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Published: March 19th 2013
Bombardier Q300 ZK-NFA
The aircraft i flew on to Wellington arriving into Tauranga from Wellington
In the spirit of my last day trip, i quickly planned my next day adventure. I set it for only 2 weeks later. In between the two day trips i flew down to Wanganui for my baby sisters birthday, so in short, i was doing a lot of flying!! Earning my status points alright 😊
I arrived at the airport late, i checked in and pretty much walked straight out onto the plane. The online seat map was pretty full, so i grabbed seat 7D. Before my gold status, i always like row 7 i the Bombardier Q300. The window was in the right place, not like in rows 6&8 where you nearly have to look backwards to see out your window. The plane filled to around 40/45 passengers and we took off. It was a cloudy day, but without a breath of wind. We passed over Tokoroa, Turangi, Waiouru, Taihape, Bulls, and then back over towards the Rimutaka Ranges. The Central North Island Volcanoes were visible, Ruapehu looking grand under a new coat of snow. I'd flown over the Central Plateau 4 times in the past 2 weeks, and each time the mountains were clouded over, so this was
Looking over to Lake Wakatipu
a treat. The FA did her run through with the standard Coffee/Tea/Water. I read the Inflight magazine and listened to a playlist on my ipod. The captain came onto to announce a runway change and that we'd be on the ground 8 minutes early, SWEET!!
It was a fine day in Wellington, the best and smoothest landing I'd ever had there. We taxied to gate 8, and i walked up to the Koru Lounge to wait out my 40 minute transit.
I only had a 0 minute transit to wait out, so i brought a Magazine from the Relay Bookshop. I read for a bit, then went over and had a look at the impressive Gollum (the hobbit) display, further down the food court. I went and checked in. I had forgotten to seat request online, so i was stuck with what i could get through the selfcheckin machines. I looked at the seat map, it was pretty full. I grabbed seat 6D, which was the side i thought would have the best views. Down at Gate 13/14/15/16, there wasn't a seat spare. I hate these Gates, not enough seats or space.
Boarding was called early.
"Air New Zealand
and the Star Alliance welcome customers traveling on flight NZ5401 to Queenstown. We now invite Koru and Star Alliance Gold Members to start the boarding process through gate 14"
I walked out to the aircraft, where we were welcomed aboard by one of the two Flight Attendants on our ATR 72 Aircraft.. The first officer came onto welcome us. He told us that it was pretty cloudy all the way down to Queenstown, but the weather there was fine, windy and cold, but nice. We took off to south (runway change that day) and climbed to our cruising altitude of 18.000ft. We hit a few bumps over the Cook Strait, and it was clear. When we reached the northern coast of the South Island it clouded over, obscuring all views of the ground, and it remained that way until Mount Cook/Aoraki pierced the clouds. What an impressive mountain, Mount Cook in Maori means Sky Piercer, how fitting. The cloud thinned and i could Lake Pukaki and Lake Wanaka. The FAs did two runs through with the Water and once with the Coffee/Tea/biscuits. As we descended, we hit the wind, and we were thrown around a bit. The wind was strong
enough to make me grip my arm rests and think about being on the ground. We landed a little on the rough side and taxied to the terminal. For the amount of flights and passengers Queenstown Airport handles, i actually found it rather small, but perfectly functional, which i like!!!. Nice flight and my first time in an ATR aircraft. I wouldn't rave about them however, i found it really noisy and uncomfortable compared with the Q300. There will be plenty of people who will disagree, but hey, thats fine!!! 😊
Before leaving the Terminal, i withdrawed some cash from an ATM. I then walked outside where the icy wind slapped me. Brrrr, luckily this time i was prepared. I pulled on my jacket and then walked over to the bus shelter. When the bus arrived, i used my withdrawn cash to buy and all day bus pass. For $16, i had full access to every bus on the Queenstown network. I sat down and enjoyed the short trip into town. The Remarkables Ranges looked impressive, dwarfing everything. Lake Wakatipu gleamed under the bright sun. In town, it took a walk, taking everything in. There were so many foreigners!!
Not a bad thing, but some of them were so rude!!
I had some lunch in a cafe overlooking the cafe, and then walked along the lakeside. My Canon DSLR camera decided to play up, quoting an error every time i turned it on. I wasted a few hours trying every camera shop in Queenstown looking for a fix. With no luck, i decided to enjoy the rest of my time in Queenstown without fuming over a stupid camera. The scenery was amazing!! Just incredible. I caught a bus back to Frankton to have a look around there. I purchased a drink and a packet of chips from the New World supermarket and then walked along the Kawerau River for a time. Watching all the jet boats whizzing up and down the river made me wish i had money to do all the cool attractions available in Queenstown. However, i was happy sightseeing.
Unfortunately my time in Queenstown was coming to an end, all too soon. I would be back, i vowed as i walked back to the airport. I checked in, and then walked up to the Koru Lounge. I had a few drinks and nibbles and waited
How clear is this!!!
for boarding. We boarded on time, and the plane only filled to around 60 people. I had my row to myself, and also the row across the aisle was vacant. We took off to the South after watching the new Hobbit safety briefing. We turned North again, circling over the crystal blue Lake Wakatipu. We climbed to an altitude of 27.000ft, then the FAs did their runs. It was Koru Hour, so on offer was Steinlager Pure, L&P, 5 different Wine Options, Tangy Lime and relish crisps, grapes and cheese/crackers. The weather was overcast, even Mount Cook was clouded over. It was only a 27 minute or so flight, so i hardly had time to sit back and read. We landed in Christchurch to a rotten, windy, cold and rainy evening. We disembarked through an air bridge (boarded using air stairs in ZQN). There was a queue on the air bridge as someone had dropped their cellphone. I went up to the Koru Lounge and didn't fancy much on offer. Bored, i walked back to the Food Court and ended up having Burger King for dinner. Down at the prop gates, i arrived just in time for boarding. We had
Where in the World
the gate directly outside the terminal, which was luckily, it was still raining heavily and it was cold!!
I had seat 3D, and waited while the plane filled up. Like last time, the flight was full and i lost the seat next to me to a grumpy woman who complained about her cancelled JetStar flight that afternoon. (Jetstar doesn't fly to Tauranga!!!) We took off to the North and climbed to 23.000ft. It didn't get completely dark until Palmerston North, half huddled under the clouds. The FA did her run through with the refreshments and happily chatted to everyone. I'd done this trip only 2 weeks ago, so didn't pay much attention to what was going on outside. I read a book i had with me and then listened to my ipod. Landing in Tauranga, the lights where switched out, and we thudded onto the runway on a clear warm Tauranga night. The pilots did an engine systems check before the doors were finally opened. I disembarked and jogged into the terminal.
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