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
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
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
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
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.