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29 Hour Marathon Flight; Down Under! Flying Roo Pyjamas; Auckland

Let the adventure begin! It’s already Wednesday morning, and as I begin writing this post, My Lovely Bride and I are now in the Qantas Airlines lounge in Australia, waiting for the third and final leg of our trip to New Zealand. We departed Orlando on Monday the fourth, and after a short flight to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), we boarded an enormous Airbus 380-800 (like the one shown arriving at a nearby gate here in rainy Oz) for a 17 hour overnight flight to Sydney. Because we crossed the International Date Line on the way, we “lost” a day, Tuesday the 5th, completely, but we will gain it back on the return trip. Our entire trip from MCO to AKL would take 29 hours.

The Airbus is a very elegant aircraft and is just a bit larger that the Boeing 747-8. (I would have preferred a US-built Boeing, but we got a good deal flying Qantas). The Qantas crew was amazingly attentive and friendly. The food was also outstanding, with superb Australian wines complimenting the meal, although I must say that their idea of coffee needs some improvement. I picked up an Aussie newspaper to get an update on the culture – it’s been decades since my last trip to either Oz or NZ. I’ve been to both countries 6 times, but this is Suzanne’s first trip, and her enSuzyasm level is red-lining the meter.

Here we see a pretty American tourist decked out in stylish Qantas pyjamas (Aussie spelling is often a bit weird) with its winged kangaroo logo – the word is taken from a Bengali word for the loose-fitting garment worn about the legs for sleeping or lounging. Oh, did I say “sleeping”? We actually were able to recline our seats horizontally and get a full night’s sleep on the long trip from Dallas.

We would ordinarily not travel without our trusty canine kids, Rudy and Gretchen, but regrettably both Australia and New Zealand prohibit entry of dogs without a 6 month quarantine. We are blessed to have a wonderful couple, Marc and Maureen, taking care of the home front, allowing us to travel with confidence. Here we see Marc playing with the pups and making sure they are happy during our absence. 

After a marathon 29 hour liftoff-to-touchdown trip, we finally arrived in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, where we were met by a Kiwi friend of Suzanne’s, Sheree Fenwick. Sheree picked us up at the airport and gave us a windshield tour of Auckland on the way to our hotel. We had a quick walk into town along the windy harbor, followed by a nice dinner – an Oriental chicken salad for Suzanne and a Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice) for myself – at a cozy bistro in a trendy area near the waterfront. 

Our body clocks are more than a bit confused, since our dinner hour here was really 0100 back in Florida. It’s time to crash and get some real sleep before meeting Sheree tomorrow for some serious sightseeing. We’re already finding out how friendly New Zealanders are.



  • Beverly G
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you for keeping us posted, Ty. LOVE the photos and being able to "travel along" with both of you. Will share them with Ruthie in a few hours. Love, Bev

  • Unknown
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Oh,Ty! What a wonderful adventure you two have had thus far and so many great memories just waiting to happen! I do adore how you have friends in every port. You both are so universally loved! I totally look forward to my vicarious journey down under! Hey, you're making memories for all of us!

  • Unknown
    Posted January 7, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I love the first class travel accommodations on Qantas. Now that's the way to travel!!! I know you two will have a great time in New Zealand! Enjoy, enjoy. You deserve it so much! Love you both, Gail

  • Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Enjoy your trip, it is certainly on my Bucket List! My wife traveled to New Zealand a few years back with an academic group. She loved it and can't wait to take me there. I heard parts of it resembled Oregon where I'm originally from. Brad

  • Unknown
    Posted February 6, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I love the first class travel on Qantas Airlines. Now that's the way to travel!!!! I know you two will have a fantastic time in New Zealand! Enjoy, enjoy. You both deserve this amazing vacation! My love to you both, Gail


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