Qantas (operated by JetConnect)
The sun is setting on my visit to the South Island. It has been a mixed blessing. Of course I started of on the wrong foot by not getting my Saab Convertible and the two days of torrential rain. When the sun finally did decide to (occasionally) show itself I was annoyed that I wasn't riding around in the aforementioned convertible. Luckily New Zealand is beautiful enough to distract you and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some things I still find strange like the 10am check out time (most often non negotiable) and how the country becomes quiet after 6pm. Nothing going on anywhere.
The last days of the South Island left me with the following visual impressions:
Most of the time you can go way faster...
The beautiful Queenstown. I wanted to stay there longer.
You can take dinner cruises on this ship
You are starting to see horizon pollution everywhere nowadays.
After Queenstown it was time for Te Anau. This is a really quaint town near a Fjord (or Sound) and has a very relaxed feel to it. Basically it is there for tourist. But you can do some spotting here too. What? Spotting?
Coming in for the landing
Taxi to the terminal
Alternatively you can take a chopper
Some other views
The town itself
Last town before heading back to Christchurch was Dunedin. Now this town I really liked. It had a very Scottish/Irish feel to it, in a good way.
My wonderful hotel in Dunedin (www.bluestonedunedin.co.nz):
The Dunedin church steeple
After Dunedin came Christchurch. By now I was a bit tired of driving so I decided to get a good hotel and upgrade myself to a suite. I stayed at the Millennium Commodore Copthorne near CHC. It was a very good choice. For NZ$ 215 this is what you get:
I went to the airport the night before to check in. Oddly enough all Qantas counters where closed even when there were still flights leaving. Ah well. Back to the hotel... On the way I shot some pictures of NZ Army Hercules aircraft and an Emirates A340. Unfortunately the fences where always in the way of a good shot.
After a good nights sleep and some serious repacking I headed of to the airport in the hope that Qantas had arrived by now...
Been to a lot of these places?
Check in went real smooth and the very helpful agent made sure I got the coveted seat 11A. The only one (and 11K of course) with extra legroom. It was very nice to have.
Security was quick (no line) and Qantas actually does have a very nice lounge in the departure area of the domestic terminal at CHC where I had a rather nice brekkie.
Some very well behaved children in the lounge by the way. A pleasure!
From the lounge itself you can do a fair bit of spotting. It has a (limited) view of the airport. I took some of the following pictures there and some elsewhere on the airport. It would be a very good airport for that if only there was something going on...
My plane arriving at the gate
Name that plane!
At the lounge I read a NZ newspaper and was very proud to see a large article about the Dutch and their passion for skating...
Boarding started about 20 minutes before departure. I tried sneaking on with my carry on weighing 18kg (although within size restrictions) but this time I was stopped and the carry on had to be carried of to the cargo hold... I don't like that, but what can happen on such a short flight with no connections? It does save me lifting the bag into the overhead bins that appear very small indeed. Maybe it is a good thing...
We waited for about 10 minutes at the gate and I shot some more airport activity
Now normally I don't really do the 'out of the window shots' too often. However, this flight had some nice views and we passed some interesting cloud formations during descent into AKL. That and I had to try my areal photography setting again of course...
AKL airport shot just before we turned towards it
To my surprise the Domestic terminal at AKL is really small. We were out of the plane and at the one (!) belt for our luggage in no time. Even more surprising is that my bag was one of the first ones out. I happily went to AVIS to get my rental and drove to Tauranga to check in to the Sebel Trinity Wharf hotel. Beautiful hotel, extraordinary room but in the wrong location... Nothing to do here. Ah well, that is why you are now getting this report...
A very common site here. Driving behind a boat...
The weather was great but there was one big cloud in the distance.. Surely...
And yes. This cloud was directly over my hotel (and still is by the way). It is raining once again. Luckily this is my room...
I look forward to Taupo tomorrow and my trip to MEL. I will meet an old friend there the 16th to have a couple of drinks to celebrate my birthday (17th). I haven't seen her in a while and I am sure we will have a blast.
Hope you enjoyed the read and as always: love the feedback!