Stranded traveler grateful for accommodation

Distressed traveler Elly Niar awaits the reopening of State Highway 1 via Temuka.


Distressed traveler Elly Niar awaits the reopening of State Highway 1 via Temuka.

A night in a pub in southern Canterbury that normally caters to truckers was very good for stranded tourist Elly Niar.

The Aucklander had just started a planned South Island tour when the weekend rainstorm disrupted plans.

“We flew to Christchurch and went to Kaikōura. We were supposed to travel all over the South Island but the weather was bad on the West Coast and we thought it would be safer to come back this way to Queenstown.

“Fortunately we passed Ashburton, Geraldine, Hinds, but by the time we got here (Winchester) the road was closed.

* People urged to stay at home as floods continue to rage in southern Canterbury
* State of emergency declared in Timaru district
* A resident of Arowhenua evacuates himself as the river rises
* Residents of Geraldine’s nursing home evacuated
* Damage from ‘heartbreaking’ flooding in southern Canterbury
* Rubberneckers told to stay away from flooding in southern Canterbury

“Fortunately, we got accommodation. It was so hard to find yesterday. The community has been really great and kind in helping us.

Niar said accommodation was found at the Wolseley Hotel in Winchester.

“It was really nice of them because normally they only welcome truckers, but because of the situation they were trying to help other people.

“Oh my god, we were so grateful.”

Niar was still planning to travel to Queenstown when the roads reopened and return from Christchurch on Saturday.

“We still don’t know. We have canceled accommodation in Invercargill and Dunedin.

“Many things have changed.”

Niar said he lost money on accommodation bookings because Air BnB seats “don’t want to pay back”.

“Don’t worry about the money now, at least we’re safe … there are more people losing their homes than just a small amount of money.”

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About John McTaggart

John McTaggart

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