Belgian hikers emerged from the bush in New Zealand to find they were in coronavirus lockdown with almost no route home and few possessions
- Pauline Dupont and her partner emerged from a five-days-long hike in the New Zealand bush to find there was almost no way for them to get home due to multiple governments' measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
- They could not fly home, and all they had on them were their backpacks filled with a few days' worth of essentials.
- They're hoping to catch a flight the German government is organizing for its citizens.
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Belgian trampers emerged from the bush in New Zealand earlier this week to discover the world was a lot less open due to the coronavirus.
On March 23, Pauline Dupont, her partner Romain, and some friends emerged from a five-days-long tramping trip in the bush not far from Queenstown, in New Zealand's South Island. Their hike was outside of cellphone service, according to Radio New Zealand.
After turning on their phones they discovered that New Zealand was about to go into lockdown, and Australia was not letting anyone in except for citizens and residents.
The couple is from Belgium but living in Australia on temporary work visas. They were on a month-long holiday. All they had with them was their backpacks filled with essentials.
They told Radio New Zealand: "We were very sad and shocked at the same time, we didn't want to believe that it was real."
They didn't give up right away. "Our brains started to change into war mode," Dupont said.
What followed next was a failed dash to Queenstown Airport. They then rented a car and drove north to Christchurch, a larger city in New Zealand. They were told at the airport it wasn't possible to fly to either Melbourne or Belgium.
After posting about their predicament Facebook, they were offered clothes and a place to stay.
As of March 26, the pair were hoping they could hop aboard a flight Germany was organizing for its citizens. Although they were wary of traveling and catching or spreading the coronavirus.
Dupont told Radio New Zealand: "We don't want to get trapped … it's not safe. We could get sick on the way, we don't want to put ourselves in danger and we don't want to put anyone else in danger."
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