Motels booked up as quake evacuees head south

3:43 pm on 26 February 2011

Residents heading out of Christchurch to escape from the devastation of Tuesday's earthquake are struggling to find accommodation, say hoteliers.

Many say they are referring customers on, during one of the accommodation industry's busiest months of the year.

Ashburton District Council says more than 200 people from Christchurch have passed through its earthquake welfare centre and the local community is offering more than 1000 beds.

Ross McKenzie of Geraldine Motels in Geraldine says it has been booked up since Tuesday and earthquake survivors are having to travel as far south as Dunedin.

"We've been struggling to try to get accommodation for everybody. [The] closest accommodation for several nights has been down at Dunedin, with Timaru, Oamaru, Fairlie, Geraldine and Ashburton all fully booked."

Timaru District Council says several hundred people from Christchurch are staying in the town.

Five hundred passed through its welfare centre on Friday and many were placed with locals.

The Motel Association's Dunedin branch says February is a busy month anyway, popular with corporate travellers and overseas tourists.