Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cycling New Zealand 2014 Day 16 : Goodbye Kiwiland

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Cycling New Zealand 2014 Day 16 : Goodbye Kiwiland
Okay, today there was totally no cycling. In fact it was a day of flying; flying from Christchurch to Sydney and from there then onwards to Kuala Lumpur.
I am penning this down to relate our experience and hope that it will be helpful to others.

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Having cycled to Christchurch Airport, we pushed our bikes into the waiting area just within the entrance and started folding up and packing our bikes into our Dimpa bags and repacked our other luggage too (i.e. after some shopping in Christchurch, we had much more than what we came with).

Having done that I went out for a breather and met this huge and cheery New Zealander. I really admire his beard!

Back at the waiting area, we were lounging uncomfortably on those airport chairs trying to get some sleep. Our flight was at 7:00am the coming morning and we had hours to wait/sleep. Why not come to the airport so early then? We were killing two birds with one stone, safe on some lodging expenses and also avoid having to rush to the airport at four in the morning.
A kindly airport staff saw our discomfort and advised us that we could go to the Air Lounge.
The Air Lounge, is that a first/business class lounge? Actually no, it is a lounge for travellers who have an early morning flight and had arrived at the airport the previous night. To be eligible to use the lounge, we went to information counter, showed our air tickets and had the back of our hands stamped with a logo. We were then directed to the lounge (there are directional arrows showing the way).
The Air Lounge is located within the departure lounge but some distance from the hustle and bustle (to ensure that it's quiet). It's a room about 15 metres square with lots of bean bags, low chairs and counters with high chairs. Many plug points are available for charging phones, laptops, etc. An airport staff man the lounge and hands out pillows and blankets to users. Do note that this lounge has a capacity of 48 persons, do go there early and try to get the bean bags, they are the most comfortable to sleep on.

Here comes our plane, boarding time!

View of Sydney's Kingston Airport from the air.
The Air New Zealand flight took us to Sydney from where we will take an AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur three hours after that. At Sydney Kingston Airport we had to check out, go through immigration and customs and later check in again. That's the trouble of travelling with budget airlines, there's no transit facilities of our luggage being auto-transported between planes. We had to lug our luggage in and out ourselves.
Our concern was not the lugging but more that Australian Customs will be strict with our bagged dirty bikes, we did not have time to clean our bikes before boarding in NZ. Perhaps we would be required to take our bike to the toilets to clean them before being allowed out. Surprisingly, when we showed that we had our flight out in about three hours time, they were quite relaxed and allowed us through.

With time to spare, we chilled out at one of the coffee joints and as usual I popped out for a breathe of fresh air.

We took off and it was with mixed feelings that I peered across the Australian Outback below; a feeling of melancholy setted in as I realise that this is the end of our cycling adventure.
But I was looking forward to seeing my friends and love ones back home, after more than two weeks away I am missing them.
My stomach was another story altogether; it was shouting for packets of Nasi Lemak, plates of Char Keow Teow, Nasi Kandar.... ~~here I droolingly come~~

This is page 16 of a 16-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
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Related Blogs :

New Zealand Cycling Routes
These were the routes we rode in New Zealand, including the South Island's Central Otago Rail Trail.

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