Yesterday we bade farewell to New Zealand and flew home. After checking out of our accommodation we spent time on the pebble beach and playground in the city centre of Queenstown to give Patrick some time to play and burn off some energy. He and Ben used the left over bread to feed the ducks and seagulls too. He loved it. He also got to see a small zippy tractor cutting the grass in the parkland over the bridge from the park. It didn't look like Uncle Brad's tractor though! We took a last stroll through town and made our way to the airport.
My last view of the mountain while having breakfast on Friday.
Having never travelled internationally before, I had never given any thought to what goes on in the International terminal of the airport. It is not as simple as travelling domestically - and even less so when travelling with a toddler.
Self Service check in with 4 travellers, passports and so many pieces of luggage as well as checking to see whether the airline will allow the car seat to be used on the plane all takes a considerable amount of time. Then there is the departure card to complete, the security check of the carry on luggage and then passport checks.
Back in Melbourne however we moved through the relevant checks effortlessly. You see, having a car seat to secure on the plane meant the we were the first to board; it also meant that we were the last to get off the plane. This added to the fact that there were not enough Entry Cards on the plane meant that we had to stop in the terminal to fill out the cards before we could go any further. Then Ben got some stuff from the duty free store, so by the time we got to the luggage carousel, ours was the only luggage there and all the lines had gone. We got through all the other checks without having to wait. What a nice welcome home that was.
So we have been and come back. We certainly did cram a lot into our 8 days.
It was lovely to meet Annabelle's family and to see Patrick interact with them.
It was an experience driving with a GPS (I have never done this before);
the voice guiding us sounded so much like Lee Lin Chin (SBS), so thank you Lee Lin for getting us safely to all of our destinations.
What I will take away from this trip is:
Being welcomed so warmly by Annabelle's family in Timaru
The beautiful scenery everywhere we went - there was always something to see and photograph.
The hills and mountains, the lakes, the history.
Standing on a glacier - on snow, at the beginning of March
Getting to know Ben, Annabelle and Patrick as a family unit in a way that just doesn't happen here at home.
Thank you for asking me to travel with you.
Having Patrick tell me at Melbourne Airport that I could sit in the back seat with him on the way home - but that is a whole other story.