After dropping off the dinged-up car at the Wellington Airport on Monday (oops!), Sally and I checked into our hostel, which is nice as far as hostels go. We have our own private bathroom and a tv, so it's basically just a cheap hotel. Wellington is a very beautiful city ("cute" in female-speak). It's not nearly as big as Auckland, its skyscrapers are smaller and fewer in number, and it's cleaner. And it seems like there's still more to do here in Wellington. Thus, two enthusiastic thumbs up.
We decided to act on a "splurge" recommendation for dinner Monday night at Logan Brown (thanks Laura Anthony!). As we approached, we became more and more concerned that we weren't going to be allowed in the joint because it looked soooo nice. Our fears were hardly allayed when as we were about to enter, two guys in suits walked out. In sweaters and jeans (though granted, there were NICE sweaters), I finally decided to just take the plunge. Kiwis are cool and laid back, right? Long story short, they sat us and it was no big deal. But there was no one dressed more casually than we were.
Anyway, we got a drink at the bar, which turned out to be a great idea. Our bartender was very nice and willing to chat. So in addition to making an amazing vodka tonic, he recommended some great places for us and also steered us from some of the more over-done touristy places. Cheers for that. Dinner was amazing. It was definitely expensive, but we had one of those semi-circle booths tucked away in a corner, we had great service, and the food was amazing. It was well worth it. Wellington is known for its fine dining, and I think we hit a home run on night one.