This was a trip I had been looking forward to for a long time. I've been doing this job for eight years now, and I've only just recently been able to visit Australia, but I never made it as far as New Zealand......until now.
This would not only be the furthest trip I've ever been on, and likely ever will do as New Zealand is the furthest possible place to visit from the UK, but it would also be the longest. Most of my trips are typically a few days, a week at the most (with some travel either side), but this trip would have me out of the country for almost 20 days.
Long flights are nothing new for me, but the 25 hours or so of flying to reach my first stop in Auckland certainly didn't have my jumping for joy......until I checked in that is! British Airways had given me a nice upgrade to business class......thank you very much! I rarely travel in business, so this gave me some excitement for the first leg to Hong Kong. It was then another long flight straight on to Auckland.....and here I got another upgrade! Trust me what I say this never happens to me!
Another great touch was this was the first flight of a brand new A350, and the first routing of Cathay's Hong Kong to Auckland service. For these reasons, we were given permission to do a small fly by over the city.
Flying business class does not do anything to help your body prepare for the fact you've been on a plane for the best part of a whole day, or the 13 hour time difference. Never the less I wasted no time in exploring my first stop.....
My second stop....
I must admit I was not sure what to expect for my final stop in New Zealand. Christchurch is still very much recovering from a devastating earthquake that occurred in 2011. Five years might be a long time, but it's no easy task to simply rebuild a city, especially when most of the buildings were not fit for repair and needed tearing down.
I arrived on Sunday afternoon, and as always, I headed straight out in the city to explore.
Had I not visited the bustling large cities of Auckland and Wellington beforehand I may have had a different experience, but it was an eerie feeling to walk around what was once a city equal to those.
I certainly did not appreciate the scale of destruction the earthquake had caused, and this is hard to ignore as you walk past countless abandoned shops, houses and high rise buildings.
Not a bad view to end the trip on my final flight out of the country.....