Sunday, April 8th 2018
Today I am leaving the north island and will go to the south island. A short flight from Auckland airport to Christchurch. As always when I have to catch a flight I wake up before my alarm goes of. Enough time to take a shower, pack the rest of my stuff and head down to check out of the hotel.
I was set up for a shuttle to the airport at 9:00 but I change it to 8:30. Better to sit at the airport than in a crowded lobby with a lot of other people waiting for check out and rides. The transfer to the domestic terminal (international and domestic are separated) takes only 10 minutes. Directly inside to check in my luggage. The normal check in was done 2 days ago, the seat was booked when I bought the flight, so it is just getting the luggage tag.
Oh, yeah… my airline today is Jetstar, a Australian low cost carrier. I found a flight for a reasonable price and added some extras like extra luggage weight, seat reservation and a snack which was all included in the package. Low cost carriers are not my favorite, but we will see.
Of course I can’t check in my luggage for my flight until 2 hours before the flight. I have to wait 55 minutes and take a tour through the terminal to get breakfast and coffee. This terminal is dated. Nothing modern, stuck in the 80s I think. They should upgrade soon (I later found some information about the development of the airport and that is exactly what they are planning).
Finally I can check in my luggage and go through security. They didn’t make me take out any of my electronic stuff. Thank you!! Always a 50/50 chance. The gate area is boring like hell, but my audibook kills the time. Boarding happens on time and boarding happens fast. My ride today is an Airbus 320-200. My seat 10F has wing view but as soon as I sit down I feel that I am on a low cost carrier. No legroom at all. And no space for personal stuff as other airlines have (to save room and costs) so headset, mobile phone etc. have to put in improvised spaces. Not a good start.
Take off on time and the flight will only be 1 hour and 13 minutes. After 15 minutes I get my snack that was included in the ticket. A bottle of water and a mini sausage roll and meat pie. The tasted bland. They can’t deny their close relations to the British.
Christchurch is cloudy and about 10 degrees colder than Auckland. Fall has come to this part of the country. The airport is outdated like Auckland. After I got my luggage I order a SuperShuttle to my hotel in the CBD. Same company as in Auckland.
The suburbs look nicer than when I drove into Auckland. My hotel is BreakFree on Cashel. Dear people of New Zeland. We live in the 21st century. Nobody pays the hotel in cash… why the f*** do you and many others still take 2% extra for card payment???? And the worst thing… Free WiFi is a normal thing in the rest of the world. Not like giving guests a small amount that is enough to check some mails and plan a trip but then you have to pay per day. Even Morocco had better service and that is a desert… unbelievable.
My room is small and has no windows – that was not stated that clear when I booked but might be the reason for the OK price. Big bed, on wall is a mirror and the bathroom is part of the room in a quarter circle frosted glass thingy. Everything you need on minimal space. First thing I find is a huge Book of the Holy Crap on my nightstand – which I take and throw into the laundry cart of the lady cleaning the rooms. WTF has this to do in my hotel room… Normally I write bad stuff into it.
The weather is ok, there is some sun, but it is colder. I have my geocaching event at 17:00 so I have 2 hours to get there. I walk through the new shopping street towards the river. There are some geocaches on the way I want to find. The shopping street is like any other shopping street in the world. And not even that nice. The had to build everything new after the earthquake in 2011 and this part of town has not been open to long, but a little bit more soul would have been nice. I cannot deny my profession.
At the bridge over the small river I am greeted by a Hare Krishna group (easy to learn verses of the song^^). A river in the city is a big plus for every city. They did a good job here with parks and walkways. That’s what I like. Christchurch has an historic tram service that is used for tourists, but the network can easily be walked. Everywhere you go you see empty quarters that have not been rebuild. Some construction work is going on – I would have thought that they would have finished more after 7 years.
Not many photo opportunities. After a late lunch snack I find my way to the park where I have my geocaching event. I am a little bit early but at 17:00 the people are arriving. 13-15 people show up. Some nice small talk and after we are finished I go on tour with 2 Christchurch geocachers to find a few more caches. Always nice to talk to people that share the same interest.
At 18:00 the city dies and all shops and cafes close. SO there is no alternative than to go back to the hotel and have dinner at the bistro. OK food with OK prices.
Concluding the evening with some movies. Tomorrow will be a day where the weather will get bad. The geocachers said that they warned about a lot of rain and wind. Let’s hope that I can do a little bit tomorrow.