North Island - New Zealand
Auckland city is built on a narrow isthmus between two harbours, the Waitemata (Maori name for sparkling waters), on the north and east, and the Manukau (Comprises extensive mudflats and sand banks, Maori name, place for wading birds), is on the south and west.
Both harbours are flooded valleys surrounded by numerous volcanic mounds (More than 110, the highest remaining one is Mount Eden, 196 m. (Maungawhau, the Maori name), site of a former pa, (Fortified Maori settlement) and hills, the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf are well sheltered by the Coromandel Peninsula and a chain of islands in the gulf.
The metropolitan area centred around Auckland city includes Northshore, Manukau, and Waitakere cities and some smaller suburbs.
The downtown is centred around Queen Street, surrounded by the Waitemata Harbour, Karangahape Road other streets running parallel with the main road, is a busy business and shopping area with Aotea Centre near the centre of it, a cultural and convention facility, attracting many visitors.
To the west are the fertile wine and fruit growing areas of the Henderson Valley and the beautiful Waitekere Ranges.
Auckland is New Zealand's largest port, and it handles a third of the New Zealand's imports and the largest industrial centre.
With the population of nearly one million, nearly one third of New Zealanders live in the Auckland metropolitan area.
Auckland has many parks, beaches and many other attractions, like Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, Albert Park, Auckland Domain, One Tree Hill, the Parnell Rose Garden and the zoo at Western Springs also has many markets, amusement parks, walks, golf courses, and galleries, Harbour cruises and scenic flights are also available.
Auckland is a world renown boating centre and is often called the City of Sails for the many yachts that sail its two beautiful harbours.
At the Auckland Anniversary Day (Last Monday in January), over a thousand yachts sail on the Waitemata Harbour in the world's biggest one-day regatta.
The much coveted America's Cup was in Auckland for about six years until early 2003.
Auckland has good motorway, bus, ferry and train services.
Auckland has three bridges crossing its harbours one at the Manukau Harbour, the Upper Harbour crossing and the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge linking the city with the North Shore.
Maori tribes lived in the area since 1300 A.D., according to Archaeologists, many fierce fighting were fought over its possession by war for the rich farming land and the harbour fishing grounds, the Ngati-whatua tribe gaining final control of the land.
In 1769, Captain James Cook, the British explorer sailed into the Hauraki Gulf.
In 1840 William Hobson, the lieutenant governor of New Zealand, shifted the capital from Russell to Auckland.
He named it after Lord Auckland, the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time.
In 1865, the capital was moved to Wellington.
In 1841, Maori chiefs, Apihai te Kawau, Tinana, and Reweti Tamaki and others sold about 1,212 hectares of present Auckland to the government, for 50 pounds sterling, 50 blankets, 4 casks of tobacco, 1 bag of flour, 20 hatchets, 20 trousers, 20 shirts, 10 waistcoats, 10 caps, 1 box of pipes, 91 metres of gown pieces, 10 iron pots, and 1 bag of sugar.
Finding gold at Coromandel and rapidly increasing trade helped the city to grow rapidly and by 1902 the first trams were running.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
Auckland city from the Harbour Bridge 2009
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