I am afraid I am going to have to start with a disclaimer though. I managed to lose the iPad that I was going to blog with (it is probably flying the friendly skies of Air NZ somewhere), so I am going to have to enter this on my phone. So, be ready for lots of misspellings, wonky formatting, etc., and all the pictures bunched up at the end…
OK, now that I have that out of the way, I will get started…
As you might guess, the flight from San Francisco to Auckland is a long one – twelve hours, give or take. And, since my knees are getting old and creaky, we upgraded to Economy Plus so that we would have a little more legroom. I was pleased to discover that on this flight, that would put us on the upper deck of the 747. Now, this may sound silly, but ever since reading about the 747 in Weekly Reader in third grade, I had always wanted to do that – but never had the chance. So I finally got my third-grader kicks by riding up there!
The flight was OK, I slept a little, watched some movies, and read a few scenes from Richard III on my now missing iPad. Air New Zealand is great, it is like a throwback to twenty or so years ago, when flight attendants were actually friendly and cared about your well-being. Ours were great, super nice, and entertaining. Guys in their late forties I’d say, one completely pumped and immaculately groomed, the other looking like he was part or even mostly hobbit.
The flight from Auckland to Queenstown was routine, though the landing was a little exciting. We emerged from thick cloud cover to see towering mountain walls on both sides of the plane. Did a little slalom, then came in smooth.
We arrived Saturday morning around 9:00 AM, it was cloudy with a little drizzle. Drove into town, which is a resort town reminiscent of Tahoe City, poked around a bit, and decided to drive down the lake.
The drive was beautiful, and dramatic with the clouds. At the end of the lake we decided to keep going, and drove up to the trailhead for the Routeburn Track, one of NZ’s famous multiday hiking trails. We walked up the trail a few hundred feet, decided we were feeling unenergetic, and headed back for the car.
We drove to Arrowtown, the town we were staying in. Charming old gold town, full of nice shops and restaurants, and beautifully set along the river, surrounded by mountains. We decided it was time for drinks, dinner, and rest. And that is exactly how we ended our busy day!