Showing posts with label Auckland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Auckland. Show all posts

05 April, 2011

A weekend in Auckland PART III of III

Auckland - Sydney Emirates EK413 A6-EDM

Ok, I know it has been MORE than a little while since posting parts I and II, but here is the third enstallment of a weekend away in Auckland.

The day started early, VERY early. A wake up call wasn't needed, but a coffee certainly was! We packed our things, checked out and loaded the car (Toyota Hilux 4WD) and were on our way to Rotorua. It was an uneventful drive down, memory directed mostly where we needed to go, but the occassional look (for reassurance) at the GPS on the phone, always helped!

We arrived somewhat early, so we had a quick look around the city. Once we got to the visitor center where I had to collect some tickets, we then headed back to Skyliner for the morning adventures!

Rotorua Oval
Rotorua Overview (Gondola) from Chairlift
Half way

We had booked the 'Skyswing and Luge package; what fun! Now, you can ONLY ride IF you're over the sign!

Skyswing Height Board

After this, we then jumped back into the car, and headed back to Auckland Airport for our flight home. Check in was painless, being Gold on a dedicated line (thankfully) and there as also pre-immigration screening at the counter as well! Cleared immigration and got through security easily and then headed for the Emirates Lounge to relax...

Boarding was also great, but this time, we were heading upstairs on the A380 into Business Class; a suitable reward for my flights and for my birthday! Again, I was greeted personally by the Cabin Manager by name, no-one else up there, and was asked if I needed anything, to contact her. I like being a Gold Status holder! Pre-departure drinks was served as with menus, and we soon taxied out for our departure to the north...

Entrees were soon served, where I had the Smoked Salmon, a main of Prawns in a Lemongrass Sauce with rice and veges and a dessert of White Chocolate Mousse. We also had a visit to the bar in the rear of the upper deck!

AKL Spoters Park
AKL Overview
Smoked Salmon Entree
Prawns Lemongrass Sauce with Rice Veges
White Chocolate Mousse
EK A380 Business Bar

All to soon we arrived back into Sydney, where after coming through rain and crosswinds, we made a very hard landing... Clearing of immigration was of course painless, and we were collected on the outside...

Coming up next, is a trip to Belgium, and for a couple of days before and after, in London!

Hoo roo for now...


27 March, 2011

A weekend in Auckland PART II of III

Auckland Day 2
Spotting, Scenery and Sunsets

The day started with an early morning, as we had heard that the NZ A320 ZK-OAB was to be depart Auckland for Wellington at 7am. OAB is a special livery aircraft for the All Blacks Rugby, and it is a fantastic scheme. HERE is a short video about the painting of the aircraft (check out how they get it OUT of the Hanger!). It was dark, and we were on the road to the airport. We were told that the multi-story carpark would be a possibility, so that's where we headed.

I tried a couple of 'test shots', in an attempt to get settings right, but even still, it was difficult lighting/conditions (lots of light poles) for it... But here are the 'test shots' and OAB on its departure.


So after its departure, we got some breakfast (the hotel breakfast wasn't much) and then headed over to the dedicated spotting area for the day. It was a great day, blue skies, clear and a really nice temperature (although, a degree or two more could have been nicer!)... Here are some pics...

Spotting NZ744

We went and got lunch late in the day, and when we got back, there was a local radio station looking for a location to do some promotional work. They almost ALWAYS seem to have a good looking chick at these things, and on this occasion, it was most CERTAINLY the case! Not sure as to why, but they do. So, I went over and asked if they are owned by the same company as our 2DayFM/MMM in Sydney, and oddly enough, they were and the girl had done some dealings with our very own Hamish & Andy! After a couple of minutes, she gave me some samples, Usher aftershave, a magazine and some Chocolate Sauce (and some stickers as well). After a short time, a 'Mr Whippy' van also turned up, and they were giving out ice-creams to everyone as well!

ZM's Mr Whippy
ZK-NBT Arrival
Moo Smile

We then headed back into town (via One Tree Hill) to get some headache pills as my headache was getting unbearable... I have been having these headaches for a couple of weeks now of varying intensities, but today's was just about as much as I could bare. I was beginning to feel nauseous, and even suggested to J that he might have to take over the driving duties! I eventually found a Chemist in the Newmarket area, on the way into Auckland. We went to the top of One Tree Hill, which you can clearly see both Auckland City in one direction and the Airport behind us. It gives a great perspective of the city as a whole...

Auckland City
Sir John Logan Campbell Kt

We then headed into the city, through Parnell and we stopped where L and I had discovered the Cat Lady of Auckland back in 2006. It is a nice location, and gave us a vista over the city with the sun setting behind, giving a silhouette effect.

