By: Blonde Two
The experience of actually getting to New Zealand can be viewed on a rolling scale from “An Exciting Adventure” right through to “The Most Bored It Is Possible To Be” and often the journey will take in both of these extremes. You don’t have to fly there, I worked out once that to walk the 12,000 miles, it would take me 200 days if I walked for 24 hours each day and perfected my mountain climbing and walking-on-water techniques. I have actually met someone who hitch-hiked to New Zealand when she first emigrated; an achievement for which I have the utmost admiration, but one that I wouldn’t recommend to my daughter (although she has already been twice). As the majority of us are limited, by time and our under-developed sense of adventure, to air travel, I shall focus my advice on that particular mode of transport.
Getting to New Zealand is not and never will be cheap. I am hoping that you are close to buying your ticket and that you have saved hard, have just received a hefty inheritance (you would be surprised how many people get their tickets that way) or have borrowed someone else’s credit card (more fool them because you probably won’t feel like coming home).
Before you consider the myriad of different East-West, West-East, Round-the-World and Over-the-Top (ok, so I made that last one up) flight options; you should think carefully about the answer to one very specific, vital question,
“Can you sit still for 24 hours?”
If this question seems a bit trivial, then can I recommend that you give yourself a trial run? Get a dining room chair and place it facing the wall with your knees just touching the wall. If you can do this in a tight broom cupboard so that you can’t move your elbows, you will get a more realistic economy seat effect. Now just sit, I can guarantee you won’t even manage one hour.
“But what about the in-flight entertainment?”, I hear you ask.
Well ok then, find a way of fixing your iPad (other tablets are available) to the wall and put a movie on; you still won’t last the hour.
“But don’t the mealtimes break up the monotony?” is bound to be your next question.
Right then if, and only if, you have survived the first hour, I will allow you to ask someone to bring you the following; one small plastic glass of white wine, five slightly dry cubes of fruit, a two lettuce leaved green salad with a mysterious white dressing, a rather sweet bread roll and a tray of hot chicken, beef or fish in a gooey sauce. You must eat and drink all of this with plastic cutlery, without moving your elbows and without stabbing yourself in the face when the floor suddenly drops away (unless you live in an earthquake zone, you will have to imagine the floor bit but it does happen on a plane).
I will allow you to go to the toilet only one time in each two hours during this experiment. It is unlikely, but should the miraculous happen and you stay the course for two hours, you will have to find a toilet that is approximately the size of a phone box and, once flushed, makes a loud and disconcerting gulping noise just three seconds after you think it is not going to.
Well done (but I don’t believe you) if you have just survived the two hours. Now all you have to do in order to imagine a flight to New Zealand is to multiply your two hours by at least 12 and add on a few security checks, waits for bags in airports and a strange bio-control experience (more on that in the next Pommie Guide to New Zealand instalment).
We all keep doing it though… and that is because the journey to New Zealand really is worth it!