch
First day of the volunteering trip
Day 2 - 3
Second and third day of the volunteering trip
Fourth day of the volunteering trip
Fifth day and departure
“In the projects I expected to meet other volunteers from all over the world, to see some of New Zealand's beautiful scenery, to get a little introduced to the biodiversity and special species and to do some meaningful work. All this has been fulfilled.”
“The experience as a conservation volunteer was great, I had a great time and would like to thank the Natucate team!”
“I was able to get to know a lot of New Zealand's breathtaking nature, even off the beaten track, and got the chance to have done something to protect the environment. I will certainly never forget my New Zealand experience.”
“Driving a “mule”, which is a kind of quad, was also lots of fun! We used this mule to transport plants.”
Punakaiki is a small community on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island with less than 100 inhabitants. It is located between Westport and Greymouth, on the edge of the famous Paparoa National Park.
Rugged rock formations on the coast and dense rainforest in the inland determine the landscape. Punakaiki is particularly famous as it is home to one of the most iconic sights of the region: the fascinating rock formations of the "Pancake Rocks". But also other great natural sites can be admired in this special region of New Zealand.
Purpose of the volunteer trip in New Zealand
Since 2008 volunteers dedicate themselves to the restoration of the region just south of Punakaiki village, bordering the Westland Petrel colonies. Predominantly used for farming and mining, the land has special ecological significance – on the one hand because of its proximity to Paparoa National Park, on the other hand because it is the only area of breeding colonies of the Westland Petrel. In 2010, the site was officially declared a nature reserve. It is with the help of dedicated national and international volunteers – being involved in tree planting, weed control, seed collection and the propagation of native plant species – that the survival of this important wildlife habitat and the conservation of New Zealand’s Westland Petrel can be assured.
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