Auckland straddles a thin isthmus on New Zealand’s North Island, with harbors opening to the Tasman Sea on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east. With more than a million inhabitants, Auckland is the country’s largest city. It offers plenty of urban culture, including the Auckland Museum (with exhibits on the native Maori and Polynesian cultures) and a downtown core of office towers, including the iconic 328-meter Sky Tower. However, most people here pursue an active, outdoors-oriented lifestyle -- surrounded on nearly all sides by water, it’s no wonder that Auckland has more yachts per capita than any other city in the world, and one-third of Aucklanders owns a boat.
Auckland has been a hot spot for an awfully long time, but the reasons have quite fortunately changed.
New Zealand's largest city and prime international gateway resides on some 48 volcanoes, but it's been 600 years since lava flowed from any of them. Those volcanic hills have created great park space, fabulous panoramic views and twin harbors filled with watercraft. In fact, Auckland's nickname is The City of Sails.
It's a sprawling metropolitan area (actually four cities) of more than one million souls, including the largest concentration of Polynesians on the planet. And it's known for its multicultural flair and bustle.
The big attraction is all that waterfront property and the leisure pursuits that go with it. On land, there's a variety of museums (including a highly regarded Maritime Museum) and the famed Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, with its sharks and penguins and masses of sea life.