Auckland Airport – Qantas International Business Class Lounge Review

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 16

Last Day in Auckland | Leaving New Zealand

After reaching the airport, I headed to the Qantas Business Class counter. I was done very fast and headed towards the security checkup. The queue was minimal and I passed security without any issues.

But finding the Qantas Business class lounge seemed to be a bit of trouble. After passing the maze of the duty-free shopping area, I found a set of escalators to take to go to the second floor. The Qantas Business class lounge was located directly in front of the Priority Pass Strata Lounge.

The Qantas International Auckland Airport Lounge was somewhat of a mediocre lounge, neither good nor bad. The furniture, including sofas, high chairs, and others, looked bit old but I wouldn’t say it’s a small lounge.

There were some magazines on the shelves and a charging station made of shelves for electronics. I doubt anyone would charge something there and sit somewhere else.

There were coat and luggage racks for storage and I saw a small business centre with computers and printers if you need to work or print something.

The bathroom section looked better and there were plenty of amenities and towels. Shower facilities existed, but you need to go to reception first to use them.

I found the lounge not well lit. It had large windows to bring in natural sunlight, but those frosted windows blocked views and the lighting was not that bright.

The food section was adequate, but nothing extraordinary. I had a coffee and a light snack. I didn’t want to eat too much because I was more interested in trying Qantas’s business class in-flight food later on.

I was early at the airport and my flight was at 6:30 PM, so I had a lot of time on hand and took my time finishing recording the lounge for my YouTube Channel and taking pictures. I also made some calls to Canada to catch up.

Last Day in Auckland – Leaving New Zealand | Auckland Travel Blog

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 15

Auckland Sky Tower | New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 14

My flight was at 6:30 PM Dec 14, 2018. I had the whole morning and afternoon to get ready for my trip to the airport. I would be reaching Sydney at 8:05 PM.

I would have to check out from my hotel at 11, so I took a mini-stroll in the downtown area near my hotel, had something to eat, and came back on time to check out at 11.

My transportation to the airport was a shuttle service called Super Shuttle. It was from hotel door to airport service and was arranged by the hotel. The cost was $17.50 NZD, which was around $11.50 USD - not bad at all for a shuttle airport trip. Taking a public transportation SkyBus would have cost the same.

After checking out at the hotel, I was waiting for the shuttle to arrive. Because my flight was at 6:30 PM, I would have had a lot of time at the airport - which I didn’t mind because it would give me a plenty of time to complete a lounge video and try some food at Quantas’s lounge and pass some quiet time. 

The airport shuttle came slightly before the scheduled time. It was a luxury van and had a separate luggage trailer section attached to the van to carry suitcases and the like. This saved a lot of space inside the shuttle and made travel more comfortable. Another advantage the super shuttle had was its ability to use the dedicated bus lanes. It would save a lot of traffic time during rush hour.

I was very satisfied with the super shuttle service. The driver was courteous and helped me with my carry on in and out of the airport.

As I was heading towards the airport, I used my last minutes in the country observing wonderful New Zealand and appreciating its astounding beauty.

Auckland Sky Tower | Auckland Travel Blog

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 14

After the boat cruise tour, I was waiting in the area where someone from our tour company would pick me up. I didn’t have to wait long; I found the guide right after exiting the boat. The tour van took me and some other people on the same tour to the Sky Tower entrance, which was just a few minutes drive.

The tour guide gave us tickets and left us in front of the tower. We were to visit the Sky Tower and return to our hotels on our own. It made sense because I didn’t have to rush and could take my time to see everything. My hotel was just a few blocks from the tower.

The iconic Sky Tower is 328 meters (1076 ft) high and the tallest freestanding structure in the southern hemisphere. The Sky Tower is the 25th tallest tower in the world and defines Auckland’s skyline because of its height and shape.

The views were breathtaking. Having water surrounding Auckland made everything even more scenic. It offers unobstructed views of Auckland, volcanoes, and the water bodies surrounding the harbours. 

