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.
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.
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.
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.
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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