I have to get to the airport very early this morning as I am not allowed to check-in online. I am told that I can only board the plane to New Zealand if I can show a proof that I also hold a return ticket. Oh well – each country has its own requirements. Although not being able to check online makes things a little harder – all the officers whom I met along the way are very polite and deal with the applicable processes with kindness. I arrive at the airport quite early, prove that I will actually leave New Zealand and pass through the passport checks very quickly as the passport control is an automated process in Melbourne Airport! I benefit from my time at the airport to catch up with my blog writing (mostly the Turkish diaries). I will today be flying to Christchurch from Melbourne
The flight takes around 3.5 hours with better part of it being spent over Tasman Sea. It is mostly cloudy but I get to see New Zealand right from above during the last 15 minutes of my flight. It is said that you may get better views if you sit on the right side of the plane if you are traveling to Christchurch, New Zealand from Australia.
It appears to be a sunny day in Christchurch as seen from above. I grab my luggage quite quickly but the custom process does not go as quickly as I had expected. There are signs all over asking you if food in your bag (even an apple) and if it is worth a fine of 400 NZ Dollars or you would maybe prefer to declare it. I actually have some fresh almonds in my bags that I carry with me in every trip as those are live savers. I quickly get rid of the pack in my hand bag only to remember that I have four other packs in my main suitcase. I decide to mention it and find out that fresh almonds are okay. They are however more concerned if I bring in any hiking shoes and if those are dirty! I say those are clean and my luggage proceeds to x-ray and comes out clear. I then read that New Zealand takes very serious precautions to avoid any foreign element (like a mud on your shoe) that may jeopardise their very special and independently developed eco-system and agriculture. Fair enough. Once all the custom processes are finalised, I catch the public pus to the city, which is just 10 km away from the airport. I will be en route Lake Tekapo early in the morning but I manage to take a quick stroll around the city, which is still trying to recover from the effects of the earthquake. My heart definitely goes out to the people of Christchurch as coming from a nation having gone through its own share of earthquake related tragedies.