DAY 27: June 28th (homeward bound)

Again with the 5 am wake up, I need to get back to my work schedule, at least I don’t have to rise before 6 am. Car loaded by 7 am which is when it has to be off the street and then 15 minute drive to airport.

Car returned to Hertz (my navigator didn’t have any heart attacks about my driving in the parking lot this time) in the domestic terminal as I had been told that Sydney to Auckland is considered a domestic flight. Well, it is if Auckland is your final destination but seeing as ours is Victoria we should have been at the international terminal.

So after almost 4,000 steps, $6 each for a 5 minute train ride, 3 elevators, 4 escalators we arrive at the international terminal only to find out check in for Air New Zealand is at the other end of it (another 800 steps).

Jaymee was concerned about the weight of our suitcases so we found a scale. It was almost like the story of the 3 bears and their chairs – one was way under the limit, the second one was just below and the third over by 1.4 kilos. So she quickly pulled out a couple pairs of sneakers to put in the first suitcase then all was well in luggage land.

The self check-in electronic system at Sydney is super slick, we could process all of our luggage tags and boarding passes in one transaction for the three flights we were flying on, then have our picture taken at another area. Dropped our luggage off at Air New Zealand then guess what, we had to walk back down the terminal to almost where we had arrived to get to our departure gate and wait an hour before boarding.

Flight one was 3 hours to Auckland, pretty uneventful except they ran out of the chicken dish we wanted to have so we got beef curry with rice. Upon landing we had to go through border security using the electronic passport reading/picture taking kiosks which Jaymee and I did with no problem but Nathaniel had to talk to security. It was because his hair colour and style was different than his passport photo. He and the agent had a good chuckle about it.

Layover was 5 hours and the boarding gate wasn’t on our tickets so we headed to a pretty secluded area at one of the gates that had charging outlets and hunkered down. J had a cat nap, N played games on his phone and went searching for Pokemon characters, I worked on TC crossword puzzles. Time went quickly, the gate was finally posted 15 mins before boarding and it was nearby – yeah!

Flight two was 13 hours to Vancouver, dinner and breakfast provided with our first choices available for both meals. Dessert with dinner was a New Zealand favourite Hokey Pokey ice cream which is vanilla ice cream with solid lumps of honeycomb toffee throughout it, very delicious. We ate, slept, watched movies/tv shows to pass the hours (I found the last two hours the longest).

Landing in Vancouver was a bit rough but we were on Canadian soil. In April the airport had installed a self check-in electronic system similar to Sydney’s but one kiosk does both the passport scanning and photo for all people in your group. Easy peasy, our mugshots and passports were cleared at the next checkpoint then we were off to the carousel to pick up our suitcases, which took their sweet time in arriving. Down a hallway to drop the suitcases onto a conveyor belt for the flight to Victoria.

Up an elevator we rode to the scanning area of our personal belongings, this process took longer than the flight across the pond was going to be. Two conveyor belts, one walk through scanner and a dozen staff who seemed to want to be anywhere else but there. Not one of them cracked a smile or even grinned.

Twenty minutes later we are on a down escalator to the main floor, walk through the duty free shops to ride an up escalator, walk again through restaurants/ cafes to ride a down escalator to the boarding gate. Luckily with the delay in scanning we only had about 40 minutes till takeoff.

Smooth flying to Victoria (time in the air 11 minutes). No more scanning, escalators, elevators or long treks through airports and it was nice to see the moustached face of the Olde Fart on the other side of the door.

Passport put away till …?… I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures, would we do it again – most likely, but I really need to talk to the designers of airports about making them traveler friendly!

Mr Tortoise

Australian Rum – yum!

Tambourine Mountain waterfall

Elephant Rock

The bowls played well just need to get the bowler in sync!