The next morning, we woke up early, cleaned up the apartment we were staying in, loaded our packs into the car and drove over the airport. One of the great things about doing an in-country flight in New Zealand is that the airports are smaller (outside of Auckland) and super easy to navigate minus the rental car area. One thing to keep in mind about the Queenstown airport is that the signs for the rental car area are not the most well labeled and dependent on the rental car company, there may not be any attendants waiting there. So if you compare it so say, returning a car at LAX in Los Angeles, CA – you drive up and someone greets you and gives you a receipt. At the Queenstown airport, you park the car where the car company has designated spots, you unload all of your belongings and then you leave the keys in the car and move on with your life. We tried to make sure that we were at the right location and asked some people who looked like they worked there but unfortunately for us, they were with a different rental car company and couldn’t quite help give us direction. That being said, now a few months later, I’m assuming things were done correctly since we haven’t heard anything since we left our car at the Queenstown airport.
We walked over the airport, got our boarding passes and walked directly to our gate. Surprisingly enough, there was no wasn’t a security line to get to our gates. For the Queenstown airport, if you are flying within New Zealand you don’t have to worry about the airport security lines. You only have to worry if you’re leaving New Zealand. We wandered over to our gate, sat down and waited for our flight up to Auckland. Another thing to make note of would be that they are strict regarding the weight of the bags when you’re doing the in-country flights. So make sure if you are flying around New Zealand (and from the Auckland airport), your carryon bag needs to be about 7kg or less. Otherwise they will make you check your bag. In addition, they have a sizer and a scale at the front of each of the gates so if you get someone who is picky, they may stop you and have you check your bag.
We boarded our flight and then made our way to Auckland. It’s a super short flight, just under two hours, from the south island to the north island. After spending a full week of driving across the country, it was kind of crazy to realize that we were already on our way back to our starting point and that it would only take 2 hours to get there after over 20 hours of driving.
And with that, we made our way to Auckland for the next part of our adventure.