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24.03.2020 National lockdown. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe, we quickly developed an evening habit of lying in our tent, checking the news and trying to make sense of all that new information before falling asleep. It was crazy to see more and more overseas nations affected and forced to take action, while at the same time we were still freely cycling New Zealand. Our plan was to ride from Invercargill down to Bluff an then continue up to Queensland. It all felt like a ticking timebomb, however – sooner or later matters would become serious here, too. When we arrived in Invercargill, we had spoken to a couple of other worried travellers. Local case numbers were on a slow but constant rise, from eight to 11 to 20 to 28 within one day respectively. Supermarket shelves had never been that empty. We read online that experts were urging the government for a lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. We could only check in at the hostel because we had booked some days before, with the owner not accepting any new bookings. The hostel was about to close, and word got about that most campsites and all DOC facilities were, too. In some way we were still hoping to be able to reach Queenstown, and went grocery shopping to fill our panniers with supplies for another five days. But we also realised we needed a plan B. We decided to contact all the people we know in the country and ask if they knew a place to stay for us somewhere down here in case travel and transport would soon be severely restricted. So we were sitting in the cozy hostel living room together with other cyclists and hikers and crafting a text, when someone entered the room and announced that New Zealand was indeed going to move into national lockdown, and that we had 48 hours. That was when our plan B, which we were still trying to develop at that point, became plan A. #scoutbound #nz #newzealand #invercargill #corona #covid_19 #bluff #queenstown #letterbox #minions #southerncomfort #cycling

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