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Introduction
The journey begins/Visit to the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, Christchurch (Domestic)
Day One
Day Two – Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand


Good Morning! We woke early: At the crack of dawn, and got ready for the big trip ahead. Today was probably the single day we were both most looking forward to while visiting Queenstown – as with any big trip, it’s important to start with a good breakfast. Our stay had complimentary breakfasts included with the room, so we headed down to the hotels’ restaurant ‘Lombardi‘ for a buffet breakfast.

We were greeted at the restaurant front desk and gave the staff our room number; and were invited to take a seat and help ourselves to the freshly cooked and wide breakfast selection available.
Being so early in the morning, there was no shortage of seats – in fact, at that time there was no-one else in the restaurant!

Introduction
The Journey Begins / Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, Christchurch (Domestic)
Queenstown Trip: Day One
Day Two – Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand


We arrived at Queenstown International Airport to a busy terminal, and followed the signs to the bag claim. For an international airport the terminal is quite small [map], but that said, there appeared to be some construction underway to improve some areas, and it was easy to find our way around with the facilities well signposted.

While waiting for our bag to come out onto the carousel, I made a call to the rental company to confirm our pickup by the shuttle to the depot, and was given directions to the pickup point just a short walk from the terminal exit. It was a short 2-3 min drive to the About New Zealand Rental Cars depot, where we signed off the paperwork for our rental car. I had managed to book a pretty cheap deal for our 4 day stay at $42/day, $168 in total. There are varying rental options available, but this was the cheapest for the type of car we wanted.

Now usually I have some form of credit card (usually to earn Airpoints and Status Points 😉 ) but due to recent changes with Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter and I buying a small abode just recently, I’d decided to change to using a Debit Mastercard for a while – Which, as I learned, can potentially have issues when renting a car, namely in the form of a $1,500 bond (each rental car company has their own requirements). Most people don’t have that much spare cash readily available, but luckily I did anticipate this possible predicament and brought with me a credit card used for emergencies, in case of such incidentals. Strangely, we did also experience some issues using EFTPOS when trying to pay the rental fee, but for some reason the debit function on my MasterCard (same card) worked – Anyway, eventually we had the keys to the car and were ready to go.

Here’s a photo of our beautiful vehicle for the weekend:

Our stunning car for the long weekend, a Turquoise 2006 Ford Focus!
Our stunning car for the long weekend, a Turquoise 2006 Ford Focus!

Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter summed it up quite nicely when she saw it: “Well, as least we won’t have any trouble finding it..”

The direct flight from Wellington to Gisborne on NZ 2232 is serviced by a tiny Hawker Beechcraft 1900D, which seats a grand total of 19 passengers. As this trip was only an overnighter, I was only taking cabin luggage and using the Air NZ Fast Bag service, (which is available to Gold Elite, Gold and Koru members) instead of checking my bags in. Boarding only took about a minute, and I dropped my bag off next to the plane (usually there is a fast bag trolley, but it seemed not to be used that day) after being greeted by the first officer before climbing onboard. Looking around, it was surprising to find that most of the seats on the flight were full, as I took my seat in 3A for the 1:05 hour flight.

Typical for these smaller aircraft, there are no refreshments provided (there is no flight attendant crew), and no door separating the pilots from the main cabin area. It was quite interesting to watch what the pilots were doing from the close proximity of my seat and see the small view they have from the cockpit.

View of the cockpit - NZ 2232 (WLG - GIS)
View of the cockpit – NZ 2232 (WLG – GIS)

It wasn’t long before we arrived into Gisborne Airport on a warm and slightly-cloudy day with an uneventful landing. As with a lot of the regional airports, it is very small, but still bigger than Whakatane, which is the smallest airport I have visited so far.

Finally arrived in Gisborne!
Finally arrived in Gisborne!

Shortly after disembarking from the plane, one of the ground crew unloaded my fast bag and brought it over to me. Nice, quick and easy!

Gisborne Airport
Gisborne Airport
It may be small, but it does have a cafe.. (No Koru lounge though)
It may be small, but it does have a cafe.. (No Koru lounge though!)

I proceeded to Hertz to pick up my rental car (a Mazda 3, which I was very happy about) and was on my way, stopping briefly in Gisborne for some supplies for the journey.

Gisborne City - You know it's a reasonably small place if it has a clock tower sitting in the middle of it.. :)
Gisborne City – You know it’s a reasonably small place if it has a clock tower sitting in the middle of it.. 🙂

Just outside Gisborne, I came across a very picturesque beach nestled along some hills next to the highway. Of course I just had to stop and take some photos at the conveniently placed picnic/rest area at the side of the road.

View from Makorori Beach rest area (Gisborne side)
View from Makorori Beach rest area (Gisborne side)