* The largest city in New Zealand – 1.3 million people
* Home to the most boats per capita in the world – nicknamed the “City of Sails”
* The most spread out major city in the world – lowest population density
* The largest Polynesian city in the world – over 87,000 Polynesians reside here
* The former capital of New Zealand
* Home to the largest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere – Sky Tower stands 328 meters
* Built on eleven dormant cone volcanoes that dot the city
While these are all just stats they’re worth mentioning as a preface to the beauty, life, and vibrant active lifestyle of Auckland.
The city straddles two major bays and is sheltered by a diverse and interesting chain of islands including Waiheke and Rangitoto which are accessible by daily ferry runs. Quay street is a major thoroughfare lined with marinas, restaurants, aquariums, shops, nightlife, and spectacular views of the city and the surround. Everything in Auckland begins at the water.
Surfers and hikers in Auckland take advantage of a short trip to the Tasman coast to some of the best beaches in New Zealand – Piha and Karekare. These black sand beaches hug the Waitakare Mountain Range boasting a variety of fantastic trails for hiking and biking.
Situated on the Auckland Volcanic Field, Auckland was built on and around eleven stunning dormant volcano cones. This gives even the most suburban areas of the city a rugged exterior and provides amazing views from the tops of hills like Mt. Eden – a famous spot for photos of Auckland’s skyline.
Home to the Rugby World Cup in 2011, The America’s Cup, and Cricket test matches, the sporting venues of Auckland leave thousands of fans screaming for more each season.
Another stunning venue in Auckland is the Auckland Domain, or central public park, home to acres of fields set aside for cricket pick-up games, rugby practice, summer concerts, or even just a lazy picnic. The Domain conatins duck ponds, footpaths, and one of New Zealand’s most impressive museums, The Auckland War Memorial Museum. The Greek facade references New Zealand’s involvement in its first global conflict in Turkey and Greece during World War I, but the museum houses artifacts and pieces of interest from pre-European Maori cultures and more modern conflicts including trench warfare recreations and WW II relics. This is a fantastic place to see and feel the real history of New Zealand – both pre and post European settlement.
Auckland is New Zealand’s gateway to world and it stands as a proud example of the culture, history, future, and fun that awaits any traveler to this spectacular city.