A well know fact about internal travel is that it's actually faster to fly to Wellington than to drive to Auckland airport. I allocated 1.5 hours to make the journey and yes we made it on time (just), but the traffic is so unpredictable that every halt on the motorway was, In my mind, a delay dooming us all. Cursing my husbands every navigational decision, sometimes out loud and often in my head, it was a wonder our marriage survived the journey. I have "being late" anxiety issues. Lucky for me my husband has faith that the crazy will end once we reach our time critical destination.
Self check in with Air New Zealand is awesome, no queues, looks futuristic (this is important, its 2010!!!!!) and super fast so it removes all my fears that we will get stuck at the end of the line and miss the flight. Also its ridiculously easy to use so even if you've been sitting in the bar for the last hour, getting your boarding pass should go smoothly. Hopped on the plane and got to watch the new rugby safety video, it makes me cringe and proud to be a New Zealander at the same time. Just like Rhys Darby. Actually he should do the next video.
In New Zealand being famous means jack shit. So you're on TV, what else can you do? There are very few personalities that are endeared to the public just for being on TV. So no one Bats an eyelid when Mike King or Kevin Milne takes a seat. I didn't see either of them waiting at the gate so the bastards probably have koru lounge memberships. I'd flash some air nz exec my boobs to get a membership, but that's as far as I'd go... probably. They have free booze y'know.
If you ever go to Wellington use the Airport Flyer (a bus) to get into town, they use the bus only tunnel, its faster, cheap and they have free wifi. It runs through the heart of Wellington and can get you pretty close to most hotels. I made my husband book the Duxton. Its central and the room came with bubbles and breakfast for 2 @$199. Duxton makes you think its a flash hotel, its nice, but fairly dated. Bathroom is nice though.
Of course you are NEVER, ever, EVER allowed to check in early. Even if they have clean rooms available. So we went to absorb some local culture at the art gallery and eat down at the waterfront. Macs beer bar for a antipasto platter and a pint, a good way to spend an hour.
The whole purpose of the trip to Wellington was Beervana. Organised by the brewers guild it is an evening full of win. Once again my favourite beer was the organic Green Man Celt. Such a perfectly balanced beer. My favourite festival beer was the Mata Hangi beer. The flavour was smoky and sweet with hints of kumara and roast pork, was I imagining the pork flavour? Maybe, but a brief glance before moving on to the next booth tells me the ingredients were roasted in the ground with a hangi, awesome. I also tried some barley wine, which was not to my taste. Back again to the Green Man stand I tried their tequilla beer, very good. I'm not adverse to a fruity beer and wedge of lime complimented this beer rather nicely.
After many many more beer tastings we stumbled back to the Duxton, barely 100m away (location of your accommodation is extremely important in vacation planning). Of course it was then the best time to enjoy the complimentary bubbles and after that (being in no state to leave the room) the hotels excellent room service. Well excellent tasting, not excellent prices. Actually it was pretty salty. But the lamb was good and tender and lots of it.
Hardcore that we are we still managed to wake up in time for a cooked buffet breakfast. Mmmm bacons. Chilled out reading the paper and then back on the airport flyer making it in plenty of time for our flight.