QLD_GCB_NEWS_BACKPAKERS_5APRIL20_PAYNE
QLD_GCB_NEWS_BACKPAKERS_5APRIL20_PAYNE

Lifeline for stranded backpackers

BACKPACKERS left out of work and stranded by the coronavirus have been thrown a lifeline by a Gold Coast hinterland family, an example of one of many acts of kindness shining through the city's darkest moments.

Former backpacker and now permanent resident Will Bessent and his partner have opened their Canungra property to travellers who were left with no place to go due to rising costs of international flights, campground closures and a lack of work.

Will Bessent has offered refuge to stranded backpackers at his Canungra property, including English couple Amy Bryce and Joe Dawson and French pair Perrine Turner and Adrien Doux. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Will Bessent has offered refuge to stranded backpackers at his Canungra property, including English couple Amy Bryce and Joe Dawson and French pair Perrine Turner and Adrien Doux. Picture: Glenn Hampson

"The least we can do is offer a safe place," Mr Bessent said.

Adhering to strict social distancing guidelines, Mr Bessent now has two couples living on his acreage for free, allowing them to weather the economic storm caused by thousands of forced business closures nationally.

"We own a hobby farm so can't offer any money but can give them a place to stay," Mr Bessent said.

"For some going home isn't an option, some countries aren't allowing their own residents back, for others the cost flights are huge, and there aren't many jobs here. We are supposed to look after each other right now, that means everyone."

Will Bessent said: “We are supposed to look after each other right now, that means everyone.” Picture: Glenn Hampson
Will Bessent said: “We are supposed to look after each other right now, that means everyone.” Picture: Glenn Hampson

English backpacker Joe Dawson and girlfriend Amy Bryce were concerned they would be lost in transit if they attempted to return home.

"We know of people stranded now in Thailand of Myanmar without any sustainable healthcare so we decided to sit tight.

"The price for flights have also quadrupled which means the decision was taken out of our hands.

"We are very thankful for Will," Mr Dawson said.


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