Monthly Archives: March 2015


Hamilton to Dunedin 618miles.

Supershuttle from airport to hotel

Brilliant flight to Dunedin. The views were spectacular. Wide rivers showing the greywacke soil from which NZ is made. DSCN0836Mountains and volcanos. And great expanses of space.

Only ten minutes between flights which was …interesting on paper but in fact the planes lined up next to each other and as we had only to walk off one and almost straight into the other (slight detour to pass through check in) it was no problem. Loading the plane was, as there was a film crew on board with a mass of luggage and equipment. Spent ages fitting it all in, and then readjusting some between the cabin and the cockpit because the door would not open between the two. Would the darn plane fly I asked myself – but it did!!

Very hilly place Dunedin. Allegedly has the steepest road in the world but I am pleased to say we did not come across it!! Quite olde worldy in appearance and a university town. Some lovely architecture all of similar appearance, it seemed to me. DSCN0861One main street with loads of asian restaurants and Rob Roy’s Dairy. This was an amazing place. The biggest ice creams I have ever seen and so many varieties. We took a single scoop the first time but this almost defeated us so we had the taster size the next time.

Stayed at Cargill’s hotel. Not quite up to the standard of the hotels to date but interesting just the same. Rooms on two floors around a central garden with the upper rooms opening on to a balcony overlooking the garden. Had free wifi as a big plus!!

The game Scotland v New Zealand

Lovely walk through student residences and roads to the University Oval. A beautiful ground surrounded by trees. Lots of razzmatazz at the ground with jugglers, and stilt walkers, pipe band and face painting. DSCN0863 DSCN0864 DSCN0868 DSCN0875Lovely seats again amongst other Scottish supporters. Lots of banter from some Kiwis nearby when Scotland lost 4 quick wickets – 12 runs for 4 wickets! But Scotland did not bad overall. Certainly better than England did against NZ. Scotland got 142 and the kiwis thought it would all be over by 3 but NZ lost 7 wickets in their successful but slower than expected win.

On our way out we were interviewed by a TV crew interested more in our thoughts on the atmosphere than the actual game.

Lovely walk back through the University campus.

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Quick change of clothes and then off on the bus to St Claire’s bay for dinner and a walk by the ocean. The most southern ocean I am likely to put my toes in!! DSCN0882 DSCN0883 DSCN0884 DSCN0886Lovely bay with lots of students surfing til quite late on. But the weather was very warm and they were making the most of it. Ate at a Vietnamese Thai fusion restaurant. Loved my laksa although Ian was not too taken with his Jungle curry. At least there were vegetables in them both, something sadly lacking in most of the meals we ate in NZ and Australia!! I envisaged a wide selection of veg and fruit but only saw these in shops, not restaurants.

A stroll along the beach, then back to the hotel to pack as we had a very early flight next morning


Auckland to Hamilton 66 miles

Transfer to the Hotel Tainui by Supershuttle- the only method of transfer available.

Just a short flight from Auckland and as I commented in my last post, the pilot did look very young.  It was a tiny 20 seater plane. Full. We all sat in single seats each side of the fuselage. Goodness knows where they put the luggage.

But then, we still only had one bag!

cloudsFlew through some lovely cloud formations and it was easy to see why the Maoris called NZ Aotearea, the long white cloud!

Hamilton airport tiny and when we went out to look for some means to get to town, the place was totally deserted. But after a few minutes the Supershuttle arrived, and informed us it meets every flight.

Greeted to Hamilton by Gandalf. Hobbit

Hotel Tainui luxurious! Bedroom standard but roomy and the bed was huge and comfortable. Had an interesting headboard that I might try and copy at home. HeadboardNo wifi to speak of but this proved not a problem as Hamilton has excellent free wifi covering the town centre, including just across the road from the hotel.

Both cricket teams staying in the hotel which was rather fun so we spent some time, identifying who each one was over breakfast the next morning. Saw more of the Zimbabweans than the South Africans.

Still no bag so sent Ian off for a walk along the river whilst  I shopped for more essential items. Needed a change of clothes! Everybody we met was so friendly. Nobody passed without saying hello and asking how you are were, and evidently interested in your answer. Got our vote for the friendliest place we visited on the whole holiday.

The Game – South Africa v Zimbabwe

Headed off to Seddon Park at lunch time. Tiny little ground with mostly grassed areas. Great seats in the one seated area next to very noisy supporters from both sides. cricketLots of children, many barefoot – commonly seen in NZ. Autograph hunting as well and messing about.  And the cricketers very happy to oblige. One fielder gathered books and bats in a pile on the boundary, signing them between balls. Kept us entertained all day! And night. A day night game, starting at 2pm and likely to finish about ten.

A very hot day! Thought it was going to beat me for a while. No shade! Cooled off when clouds came over about 5. Phew!!

