Ben, February 26, 2013
The day after the Tongariro Crossing, we drove four hours to what is known as "the coolest little capital," Wellington. If Auckland is the big city and Queenstown is the small mountain town, Wellington is the lovable hybrid of the two. Wellington has a very walkable, concentrated downtown area which makes it great for tourists.

Upon arrival, we checked into our hotel, At Home Wellington, and headed out to get an afternoon snack. We walked up the waterfront and back down Lambdon Quay where we stopped for some coffee. Like most places, filtered drip coffee is pretty much non-existent, so we have been drinking long blacks, which is similar to an Americano (a short black would be equivalent to a shot of espresso).

That night we checked out Wellington's craft brew pubs. We started at General Practitioner for a beer, then headed to Fork & Brewer for a couple beers and some chicken wings. New Zealand is great, but America gets a point in the chicken wing column (admittedly, I don't think NZ is trying very hard to take that crown). We finished the night at Mac's Brewpub. New Zealand has some solid beers. I've enjoyed Speight's, Steinlager, and Mac's Gold, which are popular but probably wouldn't really be considered "craft brews."

The next day we mostly just wandered around Wellington. We visited Mt Victoria, the botanical gardens, and watched some rowing races at the waterfront. We finished up with dinner at The Portlander (funny, but I assume coincidental, because Wellington is roughly the size of Portland). The menu had a bunch of great quotes, including one from Anthony Bourdain that Pam and I enjoyed. It said: "Your body isn't a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride."

Some cities just have a great vibe to them, and Wellington is definitely one of them. Pam and I both agreed that if we had to pick a city in New Zealand to live in, it would be Wellington.
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