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Introduction to New Zealand

Friday 25th September 2015

sunny 14 °C

It was sad to have to leave Australia today, although it was exciting to be travelling to New Zealand. We had to leave the hotel just before 9am in order to make the short drive to Cairns Airport, return our hire car and check in. This all went without a hitch although we were a bit surprised to be asked at the desk how long we were going to be in New Zealand and our date of departure. This meant pulling out a whole load of paperwork as neither of us was able to provide this information from memory. We had time to get some breakfast before going to the gate and boarding our plane. Unusually for us we were in central aisle seats, I guess we just didn't think to ask when we were checking in. This meant no aerial photos, in fact for the first time since we left the UK i didn't take any photos today apart from a couple of our room.

I sat next to a woman that I would estimate was probably 10 to 15 years older than Nigel and I, and I could just tell it was going to,be an eventful flight from the start. She didn't seem to understand about staying in her seat while the seat belt sign was on, so during a bit of turbulence she just got up a wandered off to the toilet. I felt quite sorry for her because she must have had a different grade of ticket to us as when we were brought a meal she was given a card to choose a snack that she would have to pay for. I am not sure whether she even had any money, but it felt a bit awkward to offer to pay for her. In the end she never did get any food. Everyone that was staying in New Zealand rather that getting a connecting flight had to fill in an entry card. To be fair it was a bit of a pain to fill in, and the print a bit small, but the woman was really struggling. I was pretty sure she wasn't able to read the text so I offered to lend her my reading glasses as I had filled in my form by then. She seemed to be able to understand a few bits but was still struggling so I helped her and told her what she needed to put in where. It was even more problematic when it came to her completing the reverse side with the declarations. At one point she started to tick off and fill in bits on her boarding card as if that was the entry card, until I gently stepped in. I wasn't even sure if I was allowed to help her answer these questions, so in the end I asked if it would be useful if I got one of the cabin staff to help her. She agreed to,this, but still continued to try and struggle on whilst she was waiting for help. By this time I had retrieved my glasses so was able to see the film (Far From the Madding Crowd) that I was trying to watch. I was totally confused by the woman, she was really friendly and nice, but acted as though she had never flown before. She told me at one point that she had been in Australia for four months, if so then almost certainly she must have flown there.

By this stage we were approaching New Zealand and the landing was a little bumpy but not too bad. I concluded that I don't like not being able to see when we are coming into land, another disadvantage of having a central seat. It was ironic because the plane arrived ahead of time, and we got through passport control and baggage reclaim pretty quickly and then we were in the queue for bio-security for over an hour. We had made some declarations on our cards as we had our pack of tea, we had been into wild areas (the Daintree) and the most bizarre question of all, yes we did have shoes we had worn outside! In the end declaring things seemed a positive move, because despite queuing with everyone else when we eventually got to the desk we were allowed through the green channel whereas most other people seemed to have their bags X-rayed as an additional precaution.

We decided to get the shuttle bus to our hotel, bought the tickets and then had to wait for nearly 45 minutes for one to arrive. By the time we got to our hotel it had taken us nearly as long to get from the plane as it had to fly from Cairns to Auckland. We were very glad we bought snacks at the airport as by the time we had checked into the hotel neither of us wanted to go out to eat.

Posted by Gill's Travels 02:33 Archived in New Zealand Tagged australia new_zealand

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