Wellington vs. Auckland
Airport access: Getting to Wellington Airport, from Thorndon via a quick stop in Hataitai to pick up my suitcase took less than half an hour, and the only cost was some grovelling to my mother. Getting to the CBD of Auckland via a shuttle took an hour and cost $26 – that’s 15 minutes longer than the actual flight, and only $13 less than the ticket. Wellington 1, Auckland 0.
Airports: Wellington airport has only one terminal, which is blissfully fast food chain-free and it’s a sexy big space. You can get Fuel coffee, and Wishbone food (which caters to a wide range of dietary requirements) but it’s loud and bustly, and the stools they have at counters are shiny metal and you slip off them. Meanwhile, Auckland Airport may have Burger King and MacDonalds, but they also have a juice bar with those posh award-winning recoverable design style chairs. A tie.
The hotel: With a special Wotif.com mystery deal, my ‘studio’ at The Quadrant was $99 per night. That’s $8 less than the $107 I pay in rent per week, but the whole studio, including kitchen and bathroom was approximately the size of my bedroom. It was much much tidier though, and, as a special bonus, I discovered I could watch TV from the toilet. Why would I ever need to leave? The Quadrant makes a big deal about its architecture, and they’re right, it is pretty sexy. I guess the nearest equivalent to it in Wellington would be the new Holiday Inn, but I’ve never been in it, and apparently its toilet doors freak people out, so I guess I’m going to have to call Auckland the winner on this one. 1 all.
Entertainment: I went up to Auckland to see Muse play, and if someone had given me a free ticket, I would gladly have gone along to Justin Timberlake as well. In addition, I got to go to the wrestling at the Lynfield YMCA, have lots of spas, and watch naked chicks on the television in my hotel room. Fine, Auckland gets the entertainment points. This time.
Eating: A key feature of any trip to Auckland is assembling a large group of my friends to gorge ourselves silly at Canton in Kingsland. Wellington, quite frankly, does not have a Chinese restaurant that makes me drool this much. But the coffee is universally better than that which I drank at the hotel cafe, Gloria and Rueben, and coffee is important. Despite all the booming growth around Symonds Street, there’s still not a huge range of cafes in the area, so I’m going to have to give this one to Wellington.
Drinking: The choice of bars to go to in Kingsland after dinner at Canton was either Ruby – a small bar playing hits of the ’80s very loudly, or the big hulking Kingslander, with a TV screen in every single line of sight, affecting conversation. And yes, that’s right, I’m going to judge all Auckland bars on what was available in Kingsland. Wellington for the win, again!
Final result: Wellington 3, Auckland 2. It’s good to be home.