New Zealand Nov 2004 trip – Changi Airport

This is part of some travelling notes I wrote exactly 4 years ago for a trip to New Zealand in November 2004. Please enjoy the story.

My New Zealand vacation itinerary

05 November 2004, Friday

  • 8:25pm Singapore time, Changi airport, flight NZ82 from Singapore to Auckland (10 hour flight, 6 Nov 11:30am).

06 November 2004, Saturday

  • 1:00pm, Auckland domestic airport, flight NZ527 from Auckland to Christchurch (2:20pm).
  • 2:20pm, Christchurch airport, transport provided from airport to accomodation.
  • Stay at Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge.

07 November 2004, Sunday

  • Check out. Transport provided from accomodation to coach station.
  • 8:00am, coach drive from Christchurch to Dunedin (1:45pm).
  • 1:45pm, transport provided from Dunedin coach station to accomodation.
  • Stay at Cargills Motor Inn.
  • Free time in this afternoon and next morning.

08 November 2004, Monday

  • Check out. Transport provided from accomodation to coach station.
  • 1:55pm, coach drive from Dunedin to Te Anau (6:30pm).
  • Coach drive close to accomodation. Stay at Luxmore Hotel.

09 November 2004, Tuesday

  • 9:45am, check out. Picked up by coach.
  • 10:30am, coach drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound (1:00pm).
  • 1:30pm, Milford Sound cruise.
  • 3:15pm, coach drive back to Te Anau, and then to Queenstown (7:45pm).
  • Coach drive close to accomodation. Stay at A-line Hotel for two nights.

10 November 2004, Wednesday

  • One complete day free.

11 November 2004, Thursday

  • 7:10am, check out. Transport provided from accomodation to coach station.
  • 7:40am, coach drive from Queenstown to Fox Glacier (3:25pm).
  • Coach drive close to accomodation. Stay at Rainforest Motel for two nights.

12 November 2004, Friday

  • One complete day free.

13 November 2004, Saturday

  • 8:15am, check out. Picked up by coach. Coach drive from Fox Glacier to Greymouth (1:15pm).
  • 1:45pm, Greymouth train station, TranzAlpine Express from Greymouth to Christchurch (6:05pm).
  • 6:05pm, Christchurch train station, transport provided from train station to accomodation.
  • Stay at Cotswold Hotel.

14 November 2004, Sunday

  • 7:45am, check out. Transport provided from accomodation to airport.
  • 8:55am, Christchurch airport, flight NZ512 from Christchurch to Auckland (10:15am).
  • 1:00pm, Auckland international airport, flight NZ81 from Auckland to Singapore (10 hr 50 min, 6:50pm Singapore time).

Day 0, 05 November 2004, Friday

Standing just outside the Changi Airport check point, a well of excitement was waiting in the pit of my stomach, waiting to burst out and then I’ll embarrass myself. It’s my first time on an airplane!

I took hold of my passport and plane tickets (as constantly reminded by my dad and brother) and handed them over to the officer to check. And then I’m in. First time behind the check in line, so I went to look around all the hyped-up duty free shops at Changi Airport.

After walking a bit (not much anyway. Besides no money nor interest to buy the stuff), with a supposed 40 minutes before boarding, I glanced at the display board, and it shows my plane is on “LAST CALL”! Huh?! Hurry, hurry. Turns out, nothing much happening. What the?! The “LAST CALL” was in red, what was I to think?

In the waiting lounge, I watched people come and go, conversing with family or friends, fiddling with hand luggage, calming young children, talking on the mobile phone, and my favourite, staring into space. Finally, it’s time to go in. Got an aisle seat. Befriended the person next to me. He got the window seat (Oh…). Guess what? He’s a pilot! And he works for Air New Zealand. His name’s Richard, and he just came down from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and now Singapore. Going back to his home in Auckland.

We talked, and he told me stuff about the plane operations, like what does this whirring sound mean, or that the air conditioning is temporarily switched off to divert more power to the turbines. Oh yeah, he’s reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (great book), which was actually how I started the conversation with him. He came with his daughter, but couldn’t get the same flight back. His daughter got on the SIA flight instead.

The lift off was ecstatic! I could feel my internal organs swooshing in me… 🙂 It’s my first plane ride, so I took some notes. The flight speed goes up to 931 kilometres per hour. We flew as high as 10700 metres in the air (it was night, and I was on the aisle seat, so couldn’t see when we pierce through the cloud layer). And the temperature outside the plane can be as low as -58 degree Celsius.

I didn’t take the inflight dinner, in case my stomach cannot, uh, stomach the flying. On hindsight, that was the dumbest thing I’ve done (see future diary notes). I also couldn’t get comfortable, so not much sleep. At least they’ve got inflight movies: “Bourne Supremacy” and “Spiderman 2”. Cool. My seat was just three rows behind the business class. I didn’t know what pacific class means, but apparently it’s pretty good.