Have been doing some reminiscing of late and was trying to source the meaning and wonderment of travel for us. Both of us came upon it from different experiences but the common thread is that it started pretty young for us.
My interest in travel was piqued by my first flight when I was 11 years old travelling unaccompanied in the late 60’s. I had combined my birthday and Christmas presents for that year into this one adventure. That was when a flight from Whakatane to Auckland cost $18 and was in a DC3. It was quite the event and you were chaperoned by a stewardess and treated like a princess. If you have been fortunate enough to be upgraded to Business class you realise that travel in economy back in the 60’s was much better than business class is today. Oh, for the good old days. Did a bit of digging around the archives and found a couple of photos for the nostalgia buffs.
How about this photo – things is, I remember these uniforms. Rather a risque pose for the times.
Here’s a bit of trivia for you. We were visiting the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington and they told us that Air New Zealand had taken just taken delivery of it’s first 787-9. It was painted up in the “all-black” livery. It is one of the costliest paint jobs on an aircraft as the pigment in black paint is heavier and considering the whole aircraft is painted, it adds to the fuel consumption significantly. She really is quite the beauty.
While we are on the nostalgic trip, I also remember the trips we would do to Auckland from Whakatane to visit my grandparents. We would drive to the end of the Matata Straights where we would catch the steam engine for the five hour ride to Auckland. It would leave at 6.00pm at night and would arrive late in the evening which for a youngster was very exciting. Who remembers the soot that use to blow back into the carriage and the stern warnings from our parents not to open the windows.
I guess if I can play the nostalgia card then Fraser can for when he was growing up in Australia. His parents use to drive to Yass Junction from Canberra to catch the overnight train from Sydney to Melbourne. At the New South Wales/ Victorian border everyone was hauled off the train at 2-3am and crossed the platform onto another train to be able to continue their trip. The reason for this was because there was a different gauge of rail between New South Wales and Victoria. Freight was handled in exactly the same way. Ozzies eh, just couldn’t get their act together. This resulted in the longest platform in Australia at 1,493 feet long. It was not until 1962 that a standard gauge line was opened and you could travel on some of the trains the entire way.
When not taking the train to Melbourne they would all pile into the HD Holden stationwagon on a Friday evening for the 10 hour car trip. He, his brother and sister would be put in their P.J’s and would sleep in rear of the car for the trip. Try getting away with that now. His parents would then reverse the whole trip leaving on the Sunday evening and returning to Canberra in time for work on Monday morning. Now that is dedication to ensuring your kids spent time with their grandparents. A true Ozzie icon.