Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

Short hop to Wellington

I awoke at 0700 and dozed on and off until 0900 ... was this becoming an established pattern on this trip? Things were still mercifully quiet on the next-door front. Today, it was back to flying for me , but there were to be quite a few differences from what had gone before. First, as one of my fellow FTers would say, I was temporarily abandoning the Forces of Goodness and Righteousness (a.k.a. oneworld) in favour of the Evil Empire (a.k.a. Star Alliance)   Actually, I am also an Evil Empire Silver, so I would still be collecting a few miles that might prove useful one day. But there would be other differences too :-

  • First Economy flight since leaving the UK
  • Only 'prop-job' of the trip
  • No lounge available at ROT ... well and truly slumming it, then!

But there I go getting ahead of myself again. I packed and left my room, resisting an unworthy temptation to kick the yahoo-ettes' door as I passed. I checked out of the hotel and called in at a fast-food joint for a light breakfast. I then filled up the car with fuel and headed for Rotorua's tiny little airport. The place was near-deserted and I realised that, with nearly two hours still to go until departure, I had turned up ridiculously early at a place like this. But with the airport directly by the lakeside, it must be one of the best airport views I have experienced, even if the seats were rock-solid! As a flight from Christchurch and Queenstown came in and left again, I realised with some trepidation that - unbelievably - there was no security! None at all ... no airside and no landside. Oh well. Interestingly, I would discover later that passengers for a 737 flight were screened - clearly jets are considered a risk but propeller planes are not. I was far from convinced that this was appropriate in the year 2004, but there it was.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

On arrival at WLG, my suitcase appeared on the belt approximately 5 seconds after I got there - excellent! I made my way outside and managed to end up on one of those horrible little hotel shuttle minibuses that are commonplace here. I resolved there and then to use a taxi for my return to the airport on Tuesday - they looked so comfortable and efficient by comparison. I was instantly impressed on arrival at the hotel (well, it is an Intercontinental!) and was even more impressed when I arrived at my room. The furnishings, decor and lighting were tasteful and elegant in a thoroughly modern way, and the business facilities (for want of a better term) were second to none : broadband Internet access via Ethernet, modem cable, power points at desk level and web TV for those travelling without their own technology. Really superb.

I had a bowl of soup in the lobby cafe to keep me going and headed outside to explore a bit. It took me a couple of minutes to get properly orientated, but soon I was making my way towards the area where the Government buildings are situated. Wellington is, of course, the capital of New Zealand. It didn't take me long to spot the famous 'beehive' building. I was impressed by the cathedral. It is only a few years old yet, despite its modernity, there is much about it that respects tradition, which is certainly not always the case with modern churches.

After a couple of hours of wandering about, I decided to head back to the hotel and make sure I left plenty to keep me going tomorrow.