Kia Ora! Welcome to the home of the Maori people, also known as Tāmaki Makaurau or Ākarana in Maori. Its nickname, The City of Sails, is derived from the fact that about a third of the country’s yachtsman are from Auckland. The Westhaven Marina – the largest yacht marina in the Southern Hemisphere is a sea of white flapping sails with intermittent splashes of blue and a sight to behold. Home to the largest Polynesian population in the world, it is New Zealand’s largest city and ranks third in the Mercer Quality of living survey, 9th on the Economist most livable city list and a Beta city in the global economic system.
What makes it unique, however, is its topography. Being an isthmus, a narrow strip of land connecting two pieces of land, it is one of the few cities in the world to have two harbors- Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. It is also the only city in the world built on a dormant volcanic field which bestows upon it forty-eight volcanic cones, all of which are extinct even as the field is active.
You’re there for the Cricket World Cup 2015, so you’ll no doubt begin your day at Eden Gardens, the home of Auckland cricket, on the 14th March. If you’re a betting person, you’ve probably decided to head back to Auckland for the Semi Finals on the 24th March. The match starts at 2:00 pm, so save the morning to explore a little bit of the city. Have breakfast at St Helliers Bay (387 Tamaki Drive) or one of the many little cafés in Ponsoby and then head over to the Auckland Art Gallery on the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Street; it houses New Zealand’s most extensive art collection.
Learn to use that panoramic setting on the camera because today you’re going to explore Rangitoto, one of Auckland’s forty-eight volcanic cones. Hop on a ferry from Downton Auckland after a quick breakfast in one of the café’s and take either a guided tour when you get there or walk up to the summit with the children- a great way to burn off some energy. Take in some jaw dropping views of the emerald islands of the Hauraki Gulf, the rugged horizons of the Waitakere Ranges in the west and Hunua Ranges in the east. Drop in on the lava caves on your way up. In the evening head to the Britomart precinct to hoard up on calories you lost during the day as you dine at one of the restaurants on North Wharf overlooking the water at Wynyard Quarter.
Wine lovers should head to Waiheke, an island home to over thirty vineyards, olive gardens and white beaches where you can kayak, swim and have a champagne picnic in the sun; it’s the perfect day out. We suggest Te Whau Vineyard & Restaurant (http://tewhau.com), which Wine International calls the “one of the most achingly beautiful and dramatic places a vineyard has ever taken root”. I don’t think we need to say much more.
And here’s something for you to listen to as you research Auckland a little bit more ….
This year when cricket’s biggest event rolls up be where the action is! Plan a trip to Australia and New Zealand with Eventraveler’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 page. For more on Auckland visit our guide to Auckland and the Eden Park stadium.
Experience events live with eventraveler.com.