Stranded tourists find hospitality



The Central Otago community spirit is helping travellers caught out by Covid-19.
As for many travellers, a working holiday for a young French couple took an unexpected turn when the entire country went into lockdown.
Thibaud Quemard and Pauline Gibert arrived in New Zealand in February.
Both come from a town near Grenoble, in France, and they were on a one year working visa.
They first worked in Christchurch before answering a call to do three days’ work at Hawkdun Rise Vineyard only a week before the lockdown.

Owners John and Suzanne Grant did not hesitate to allow them to stay once their three days’ work had ended, giving them free accommodation at a cottage on their property.
‘‘We think of our own kids and we are just doing what we hope others would do for our children,’’ Mr Grant said.
The pair have been in touch with family in France, where there are more than 100,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 15,000 deaths.
Although their families are safe, it has been a concerning time, they said, but they were grateful to Mr and Mrs Grant for helping them out during their time in Central Otago.
Kerry and Graham Bastow are another couple who have been helping out travellers during the lockdown.
They have a self-contained studio that they rent for short-term visitors.

Carolyn and Derek Jury, of Melbourne, had booked two nights on March 24 and 25, just when our Prime Minister announced the country would be going into lockdown.
The couple were in the middle of a four-month trip to New Zealand, spending some time with Mrs Jury’s cousin in Waiuku, South Auckland.
‘‘We decided to do some travelling in the South Island before it got too cold,’’ Mrs Jury said.
They travelled further south to Stewart Island and to the West Coast, but when they arrived at Alexandra ‘‘that’s where we got grounded’’.
‘‘We were a bit flummoxed. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do.’’
When the Bastows realised their guests for two nights were going to be stuck, they allowed them to stay free of charge for the duration of the lockdown.
‘‘We are not charging them, we just think it is the neighbourly thing to do,’’ Mrs Bastow said.

At first, the couple stayed in a separate bubble but two weeks into lockdown they joined the Bastows’ bubble.
‘‘They are a very nice couple. After the two weeks of keeping their distance, they have joined our bubble and we have had some nice evenings and dinners together,’’ Mrs Bastow said.
Mrs Jury said they were very fortunate to spend their time in lockdown in Central Otago.
‘‘It is so beautiful here . . . thank you so much to Kerry and Graham for extending their home to us and making us feel so welcome.’’

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