Day 70. LA – New Zealand – Taupo

Our flight had quite a lot of turbulalance and it was very cold in the back part of the plane. We watched one movie and then attempted to sleep. Shannon packed the side of his chair next to the wall with cushions and finally fell sleep. He had several blankets on to keep warm. I to drifted in and out of sleep, but kept getting very uncomfortable. Steve was asleep for a good six hours, Stacey managed to sleep for couple of hours. Once Steve had woken, he got up to go to the toilet, I went and took his place, and then Shannon stretch out on our two seats. I stretched out on three seats and dozed, but every time we had turbulence I was awake. I had several hours sleep.

About two hours out of Auckland, they severed breakfast, an omelette. Steve and Stacey both had one, I just had a cup of tea. Shannon woke about an hour and a half out of Auckland. He wasn’t feeling so great, so thought he would have some potato chips, but they made him feel worse. I sat and filled in the Arrival cards then we sat and watched another movie.

On approach into Auckland we saw all the lights of the city including the Sky Tower, it was very pretty! Not far off the airport, Shannon vomited. Our landing was very smooth and we had arrived early. We were some of the last off the plane and as we made our way into the airport, the cold hit us.

We queued to go through customs and as we declared that we had wood and other things, we had to have the wood checked, there were no problems. They then put our bag through X-ray, all cleared and we were out into the terminal. We then checked our bags in for our flight to Taupo, this was great as we had already got our bag tags and boarding pass. It also meant that we didn’t have to push our bags around.

Oh, man it is cold! We went and found McDonalds and had some breakfast. Thinking we were home in Kiwiland, they wouldn’t stuff up the order, but they did. I was missing a tea bag for my cup of tea. Steve put our phone SIM cards back in our phones. A couple of phones calls were made and a few texts. Thanks to all of you who sent us lovely Welcome Home messages both on Facebook and to our phones. From here we went up to the observation deck to wait and relax a little. The kids played in the arcade. Steve spent his time talking on the phone. He woke at least three of the guys that were sleeping up here in their sleeping bags. There were about six people sleeping, some on seats, some on the floor and under the stairs. I got changed into my winter woollies and suggested the others did the same, but no, they are all hardy kiwi blokes!

About an hour and half before our flight to Taupo was due to leave, we wandered up to the Domestic Terminal. Steve suggested we needed some fresh air, so we walked. Man was that air fresh! It was so windy and freezing! I’m so please I had my winter woollies on. I think secretly the others wished they had!

The Domestic Terminal was fairly full, as many of the flights this morning had been delayed. There were people everywhere! We managed to find a seat. Then our flight was also delayed, it ended up being about thirty or more minutes late. By this time, all we wanted to do was get home! The boys and Steve got changed. Over the microphone they kept harping on about the weight restrictions for carry on luggage, saying that this would be strictly enforced as you past through the gate. We were thinking ‘oh great!’ But as we watched, we didn’t see anyone checking carryon luggage. Just as well!

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We finally boarded our plane, it was chockablock full, we had to squash our bags under the seats, we attempted to get them in the hold, but the Co-pilot told us that the hold was over full already. It was lightly raining as we took off, and it was white out conditions once we were up there. Not a great feeling. We had hoped to see the beautiful kiwi landscape, but all we saw was white! We flew at 16000 ft and it was a fairly bumpy flight. Not great! The first sight of land we saw was just before Kinloch where the skies suddenly cleared. We could see the lake clearly, some of the snow on the mountains, but there were heavy clouds up there, so we couldn’t see the tops. We flew up near Acacia Bay Road and then turned over the river, we saw the Taupo Town Centre, boat harbour and then flew directly over Hilltop School. I even spotted Shannon’s classroom, before flying further over housing, near Waipahihi School we began waving to Abby, who we were told was doing Cross Country at the Reserve, but didn’t spot them. I think we were probably too late.

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Our approach into the airport was bumpy, but we touched down successfully and ran down the runway before turning and coming back to the terminal. We could see Tristan, Vanessa and Sam standing inside the terminal and Jean running to get there.

We stepped out of the plane into the freezing cold wind of Taupo, and walked quickly into the terminal. It was lovely to see familiar faces there to greet us. We chatted for a little while before collecting our bags and then Tristan drove us home via Subway.

Well Taupo certainly but on the weather to greet us. It felt like we hadn’t left at all. We spent the afternoon warming up the house. Stacey, Steve and I all managed to have a little sleep. Stacey slept for four hours before we woke home for dinner then he drifted back off to sleep. We also spent the afternoon, unpacking and putting layer upon layer on ourselves in an attempt to warm up. We had dropped about thirty degrees in temperature. I think it will take a while to get use to the cold!

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