Tuesday, 19 March 2013


The first day of our trip was spent crossing the 'ditch' to Auckland, on the North Island of New Zealand and it wasn't without it's problems. The best laid plans can often go awry. Everything was going to plan with a number of the group having met at a coffee outlet in the departure lounge. Only one thing was wrong....three of the group were missing. The boarding announcement had been given with still no show from the missing three.

The Group minus 3 plus photographer

The group minus three boarded the aircraft and it wasn't until just before the door was closed that we saw them walking down the aisle. Phew! that was close. The reason for the late show was that one had forgotten his passport and they had to make a hasty retreat to retrieve it.
Disembarkation  in Auckland went without a hitch. We had to cool our heels at the airport for one and a half hours before taking a one hour domestic flight to Napier. This is where our plan began to unravel. We booked our baggage through to Napier as instructed and then we learnt that our flight was cancelled. This was not a major problem as we were able to join a flight to Palmerston North and take a bus to Napier....just a wee loss of time. When we tried to retrieve our suitcases, one could not be located and the next hour was taken up looking for the lost luggage to no avail. We were told to board the aircraft and the lost suitcase would be located and would follow.
The flight to Palmerston North was great in that we flew at an altitude suitable to getting a fabulous view of the volcanic landscape  en route. A coach was waiting for us at the terminal and due to daylight saving, we were able to have a very pleasant trip to Napier.

The truant suitcase

Prior to delivering us to our motel in Napier, we detoured via the Napier Airport where a number of other diverted passengers, not members of our group, were delivered. Jenny, from Takaro Trails Cycle Tours (Link) was there to meet and greet us and was straight onto the task of locating the missing suitcase. Although  the Airport Manager was unable shed any light, we felt confident that with Jenny's help, it would turn up.

On arrival at the Marineland Motel, we were met by the manager who organised food for the hungry travellers. Our luck seemed to be changing for the better, as the bar was still open, necessitating in the parching of our thirst with a couple of good red wines. As the mood lightened, the waiter informed us that the missing suitcase was in a taxi en route from the airport....hallelujah! all's well with the world.

Kiwis (New Zealanders), in the main, are very laid back people but when the pressure is on and there is a problem, the system miraculously comes into play and all involved will do their utmost to solve the problem. Everyone, to a man, was absolutely sure the suitcase would turn up and after a number of phonecalls to..... "I'll just make a call to someone I know", the truent suitcase did turn up and found it's way by taxi to the very relieved owner. With a wink and a smile and..... "See, I told you it wouldn't go missing for long."

 We slept soundly.

The following posts will be a series of instalments covering the Hawkes Bay tour.
Cheers and safe riding,
Jimmy Bee 

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