I’m going to publish some of the details of my trip to New Zealand.
The easiest way to do this is through multiple posts.
The posts might not be posted on consecutive dates … but, I’ll provide links as I write them to tie them all together.
First of all, I have to confess my excitement to travel to New Zealand was over the top.
I’ve wanted to visit since I was a child which truly made it a trip of a lifetime.
I was very fortunate to be able to travel on Air New Zealand which is ranked as one of the top airlines in the world.
In addition, I was able to travel as a Business Premier passenger which is Air New Zealand’s version of first class.
I, honestly, wanted to squeal with delight at the very thought.
The first advantage of being a Business Premier passenger begins before you ever leave with increased baggage allowances,
And, more importantly, Business Premier passengers get access to the Air New Zealand lounge … in my case, at LAX.
After checking my baggage, I got to hang out and wait for my flight in a fancy-schmancy lounge.
Drinks, tons of gourmet food, fast wi-fi, comfortable chairs and chaises … it was a NICE pre-boarding experience.
When it came time to board the plane, Business Premier passengers were allowed to get settled in first – so the standing in line hassles were avoided.
On board, I was greeted with a glass of champagne, a seat which later converted to a lay-flat bed, and zillions of other conveniences and advantages I’m not accustomed to getting when I fly. (I especially loved the airline provided “travel kit” which was a bag made from New Zealand wool with all sorts of essentials inside like a toothbrush/paste, sleep mask, lip balm, socks, etc.)
Like most of us, when I fly, I’m usually squashed in a middle seat between two massively overweight passengers who won’t share the armrests.
It was such a TREAT to experience flying in a different way.
(And, truly, a lifesaver on such a super long flight!)
I took an evening flight which is what I recommend if you travel from California.
After a surprisingly good meal on the plane, I read for awhile.
I converted my seat to a bed eventually, and got a decent 6-7 hours of sleep.
When I woke up, I was greeted with a small “smoothie,” followed by breakfast.
A short time later, I was landing in Auckland … it was 7 a.m. in New Zealand and I had “lost” one day by crossing the international date line while in flight.
It was raining/pouring in Auckland when I arrived, but I wasn’t staying in Auckland so I didn’t mind.
After going through customs, I transferred to the domestic terminal at the Auckland airport.
I had a few hours to kill due to a layover, and I was happy to hear I could spend those hours (once again!) in the Air New Zealand lounge.
(The KeriKeri airport was the cutest airport I’ve ever seen. It consists of one building and is CHARMING.)
A rental car was waiting for me, and the adventures of driving on the wrong (left!) side of the road began!
(There might have been some gasping and screaming involved.)
At this point, I had one, and only one, thought on my mind –
I wanted a shower!
After a lot of research, I had high expectations for my time in Bay of Islands.
I was disappointed not to experience the poster-perfect weather I had read about.
It was grey and rainy, and warm, and humid upon my arrival … although, still beautiful.
I donned a rain poncho, grabbed my camera and headed out to explore.
After all, you can’t control the weather but you can control your attitude about it, right?
(If I’ve learned nothing else over the years, I know you have to stay flexible and adjust your expectations when you travel.)
Kiwi are endangered and it isn’t unusual to see signs reminding the public to take care of them!
I was hungry and thirsty after so many hours of travel.
I made a short stop in a little cafe and then walked/hiked for hours – exploring the small town, the beach, and the rest of my surroundings.
My awesome hosts (Jessie and Ruth) invited me to an early evening happy hour which I also enjoyed.
It gave me the opportunity to get to know them better, ask questions about the area, and begin learning more about New Zealand.
They had, very kindly, thought ahead to make a dinner reservation for me at one of their favorite restaurants.
(Russell is a VERY small town so there isn’t a lot to choose from and reservations are a must.)
I walked to the restaurant and was able to catch a beautiful sunset on my way.
Bay of Islands Sunset — As seen from Russell
I enjoyed a great lamb dinner my first night in New Zealand.
The hours of travel and excitement had taken its toll, though.
I was exhausted and asleep by 10:00 p.m. that night – my very first night in New Zealand.
(New Zealand travel stories to be continued ….)