Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand! Beware the Apes!

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
City Oaks Serviced Apartments

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, November 11, 2011

Getting to airport was easy utilising the Skybus service which shuttles you from your hotel/hostel to the Southern Cross station and then you board a bus to the airport. (Cost = $16 AUD each).
Checking in took a long time as Melbourne is a pretty busy airport. Seemingly one of the first once again to check in (less than 2 hours before the flight), we were again given the extra legroom emergency exit chairs. Good stuff. There were again long queues in security but we got through in time for the plane to be a little late anyway.

We were shuttled to the airplane which was parked along way from the terminal, I think the pilot must have been worried about getting a ticket or something. Being our first experience of Quantas, it wasn't the best start - but keep judgements aside until you get the whole story.

The plane was new with nice comfy chairs and the entertainment system modern with touchscreen movie selection capability and an array of programmes for a flight less than 4 hours long. I went for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes which I did enjoy on the small screen and Kate chose Larry Crowne. Throughout the flight I also watched an episode of Top Gear and Family guy. It kept me worrying what to watch and not what was out the window.
The food was pretty good for a flight and the drinks service was excellent. I was more than tipsy by the end of the flight after following the lead of a frequent flier sat next to Kate who kept asking the Stewardess for more little bottles. Why not I thought. I forgot completely about flying and was happily laughing out loud to the top gear boys - it made me miss home quite a bit! Our new friend in our row seemed to see it as competitive drinking and had about 5 little bottles to my 3 or 4, but I enjoyed the flight anyway, even through a bit of early turbulence.

General judgement - loved Quantas. Best flight since Singapore Airlines on our Honeymoon. I didn't even notice us landing.

We stood at the baggage carousel waiting for our bags and nothing came. We started to discuss that it actually wouldn't be a bad thing if our bags don't turn up - we are nearly in a position where we need a whole new bag of clothes anyway. The number of bags on the carousel deteriorated and our bag wasn't there. It may be a reality. We weren't worried though. The dissapointment was immense when someone from the airport came over to us and asked us whether we were still waiting for our bags and where we were travelling from and on our reply informed us we were looking at the wrong carousel. Seeing our bags was slightly devastating - I was planning a whole new wardrobe, as was Kate.

We went outside and looked for the skybus which would require us to walk half a mile at our destination and costs $16 each. On the way we asked a shuttle driver for a quote to our hotel. He replied $41 which I knew was more than the skybus, and so we started walking. As we walked away he dropped his quote to $30 which was less than the skybus and with a door to door service we hopped straight aboard. Love the Kiwis. A nice fella, we chatted a bit and he dropped us off at the City Oaks Serviced Apartments.

The apartments cost us $120 a night (60 GBP) and were bought as a bit of a chill before we hit the road in the campervan. In reality the cost is little more than what we have been paying for private rooms with shared facility hostels in Australia and so it seemed like a steal at the time of booking.

Nice security man behind the desk almost immediately informs us we have been upgraded to a 2 bedroom apartment which is bigger in floor plan. He gives us all the information, points us in the right direction and then here we are in our nice quaint room. We have a washing machine, dishwasher, 40inch TV, DVD player balcony, Sofa, Fridge, Oven etc. I love New Zealand.

We buy pizzas, some drinkies and pick up some free AA maps from reception and spend the evening with Kate watching crap TV and me plotting the start of the road trip.

Considering it was a travel day which can be tiring and hard work, it was probably the best travel day we've had. All the timings worked well for transfers, the flight was good, and the treatment straight away in NZ has been warm and friendly.
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