German backpackers overwhelmed by Kaikoura hospitality after quakes
Four German backpackers who were trapped north of Kaikoura are still overwhelmed by the hospitality of one farming family.
Kim Kleine Holthaus, 22, Jana Denker, 22, Helena Odrian, 23, and Jessica Singletary, 24, arrived in Christchurch early on Thursday morning on the HMS Canterbury from Kaikoura and fly home on Saturday.
Their short trip to the South Island was the end of their three weeks in New Zealand.
On Sunday they all did a bungee jump in Hanmer before setting up camp on the surfing beach near Meatworks about 14 kilometres north of Kaikoura.
* Quake evacuees from Kaikoura arrive in Christchurch on HMNZS Canterbury
* Response teams gather in Kaikoura, waiting for navy ship
* Overland relief reaches Kaikoura
* Slow process to freedom for tourists
Hours later their adrenaline levels shot up again in the middle of the night. When the ground started shaking, one of them panicked.
The women hastily crammed their air mattresses into their rental van and joined the convoy of cars heading towards Kaikoura.
They didn't get very far. A local farmer, Andrew Snow, diverted 15 campervans from the main road onto his property in Hapuku, "Snow's Inn".
Only a little bit further along the road was cracked open.
Forty people ended up camping on the property, with Andrew and his wife Donna putting on a big barbecue over the next two nights for the whole group.
"Their meat was thawing in the freezer because the power was gone. We ate crayfish for the first time and had bacon in the mornings," Odrian, a real-estate agent from Bremerhaven said.
"It was just incredible what they did for all of us. We still don't know how to thank them. We had nothing to give back to them."
The friends had enough water to drink and washed in a creek.
They spent the next day trying to find cell phone reception and played cards with the other stranded tourists from all around the world who became like family.
Once they could get back into the damaged town, the Germans helped the farmer's wife to restack shelves in the Kaikoura pharmacy.
The waiting game of leaving the area – "we didn't know if it would take weeks" – was sweetened by the overwhelming support of the locals.
"I cannot believe how friendly, calm and helpful everyone was", Odrian said.
"People brought us sunscreen lotion, snacks and cakes while we queued for hours to get on the boat."
The dinner on the navy vessel was another treat they hadn't expected – "like a 4-star hotel".
Even if New Zealand's nature let them down, the people didn't.