Sinkhole hobbles taxi in Queenstown (slideshow)


Beach Street gave way to a Queenstown taxi today (Tuesday) – literally. 

An Alpine Taxi driving down the road hit a hole where a water main had burst about 4am, creating about a 1.2 metre drop which the taxi sank into. 

Work to fix the gaping hole – outside the Glassons store – was finished before lunchtime and the road was reopened.

Queenstown Lakes District Council Waters Service engineer Karen Ladbrook says she’s unsure how much damage was caused to the taxi, which it’s believed got hauled out of the hole about 6am. 

“The timing of these things is never great and we just have to deal with it when it happens, but I’m just grateful that this didn’t happen during Winter Festival,” Ladbrook says.

Oliver Elmore was out drinking with his friends last night when on their way back to Adventure Queenstown Hostel they discovered the water, at about 4.30am.

“At first we thought it was a little leak but then we looked down the street and it was amazing,” he says.

“Part of the street was totally flooded out. It was like a lake.”

Elmore says he ran to his hostel to get his camera – during which time the taxi van drove into the hole.

“There was a passenger in the van – I think he was more angry than the taxi driver.”

Elmore and his mates left the scene at about 5.15am after the leak had been fixed – and after taking a string of photos. 

The burst main meant Vudu Cafe and Larder manager Nadia Baldissera had her mop out at 7am cleaning up about one centimetre of water that crept under the doors.

Then delivery staff and customers keep trekking silt through the eatery, she says.

Wilkinsons Pharmacy owner Kim Wilkinson was at his store – on the corner of Rees Street and Queenstown Mall – from 5am ensuring the torrent of water wasn’t going inside.

“It was just a river flowing all the way down Rees St,” Wilkinson says.

His business wasn’t water damaged, but he also had silt traipsed through.