We wake up around 7:30am.
Breakfast, sandwiches preparation and last packing.
We are sad to leave Queenstown. It was a very cool one-week stop. Thanks Anuraag for the great advice.
We leave at 9:30am. We must return the car at 10am, at the airport.
Our flight to Auckland is at 1:40pm.
We have plenty of time at the airport…
Isabelle goes to New World to buy some tape, in order to close well the box that she nicely built around the camping equipment that we want to send by sea freight back to Europe. In fact, we will send it to Sylvie (Isabelle’s sister), in France, from Papeete. Tahiti being a French territory (French Polynesia), it is much cheaper than from NZ.
I go with the girls to our favourite French bakery, to buy a chocolate croissant for Jules and an excellent walnut bread.
In the airport, we enjoy the very good free wi-fi.
The flight to Auckland is short: 1h30.
Up on arrival, we take the shuttle to our hotel. We took a hotel close to the airport (a kind of motel). We indeed have our flight to Papeete (Tahiti) tomorrow morning so we decided to stay near the airport.
Kids do a homeschooling session. I start checking what to do in Papeete (although we only stay 36 hours) and in Easter Island.
We eat… instant noodles! We bought them for the Routeburn Track and we need to empty our luggage as much as possible before our three 5-hour international flights of the next few days: Auckland – Tahiti, Tahiti – Easter Island and Easter Island – Santiago. No a great dinner…
We go to bed early tonight.
We wake up at 6:15am. The shuttle for the airport is at 7am.
Check-in of our luggage is ok. We had bought an extra checked-in bag yesterday online and they accept to check in an extra suitcase. They also allow us to take 2 of the kids’ suitcases onboard.
We buy a salad at ‘Tank’ for our lunch (in the plane).
We pass the ‘International Date Line’ (IDL) today: we leave NZ at 10am and we arrive… yesterday (Sunday) in Papeete, at 4pm!
So, technically, I should have written the following part under ‘Sunday 18’… It’s super cool to live one day twice…
The weather is rather cloudy in Papeete. There’s a small band at the entrance of the terminal building. Everything is in French; we are in France (the French Polynesia is indeed a French state).
We are welcome with a flower necklace. The hotel shuttle is waiting for us.
The hotel is 20′ from the airport. At the hotel, the reception is closed (we’re Sunday afternoon) but we have access to our rooms. There’s a French couple (living here 2 months a year) who gives us some advice.
Around 5:30pm, we go on foot to the nearby beach (plage Vaiava), to watch the sunset.
We go and eat at 6:30pm at a ‘roulotte’ (kind of food truck) along the road. The French couple is very nice.
We eat local food: red tuna sashimi, chicken in banana sauce and raw fish in coconut preparation. It’s quite good. We take a Nutella waffle as dessert.
We come back at the hotel at 8pm.
Despite the fact that we lost one hour today, we go and sleep early. I was sleeping by 9:30pm!
Monday 19/03 (again!)
We wake up at 8am.
Our first mission of the day is to send our 2 parcels back to Europe. The people from the hotel discourage us a bit (“it’s too big; “there’s no boat to France from here any longer”…) but we are determined to send these parcels (including the tent) back home. These people nevertheless convince us of one thing: it will be much easier to rent a car (and it turns out to be a pretty good idea). So we take the small car of the hotel and we go (the kids being seated on the parcel…). The nearby post office sends us to another post office, near the airport. We grab some pastries (‘viennoiseries’: torsade, chocolate bread and croissant).
It’s cool to hear French songs on the radio! And to drive on the right side of the road again! After 8 months, it’s weird that people speak our language again (we have to be careful of what we say…).
We manage to send the 2 parcels. We are lucky that Sylvie lives in France; that was the only possibility to send the stuff by sea (hence much cheaper). We pay less than 100 Euro while it would have cost us more than 300 Euro to send them from NZ.
We then go to Papeete municipal market. We reach there around 11am, which is a bit late. The meat and fish sections are already closing. But it’s nice to feel the atmosphere of the town. There are bands playing music. We buy some fruit (coconut to drink the milk, small bananas and mangoes). I also take a delicious smoothie (apple, banana, aloe, lemon, chia seeds and fresh mint).
We go to Carrefour, initially to buy some cereals for our breakfast on Easter Island. But it’s such a pleasure to find some typical French/Belgian products that we stay a bit longer… We end up buying a lot of Côte d’Or dark chocolate! Looking forward to tasting it…
We go to Le Méridien to have lunch. We arrive around 2pm. We eat a very nice lunch at the pool bar. We then stay around the swimming pool until 5:45pm. Nice place. Kids enjoy the swimming pool; e play ‘Marco Polo’.
We go back to town, to have an early dinner on the Place Vaiete, where half a dozen ‘roulottes’ gather every evening. We chose different meals (roast chicken, raw fish in coconut milk and a salted crepe with ham and cheese). Nice atmosphere.
We go back to the hotel at 7:30pm. We do a quick jump in the swimming pool and after we take a shower before going to the airport (at 8:30pm) with the shuttle.
We arrive at the airport at 9pm… 6 hours before our 3am flight to Hanga Roa (Easter Island). We can’t even enter the airport before midnight (3 hours before the flight)…
We find seats on which we can sit and wait, without internet…