Day 1, 2 and 3
21 till 23 November 2008
From Amsterdam via
Osaka (Japan) and Christchurch
and Auckland to Matamata.
1. Departure Schiphol 15.15 became 16.15
2. Arrival Osaka 22-11-08 at 10:20
3. Departure Osaka 22-11-08 at 17:30 (1 hour earlier)
4. Arrival Christchurch 23-11-08 at 09:15
5. Departure Christchurch 23-11-08 at 11:00
6. Arrival Auckland 23-11-08 at 12.00
(all local times)
YES. Arrived in New Zealand BUT on the wrong island.
Fridaymorning 21st of november 2008, wonderful day ….
My second journey to New Zealand is starting now, but at that moment the first little problem. The watersystem in my village Drachten had a big leak so the planned shower to start the day with couldn't be accomplished. Even on the radio it was mentioned. My son Peter had already in mind to come earlier and drive along his house in Sneek first so I could take that shower over there. But luckily at 09:15 there was power on the watersystem so I could have my shower in my own house. My son Peter arrived at 09:30 and after a cup of coffee we decided to leave for Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam. It was very bad weather on the road, a terrible hard wind and snow, hail and heavy rain.
When we arrived at Schiphol it appeared that a lot of flights, including mine, were delayed due to the weather. But I didn't have to wait alone. At the airport was a colleague from my work Ria Heeringa who had her flight to Cyprus at almost the same time. With an hour delay my KLM Jumbojet left the airport heading Kansai Airport near Osaka in Japan. It was a nice and quiet flight with maybe 60% of the seats occupied, so plenty of room for legs and walking during the flight. Only the LCD-screens in this type of KLM Jumbojet are not good, so I didn't watch a movie, just listened to music via that system and they had plenty of good music on their system.
After an 11 hour flight we arrived at the famous Kansai Airport of Osaka that is established in the sea for the coast of Osaka, because there was no room left in the neighbourhood of the city. From the beginning they have had problems with sinking of the isle in the sea, but they seem to manage the problem. At least on our flight we didn't see any problems with the landing. In no time I had left the plane and got my suitcases from the carousel. I had to take them with me because it was not a direct flight so I had to checkin again. But there was that friendly Japanese official on the airport who took my suitcases and said that he personally would deliver them to the right plane for Auckland.
About 3 weeks before my departure I booked a refreshroom via telephone from the Netherlands so I could rest a few hours in a good bed, but I couldn't find that refreshroom so I went for help to the infomationdesk on the airport. This nice lady called and called and every call was negative, no booking.
After I gave her my website, where I had a link to the refresroom she finally got the good telephone number and it appears they had me in a booking but couldn't reproduce my name correctly. But now we had a problem. The refreshroom was situated within the taxfree zone of the airport, so I couldn't go to the refreshroom because I could only pass the check in desk 3 hours before the flight would leave the airport. So the refreshroom .... had a room for me .. .but I couldn't go there. So i walked around the airport and found myself a place where I could lie down and have some rest. Booked a small 3 by 3 cabin and was happy to lie down a few hours. After a few hours I took a wonderful shower and got back to the check in desk at 16:30 for my flight that would leave at 18:30. All of a sudden it appeard that my flight was due to depart at 17:30, so an hour earlier and that the first destination was Christchurch and not Auckland.
So instead of arriving in Auckland on sunday at 09:15 I would arrive then in Christchurch, on the wrong island. OK, I couldn't change this. It seemed that Air New Zealand changed the flight that was planned Osaka - Auckland - Christchurch in june to Osaka - Christchurch - Auckland. Only my booking office didn't notify me. I was very happy being back in time on the airport so I could checkin immediately and go to my plane.
But the flight wasn't very pleasent. There was a lot of turbulence on this trip. It lasted more then 3,5 hours. Even half of the crew was sick and I gave up too after an hour. Luckily I could make it to the toilet. After that and before landing I got 3 dry bread and I had no problems anymore. But OK, walked around on the Christchurch Airport for about 1,5 hour and bought extra New Zealand dollars at an Exchange point of the NZ-bank. After this stopover the plane left Christchurch at 11.00 and landed in Auckland at 12.00. In no time I was past the Customs and got my suitcases.
Outside the Airport I took immediately a Cab, because I already lost too many hours, that delivered me at 01.00 pm at the house of Jos and Wendy in New Lynn, where I got a nice cup of coffee and where Jos took me outside for extra information about the campervan. How things were working, how the rooftop was working. After this we took a short ride so I could get used a bit to driving again (after 5 years) on the left side. Besides driving a bit too close to the left pavement the driving was further no problem, so I said goodbye to Jos and Wendy and left for the Avondale Motorpark nearby. Checked in there and took a short sleep of about 2 hours and after that a good hot shower. Through the delay via the Southisland I missed some important hours of rest (intended to rest about 5 hours) but I continued as planned and left Auckland in time to go to Matamata and drive by daylight. This was planned because I didn't want to leave Auckland the next morning in the monday morning traffic (too busy). On my way to Matamata I stopped 4 times for 10 minutes because I wouldn't take any risks because of being tired after the long trip I made. This way I stayed a bit more fresh to drive.
My goal was Matamata because it's a small town on my way to the eastcoast and it has an AA-Office were I could arrange my membership. Instead of searching on mondaymorning for that office in busy Auckland. I even knew where the office was, because I remembered the town of Matamata from my visit in 2003. In Matamata I booked a room in the Bed and Breakfast the Southern Belle that belongs to Sue Nicholson, a lady from the UK that went to New Zealand about 1,5 year ago and bought this B&B. The campervan has it's own parking place near the garage and after a pleasant drink with Sue I got into bed and was dreaming before my head reached the pillow. Tomorrow I go for the AA-Office in the Mainstreet and after that via Mount Maunganui to Whakatane for my trip to White Island the volcano island about 40 miles for the coast of Whakatane.