Visit Awesome Auckland in New Zealand
Visitors to the spectacular city of Auckland, in the northern region of New Zealand’s North Island, will soon understand why its nickname is the "City of Sails". It has been reported that one in three households in Auckland owns a boat and there are upward of 135,000 yachts and launches registered in the region. Several yacht clubs and marinas are located in the Waitemata Harbor, including the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the largest marina in the Southern Hemisphere, the Westhaven Marina. Surfing is another popular outdoor activity in Auckland, with several beaches – Piha, Bethells Beach, Muriwai, Orewa, Pakiri and Omaha - offering surfers the perfect conditions to enjoy their sport.
Auckland has a vibrant cultural community, with a number of world-class events taking place throughout the year, including the Auckland Festival which takes place every two years and features performing arts events from throughout New Zealand, the Pacific region and Asia. TheNew Zealand International Comedy Festival takes place every year in both Auckland and Wellington, with contingent of comedians traveling to other parts of the country – a highlight on many a social calendar. Events highlighting the cultural diversity of Auckland include Polyfest, the Auckland Lantern Festival and the Pasifika Festival. The city's full-time symphony orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, holds concerts throughout the year and also provides the music for ballet and opera performances.
The Auckland Domain offers visitors a peaceful haven near the city's CBD and is home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The park also offers spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf to the east. This huge body of water is part of the Pacific Ocean, but is well protected by the Coromandel Peninsula to the east and somewhat protected by the aptly named Great Barrier Island and Little Barrier Island to the north. Nature lovers will enjoy the sight of huge schools of dolphins, sometimes up to 500 in a school, frolicking in Hauraki Gulf, and it is not uncommon to see orcas and various whale species in the gulf's waters. Various islands are bird sanctuaries, some being home to critically endangered bird species such as the grey-faced petrel, kiwi, brown teal and takahe.
Certainly, Auckland has plenty to offer, and visitors will be hard-pressed to choose what to see and do first.
Picture attribution: Ronnie Mcdonald (Wikimedia Commons)