This is where it got a little complicated. Upon arriving to at Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport, we headed for Air New Zealand’s check-in area all cheery and ready for a seamless jaunt to Australia’s next door neighbour. Completely contrary to what STA Travel had told me, the company I had booked these flights through, it was not a simple and easy process to add luggage at the airport. Well, no, that’s not true. It was exceptionally simple and easy, but it would cost $120 per bag for each of my four luggage-toting companions. Excuse me? I think this was actually comparable to what we had paid for the flights in the first place. After about 30 minutes and a series of phone calls to Air NZ reservations, the travel agent, and reservations again, we succeeded in adding our 4 bags for $55 a piece. This was a much more swallowable amount.
I do take a good chunk of the responsibility for this, as I did not double check the agent’s advice and assumed that the baggage conditions would be similar to that of a Canadian airline in that (last time I flew on a Canadian airline, at least), airport baggage was slightly less quick and easy, but pretty much the same cost as doing it beforehand. Live and learn, I suppose, as I will not be making that mistake again.
All is well, crisis averted, back to checking in. Angela, the exceptionally friendly and helpful Air NZ staff member who had been helping us, asked to sight all of our exit tickets out of New Zealand. Ah.
No worries, as far as I was concerned. I had a perfectly valid flight back to Sydney in a couple of weeks’ time. Except. Except that my Australian Working Holiday Visa was to expire in about 3 days. The tourist visa I had been advised to apply for by immigration, to return to Australia, had to be applied for from outside of the country. It was on my immediate list of things to do upon arriving in New Zealand. But, tricky blighters, New Zealand wouldn’t let me into their country without a valid ticket out to a country I actually had legal rights to be in. At this point, that does not include Australia. Damn.
With our departure time ticking closer, I was back on the phone. Australian Immigration, the New Zealand consulate … trying to come up with a solution. I had to leave the country to apply for a visa, but I couldn’t leave the country without a visa. There was nothing that could really be done in order to bend the immigration laws (surprise, surprise), so I ended up booking a mostly refundable (less a $60 change fee) to Vancouver, from Auckland, so I could board.