Highly impressed with the promotion of health and well being at all their matches, and to a lesser extent in Australia.  A Red team going round the ground encouraging people to use free sun screen to cover up. And reminders to keep hydrated with free water.

sunset seddon parkAs for the game, Zimbabwe did well. I was rooting for them both as the underdogs and because some South African supporters near us stayed sitting during the Zimbabwe National Anthem but stood for their own! But South Africa won in the end.

Next day – my bag!! Arrived in the hotel at 02.41hrs! Just in time for a quick unpack,and repacking with clothes for us both in both cases! Leisurely breakfast with some rather despondent Zimbabweans. And then off to our next stop, Dunedin!


Glasgow to Hamilton, New Zealand

Glasgow- Dubai – Sydney – Auckland
Distance 3621 + 7486 +1338 = 12445 miles
Transfer to hotel via J1 bus (can also get the Supershuttle at all airports in NZ. Fast and efficient service). Meant to have tickets prebought. We didn’t, and driver waved us onboard, and refused further attempts to pay.  Easy to find stops for the return journey but that driver took our money!

The flights.
What a long journey! Although the 7 and a half hours Glasgow to Dubai flight was much worse than the 13 and a half Dubai to Sydney. It was an evening flight from Glasgow and I guess the tiredness and discomfort of my legs was harder to bear. Might also have helped that I was in a window seat from Dubai which allowed me to lean my cushion on the wall and get better sleep. Despite being impressed by Emirates overall, we felt that the Quantas flight was much better. The on flight entertainment worked better, although that was really an aircraft issue, but also the choice of entertainment and the food was nicer. Some good films overall. Watched The Iron Lady, The Social Network and The Queen on the way out and was delighted with the new films on the way back which included, and I watched, The theory of Everything, The Imitation Game Interstellar and Paddington. One thing I really missed on the Quantas plane was the cameras facing forwards and downwards. Rather enjoy watching the ground on take off and landing. Seem to have lost all that fear of flying.

Food and drink was very nice and ample. airplane meals are so much better nowadays. A curried chicken dish on way back was one of the best meals I had had on the whole holiday!

So all went well on the flights. Except… of our bags did not arrive with us in New Zealand. Hold sticker fell off in Dubai and there the suitcase stayed even though they had the whole description on the system and knew where it was headed. Only only connecting flight per day so didn’t  see it for two days. However arrangements made efficiently, compensation of $64 given in the form of a front loaded visa type card with two more owed and claimed.

So we arrived. It was a lovely warm day in Auckland. Sunny with a cool breeze. 24 degrees. Lovely friendly bus driver who welcomed us into the country with dry sense of humour, gave a bit of a commentary and also identified which hotels were served by each bus stop as we approached it.

Streets are usefully labeled with both name and number so easy to judge distance and direction.

Sebel SuitesOur hotel was right in the centre of the city, overlooking the North Harbour, the Sebel Suites. Rooms with city and harbour view. I would recommend a harbour one with a balcony because the view is lovely and of an evening I could easily sit for hours watching the boats, drinking wine in the evening sunshine.

Our room was huge. Kitchenette, bathroom with both bath and separate shower, hidden washing machine and dryer. Huge bed which was really comfortable. Efficient quiet air con. Tea and coffee making facilities, nice toiletries which was useful due to a missing case! Very quiet despite overlooking the street. We could have been the only people in the hotel/ in the city! Oh and dining table and chairs, two easy chairs, TV, VCR and music system. Not that we used any of this. The only thing missing to make this perfect was free wifi!  There is Internet but it’s quite pricey.

SkytowerSpent the evening walking around the harbour and eating there. A very busy place with some kind of late night event going on, the waitress thought it was open air cinema night. harbour night

Ate outside on a warm and sunny evening at the Pescano. Lovely food, reasonable price, quick service. Lamb shank for me, rack of lamb for Ian. Leisurely meal people watching. Then bed early and ready to face jet lag.

Another lovely sunny day, next day, and we wandered outside the hotel to find breakfast. And what a breakfast! Taken at The Fox literally outside the hotel overlooking the marina.

French toast! french toastNothing like any French Toast I have had before. Toast topped with baked banana, maple syrup and cinnamon. Would have that again, although not too often!

Spent the rest of the morning shopping! And then went up the Sky Tower. Auckland SkytowerThis was a great way to see Auckland and reminded me of  Sydney in that I had no idea that Sydney harbour extended so far. Auckland is the same with a huge harbour (Bay of Islands) and the actual housing etc extended a long way too. Bay of Islands They offer a sky walk which is basically  walking around a narrow platform well hooked up and a form of bungee  for those adventurous enough.

That was all we had time for at this stopover flying visit. Might be good to spend more time in Auckland on another occasion.

Then off to the airport to fly to our first cricket match in Hamilton. On a twenty seater airplane flown by a twelve year old! Plane

Oh, and jet lag never happened! We seemed to adapt to the new time zone very easily this time. Although I wrote this portion of the blog at 3am, when I found myself wide awake. But then that happens back home too.