Because breakfast at Dear Jervois the previous morning was a bit of a disappointment, I picked a new place for dinner this morning, Mary’s. Closer to the hotel and located in a completely nondescript building (the sign simply says ‘Mary’s’ with cafe hours, no hint about what is inside), the inside is a charming open space and the breakfast was simple and delicious. Eric had scrambled eggs on toast with a rich mashed potato cake while I got the toasted plain (but really poppyseed) bagel with salmon, cream cheese and capers. Eric’s hot chocolate came with two homemade marshmallows and my flat white(s) were also tasty.
Wanting to kill some time before dropping the rental car off, we stopped at the Auckland Domain Wintergardens. This modest garden area near the Auckland War Memorial Museum was a great way to spend some time. The Cool House, Tropical House and Fernz Fernery were all beautiful and although crowded with schoolchildren, still totally worth the stop.
We dropped the car off at noon and then waited for a few minutes for the AA desks to open so we could check our bags and head to a lounge. We decided to try the Qantas lounge first and for some reason the front desk person let us into the First Class area! :) The champagne was lovely but the food was just okay – we enjoyed the blue cheese and the mini cupcakes but the blue cheese broccoli soup was bland. Next, we skipped over to the Priority Pass lounge to see if we could both get in as promised with the membership from Eric’s new Chase card — all went well. This lounge had more food choices but the wine wasn’t as good.
Arrived at the gate just as they were announcing platinum folks could board – perfect! We were on our way home after a lovely second trip to New Zealand.