My eyes were still half closed when a sunshine penetrating the airplane window hit my face. I was very sleepy as my flight from Melbourne was quite early. I reluctantly left my hostel at 3 AM, so it was pretty obvious that I did not have much sleep last night.
As the light was quite a strong plus a definite sleepiness, I hurry to pull the window’s panel down and continue my sleep. But before that, I think a brief peek outside to see what was below won’t hurt. And gosh! I really grateful I did, as I suddenly gasped by seeing row and row of snowcaps stretched as far as the eyes could see and it looks so close as it within reach.
The view outside did instantly drove my sleep away. I was amazed by the whiteness of the snow which contrasts with the blueish of the horizon. From above, the mountains range and rivers create an image of harmony, intertwining each other beautifully. My sleepiness was officially gone! I pressed the camera shutter like crazy in order to capture the sceneries as much as I could and hope to be lucky that one of the pictures would give me a masterpiece shoot worth to keep and posted in my Instagram LOL.
I do not know how long I’ve been staring at this awe-inspiring landscape, I just feel my neck gone stiff because I turn my face in an odd angle for quite a time. A couple of minutes later the flight crew announced that the plane would be landed at Queenstown airport within fifteen minutes. My heart was pounding with an overwhelming sense of excitement, soon I could see how magnificent the mountains are from the ground. FYI, I am an Islander from a vast tropical archipelago, we don’t have winter back home so my excitement of snowy things may quite explainable.
As I get off the plane, I was immediately greeted by a great view of snow-covered mountains that seemed endless and from down here, it looks very gigantic and admirable. I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with fresh air. I was so excited as even under this cold temperature that I was not familiar with, I didn’t hurry myself to walk into the terminal building as everyone else does. Although actually, mid-September is pretty much already spring in New Zealand the temperature was still pretty cold.
The immigration officer in New Zealand also seems friendlier and chill compared to their neighboring country Australia. I pass the immigration smoothly without any significant issue. The officer stamps my passport and greets me “Welcome to New Zealand” warmly which makes me feel very welcome here. But to my surprise, the US Dollar rate in the airport was so awful. If I insist to exchange now I will lose one-third of the value. For god sake, I’ll just use ATM instead.
I walk to the exit gate to catch a bus to the city center when I notice that there was a big sign written: “Kia Ora New Zealand”, which simply means “Welcome to New Zealand” in native Maori featured in many different languages. It is even written in Bahasa Indonesia as well, which is very nice. Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand, I officially set foot on the land of the Lord of the Ring after dreaming about it for so long. It’s really happening at last.