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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Auckland Travel Guide
Auckland Travel Guide and Auckland Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
'The City Of Sails'

The old theory is that visitors to New Zealand will find some relaxed re construction of 1950’s middle England, a place where people leave their doors unlocked, bake apple pies every Sunday and all the women wear aprons.

Even though the rather twee hand made airport encourages this conception, get ready to be slapped in the face by the bold, 21st century Auckland.

The city swarms with life, from the vibrant waterfront (it is not called the ‘City of Sails’ for nothing) through the busy, ever expanding Downtown district, to the highly individual suburbs and beautiful beaches.

Auckland may not be New Zealand’s capital (which is Wellington) but it is New Zealand’s largest city and, along with Christchurch on the South Island, the major gateway to the joys of this most diverse and brilliant country.

Just over 300 kilometres (which is 190 miles) from the northern tip of the North Island, Auckland bestrides a narrow isthmus, the city’s districts weaving their way around bays and harbors, small and large.

Around the city are numerous rugged hills, reminders of the eruptions of the 48 volcanoes that created the isthmus about 50,000 years ago. The earth’s crust is very thin between Waitemata and Manukau harbors and fissures in the surface burst forth with magma every few thousand years, to create more volcanoes, the last some 600 years ago, which formed Rangitoto Island, much to the concern of the Maori who were settled on neighboring Motutapu Island.

Some think that over 1,000 years ago, the first of many waves of Polynesian migrants arrived in New Zealand in double hulled canoes, to begin hunting and limited cultivation on the fertile volcanic land.

Highly defensible and numerous, the volcano top sites covered by rich soil made wonderful settlements, which consequently thrived. However, after the arrival of Europeans in the 1820s, the introduction of the gun (which led to a massive increase in inter tribal warfare) and European carried disease, the Maori population was demolished.

The British bought land in the area from the local Maori tribe for £55 and some blankets, in 1840 which was when Auckland was made the capital city of New Zealand, which it remained until 1865 until Wellington took over.

As well as the fertile land and harbors, the city’s maritime climate is appealing. Its situation by the sea means that it never gets too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer.

There may be occasional frosts during wintertime (which is from June to August) but rarely anything too severe, while summer temperatures usually stay in the mid 20s Celsius (which is upper 70s Fahrenheit), although it can become quite humid. This climate naturally leads to a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

It is said that there are more boats per capita in Auckland than in any other city in the world. There are over 500 kilometres (which is 310 miles) of walking trails within Greater Auckland, as well as 22 leafy parks.

Support for the hedonistic outdoor lifestyle is provided by a prosperous economy, as tourism is one of New Zealand's biggest and fastest expanding earners, particularly since the release and positive response to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Filmed in New Zealand, the films created an advantageous knock on effect for the city’s business and finance sectors, making Auckland a city in bloom.

But when the city palls, its inhabitants escape to the Coromandel Peninsula, the offshore Hauraki Gulf Islands, or up the coast to another of the country’s seaside beauty spots, the Bay of Islands.

Boats to the islands leave the ferry terminal, a part of Auckland’s restored waterfront that was upgraded and revitalized for the 2000 Americas Cup challenge and the inglorious 2003 failure to retain the Louis Vuitton trophy.

A little east is Queen Elizabeth II Square, and running south of the Square is Queen Street; the city’s main road, on which stands the impressive Auckland Town Hall. Queen Street eventually reaches Karangahape Road, which is also known as K Road. Between K Road and the waterfront, is the heart of Auckland City. To the southeast is the sophisticated Parnell district, with the Auckland Domain Park and Auckland Museum, while northwest of the centre is Herne Bay and Ponsonby, which are full of bars and cafés.
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