AKL Sunset

I then had to remember the way through the city and onto the freeway and then over the Harbour Bridge for the North Shore. This would give us a great overview of the city for a nice night shot. We passed a spot that gave a nice outlook, but in an attempt to get both the city AND the rising moon (which was at its largest since 1992) we got a little off the beaten track, and found ourselves somewhere (but not lost) where the city had disappeared. So we headed back to the freeway, managed a different exit to do a U-Turn and back to a foreshore location. It was now very dark and after tending to some nature, set up the tripod and got some shots. I got both the city AND the moon!

AKL Night
19032011 Moon AKL

Then, it was time to head back to the city (headache getting worse again) to get some dinner. I got us back to the fish markets, as I recalled a great fish 'n' chip place there. But, by the time we got in, it had closed, but we did find a really nice Chinese place. There was also 4 Ferrari's parked here, Red, Yellow, Black and a Gun Metal coloured one. It made for some great photography as well! Food was excellent, company as well, and of course, we had both overeaten!

As it was going to be a very early start in the morning to head down to Rotorua, we headed back to the hotel for some shut eye...

Part III of III will be up sometime tomorrow...

Hoo roo for now...


26 March, 2011

A weekend in Auckland PART I of III

Sydney - Auckland EK412 Emirates A380 A6-EDC

Well yes, ok it has been a while, but this weekend was hectic enough... Throw in a major headache, and it made it even worse, but I got through it all... Just!We arrived at the International departures at Sydney Airport early. There was both J and myself going to Auckland, but N was leaving the same day to Vietnam via Singapore. His flight was leaving 30 minutes after ours... Or so we thought! It was not to long later when entering the Emirates Lounge, we were told that our flight would be delayed due to its inbound also being late! Oh well, more time to enjoy the lounge, right!

We entered the lounge, got a couple of seats that outlooked over onto the ramp, and then hit the food. It was an interesting array of hot foods, Western and Middle East, there was also cereals, fresh fruit, juices, coffee/teas, and of course, champagne and drinks! Here is my breakfast.

Breakfast Emirates Lounge
Emirates Lounge Sydney
Emirates Lounge Sydney Entrance

We arranged to meet back up with N prior to his boarding, now that he's leaving before us, and we said our goodbyes. It was at this stage, we walked up to our departure gate (lots of people after all, it was an A380) and we saw the flight crew sitting waiting as well. We politely asked if it was possible to visit the flight deck upon arrival into Auckland, to which we were welcomed without any problems!

Our flight was called, and being a Gold Skywards Member, I could board at anytime, through a dedicated line, even though we were travelling in Economy on the way over! This was not my first EK A380 flight, but for J it was on both counts. I had organised a window seat each, just forward of the wing. It wasn't too long, and we had started our pushback...

16R Holding

There was stormy clouds about Sydney this morning, and our departure took us off 16R and on an almost straight heading across the Tasman Sea. Flight time was a relative short 2.35 hours! We were soon served our breakfast; for me I had the Cheese Omelet while J had the mixed grill. Mine had potatoes, mushrooms and a capsicum sauce. It was very good! There was also a croissant and a fruit bowl.

EK412 Breakfast
Cheese Omelet Mushrooms
A6-EDC Econ Interior
A6-EDC Mid Galley

Our arrival into Auckland took us on a downwind leg in-between Auckland City and the airport, a right hand turn for a final over Manuka and not to long afterwards, touchdown into Auckland, which was very much like we had left Sydney, cloudy! A short taxi to the gate, maybe 10 minutes, and it had started to POUR!

Before we got off the flight, the cabin staff took us up to the First Class Suites, and also showed us the First Class Shower. Again, whilst I had seen/experienced this before, it was still very good to see it again.

EK A380 First Suites (Credit - J Laing)
A6-EDC First Shower

We then headed up to the 'Office', where the Captain was waiting for us, the First Officer who actually flew the leg, had already left the office, but was waiting in the entrance of the aircraft. The Captain was great, we were there for a while, and whilst I sensed our stay was becoming onerous, he still answered questions and allowed us to get a photo in the 'Left Seat'

A380 Left Seat (Credit - J Laing)

Immigration was painless, as with collecting the car. Finding the hotel though, was a little less easy as I took a turn one street to soon, but painless all the same! As we had arranged earlier to meet up with D, we quickly got our bearings and went for a short drive (in the pouring rain) before heading back to meet up. We headed into the Auckland Pier for a couple of beers, before getting geographically challenged to the Angus Steakhouse for dinner. J had a 1.3kg steak, D an Eye Fillet, whilst I opted for the Lamb Rack (what ELSE would you have in NZ?) which was AMAZING! We had a great night chatting about lots of stuff, and then headed back to the hotel (more chatting in the lobby) and to bed...

Angus Steak House AKL
Lamb Rack

So, that's part one, I will get parts two and three up as soon!

Hoo roo for now...