Coronavirus: South Island town of Glenorchy in its own little bubble telling visitors they're not welcome

New Zealand's tourism industry is in a fight for its survival but one small town is enjoying the temporary calm.

Glenorchy is a gateway to popular hiking tracks just outside of Queenstown. It's a town in its own little bubble and it doesn't want it to burst.

The central Otago settlement is a tourist hotspot but a strong message has been added to its welcome sign, telling visitors to stay away.

"Unless you're a Glenorchy local - sorry guys, not really welcome here just at the moment," resident Jaye Murton said. "Maybe when this COVID thing has cleared up."

Glenorchy is at the end of the road from Queenstown and tourists are being told to turn around and go back to where they came from.

Residents are making the most of the peace and quiet.

"It's actually really nice, it's really quiet," resident Stephanie Peeron said. "I mean, we're used to having so much tourism most of the year." 

Glenorchy is one of a number of small towns pulling up the welcome mat to visitors in a bid to create safe zones in their communities. They are blunt "stay at home" messages like those repeated daily by the Prime Minister.

Glenorchy residents say their town of 400 people is in its own little bubble and feels a bit like the place of yesteryear.

"Some of the locals are saying to me that they prefer it this way," said Tim Brownie of Glenorchy General Store. "But they also realise that tourism puts the bread and butter on the table."