Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two Destinations in one day - ZQN and WKA - 23/5/10

Several months ago I had snagged a CHC-ZQN flight for $1 over a weekend.  In the coming months I was trying to work out how to use it, since I needed to start in Welly, WLG-CHC was required.
I then considered the straight return back to Welly, but this was getting costly and when looking at the cost of departures from Wanaka (WKA), there wasn't much in it.
I concluded that it would be more expensive to travel to WKA on a differnt day and since i was nearly there in ZQN I could just get myself over to WKA and tick off another one.  After much debate and checking AirNZ daily, the cost of the flights ended up quite steep (albeit i got a few Airpoints, but still expensive).  In hindsight I think I had made the right decision, especially in the timing as winter was setting in and this meant possible weather delays and cancellations (more on them in forthcoming posts!).
So it was all booked and I set off to the airport using a bus shuttle.  A nice breakfast in the Lounge and the ATR72 flight to CHC (not ideal, as I prefer the jets, but timings meant it was the only choice for me).  I had a layover of around 1hour in CHC, so "lounged" around in the Koru Club. The CHC lounge is in the bach theme, although some say it is looking a little tired with some of the wicker chair having seen better days...

Our flight was ontime with an 11.25am departure.  I was looking forward to this flight as we were going over the southern alps and the views are always spectacular...
 We landed in ZQN, which in itself is pretty impressive to land within this amazing scenery.  ZQN I really like!  The airport feels modern and clean with quite a range of facilities and plenty of space.  The setting is pretty special also.  Outside there was a noticeable difference in temperature from WLG.  I had managed to find a way across the crown range to WKA by using a bus service.  Luckily my flight was on time and I had a 20minute wait for the bus.  I used Connexions to sort out my passage and we were on our way ontime over the hills and far away.  The trip was about 1hour and again i was blown away with the scenery - plus the fact hardly any other cars were seen on our drive over!  I had forgotten how quiet the south island can be and how beautiful.  The crown range route is the highest in New Zealand and during our passage, it had not yet gotten a covering of snow.
Arriving in Wanaka gave me an hour to stroll around the town and relax on the lake shore with a pie.  I booked a taxi in the information centre after learning that it would be a long walk to the airport.
Wanaka airport is not big.  It is very very small.  The check in area is essentially a room the size of your average home lounge.  Again, there are those great Air NZ people in these tiny airports doing a grand job (and multi-tasking job!).  the flight back to CHC was in a B1900, that I am growing very fond off.  Take off on time from the tiny airfield and again great scenery had by all.  The flight was quite full and must be a good earner for AirNZ considering the costs of a ticket!  55minutes later we landed at CHC and deplaned back to the Koru Lounge.
The sun was over the yard arm and thus a drink or two in the two hour layover was consumed prior to the flight back (ATR again) to Wellington.
As most of these flights were booked on seperate tickets, i was a little anxious on making each of the connections, but in the end had nothing to worry about as they were all on time and the weather was good.
This double airport trip was worthwhile and made me consider looking at slightly crazier itineries to meet my goal.  it is also more fun zipping around the country.
As I have been to virtually all the places that I am flying to previously, I don't feel bad about only spending a few minutes or hours at each destination and not venturing from the airport.

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