Biking New Zealand Planning The Big Trip

All boxed in to fly bikes to New Zealand

Bike boxes loaded onto a horsebox ready to shipping
Written by Stuart Wickes

All boxed in to fly bikes to New Zealand

From:     Kirstie, Stuart, Matthew and Cameron
Subject:  All Boxed In to Fly Bikes to New Zealand.
Place:     Invercargill, South Island, New Zealand

A challenging check in..

Stuart Profile SmallThe going was good for our journey to Manchester airport, in a horse box no less. Well, how else do you get three giant bike boxes to the airport to fly bikes and trailers to New Zealand?

Check-in was more of a challenge though. The first hurdles appeared on arrival at the check in desk 10 though where the 32kg rule caught us out. One box passed the test but two caused a steward’s enquiry, weighing in at 4kg over each and requiring a redistribution of weight. One hour, two Singapore airline chilled meal boxes and a roll of packing tape later we were finally checked in, but our three large boxes still needed to negotiate additional security checks. Too big for X-ray machines they needed to be individually swabbed. Then three loaders were summoned from the airport underworld to take the boxes to baggage land for onward transit, hopefully to be reunited with us at Invercargill. We waved goodbye, crossed our fingers and went for a coffee.

Bike boxes at Manchester Airport

Three bike boxes ready for the loaders to do their trolley dash

The fly bikes from Christchurch challenge

The boxes reappeared unexpectedly at Christchurch airport, where no-one knew quite what to do with them. We had hoped they would travel right through to Invercargill without intervention but spotted them lurking abandoned on a lonely trolley on the runway. The trolley was collected several times, taken to a plane and then returned to its original spot. Apparently too big to fit in the cargo hold of any of the planes to Invercargill. As our connecting flight took off, Matthew pointed out the boxes still on the runway beneath us. We wondered if we would ever see them again.

Bikes in bike boxes on the runway at Christchurch Airport

Our bike boxes on runway at Christchurch. Have they been abandoned?

A long awaited phone call

A call came from the airport three hours after we were settled into our Invercargill homestay with Russell and Marion Miller. Our hosts chased the airline mercilessly to deliver our precious cargo which eventually followed us down on a later flight.

“We’d deliver it to you but we don’t have a vehicle big enough” said the apologetic Head of Baggage, “You’ll have to collect .”

Nothing was too much trouble for Russell who borrowed a trailer and took us back to the airport for an emotional reunion.

“You know mate, you were real lucky” said the loader as he opened the giant freight doors, “We got these in the hold with just an inch to spare.”

Bikes and trailers in boxes in a trailer in Invercargill New Zea

Our bikes arrive at Russells. Are we trailer trash?

Reunited but not quite ready to go

Casually strapped on with bungees the bikes were trailered to their final destination to await unpacking and assembly ready for the real journey to begin. They spent a happy evening basking in the late spring sunshine on the balcony while we were finally able to rest easily and prepare for the chaos of reassembly.

Bike boxes at Marion and Russell's House

Bike boxes at Marion and Russell’s. Reunited after all these miles…

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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