New Zealand’s largest city – often mistaken as the country’s capital – is called the City of Sails because of its numerous yacht marinas and sailboats anchoring offshore. But even though a lot of Auckland’s population spends their time on the water or exploring the surrounding countryside the city is buzzing with life in the evenings and on weekends.
Auckland is situated on a narrow strait filled with volcanoes (50 inactive), right between Manukau Harbour and Hauraki Golf. The metropolitan area includes the city districts of Auckland City and North Shore as well as the townships of Manukau and Waitakere. The best views over the 1.4 million people city can be admired from the Sky Tower or One Tree Hill, a formerly active volcano.
Its metropolitan flair comes mostly from its immigrants – large numbers from Polynesia and Southeast Asia – as well as millions of backpacker tourists and international students. Auckland has 2 major universities with international reputation: University of Auckland und Auckland University of Technology.
This multicultural society also reflects in the culinary options that can be found throughout the city. You can easily wander the streets on foot, stop in one of the various bars and cafes or go shopping. Restaurants or movie theatres: there is always something to be found along the “Royal Mile” – Queen Street – that leads downhill to the Harbour, or on Ponsonby Road, in the Central Business District (CBD) or in Victoria Market. The public transport system will get you almost anywhere thanks to a widely spread bus network. Don’t count on being on time, though.
Part of Auckland’s special atmosphere is due to the fact that in no time you will be at one of the most beautiful beaches surrounding the city. Among the most popular ones are Mission Bay, Devonport and Takapuna.
And even though Auckland is only 150 years old there is a lot to do and see for those who love the arts. Why not pay a visit to the Auckland Art Gallery or the Auckland Museum? The Civic Centre hosts the latest musicals and domestic plays and international music stars regularly appear on stage at the Vector Arena.
In order to understand the indigenious culture of the Maori it is recommended to participate in a so-called Noho Marae which a lot of Maori families organize with friends. They exchange small gifts and there is a lot of dancing and games. A special experience is the performance of the traditional Haka (male war dance) and Poi (female dance). You can also book a cultural performance at the Auckland Museum as part of your visit.