August 20th 2016 – Travelling to New Zealand

Today I slept in until 7:30am. I laid in bed and relaxed for a bit until 8:00am. Karl prepared me a fantastic breakfast of eggs, bacon, tomatoes, toast, and orange juice. I packed my bags, showered, and got ready to leave to wait for the shuttle. Karl drove me to the shuttle pickup area at Alice Springs Motor Inn. 10:30am rolled by and the shuttle still hasn’t arrived so I phoned the shuttle company. They said they made a mistake and to phone a taxi and they will reimburse me the difference. I phoned a taxi and Mike in Cab #19 picked me up. Mike is from South Africa from Johannesburg. He moved to Alice Springs about four months ago because his whole family decided to move there. He and I both questioned why, because it’s a pretty bad place. He said he can’t wait to leave for Sydney next month. The taxi ride was $45, and ended up arriving before the shuttle, which was great because I didn’t have too much of a lineup to contend with.
I checked in for my Brisbane flight, receiving an exit row on a Boeing 717-200 with lots of leg room. I went to get me refund from the counter for the shuttle, and received it no questions asked which was great. I then proceeded through security and purchased a ham and cheese toasted sandwich, as well as a bag of chips for lunch. I met up with a group of Italians that was on my last tour and talked with them for a bit before they got on their flight to Darwin. A girl (Francesca, from the United Kingdom) from my tour group was also on the same flight as I was, so we talked for a bit before boarding the flight. She’s been living in Australia for a year, and will be here for one more year. I couldn’t imagine being away from home for that long.
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I sat down In my emergency row seat, which had a ton of leg room. I have to give Qantas very high marks for their in flight service because they are the only airline I’ve been on in years that I’ve been served a hot meal on an economy class domestic flight. I had a peri peri chicken pizza, with a slice of apple and cranberry bread, and coffee. The flight fairly arrived early due to a very high tail wind.
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I had a two hour layover in Brisbane, which went by fairly quickly. I had a beer at the bar to pass some time and caught up on communication with people.
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The flight to Auckland was significantly delayed boarding, but boarding went very quickly due to the flight only being about 75 percent full. On the flight I was presented with three options for dinner; lamb, chicken, or pulled pork served with couscous and a choice of three different red wines, and two different white wines. I choose a Merlot Cabernet Shiraz blend served with lamb, which was excellent. Towards the end of the 3 hour flight they handed out granola bars and dark mint chocolate. Qantas continues to impress me. The local non-budget airlines at home really need to start stepping up to the plate. I spent the majority of the flight sifting through the photos I’ve taken over the last ten days, editing the good ones and deleting the bad ones. The flight had a good tail wind again so we actually arrived 10 minutes early despite our delays leaving.
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I had booked a hotel at the airport earlier this morning so that I had an address to stay before picking up my camper in the morning, as well as put on my declaration card for obtaining a visa when I arrived.
I walked 15 minutes from the terminal to the hotel and checked in, unpacked what I needed for the next morning, and went to bed.

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