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In the car park opposite McDougall St and beside Lake Wanaka yesterday afternoon, several vanloads of French young people on working holiday visas were trying to understand what the state of emergency under Alert Level 4 and a full national lockdown meant for them.
Marine Barban France (25) has been travelling in New Zealand for five months and said, if she could, she would go back to France but there were no planes.
Pierre Sinonin (29) and Lea Deitz (30) said they had the offer of a house in the Coromandel for a month but the earliest ferry they could book across Cooks Strait was this Saturday.
They all said they had tried to ring the French embassy but there was no answer.
Ms Deitz said they had "no idea what to do" and they did not know whom to contact in New Zealand to help them.
Aurore Earraquand (30), also of France, had been working as a housemaid for Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka but her job ended when the travel restrictions were introduced.
She and three others were trying to find an apartment to rent in Queenstown or Wanaka before the lockdown began tomorrow but could not find anything under a $1000 a week.
"It is a difficult situation, but I am sure we will find somewhere to live for one month," she said.
Yesterday, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult asked the community to take a breath, understand the latest announcement and calmly prepare for the four-week lockdown period.
He included stranded visitors and accommodation providers in that consideration.
"Yes, some visitors may need to be locked down in your premises for four weeks. You will need to work through the implications of that with guests and hopefully some have planned for that outcome. If not, start your plan now."