Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Palmerston North Next...

Palmerston North, aka Palmy sells itself as "New Zealand's Premier Provincial Airport"...
I guess it could be, afterall it is an International Airport...
I had booked a grab-a-seat fare for $1 each way and had a free Sunday.
The benefits of being Gold Elite for are the Lounge Access.  It is always a pleasure to visit WLG Koru Club, the staff, the space and the array of beverages available is/are great!  Arriving early for a flight especially for a regional flight with boarding starting around 15mins prior to the alloted departure time means more time to enjoy the lounge.
The flight to Palmy was short and we were on the B1900D, my favourite seat 3A.  Views were obscured by low level cloud so not much to report.
Arriving at Palmy I hopped off after the 81mile journey and proceeded to have a quick look around the airport.  There is a display of old planes on the first floor that caught my attention for a few minutes before diving into the Koru Club lounge.
The lounge is unmanned and accessed via a door code.  Inside I was the singular guest and had a beer and surfed a little before watching some Sky and playing a quick game of online poker.
The return i had booked had me a couple of hours relaxing before hopping on and flying back to Welly.
So PMR now ticked off.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fast Forward to NYE 2009

Grabaseat had been offering some great fares around NZ, I managed to get a few $6 fares to Napier for NYE.  We had a reasonably long day in Napier and enjoyed the Art Deco City being reasonably familiar with the town after a couple of visits.

There also happens to be a KC at Napier, and quite nicely stocked and styled so no complaints on that front.

It is about this time that I was totaling up the airports i had been to and thought of this target.  I had also been accumulating some special $1 grabaseats to various other destinations that took a few more off my to do list.

Therefore the seed was sown in my mind...

UK Hol and RTW

Next in the timeline was a trip to the UK.  Of course I couldn't just book a simple NZ-UK return.  Not when i saw a great RTW (Round the World) fare available in business for a fraction of the normal cost of a simple return AKL-LHR.  Only "challenge" was I had to start it in HKG....Not a problem - I would accompany the missus and our daughter to HKG as they went straight to LHR.  I would turn around and come back to Aoterea.

Oh, and perhaps visit Macau :D for a couple of hours!

I will have to post seperately about this little side trip / RTW escapade...

TRG and NSN next

Ok, next couple of airports visited were TRG and NSN.
TRG was a little work trip up to the office in the city centre.  I quite like Tauranga, with the line of cafes and bars looking out to the water... The airport now boasts a Koru Club, although when i visited it was not built. I did a couple of routes to get there, both from WLG direct and via AKL (using the lovely 1900D).

NSN was a daytrip with the family to have a look around a take advantage of a grabaseat sale fare.  Nelson is apparently the fourth busiest airport in NZ!  We were pleasantly surprised that there was a Koru Club upstairs tucked away and access via a keypad - thus unmanned generally.
As usual, there is a reasonable array of beverages available in the lounge, although it hasn't been "bach stylised" yet and does look a little rough around the edges with old furniture etc..
I have since been back to Nelson several times and enjoy the jaunts over as the flight is so short.  We took our youngest over as a 'trial' flight before a Trans-Tasman trip to MEL - just to see what he thought of flying.
Thankfully, he appears to be like the rest of the family and love flying!

So TRG and NSN ticked off back in March 08 and as recent as Dec 09 for NSN.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

WHK and ROT added

After a great 'tiki tour' of the North Island for two weeks. We settled into live in Wellington and found a house to rent in one of the northern suburbs.
Work started for me and I got to go on my first flight not paid out of my own pocket!

There was a big project in central north island and we were doing regular inspections of the works. The chap who was normally doing them was on leave for a few weeks and so it fell upon me to do the site visits.
The first port of call was Whakatane which meant the red eye up to AKL and then a quick transfer to that wonderful plane, the Beech 1900D.  The airport itself is a rather interesting design by the famous Kiwi architect Roger Walker.  Very distinctive and an immediately recognisable piece of his work. 
I had worried that a connection time of 15minutes at AKL would make the chances of catching it were slim. However, I was not to worry as NZ hold the plane for you on these 'link' flights.

Whakatane airport is super small. Essentially a large-ish house with a runway out the backyard!
It was handy to get this one under the belt in hindsight, as it can be rather costly to reach.

Because of this cost and booking only a few days before flying, the following week I went to site by travelling to Rotorua (ROT). Good choice of airport code there! It does pong a little sometimes!
This airport now boasts an International prefix with recently started flights to Sydney.

Right that's a couple more updated, plenty more to follow in the catch up.  Hopefully a few pictures to follow and maybe even a video....
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