Well the day has finally arrived, here we go again! Up at 5:00am to catch the 6:45am bus. Unlike last time we took the coach, this time it was packed full, which meant we had to sit on opposite sides of the aisle next to random people. Probably not the most exciting detail to share but on a travelling day I expect (or maybe hope) it will be the most exciting one.
The bus was eerily quiet, pretty much everyone slept but not me. I was on full alert as usual, watching the scenery whip by out the window.
Nearly tripped at the first hurdle with Lil Sis alighting the coach at Central Station (to be fair, she did so based on a 15 minute loo break last time we travelled this way) but then the driver was back on the bus and away we went, Lil Sis only climbing back aboard moments before he did.
At the airport, we got some Maccas for lunch, as you do, and then it was sort of time to check in. We jumped in the line, stood there for an hour and finally the Jetstar staff showed up exactly 3 hours before our flight. First try with the luggage tags had our bags heading off with British Airways, and while it might've been nice for them to go to London it would have been even nicer if we were going there too. The lady at the counter rebooted her computer and tried again, which took a bit of extra time but did answer the question about why the hell it takes some people a lot longer than others to check in.
Through security where yet again Lil Sis the Dodgy was pulled aside and tested for explosives.
At 5:00pm, 11.5 hours after leaving home we finally boarded the plane but I think it wasn't until we were cruising at 35,000 feet with the NSW coastline disappearing behind us, that it really sunk in that I was flying away from Australia for the sixth time.
As we headed south-east, I had a perfect view of the setting sun and I was reminded again how spectacular that is from 11km up. Half an hour before landing we spotted the NZ coastline and had incredible views of west coast snow-caps in the evening light. Crossing over the alps at dusk with their craggy peaks silhouetted against a burnt orange sky was possibly the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen and if you're thinking of heading to NZ I highly recommend flying into Christchurch at night just to see it. At one stage we could see both the east and west coast from the air and then we descended towards the city lights of Christchurch itself, landing at 10:30pm local time.
And you know what? The amazingness doesn't stop there. It took us about half an hour to get from the plane to the airport motel because NZ just gets it right. Fully electronic fast track for Aussie's through immigration, no fuss customs, user friendly airport facilities and shuttles. God bless New Zealand.
So in conclusion, apparently it takes all bloody day to get to NZ. And I was almost sick of being in transit until those mountains appeared out of the clouds and then like magic, none of the previous 12 hours mattered. Can't wait to see what the South Island holds for us. Bring it on!
P.S. Happy New Year! (It's just clicked over as I've finished this off. They say the year continues on as it begins and again I find myself travelling so I'm all for that!)