From 26 degress to 6

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Christchurch, Canterbury Region, New Zealand
Thursday April 17

Cyclone Ita made landfall with the North Island on Thursday and Auckland was flooded . We wondered how everyone on the ship was enjoying their wet visit. The South Island also copped it, more specifically the north-west coast where we planning to go on Friday.

Christchurch was also copping plenty of wind and rain but there was no point in sitting at home so we drove out to Akaroa. It rained on and off the whole way out there but it wasn't until we got out of the car that we realised that the temperature had also dropped quite a bit. The temperature reading on the car’s dashboard showed that it was six degrees!! A week before we’d been sweating out by the pool on The World.

There wasn’t any reason to hang around out there so after an early lunch we drove back to Christchurch.

Friday April 18

We checked the AA website and our west coast visit was off – roads in all directions were flooded. Al called his sister to let her know, and expected a plea to find a way to come over, but instead Lynne was glad we weren’t risking the drive . There had been terrible destruction in Greymouth, just a few kilometres up the coast from Hokitika. Nature is such a powerful thing, something New Zealand’s poor South Island keeps finding out.

Saturday April 19

Saturday morning we visited the new offices of Trimble where Tim works. It’s been built to survive a magnitude 10 earthquake. Lots of the flexible structure was exposed behind Perspex panels – deformable metal 'springs’ and massively thick laminated horizontal and vertical beams.

And then it was time to head home.

We said our goodbyes to our amazingly generous hosts – Liz, Tim and Holly – and took the familiar drive back to Christchurch airport. Instead of the usual ‘budget-back-to-Brisbane’ with Virgin or Air NZ we were flying Emirates to Sydney and then Qantas up to Brisbane. This gave us the opportunity to have a few free drinks in the lounges at both airports .

Emirates economy was pretty decent, but to us no better than our recent Qantas international experiences. It was surprising that the cabin manager came down and personally welcomed me back. I suppose it must my Qantas gold ff status?

Customs in Sydney weren’t the slightest bit interested in anything we’d bought. They just wanted a look at the carvings, not if they were infested with borer!

I still can’t believe that Qantas charge a premium for planes with no in-seat inflight entertainment. Virgin is upping the domestic ante and Qantas really needs to start getting their fleet into the 21st century. The best thing about the flight was that it actually landed in Brisbane a couple of minutes early.
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