Auckland is situated on a narrow strip of land, flanked by two
magnificent harbours to the east and west. The shallow Manukau
Harbour opens out to the Tasman Sea to the west, while the
Waitemata Harbour lies at the heart of the city centre and is
Auckland's deepwater port. It has a vibrant waterfront that has
flourished with the successful hosting of the America's Cup, and
the trendy restaurants and waterside cafes are a constant hive of
Known as the 'City of Sails', with a larger boat-to-person ratio
than anywhere else on earth, it is a paradise for sailing
enthusiasts and every weekend the waters of the Hauraki Gulf come
alive with a flotilla of colourful sails. The best way to
experience the city is from the water, sailing around the
attractive harbour or on a ferry cruise to one of the many stunning
islands dotted about the Gulf.
Auckland is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in New
Zealand, and acts as a major gateway to the rest of the country.
Yet it is also one of the least densely populated in the world,
covering an area twice the size of London but with barely a million
inhabitants. It has a friendly small-town atmosphere and a relaxed
pace of life.
Beyond the bustling downtown area, dominated by the southern
hemisphere's tallest building, the Sky Tower, the city sprawls
outwards, with low-slung buildings and wooden houses among leafy
parks and walking tracks. The suburbs wind their way around
picturesque bays and harbours and between volcanic hills that
provide panoramic views over the city and mountains, encompassing
numerous green urban parklands that are dotted with sheep.