My flight out of Christchurch left at 9.05 on Sunday morning. Did I really need to take a taxi? After a little research, it seemed that there was just one scheduled bus on Sunday mornings that got to the airport in time.
So I got up early and headed to the shiny new bus station with fare in hand (extra because I didn’t have the equivalent of a Myki – but here you can pay the driver) and plenty of time, and yes, the bus left on schedule and delivered me to the airport very satisfactorily (for a fraction of the cost of a taxi).
Check-in times for international flights from Christchurch are 90 minutes before departure, but this was more than adequate as there were no queues anywhere. I had time to have a coffee, check emails and relax.
The Air New Zealand flight back across the Tasman had a tail-wind – very unusual in this part of the world. Hence, it arrived 40 minutes early.
Tullamarine was a completely different story to Christchurch, The queue for immigration was immense, stretching w-a-y back up the concourse. It seems that a number of flights (including at least one A380, maybe 2) had arrived from Asia/China all at the same time. What a terrible first impression for the Asian tourists we’re supposed to be trying to persuade to visit Australia.
With nothing to lose and a bit of local knowledge, I by-passed the queue and headed to the “Smartgate” ….only minimal delays here (especially as I remembered to wear my reading glasses to more closely match my passport photo, which has glasses).
The baggage arrived quickly, too, except mine was upside-down, and I didn’t recognize it. But that got sorted, the quarantine man took my word for it that I had cleaned my walking shoes (which I had), I was on the Skybus a minute or so before it departed and was soon at Southern Cross and on the train home.