No room at the inn


Finding accommodation in Queenstown is simply a nightmare, 22-year-old Grace Louise Nicol says.

Originally from Levin, she moved to Queenstown five weeks ago, and has been kipping on her boss’s couch ever since.

She secured a job – at Gypsy Kitchen fast food outlet – before her arrival.

Nicol was aware of the irony.

“I just didn’t think it would be this hard to get settled in Queenstown or find a place to live.

“I thought getting a job would be the hardest bit – at least the cards were in my favour for that.”

Prepared to pay up to $250 per week for accommodation, she said there was not a lot available.

While she did have a couple of offers, they were either too expensive or too far away, as she did not have access to a vehicle.

It is a predicament faced by many coming to the resort and Nicol says she has spoken to other frustrated individuals living on sofas – or even renting out garage space.

She questioned high bond fees and says they can act as a barrier.

Many landlords asked for up to $4000 per property, something she thinks makes renting unaffordable as an individual.

Her advice to anyone moving to the resort is to check accommodation options beforehand.

“I was lucky to have a supportive boss who I already knew and was able to help.

“Not everyone will have that kind of option.

“I really appreciate him being behind me. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my job.”

Nicol is now looking at shared options.

“The sofa has been great, but it will be nice to have a room even if I have to share it with someone else.

“It will just give me some more space and somewhere to put my things,” she says.