For as long as we’ve been planning our current trip we knew we’d only have time for the most cursory of experiences of each place. Driving through New Zealand is a great way to see the country, but it’s also a good way to get a sense of how much you’re missing. In the end it was good that we hadn’t planned to go further south than Christchurch as the far south was largely blocked off by snow, but we now know we very much want to go there eventually.
So we knew it would be hard to leave, but we had no idea that it would actually be so complicated. First, at checkin we were told that all the advice we had received was wrong and that we needed visas to enter Australia. As far as we can tell that’s only the case if flying from New Zealand, and thankfully the airline was able to furnish us with them, though the ‘free’ visas actually came in at $60 thanks to ‘service fees.’
We also discovered that the airlines, despite including airport taxes in the ticket prices, hadn’t been passing that money along to the airports so the New Zealand airports are now charging passengers $25 a piece in order to depart. That sounds rather like fraud to me—I’ll definitely be following up to find out if we were double-charged.
After all of that we found Emirates a significant improvement on Air New Zealand, and the food was definitely above par. And now we’re in Australia, preparing to head out to Hunter Valley for a little more wine tasting.