Auckland 2017 – The Last Day

And so I come to my last morning in New Zealand. An ‘earlyish’ start so that I could finish packing, and finish getting the flat in some semblance of order before heading off. It wasn’t a rushed morning, and I managed to achieve my ‘target’ departure of 11am. My plan in choosing such a time to depart the flat was the hope (not really a hope, more a determination) that I might have a late brunch prior to heading to the airport.

And so I did, returning back to Caffe Massimo in Newmarket for another richly flavoured omelette and a bowl of latte. The cafe was a little busier than yesterday, perhaps because I was arriving slightly later than yesterday, or perhaps because it was a Sunday. In either case, the food was again wonderful and it was, in some sense, a perfect way to round out my experience of New Zealand.

After my experience of yesterday’s post-cafe walk, I opted today to head straight back to the car and make my way towards the airport, to return the rental car, and await my flight (since I had already checked in online). And so I journeyed back towards the airport, ensuring the car was full of petrol and, after handing back the car, went through the whole bag-drop, passport control and security screening processes before heading to the Qantas International Business Lounge to await my flight’s departure.

I did mention I was flying Business Class right? Yes? Oh, good.

Sitting in a comfortable armchair, having a light lunch and a glass of a very nice Sauvignon Blanc (from New Zealand naturally) was a pleasant way to while away the two and half hours before my flight was due to board and depart. And the preferential boarding offered to Business Class passengers is also a bonus, meaning that I could finish my glass of wine before walking the three minutes to the designated departure gate and make use of the Business Class-only boarding lane.

Little did I realise that there was yet one more ‘gift’ to be received…an empty seat beside me!

Oh what a joy to experience an international flight with both a wide seat, and no one beside me!

Luxury! Absolute luxury!

The flight back to Australia was delightful, with delightful food and wine, and plenty of space to relax and read and unwind while flying back across the Tasman towards Brisbane. Unfortunately, the flight was over far too soon, and my absence from the Commonwealth of Australia came to an end. I was very quickly through passport and quarantine and within 45 minutes of landing I was driving out of Brisbane Airport. I did notice while in various ‘queues’ that there were more than a few passengers who thought they were unnecessarily ‘delayed’ in their re-entry process, but I couldn’t fault the service offered by Australian Border Force and Quarantine Service personnel. They were efficient and personable, and very determined to ensure that they fulfilled their responsibilities as quickly as possible. I guess some people are just hard to please.

Having arrived back in Brisbane, however, my day wasn’t quite over: there was the drive back to Casino, some three hours away. The trip was, thankfully, uneventful and there was only a need for one stop, a pitstop and coffee stop.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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