I woke in Cairns on 9th June 2012 at 0230. I arrived in Rarotonga after about 16 hours of travel on 9th June 2012 at 0130. Read on to find out how:
I was at Cairns airport by 0330 – much too early for my 0530 flight. The usually busy check in desks were deserted.
My itinerary had me travelling on the following flights:
- 0530 Cairns to Brisbane
- 0910 Brisbane to Auckland
- 1915 Auckland to Rarotonga
My total flying time was scheduled to be 9 hours, with a five hour stopover in Auckland. Auckland airport was pretty comfortable, and I treated myself to a cup of New Zealand airport coffee while I waited, a flat white of course. Every Kiwi I’ve ever met has told me how fabulous the coffee is in New Zealand: the airport coffee was pretty good, so I think a “decent” cup of coffee in New Zealand proper must be something special.
So how did I arrive before I left?
The secret was that I crossed the International Date Line, which is the arbitrary line demarcating one calendar day from the next. The International Date line follows a route from the North to the South Pole roughly along 180 degrees longitude, diametrically opposite from the Prime Meridian, which runs through Greenwich. Crossing this line marked the furthest I have ever been away from home in my entire life. Being an arbitrary construct, all I have to show you is a photo of the map from the in-flight entertainment system:
Time Zones to the East of the line are calculated as being ahead of GMT. Time zones to the West of the line are behind GMT. Because I crossed the line going East to West, I went from being 11 hours ahead of London time to being 11 hours behind London time the previous day.