Mid December 2017 it was finally time for mom and I to travel to New Zealand! For mom it was the first time ever flying this far. For me, it was my fourth time to New Zealand and my fifth time flying ‘Down Under’. To be honest, it felt rather unreal to be undertaking this voyage again. But I knew it would be worth it (and I knew it would be loooong). We were very excited to go on this adventure together!
After about a 12-hour flight, and after watching about three movies, we landed in Hong Kong. We had a 14-hour layover so we had booked a room at an airport hotel to get some rest. The hotel was quite fancy, and the room very nice and comfortable! Many people use a long layover to explore the city, which is totally fine and up to personal preference. We still had a long flight ahead of us, so we wanted to rest up. Luckily, the airport hotel had a day-use service. And as weird as it may sound to be sleeping during the day, after having flown through many time zones, day or night doesn’t mean quite the same as before you left. So sleep it was! After a lovely sleep and refreshing shower, we were ready for flight number two, another 12 hours, that would take us to Auckland.
The second flight was fine. Again, watched about three movies. I also tried to get some sleep and failed miserably. We flew with Cathay Pacific and I thought the airline was not as great as I remembered from last time. For instance, many chairs wouldn’t recline easily or at all. When I flew with Cathay Pacific previously, albeit quite a few years ago, they had chairs with this amazing system where the chair itself wouldn’t recline, but some kind of liner/contraption would slide down (a bit hard to explain, but maybe some of you know what I’m referring to). I loved that system, because the space between rows of chairs wouldn’t change (so you didn’t have to limbo-dance to get up), while you could still recline and have a rest that way.
One thing I did like was the camera outside, so you could watch along with take off and landing. I was so giddy when the outside camera showed land…New Zealand-land! We flew in from the north and when we approached Auckland, it almost felt like I was coming home. Because I feel at home in New Zealand, I was so happy to be back and I was super happy to be able to show my mom this friendly and beautiful country!
The friendliness began pretty much as soon as we landed and got ourselves a shuttle to our accommodation. The people from Super Shuttle were lovely, both the guy with the clipboard and the driver. New Zealand was already showing its good side and gave my mom a good first impression.
We were staying at Grand Central Apartments in Parnell, Auckland. I had chosen this accommodation because it was super close to where we would be picking up our rental car. The hostel was in the old railway station, and while the building itself was quite nice, I wasn’t that impressed with the accommodation itself. The building seemed run down, and the room, although clean, smelled funny and was blooming hot as well. And there were some shabby people hanging about, making me think it’s not an amazing location. But it was just for one night so we dealt with it.
After we had a bit of a rest, we had a quick walk around the centre, just to see at least a little bit of Auckland. I’ve been to Auckland a few times before and it’s not my favourite place in New Zealand. I did love staying with some people in Howick years ago and sailing all the way to Rangitoto Island, because that was amazing. Anyway, mom and I saw the Skytower, walked around Queen street and along the waterfront, enjoyed Christmas decorations, and saw some beautiful pohutukawa (Christmas tree) before settling back into our room for some much needed sleep! The next day we packed up, picked up our rental car and left the big city to start our New Zealand adventure!