We decided when going to Fiji this year with the kids, that we’d save some time by flying down to Christchurch to meet them, rather than drive. What a stroke of genius this turned out to be! Apart from the stress of hoping and praying that our flight wouldn’t be cancelled or delayed for any reason, it was perfect…
Our flight to Christchurch left right on time at 10.05am. Conditions were smooth and although we couldn’t see the mountains because of the high cloud cover, the view coming into Christchurch was lovely. We were in seats 10A and 10B, which were the exit row towards the back of our Q300 aircraft. These workhorse planes are among the best aircraft flying today, I believe. They’re grunty, reliable and comfortable.
We thought the kids were meeting us at 12.30pm but they surprised us by being there waiting when we got off the plane (along with their “chauffeurs” Barrie and Carmen of course!). We had some time to kill so went and had an early lunch before going through Customs.
One of the things I love most about travelling with teenagers and tweens, is watching them learn to navigate their own way in life. I took them over to organise their own foreign currency exchange which they all handled well and they were super excited having a new currency to study.
New Zealand Customs are trialling a new system where they let 10-14 year olds go through the smart check-in, which was wonderful for us as it meant no queuing. Zach handled it like a proper wee jetsetter. These things can be daunting when you have to go through one at a time and no one can do it for you!
We went into the Koru Club where we discovered our flight was delayed by 40 minutes. I went to the bookshop and got a pack of cards, and taught the kids to play Last Card (one from the “Olden Days” when I was a kid). In the end we had all 5 of us playing away happily (albeit competitively) until our flight was called.
We flew to Nadi on Air New Zealand’s, A320 direct flight from Christchurch. This route flies several times a week over Winter and is just fantastic for the time it saves. The flight was really calm until just out of Fiji, when the Captain warned us of some turbulence ahead.
The turbulence encountered was the worst I’ve had in several years, but luckily lasted only a minute or so. I had an empty seat next to me that a harried flight attendant collapsed into and I watched with interest as he clutched the seat in front holding on as the plane worked its way through the massive air pocket.
Within 10 minutes of this turbulence we were on our descent into Nadi thankfully!
I also must mention the airline food on this flight. Normally atrocious no matter who you fly with, I had a chicken curry on this flight that I would have gladly paid money for at a restaurant. It was spot on!
Customs in Fiji was very easy, they didn’t even look at the food we had brought in, just waved us through. We walked through the Arrivals Hall and waited for the Tanoa Hotel’s courtesy coach which arrived about 5 minutes later.
The Tanoa Hotel is close to Nadi Airport and is the hotel used by many of the airlines flight crews. It’s clean, tidy, and has three restaurants and a pool. It’s rated 3.5 star and is very reasonably priced considering you get a full buffet breakfast and courtesy airport transfers included.
We had requested an inter-connecting room, however as the hotel was fully booked, they were unable to do this, and had instead booked us rooms opposite each other. Jase and Zac took one room and the girls and I took the other.
Zac was looking particularly knackered by the time we’d checked in and organised our rooms, so we got some chicken wings and chips from room service, and then sent the boys off to bed.
Caitlyn, Amber and I wandered down to the pool, where we sat on the edge with our legs dangling in the water, while chatting and listening to the band play in the bar. It was warm and the air was scented with frangipani. It was a lovely way to end the evening and we headed back to our room about 11.00pm.
It was very strange climbing into bed without Jase there. We have only been apart once since we got married almost 5 years ago, and that was when I was in hospital. The only other night apart was the night before our wedding.
Tomorrow we head for Plantation Island! YAY!