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I met Mom and Dad at LAX, but before we could board the plane – small hiccup: a security breach at the checkpoint by our gate. We were delayed while police searched for who knows what/who, and our whole flight crew was trapped on the other side of security. Eventually we were allowed aboard the plane, and were assured we’d make up the time in the air. We had a great flight on Qantas – a little schedule so we’d know when food was coming, good food, great entertainment, a surprising amount of sleep.

We landed in Auckland then flew to Queenstown. Had a laugh at our first exposure to the New Zealand accent – at the airport a woman kept coming over the PA asking passengers to go to the check-in hut which sounded exactly like ‘chicken hut’. As we flew over the South Island we had amazing views of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. When we exited the plane onto the tarmac the air smelled wonderful – like cinnamon toast, I swear! A good beginning to the trip. We were surprisingly un-jetlagged so after we checked in at the hotel (Dad did great driving on the other side of the road for the first time!) we took the gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak and took in the view of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables and the paragliders. We walked up the path that wound its way through and over the luge track, and basked in the sun awhile (it was super hot in Queenstown – probably nearly 90 and the excellent weather and blue skies would follow us all around the island) then came back down the mountain and ate dinner at a pub. We got dessert to go – this AMAZING Bailey’s molten chocolate cake – and managed to eat most of it before going to bed.