How you can volunteer to stay in some of South Australia’s national parks

How you can volunteer to stay in some of South Australia’s national parks

Com­bine your love of camp­ing with help­ing oth­ers by being a camp­ground host in a nation­al park. Here’s how.

If you’re an avid camper, you might have come across a camp­ground host on your last stay at one of South Aus­trali­a’s nation­al parks.

They’re the peo­ple who greet you as your enter the park, gen­er­ous­ly vol­un­teer­ing their time to make your stay more enjoyable.

Whether it’s being on-hand to answer ques­tions about the park, remind­ing you that it’s a total fire ban day, or help­ing to look after the upkeep of facil­i­ties like bar­be­ques or toi­lets, camp­ground hosts help local staff look after the place and make you feel at home while you’re far away from yours.

Sound appeal­ing? Here’s every­thing you need to know about being a camp­ground host.

What are you in for?

A camp­ground host is a vol­un­teer who stays at a nation­al park either for a spe­cif­ic peak peri­od, like the East­er or Christ­mas break or a long week­end, or an extend­ed peri­od of time – up to a few months – to sup­port park rangers.

They’re not respon­si­ble for mak­ing sure vis­i­tors com­ply with the rules of the park – that’s the ranger’s job. But their job is to pro­vide infor­ma­tion to vis­i­tors that will help them enjoy their stay, and make it a safe one.

Camp­ground hosts oper­ate from numer­ous parks across the state, includ­ing Cof­fin Bay, Mount Remark­able, Dhil­ba-Guu­ran­da Innes, Ikara-Flinders Ranges and Gawler Ranges nation­al parks.

Who does it suit?

If you are pas­sion­ate about the envi­ron­ment, a keen camper, like to meet peo­ple from all around Aus­tralia or the world, and are a hap­py helper, then host­ing could be right up your alley.

Camp­ground hosts need to bring their own car­a­van, camper trail­er or tent, and stay in the park for an agreed amount of time.

Hosts are pro­vid­ed with a vol­un­teer uni­form, get ful­ly trained for the role, , and have reg­u­lar con­tact with local rangers. 

Who already does it?

In SA’s nation­al parks, hosts gen­er­al­ly range from out­door-lov­ing peo­ple in their 20s to retirees in their mid-70s.

There’s sev­er­al retired cou­ples who reg­u­lar­ly host over hol­i­days and long week­ends each year, and one cou­ple who trav­els all the way from Vic­to­ria most years to host for a cou­ple of months at Dal­housie Springs in Witji­ra Nation­al Park in the state’s far north.

Oth­er hosts still work but enjoy host­ing in their hol­i­days. Many hosts say that they’ve loved the chance to vis­it dif­fer­ent parks they’d nev­er thought of going to before and they love the vari­ety of the dif­fer­ent host­ing opportunities.

What’s in it for you?

As a camp­ground host you get the best of both worlds. You get to wake up every morn­ing to the stun­ning land­scapes of our parks, and do a good deed by vol­un­teer­ing. Win win!

Your park entry and camp­ing fees are tak­en care of, and for each year of active host­ing’ you receive free park access and free camp­ing for up to five nights at a time in des­ig­nat­ed camp­ing areas in more than 50 of our pop­u­lar parks.

Hosts also often get to tag along with rangers and explore the more unusu­al and remote areas of the park. And all while tick­ing anoth­er won­drous park off your wish-list.

Inter­est­ed? Learn more about the oppor­tu­ni­ties on offer as a camp­ground host and how you can get involved.

There’s plen­ty of ways you can vol­un­teer in nature. Check out our sto­ries for details: 6 ways to vol­un­teer in nature around Ade­laide, 4 ways to help SA’s coastal envi­ron­ment, and How to become a vol­un­teer ranger in SA’s nation­al parks.

(Main image cour­tesy of John and Susan O’Rourke)

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in May 2016.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living