After a fairly long 12.5 hour flight from LA in AA’s Main Cabin Extra seats we landed in Auckland. I got pulled out of the automatic immigration line (again) because of the angle of my face (apparently). Being short can be a disadvantage for this sort of thing. Thankfully, it was smooth sailing on the way out!
We did the 15 minute outdoor walk over to the domestic terminal to stretch our legs and had no trouble with the automatic check-in and bag drop process. We breezed through security and plopped down at a cafe for a flat white (me) and to finish the stash of cookies we brought with us (both of us). :)
Boarded the plane to Wellington and enjoyed a silly safety video with the guy from Flight of the Concords and Anna Faris. We spent the 55 minutes noshing on BBQ rice crackers and admiring the view out the window.
Our bags came out fairly quick and although we had to call twice to get the Apex car hire shuttle to come we had no problems after that. Just as we had on our last trip, we were assigned another white Tiida.
The drive into Wellington was a bit squirrely with lots of turns. Honking in the Vic tunnel was amusing – we participated wholeheartedly on the way back the airport (much to Eric’s embarrassment).
Checked into the hotel and handed the car keys over to the concierge as we planned on exploring on foot for the rest of the day. Our first stop was the MaltHouse for a beer and quick snack. I got the Garage Project Arno Noir (strong stout) and Eric got the Bentspoke Puss in Boots (sour ale) and we split a basket of fries. All in for $30 NZD. It was a pleasant day and people watching was fun. Afterwards we checked out a few places for dinner – Dragonfly was closed due to the earthquake and another brewery was closed Sun/Mon. Oh well.
Headed to the harbor, walking along the Wellington Waterfront, including the City to Sea Bridge area – lots of people were eating gelato and sitting on the steps enjoying the sunshine.
From there we wandered through a few street art areas to take photos and made our way to Garage Project.
We accidentally ended up at the the growler fill place first – 1 L and 2L soda bottles being filled with beer. Clever. We tried two but couldn’t get a glass there so the woman directed us to the quaint tasting room a three minute walk further up the street. There was one open table (yeah!) and a lovely greeting from a Dalmatian. I asked for a couple different tastes and the bar staff was very friendly and helpful. We settled on a Cherry Bomb (nitro porter, served a bit too warm for my taste) and Day of the Dead (black lager w/ smoked chilis and chocolate).
We weren’t super hungry yet so we chilled at the hotel for a bit then went to Basque for tapas. We really enjoyed the jamon and cheese croquettes with spicy paprika aioli and a grilled chicken dish. Eric even tolerated the amount of cilantro! To drink we had an Apple Crumble cider (Eric) and I got the only dark beer on the list, a sweet stout. By 9:30pm we were beat.