Day 1 – Arrival Auckland

We started our trip from Los Angeles, California – LAX to Auckland, New Zealand on the new Hobbit Plane – for Air New Zealand –  Smaug.  Only Way to fly – on a dragon.  The safety video was Hobbit related, with airline employees  and actors including Peter Jackson from the movie giving the instructions (Hobbit related). It was quite cute.
The airline put Smaug on both sides of a Boeing 777-300 aircraft. Weta Digital, Jackson’s visual effects company, designed the 177-foot dragon graphic for Air New Zealand.  Link to the safety video –

Sorry I could not get a photo without the service trucks.

Smaug Plane

Service was wonderful on the flight starting with a blanket and a pillow and two choices for dinner, a huge selection of movies and very friendly flight staff, from England, New Zealand and Canada (at least those I met).  We did not sleep but at least I spent the time talking with various other passengers and the flight staff near the back of the plane.  Breakfast either hot or cold welcomed us as we neared New Zealand.

Our arrival at Auckland’s airport was very smooth.  No long lines and customs was quick and friendly.  Here is the first Welcome sign as we passed through the terminal.
Welcome at Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport-2

The Hilton in Auckland is on Princess Wharf and arriving before 9 am, the room was not yet ready, but they were very helpful and let us use the gym to shower and freshen  up.  Carol and I walked around a little but with no sleep and it was drizzling off and on, we stayed close to the wharf.   We found a little cafe for lunch and I had the seafood chowder and garlic bread with tea.

1st Lunch at AucklandWe passed by the Swiss Ice Cream place, but I had to stop and take a photo of the flavors for Gloria.

For Gloria

We have a room with a view of the harbor.  A nap is now calling. So until the morrow ………..zzzzzzzzzz