Friday 7 Dec
Marc took us to the airport nice an early, which was a huge mistake, as the aircon at the airport was faulty and it was even hotter than we had been at home. (Rocky had been up to 39oC a few days earlier, and there were lots of fires around so it was also really smoky). To top it off the plane was delayed. Eventually, we flew to Brisbane, and arrived at the International Airport. It transpired that the plane from Brisbane to Auckland was also delayed and instead of flying out at 6.30pm, we were taxiing out until 8:40pm, which meant arrival at around 3am. For some reason I really suffered with the cabin compression, although I noticed some others had even more issues than me. I had booked at the Ibis Hotel, which is right near the airport, and a free Park'n'Ride bus took us straight to the front door.
Saturday 8 Dec
Despite my initial misgivings about the proximity to the airport, It is really quiet here, which is good as we were able to have a good sleep, and slept in until 10am. The rooms are really basic, with no cupboard, kettle, cups etc, but Woolies is just across the road, and it was only a couple of hundred metres walk to Ace Car Rentals to pick up the hire car, so really convenient.
NZ Christmas Tree in full bloom near the airport
We had a very gentle start to the day, basically just a little grocery shopping, before getting the car, as we both seemed to be affected worse by this flight than any others we have done. In the afternoon we decided to go to the Auckland Botanic Gardens. We passed a lookout at the back of the airport and stopped before realising it was the lookout for plane-spotters – there would have been about 30 cars there.
The navigator (me), having only really basic maps (which didn't actually have most of the roads on them) took us the long and scenic route (actually nearly around the whole perimeter of the gardens before we found the entrance), but it was quite pleasant there.
Back at the Hotel we celebrated with Chicken and NZ Champagne for dinner before crashing at 8:30pm when it was actually still light.