It is easy to get to Wanaka from Auckland if you fly. There are many flights to Queenstown with Air New Zealand and Qantas, then the Wanaka Connections shuttle runs directly from the airport to Wanaka.

My kids have done their assessment on the airlines:

Qantas – they have toy packs for kids, the food is better but No sweets when you land

Air NZ – sweets when you land, better in flight magazine ( Mum’s view here), no toy packs

The bus journey is 110km so it takes about 1 hour 20 mins. Most of the trips go over the Crown Range which is the highest highway in New Zealand. Lovely scenery and a great start to a trip down South. Sometimes the bus goes through Cromwell which is less scenic and takes longer. 3 hours is the usual time if you plan it well.

All this sounds very good until you have a bad trip like we did yesterday.

Queenstown airport is a tricky one for pilots. While spectacularly beautiful, the nearby mountains mean that the pilots need to be able to see the ground for planes to land. They fly by sight rather than instruments.

When the plane arrived in Queenstown , underneath us was a blanket of dark cloud. We hovered, around we went a few times but the pilot could not bring the plane down. There are two choices, land in Invercargill and then a two hour bus journey back to Queenstown, or land in Christchurch and a 5 hour bus journey to Queenstown.

There was a storm in Invercargill so back we went to Christchurch and waited there for 5 hours. Mmm – not the best. There is a play area upstairs on the way to the viewing platform. I noticed the signs that said Christchurch airport is being modernized. This is a good thing as I am now intimately acquainted with the airport.

I learned a few things:

-Take lots of food and water if you do not want to be at the mercy of expensive airport cafes.

-Fly Air New Zealand – apparently their navigation equipment is better and they land more often in Queenstown when it is cloudy.

Make sure you have booked the Wanaka Connection – those who are not booked get bumped and there is about a 3 hour gap between wach shuttle. Also, Wanaka Connection they won’t drop at private houses but fortuanately we talked them into it.

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