We arrived in Auckland about 6pm on December 31st. Needless to say we were rather excited to be in New Zealand, and the fact that it was New Year’s Eve just made it that much better. After a rather easy, though protracted, journey through customs we were met outside the airport by our good friend Alex. He had arrived a few days earlier and had our rental car and motel set and ready to go.
We stayed in New Market at a little motel called Alpers Lodge on Alpers street. It was good, but nothing special. After arriving at the hotel, we busted out some of the spoils from’ the 2 for 50 sale going on at the duty free store, and set about getting ready for a good new years. We had a few drinks then headed out to get some dinner. We walked down to a cool little restaurant and pub called the Lumsden where I got my first taste of Auckland’s beer selection.
Let me be the first to say that I was impressed. After spending the last two months in SE Asia, where the beer was cheap but far from good, and a year in Australia where the beer was both expensive and bad, with the exception of Perth and Margret river area, it was wonderful to be able to enjoy some quality craft beer. It certainly isn’t cheap at $12 a pint, but it is a full pint and it’s good, so I won’t complain. We also had a cool waiter who happened to be from Denver. We had a good chat with him and he recommended a good bar to check out down by the spire where all the action was. The food was good too.
From there we hopped a cab down town. We stopped in at a bar on one side of Durham street and had a beer, then headed back across the main drag to the other side of Durham street to a bar called My Bar, which had been recommended to us by our friendly bar tender. We had a couple drinks there and enjoyed the music while waiting for midnight. At about 11:50 we head out of the bar and joined the massive crowd that had gathered in the street to watch the fire works and welcome in the New Year.
The fire works show was fun, though it had nothing on an American 4th of July. What I enjoyed the most was the energy of the crowd. Every one was happy and excited and it was hard not to smile and enjoy the good vibe. We did a little dancing to some drums and cheered the New Year with a couple hundred people. It was great fun. The cab ride back to New Market took some time due to traffic, but it was well worth the adventure.
We left Auckland the next morning, so I did not get to see much of it. I liked the little I saw how ever. It didn’t feel overwhelmingly large or crowded, though I am sure this feel was accentuated by the fact that it was a holiday and most everything was closed. It was composed largely of cute little suburbs, and the streets and buildings were clean and well lit. It had a young feel to it as well, which was nice. Between the numerous little pubs serving delicious hoppy beers and the young and vibrant feel it felt a lot like Seattle. The fact that it was grey and rainy probably helped that along a bit.
Though our stay in Auckland was short this time, we will be back soon. Hopefully we will get the chance to explore the city a little more then.
Happy New Years!