There are restaurants (some of which are revolving), cafes, ice cream shops, gift shops, casinos, and many other establishments located in the tower. However, I was busy only concentrating on the views from various angles and taking lots of videos and pictures.

The observation deck and general areas didn’t feel overcrowded at that time – which was a blessing for me. I asked a few other people to take my picture when I wanted to be in the pictures. Lots of friendly tourists were glad to help.

After finishing the Sky Tower, I walked to my hotel. My flight to Sydney would be the next day, but in the evening. So I didn’t have to rush and even would have time to walk downtown tomorrow.

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 1

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 2

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 3

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 4

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 5

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 6

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 7

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 8

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 9

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 10

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 11

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 12

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 13

Auckland Harbour Cruise | Auckland Travel Blog

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 13

After getting my cruise ticket, I was supposed to board the cruise ship via the Pier 4 dock, but there was a little bit of a wait to let the passengers out from the cruise before.

The cruise ship was a medium-sized boat divided into upper and lower decks. Most people seemed to choose the upper deck to have a better view. When we were leaving the harbour, I saw a really big cruise ship.  Surprisingly enough, this was the Celebrity Solstice, one of the top 20 largest cruise ships. I saw lots of passengers from Celebrity Solstice waving at us, but they were on decks so high they looked like little dots.

Once our 1.5-hour tour started, our boat cruised through Waitemata Harbour. The tour guide was showing and describing all the places of interest along the coastline. We headed towards Rangitoto Island.

Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island that was formed by eruptions 600 years ago. Today, Rangitoto Island is a nature reserve and popular day-trip destination. We did not actually get off the boat at Rangitoto Island; our boat just went close and stopped for a few minutes to have better view.

Some other points of interest were Devonport's historic naval base, Bean Rock Lighthouse, Hauraki Gulf, and Auckland Harbour Bridge. Tea, coffee, and some light snacks were provided, but there were a lot more options if someone wanted to pay for more.

The views of Auckland harbour and the coastal areas surrounding the harbour were breathtaking. After 10 minutes of passing Auckland’s waterfront and harbour area, natural splendor takes over. I noticed very few residential units along the coastline, unlike Sydney where the coastline is full of residential houses and apartments.

Once the boat tour was over, my last item on the itinerary was the Sky Tower visit. 

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 1

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 2

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 3

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 4

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 5

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 6

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 7

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 8

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 9

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 10

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 11

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 12

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park | Auckland Travel Blog

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 12

Before heading to Auckland Harbour, I had brief stopover at the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Michael Joseph Savage was one of New Zealand's best-loved Prime Ministers. He was the 23rd Prime Minister and the 1st Prime Minister from the Labour Party.

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park offers the best panoramic views of the city and harbour. This park feels like a place of serenity, tranquility, and splendour with the picturesque view of Auckland and ocean in the background.

There are formal gardens, a sunken pond, and a memorial in the park. The memorial was built around the grave where Savage was buried on the headland inside a historic gun bunker.

My stay was short at the park, but it was enough to learn more about New Zealand and appreciate the tranquility and grandeur of beauty the park had to offer in the middle of Auckland.

Auckland Harbour Cruise

Although Waitemata Harbour is the real name, it’s simply known as Auckland Harbour. Waitemata means sparkling waters in the Maori language. Numerous islands dot the harbour and lots of sailing boats make it obvious why Auckland is called the City of Sails.

I was given instructions where to catch the cruise ship. I had some free time and was able to capture some pictures of Auckland Harbour in the downtown area. I also met some tourists who were in my group and had a chance to talk to some of them. Some of the travelers were retired couples from different parts of the world and they were enjoying their time off traveling around the globe.

We were approached by a tour guide who was supposed to get our cruise tickets. Once he confirmed that we were the right people, he showed us the ticket counter to get our tickets to board the ship. I didn’t have to pay for the ticket because this was an all-inclusive tour.

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 1

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 2

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 3

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 4

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 5

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 6

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 7

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 8

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 9

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 10

New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 11