27th November 2010
Departed Whitsundays via Hamilton Island on Virgin Blue and arrived into Sydney. Stayed at the Stamford Plaza in Mascot, which was less than 5 minutes from Domestic airport and a 10-15 minute walk to the Mascot train station. The Stamford was fine for what we needed – just a room for the night. After checking in and dropping bags off we headed down to the train station to head into circular quay. The ticketing system is not very clear cut! We just missed the train by 20 seconds and waited I think 20 minutes or so for the next one.
A nice warm day in Sydney and we walked around past no less than 7 bridal parties all having their photos taken overlooking the opera house. It was a bit bizarre & not very unique. Had every intention of finding a pub but ended up going to Jacksons on George which was more of a bistro. Ordered a couple of beers and 2 chicken parmigianas and after a few more beers and a wait of over an hour we went to find out where the meals had got to. Found out the order hadn't been placed so we placed them again and I asked for sauce on the side. When the meals came out we had the parmigiana sauce on the side (not extra tomato sauce on the side for the chips). Very funny. Still it was a nice meal once we got it.
28th November 2010
Jumped on the airport shuttle bus next morning and got to the airport by 7.15am for our flight out at 9am to Auckland. They announced that the Air NZ flight was cancelled and whilst Dale was lining up to check in I went to find out if we were delayed. No one really knew much but I heard that we were going to be put on an Emirates flight to make our connecting flight to Tahiti. After another hour of Dale lining up in the Emirates line and me at the service desk waiting for advice, we finally got the answer we wanted which was a change of planes to the Emirates on an airbus A380! Oh well, if anything was going to happen it would.
Tried to buy duty free but was told that it would be confiscated before we boarded the connecting flight to Tahiti. We also tried to buy XPF but they guy started off on 71 to the AUD and eventually ended up at 79 (we saw on the internet for 87 & thought maybe we could get 83). We declined to be ripped off but in hindsight we should've grabbed a little bit! A really nice flight on the new plane.
|Our room at Hotel Tahiti Nui|
So finally after about a 1hr delay at the start, we made it in to Auckland and hurried around to the connecting flight with Air Tahiti Nui. We were delayed – which they never advised us of the entire time we were waiting . Was going to buy duty free but decided against it (and we already had a suitcase full of alcohol). Also decided not to change our money here. We finally got on the plane and we were off on an old 747 that still had the ashtrays in the arm rest. The movies were not very good but we managed to watch two of them (almost to the end). We got in to Tahiti about 11.45pm (the day before we left) and got through immigration OK. The baggage claim was a bit of a schmoozle as we didn't know which carousel that our bags would come off. When we finally picked them up we then had to line up to go through the customs “nothing to declare” area. Took ages and some arrogant pig up the front was telling everyone to get in two lines (out of 8 lines). We laughed. He ended up waving us through without a glance at our passports.
Got a taxi which cost 2700 francs to get to our Hotel Tahiti Nui. Checked in fine but the first impressions were that it was very dimly lit. Trying to work out the lift took a minute before we got going up to the 5th floor and once there we didn't know which way to turn to our room as it was so dark and just lit up with little blue lights. Finally found the room in a good position - nice & modern (fairly new I think) with a small balcony.
We woke after a few hours sleep and went down to the markets. Beautiful fresh fruit & vegies. Looks like they have everything you need but of course at a price. A whole watermelon was 1000 xpf about $15AUD. They also had a beautiful fresh seafood section and another section where they were cooking up pork and chicken. A few patisseries around but nothing took our fancy. We walked along the foreshore – checked out the few restaurants open (2). Mostly everything closed – being a Sunday. There is a fuel station right next to the hotel, so we bought a fresh baguette, butter and slice cheese (and some plastic knives) for 1180 xpf and took back to our room for our breakfast. It was very nice and a lot cheaper than paying 56,000xpf for breakfast in the hotel. After breakfast we checked out and went for another walk for an hour around the streets. We found the Le Kiosk which is supposed to be open 7/7 to buy a wireless internet card but it was closed. Back to the hotel where a taxi was called and after a quick run back to the airport it only cost us 1800xpf – totally different to last night. So here we are waiting at the airport again. Our flight is meant to leave at 1.15pm but we have been told it will no be until 2.30pm – at this stage. Oh well, so far we have spent more time in airports than actually flying.
The weather here is quite warm – about 30 degrees – it was raining yesterday but today there is some cloud cover and a definite breeze of 20 knots. Good sailing!
Finally got the 45 min flight to Raiatea which was after 3.30pm! Were picked up by the resort taxi and taken to the Raiatea Lodge Hotel. Unfortunately too late to do anything “resortie” such as take out their kayaks & snorkel off their private jetty but we did go for a walk down to the end of the jetty to watch the sunset and all the colourful fish swim around the corals. The Lodge is lovely - reminds me of an old queenslander home. Rooms are airconditioned & spacious, has wifi and is surrounded by nice tropical gardens and a pool.
|The Raiatea Lodge Hotel|