Queenstown, Southland and Bloody COVID_19.
Good day my Savvy readers, I hope you’re all well and staying ever so slightly sane?
I know for sure I lost the plot long before Corona struck, but that comes as no surprise to anyone. If you need any tips on how to be crazy, drop me a message, I’ll give you some tips from the master!
The next stop of my van’life diaries is Queenstown, if you were following me on Instagram at the time, you’ll know this is when the pandemic struck, therefore this is when my plodding along and taking in my van life adventures went tits up very quickly. I could’ve for sure done with ‘an over the shoulder boulder holder’ for my life at this point, but that’s just the spice of life isn’t it?
Anyway that’s for later reading for now let’s start with the start.
Queenstown, now I’ve been a bit apprehensive about this stop as there’s no free camps and I knew it was going to be a bit of a pocket drainer, but hey I can’t miss it out and I wanted to check it out for a job. I stayed at Qbox camp, which is about a 20 min walk into town costing $20 a night which is really cheap for a campsite, the rest of the sites were $50-$80 a night. I bumped into quite a few of my friends in Queenstown which was awesome, Ben (from ski season) was there, Anne and Stephan (van’lifers from Melon farm) and Ginny and Mike (Van’lifers from Tongariro) these guys made Queenstown visit extra special.
Ben, his friend and I played frisbee golf which was good fun, super hard but something different, it’s quite big in New Zealand. I only seen it in New Zealand no where else in the world, but a real good laugh, some people take it real serious, it’s a big sport out here, competitions and everything!
Queenstown, some top notch views, and good for a night out with some banging tunes (you can tell I've not been out out for a very long time), I hadn't realised how much I've aged, most people in the clubs were 18 which is crazy, I definitely do not have that energy anymore. Hat's off to them.
DUN! DUN! DUNNN!
PANIC STRUCK THE GREEN AND PLEASANT LANDS OF NEW ZEALAND.
AND TOURISTS FLED.
Corona_19 struck NZ, there was a case in Queenstown, a tourist in a van, it seriously scared everyone especially as the virus victim had newly arrived in NZ and a van lifer! The most annoying thing was that they popped them in quarantine in the self contained hub in Queenstown, which is basically where people in van’s can go for a shower, use wifi, fill up their water and empty water tanks. Now these are a necessity when yor're free camping. Due to the virus, they closed down the campsites so I fled out to the free camp about 30 mins outside of Queenstown, you see I had to wait around for a bank appointment in 4 days time, and stay safe, but this also meant I had no where to shower, or fill up my water or use any facilities really, only what I had on board already, which really wasn’t a lot as I hadn’t planned for the hub to close down. Anyway I embraced the grub life and just went for a swim in the lake which was BLOODY COLD mind, one could definitely say refreshing.
At this point I didn’t know how much effect Corona was going to have on New Zealand so I just carried on my adventure in hope that it wouldn’t effect us too much.
Boy was I wrong!
On the positive side I most definitely had my dosage of socialising and wanted to get out into the wild again and away from everyone. Too much, talking, drama and keeping people happy made me want to escape out into the wilderness, so off I went.
Eddie and I carried on our journey down south, right on the top of my bucket list is to see the Aurora Australis, which can be seen at the bottom of the South Island.
I rocked up to my free camp right at the most southern point of the country and a little old lady rolled down her camper window and told me about the looming lockdown. Oh dear, her piece of advice to me was to get somewhere I don't mind spending for the next fews weeks\months. Oh crap, I was now in the coldest part of the country with the wind blowing straight off the Antarctic,
I was not about to spend the next few weeks - months freezing my tits off waiting for this all to blow over. Eddie and I set off rapidly, getting some proper milage between me and the most southern point simultaneously applying to jobs in the warmest part of the South Island on the vineyards! I was offered a job, but upon arrival I was informed that lockdown had been announced whilst I was driving, and now it was less than 48 hours away, and that the position was no longer available as vineyards are not considered by the NZ Government as essential work.
So that was it. I picked up the phone to call the mum line, to request help from the fambo to help me in this moment of absolute loneliness. All doors seemed to be closing, it felt like they were slamming shut! I needed to urgently find somewhere to go to survive the next few weeks as Winter and Covid arrived together. It worked a treat, except the call to the Blenheim Police Station to request a drive by to check up on me!
A problem shared is well and truly a problem halved.
My cousin had worked on a dairy farm in Otago, he gave them a ring, and voila found me a job and a place to stay on a dairy farm, thank you Cousin Oliver, I owe you a pint or two of cider!
Next stop, Farm life.
Another exciting twist to my adventures, but this is going to be quite a chapter me thinks.
For more follow me on my Instagram @Travel_Savvy_Guide
New Zealand's tourist marketing campaign is to wish the world good morning everyday, as it's to be said that New Zealand is the first to see the sun rise everyday so only right to wish the world a good morning and a good day. So of course I thought HELL YEAH, I want to join in. So I've been wishing the world good morning every morning from each of my locations, so stay tuned.
If you havent already read about the impacts of COVID_19 in NZ and how it's effected mine and others adventures click here, for a cheeky read.