All things must end, even good things. We had our final group dinner at the George, exchanged hugs and went off to get ready for the journey home. Flights leave for Australia from Christchurch at about 6am so we would be crawling out of bed at 3am to be picked up at 3:40. Not even the sparrows are up at that sort of time.
Fortunately, Christchurch airport isn’t large and the formalities were taken care of quickly. Then it was off to the lounge to scrounge up some sort of breakfast, or at least coffee. We should have been flying into Brisbane and then straight on to Hervey Bay until Qantas changed our flights on us. We would be landing at Sydney, then flying on to Brisbane and then Hervey Bay. We knew we’d have to pass through customs and immigration in Sydney but we prayed (fervently) that our bags would be checked through to Hervey Bay. We didn’t have a big turn-around time in Brisbane to collect our bags and re-check. Fortunately, Qantas at Christchurch gave us boarding passes for all three flights. Phew.
All the flights we were on were packed, so Australia seems to be catching up with travel time. But Qantas is still cutting corners. The food was awful, and that was business class.
Immigration and customs at Sydney was fine. We went and checked our bags, but from there we had to go over to the domestic terminal via airport buses. The queue was a mile long. There’s always something, isn’t there? But we eventually got on a bus, found a lounge, and boarded the flight to Brisbane without too much difficulty. From there it was a short wait for the Dash-8 flight to Hervey Bay.
We landed in rain. Apparently the weather had been lovely while we were away, so the drizzle was a ‘welcome home’ of sorts.
Both of us felt fine – which has been a rare and wonderful thing in the past years. After our 2019 New Zealand trip we were both ill for quite some time and we caught covid during our holiday in France in 2022. But we did feel drained and tired for several weeks. It can hardly be jet lag – 3 hours doesn’t have that much effect. I suppose the wheels fell off after a very busy holiday.
It was a great trip with so many memorable highlights.
Let’s see now:
- the unexpected chance to do the Weta Workshop Unleashed tour
- the Agrodome show
- the Gallipoli exhibition
- Milford Sound and the keas
- Aoraki/Mt Cook
That’s my ‘gosh-wow’ list. Most of the other experiences were great, but they were what I expected. Linda, our coach captain, was terrific, always happy to add little extras like stopping so we could take photos of sea lions. We both appreciated the episodes of Wild New Zealand DVDs she showed us during the boring bits of the drive. And, of course, our fellow travellers were awesome. That makes for a happy trip in itself. I loved the trip, would recommend it to anyone.
I’ll finish with a photo summary of my happy list.
Goodbye and thanks for reading.
By the way, if you’ve happened upon this page by accident and you’d like to read more about the tour, go to the tour page where you’ll find the rest of our adventures.