21/10/09 – 23/10/09 Day 13 Aitutaki and Avarua, Rarotonga, Auckland, Brisbane
We took off at 1am Thursday but within minutes it was Friday
For reasons known only to Air New Zealand, breakfast was served not long after we took off. What the? Do they realise at 1.30am most people actually want to sleep. We just pulled the blankets over us and closed our eyes. If they were going to serve brekkie why not an hour before the flight was due to land. This wasn't a ninety minute flight. It was nearly four hours. Bizarre. Oh, and no pillows. Why the hell not?
Got into Auckland ten minutes early at 4.30 NZ time. We were hungry now so went to Burger King. Ugh! How very healthy.
Decided we'd get our duty free here instead of Briz. It's going to be a pina colada and mojito summer - we got Bacardi, Malibu and Galliano. Plus some more Vodka, needed to make up the four litres. Gotta love semi-regular OS travel. Our cocktail cabinet is the fullest it's ever been
Went to the departure lounge and a 767 was pulled up to the gate. Yippee!!!!
When we'd booked the flights I'd gone in and selected our seats. Plane itinerary was supposed to be A320/767/767/A320. Just before we left I'd checked again and it was showing 767 for all flights. The seat map for the last flight showed we'd be sitting in the 'space plus' section of the last flight. On a Qantas A330 or 767 this would be the premium economy section.
It was bloody fantastic. There was an amazing amount of room between you and the seat in front. Our seats in row 13 - F & G - also meant we had no-one behind us. Never sat in a seat that reclined so far. Strangely enough they made watching your in-seat TV a bit awkward. Oh, the difficulty of it all. Apart from knocking my coffee all over myself, and sitting in a pool of it for a while, it was great.
I need to know why are Air NZ crews so happy? It's very disconcerting when compared to the Qantas sad squad
Air New Zealand has a great product - consistently good service, new planes, nice food. They just need to fix their frequent flyer programme up and we'd be saying hei kona ra (goodbye) to Qantas.
As we descended down towards Moreton Island I even saw two whales just off shore. What a terrific end to the holiday.
Breezed through immigration and customs and we were in the cab at 8am.
Highlights - Air NZ service, even with the computer meltdown they still got us to Raro on the same day, Space Plus seats on final flight; Muri Beach Cottages - location, the bigger cottage and especially Gwen; Muri lagoon; quality of food nearly everywhere we went; ease of getting around on Raro on the public bus; Pa’s cross island walk; seeing m/s Amsterdam anchored off Avarua; prices cheaper than we expected for both food and alcohol; easy flight to Aitutaki; Teu - the housekeeper at Inano; our bungalow at Inano; the swimming hole at Inano; Aitutaki - every single thing about it; meeting our Danish friends; both lagoon cruises; hiring a scooter; walking up the lagoon; the weather; the amazing colours; Koru Cafe; amazing Aitutaki night skies; Island Show at Samade
Disappointments - Air NZ computer meltdown; the Pole House at Muri beach Cottages - too small, ladder too steep up to bed platform, no cover on the verandah; very ordinary snorkeling on Raro, especially at Fruits of Rarotonga, supposedly the best on the island; Highland Paradise show - lost our booking, way too cramped, food pretty ordinary; Moeau at Inano being a bit odd - we didn't know we could just go and get beer and water and leave money, didn't know there were kayaks and then we had to hire them (didn't bother), maybe would have been better if his wife had been there?; Samada meals (apart from Island night), grog prices, atmosphere - not the happening place we were expecting; overly religious (for us) atmosphere - "No flights on Sunday, keep Sunday holy", grace at every meal.
Would we go again? Absolutely! I'd go back tomorrow if I could.
Less than four months and we're off to NZ. October next year is still undecided. Better get planning.
Gain a day, lose a day
Friday, October 23, 2009
Rarotonga, Southern Cook Islands, Cook Islands