Got up at 4am and had a light breakfast before catching a taxi to Honolulu airport – I say taxi…it was actually a stretch limousine!! We like to travel in style you know… (^^)>
We were at the airport in plenty of time to begin with and the check-in was very quick and smooth. Security was also a breeze…I suppose because it was still early and ours was one of the first flights out. At least it was meant to be!! Our flight was actually delayed – we were meant to fly at 8:10am but it was delayed until 8:45am, so we still had about 2 hours to go!! We waited for our flight in the open-plan airport lounge….when I say open-plan I literally mean open-plan…i.e. there were no glass windows – just open air!!
I spotted some interesting signs at the Honolulu Airport restrooms….Hawaiian style!!
Today’s flight to New Zealand was in two parts: first we had to fly 6 hours to Nadi in Fiji, then from there we had a 3 hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand. We were a bit worried because by the time we had left Honolulu, we had basically already missed our flight to New Zealand…
The flight was fairly smooth, but we had another one of those daredevil landings…where you almost land and then you take off again at the speed of light and at an angle of what feels like 60 degrees!! Apparently there had been a sudden change in wind direction according to the captain….Seio and I think he came in too quick and that the runway was so short that we wouldn’t have been able to stop in time… Who knows? When we were back in the air again, we didn’t see another plane come in to land quite quickly after us, so I also have the feeling that Fijian air traffic control may have been ‘texting’ or doing something else distracting??
It was like being on a rollercoaster ride again … and you know how much Seio and I love those right??
Anyway, take 2 was better and we were finally back on terra firma…albeit right at the very very end of the runway by the rough uncut grass!! I think our short runway theory may have been right after all!!
It was 2:03pm the following day (because we had crossed the international date line!!) when we landed…and our next flight was at 1:10pm….We were wondering if we would now have to wait for a later flight but we needn’t have worried…. The plane we flew in on to Nadi would actually be our plane to Auckland as well!! In fact we really needn’t have gotten off the plane at all, just changed our seats! having said that, it was quite nice to stretch our legs a bit after the 6 hour flight and ‘Thunderbirds-style’ landing (^^)>
After an hour waiting in the Nadi airport duty free lounge (I’m sure that’s one of the reasons they make you get off the plane…to spend money!!) we were called to re-board the plane for our next flight. Our seats the first time around had been at the front of the plane, whereas this time they were at the back….The crew had also changed as well. Our ‘seat neighbors’ had also been swapped from a hairy surfer dude and a coughing and spluttering middle-aged yoga instructor to the family from hell. A 1 year old screaming baby and an ADHD 4 year old boy would be our neighbors for the NZ flight…..Most people had their headphones on, but you could still hear the shrieks <(><)> I did feel sorry for the mother who started crying herself at one point – I think in sheer despair!
Never mind – the landing at Auckland was fine although we did bounce along the runway a couple of times! The time was about 7pm, all that was left to do today was to get safely through customs and on to our next hotel. NZ customs is very strict and requires you to declare anything you have in your possession from food to hiking boots – BioSecurity they call it! I declared my cereal and raisins…but was allowed through with no problems (^^)v You also have to put your bags through X-Ray once more before you leave the airport….so you really need to be honest with what you declare!
After leaving customs and going through to the Arrivals Lounge, we headed straight to the ATM to get some NZ Dollars out.
Armed with currency we headed for the shared-shuttle bus, where a nice little Chinese man put our suitcases into a trailer for us. We got onto the bus with two german backpackers and a local boy and headed off for our downtown hotel.
After seeing the ‘hole’ where the backpackers were staying, we felt like our hotel had the look of a 5 star lodgings when we pulled up outside…We weren’t disappointed either. Our room was both clean and modern with a large bay window. The view from the 4th floor isn’t too bad either.
As usual when we arrive somewhere new, our first point of call is the local supermarket – in Auckland this was a place called ‘Countdown’. The store is more like one you would find in the UK, they even have a dedicated gluten-free section – needless to say I went a bit mad and bought quite a lot….much to Seio’s dismay!! Hey – it had been a long day (^^)v