Dear god it’s worse than London. I click on the ‘Room for Rent’ ad on the Queenstown Facebook page and scroll through the endless list of replies – all 27 of them. The post has only been up for 2 hours. How the hell are these guys reacting so quickly? Don’t they have lives to be living? Shouldn’t we all just be frolicking in the lands of Lord of the Rings, as far away from Facebook as is humanly possible?
It appears I have been misled by a beguiling New Zealand promotional video.
I’m not the only one –the entire world’s population of tidy, sociable, non-smoking, pet-friendly people are moving to Queenstown. Funny, I thought we were quite the minority.
Scrolling through the Queenstown Rent Facebook group, and it’s clear from the dozens of personal ‘ideal housemate’ advertisements, this page is secretly a dating website where the landlords are the George Clooney and Angelina’s of the show. (It’s also clear that this summers’ seasonnaires look like the cast from Love Island, the photogenic buggers.)
Landlords can have their pick of the litter. Do they want the hula-hooping blonde from Ireland or the professional lion-tamer from California? Fancy living with an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan? Or would they rather that Nigella-wannabe baking queen who makes muffins on the weekends? (Who the hell wouldn’t?)
Then it hits me! Campervans! A bit of googling and I’ve got the whole fantasy in my head; I board down the mountain like a rock star, pull a 360 cork straight into the car park, walk past the bus queue of tired seasonnaires heading to Queenstown, and open my VW boot to a smoking BBQ and cider in the cooler box. Ideal, right?
A bit more googling and the reality sets in. No toilet or shower, electricity and water need to be plugged in at designated sites, WOF (MOT) needs to be paid, and proof of address is required for vehicle registration. Maybe I could reason with the NZ motor officials about that last one. I live here, I’d say. In this vehicle. Can’t you see my sleeping bag? Isn’t that proof of address enough?
I’m going to get on a plane in 3 weeks’ time, land in Auckland (I thought it was just a few hours away from Queenstown and I could road trip. Top tip: Look at a map before you book flights people), and have no job and no house. It’s a scary prospect.
But I figure, there’s hundreds out there like me, and rather than see them as competition, these are the ones who I’ll be staying up late with in a well-worn hostel lounge, hatching grand plans to commandeer a ship container and transform it into a cosy 3 bedroom flat. These are my future tequila-drinkers, my snowboarding-teachers, my partners in crime. In short, these are the people who are going to make my season great.
So Queenstown, whether you’re ready or not, I’m coming for you. Along with a few thousand others. And you’d better be big enough for all of us.
(Photos: Mitula properties and wildcampers.com)