So we wanted to experience the wonders of New Zealand that we had heard so much about. But it had to be via a trip on the cheap. RM7,000+ tour packages no can do... we prefer free and easy.
Hubby found a pretty good deal at the September MATTA (Malaysian Tourism and Travel Association) fair for RM2,000+ per pax - airfare only. However it is to be a hop-step-jump thing with the flight-connections just like in the athletics triple-jump event, though not in the same order.
Last week we (hubby, daughter Munie and I) made the trip. First we stepped across to that little red dot of a country just below our peninsula, albeit in a MAS aircraft. Then we jumped onto a Qantas landing down-and-under in Sydney, after which we hopped across the ditch (as the Ozzies say) in a no-frills JetStar setting down in the adventure playground of South Island in New Zealand.
Though that little red dot below is just a step across for us, negotiating it's extensive airport was an adventure in itself. It took a long walk in very brisk mode plus a short ride on the Sky Train to get us us from the Budget Terminal to the International Terminal No 1, and after that even more fast-walking to locate and get to the Qantas Transfer Desk.
By then we had worked up some perspiration wheeling our trolley bags while hubby was heavily laden with a rucksack and a laptop bag. Earlier we had decided not to check-in our luggage because of the short transit times. There was a long line and an hour to departure but it was no sweat for the system to push us through, with seat upgrades to boot.
These "singas" operate fast and efficient systems. No real wonder for all they seem to do is fiddle with their gadgetries.
In Sydney, after hubby passed a random bodycheck conducted by a big, strong and friendly Ozzie Singh, we had to again walk some distance down one level to the airport's Budget Terminal. There the officer checked-in our luggage instead of letting us carry them explaining "leetle aircraft, beeg bags, we can'thave them in the cabin, sir". Gosh, remember that "me-no-spiki-ingleez" ex-Menteri Besar? He must have done an excellent job ingraining this impression of Malays upon unknowing Ozzies.
But no matter... we were soon on that flight to rainy Queenstown and friendly Kiwis.