OK - you'll have to forgive me for any typos or any statements that don['t make sense as I am exhausted right now. While NZ's time difference to NY is not that great (it's forward 18 hours, but that means your body only feels a 6 hour time difference, but the next day - so right now it's 10:30 AM in NY on 12/30, which means it's now 4:30AM on 12/31 in NZ), the amount of flying time (hence time not sleeping very well or at all) is really long. Air New Zealand doesnt' fly direct from NY - although that will change in October 2020, and the closest city that it does fly from is Houston, with a flight time of about 15 hours. But, flying Economy on Air New Zealand was about twice the price of Premium Econ. on Singapore Airlines (the NY - SG direct only has Prem Econ and Biz) but the flying time is a lot longer as SG is pretty far out of the way. Also, since we were going to South Island, we'd need 3 flights on ANZ (NY - Houston, Houston-Auckland, Auckland-Christchurch) which always makes me nervous that weather or something can cause you to miss a flight which could then screw everything up. The SG route has two flights as SA flies direct to Christchurch which is exactly where we wanted to start our trip.
For the food on teh flights, see
I am always impressed by the quality and selection of SA's menu. Plus, the service is really attentive, friendly and efficient.
The last time I flew the NY-SG route, it took us straight North out of NY, almost directly over the North Pole, however, this time, due to weather, they took an alternate route which crossed central Asia and the Middle East... looking at the map, it was hard to tell exactly where we were, but there was some nice scenery from 40,000 feet:
Once we arrived in Christchurch, we decided to have lunch in the airport as were about to start our road trip and had no idea when we'd find somewhere to eat.
We went to the noodle place and had a very lackluster bowl of noodle soup - above is a wonton-noodle soup - the broth had one flavor - salt - it was bit better when I added some chili paste to it. My wife got a bowl of katong style laksa, not pictured... she said hers was as lackluster as mine.
We then proceeded to rent our car and got on the road. We decided that we were awake enough to take a slight detour (about an hour each way) to see Kura Tawhiti, in Canterbury, on our way to our destination, Oamaru. You might recognize Kura Tawhiti from the Lord of the Rings...
View of the scenery on the other side of the parking lot:
Once we got to Oamaru and checked into the motel, we went out for a quick bite to eat. We were thoroughly exhausted, so I forgot to take a picture of the name of the restaurant, but it was pretty tasty and had a nice view....
Pork dumplings (recommendation of the waitress) - I think they were pork - they were pretty good, but kept falling apart.
Seafood platter for two. Crab, marinated shrimp, salmon, scallop ceviche, clams
came with garlic bread and regular bread. It seems that garlic bread is an appetizer at just about every restaurant we visited.
We were supposed to see the Blue Penguins, which Oamaru is famous for, at 9:30PM (they come back to their nest just after sunset) but we were so tired, we decided to skip it.