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Auckland - the City of Sails

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Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. It is located in the North of the Central region of the North Island. The city spans an 11km wide volcanic isthmus which separates two harbours.

These consist of the Waitemata Harbour; which opens to the Hauraki Gulf to the east, and to the Pacific Ocean. Manukau harbour lies to the west, opening to the Tasman Sea. Waitemata Harbour is the calmer of the two, favoured for the sunbathers and swimmers, whereas Manukau Harbour, and itís many West Coast beaches are favoured for itís estuaries and surfing.

Auckland is a city of action, and offers a diverse range of activities that caters for all. Within minutes from any direction in the city, you can be walking the windswept and rugged, black sanded beaches of the west, or the warm and golden sandy beaches to the east; go sea kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing or sailing. Spend hours gently coasting the seas trawling for a variety of fish, or for more excitement head off to the West for some deep-sea action Ė predominantly Marko shark or Marlin. Thermal waters abound for those wishing to soak away their aches in pains from horse riding along the beach. There are also over 50km of bush and nature walks for those really wishing to get away from it all.

South of Auckland native bush abounds for the mountain bikers, kayakers and abseilers Ė and you can often spend the day without seeing another soul. To the South there are also limestone caves and various country walks to explore.

For those who are more citified at heart, the city of Sails offers much to do. Shopping, dining, theatre, art galleries and museums are all within walking distance from the centre of the city. The many dormant volcanoís that are interspersed throughout the city offer gentle walks (or some have roads allowing you to drive to the summits) and spectacular views of the city and itís harbours.

For a great day out, take a boat cruise out to one of Aucklandís many islands. Waiheke Island is popular for those wishing for a civilized lunch, sandy beaches and warm waters Ė hire a scooter and explore the island to your heartís content. Cruising out to Rangitoto Island is a popular destination also, where you can picnic amongst the bizarre volcanic rock formations that make this island so well known. Walk to a secluded bay on the island to have a picnic and swim in the sun before returning for the cruise back to the city. Then head out for a night out in the many pubs and nightclubs that align the newly developed Auckland City Harbourside. For those with cash burning a hole in their pockets, head to the casino, and take a trip up the tower (currently the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere) for the best views of the city at night.

A brief History...

The Maoriís call Auckland ĎTamaki-Makau-Rauí meaning the city of 100 lovers. The origin of this name was due to the area being so popular by settlers (both Maori and European Ė the Morioriís being the indigenous population), with many conquests and wars dating back in History.

To the Maori, Auckland serviced all their needs, having an abundance of forestry, rich in birdlife, itís bays teeming with varieties of shellfish and fish. The Maori were of Polynesian descent and settled in New Zealand around 1200AD, after sailing to New Zealand from across the Pacific Ocean. The Europeanís didnít arrive to settle in the country until much later, early in the nineteenth century.

At time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which was supposed to pull the Maori people under the protection of the Queen and Commonwealth, the English bought the Auckland area from the Maori for six British pounds. For further details on the Treaty of Waitangi, and early history of New Zealand see the related links belowÖ

Treaty of Waitangi For a more indepth look...
Early Pioneers of New Zealand and the South Pacific A description of early history in New Zealand
Lonely Planet - Auckland Get the low down, online!
NZ Map
NZ News Check out the latest NZ headlines
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