Tourists plan lockdown in van

French visitors Brandon Moya and Solene Corbet are worried about finding somewhere to stay during the Level 4 lockdown. Photo: Peter McIntosh
French visitors Brandon Moya and Solene Corbet are worried about finding somewhere to stay during the Level 4 lockdown. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Even in lockdown, New Zealand is a better place to be than other parts of the world right now.

That is what two French tourists stranded in Dunedin keep reminding themselves, as they try to find somewhere to stay for the duration of this country’s nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Solene Corbet (19) and Brandon Moya (25), of Arles, France, arrived in New Zealand last October and bought a van, for a working holiday.

The pair planned to stay for a year, and stopped in Dunedin after Miss Corbet found work at a bar.

It was while at the gym on Monday they were told of a lockdown, she said.

‘‘The guy working there said in 48 hours the country would lock down.

‘‘I was told I did not have a job anymore.

‘‘We definitely started panicking — we did not know everything would close so quickly.’’

They looked into flights back to France last week, but the cost had been upwards of $4000 each and the airports they would need to transit through were threatening closure.

‘‘We decided to stay here.

‘‘Even in lockdown, New Zealand is better than France at the moment with coronavirus.’’

Living in a van, the pair posted to social media asking if there was somewhere they could park their vehicle for the next four weeks.

They said they were happy to work or pay for the space.

‘‘I understand it is complicated for people to welcome travellers at the moment, but we have been in New Zealand since October.’’

Miss Corbet said the pair had been speaking with other French people in New Zealand who were urgently looking for accommodation.

‘‘There are a lot of tourists that are in the same boat, we are lucky we have money and food.’’

Mr Moya said they planned to stay in the country until October regardless.

‘‘New Zealand is very smart to do this now.

‘‘We would like to stay if we can.’’

The Dunedin City Council said in a post last night freedom campers that were not self-contained would be able to park at the Moana Pool car park and use the pool toilets and showers, from March 26.

emma.perry@odt.co.nz

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