Everything You Needed to Know About Auckland & Its Regions
We live in times where there’s a clear struggle between the old and the new. Outmoded ways of thinking and living are slowly giving way to more convenient and modern methods.
Yet, in more mature cultures, finding the cultural mean between the two is not as precarious a balancing act as it is made out to be.
New Zealand continues to be one such shining example in being as cosmopolitan as possible. One thing that truly stands out to people elsewhere is the manner in which the country has assimilated the Maori culture – almost seamlessly – into daily life. This is despite the fact that most New Zealanders are of European descent. Cultural syncretism, they call it.
It’s a ray of hope given the times we live in, with the differences between cultures being used as a wedge between people who might otherwise share the same values after all.
This is no different with Auckland – otherwise known as the “City of Sails” – and considered to be one of the best cities for the quality of life that it offers.
Uncovering Auckland – 5 Useful Facts About The “City of Sails”
Probably the first thing that we’re wired to take note when visiting a new city is its tourist attractions. Yes, there are plenty of them when you visit Auckland, but there’s much more to the City of Sails than you can imagine.
In fact, some people like it so much, they’ve decided to pick Auckland as their home. Here are a few facts that might suggest why:
Fact #1: Without a doubt, Auckland is New Zealand’s economic powerhouse, accounting for almost 35% of the nation’s GDP. Thanks to a plethora of businesses established in the city and across a number of industries, almost 1.4 million people have made it their home, thanks to the promise of a better life.
Fact #2: Auckland gets its name because of being a sailor’s paradise, which is the reason the city can boast of the largest number of recreational boats per capita in the world. The city is also home to the Southern Hemisphere’s free-standing structure – the Sky Tower.
Fact #3: Speaking of boats and wide open seas, Auckland has two harbours, which makes it an excellent location for seafood buffs. Without a doubt, you will find the finest seafood restaurants and wine, thanks to the presence of a number of vineyards in the area.
Fact #4: When it comes to living, there are two options: one can either choose to live in the suburbs, or even move away to the countryside, which is surrounded by an abundance of greenery as well as farms.
Fact #5: As for weather conditions, temperatures range between 7-24 degrees Centigrade in summer and winter with humidity, thanks to being a coastal city. One can easily attribute this moderate climate to the parks, beaches and natural beauty that Auckland is well-known for.
A Breakup of Auckland’s Regions
Getting to know Auckland well involves understanding the regions that it comprises. There are 9 of them, each with a ‘spirit’ of its own, adding its distinct flavor to the entire Auckland region.
Let’s look at what each of these 9 regions have on offer:
1: Hauraki Gulf Islands
These are a number of islands that not only have their own unique history, but also distinct personalities and reasons to visit. Some of the most popular islands include the Great Barrier, Rangitoto, Waiheke, Motuihe and the Browns Island (Motukorea). Without a doubt, there’s an abundance of greenery and wildlife on their islands, well worth exploring as a tourist.
2: North Shore
If you visit the North Shore region of Auckland, which is just across the Harbour Bridge, not only will you enjoy taking in the majestic views that the Hauraki Gulf has on offer, but you will also find plenty of opportunities to shop locally. You can visit Takapuna if you are a shopping buff, while Devonport offers a number of cafes, art and craft shops, and antique stores to obtain a souvenir from.
3: East Auckland
Located 20 miles away from the main shopping centre in Auckland, this area is a boat-lover’s paradise, thanks to the marina facility at Half Moon Bay. If one wants easy access to the sea, then East Auckland is where you need to be. Of course, there are a number of safe swimming beaches if you want to get your feet wet too. Also, if you visit, make sure you see the Howick Historical Village that is located at Pakuranga.
This region is located in the West, where one can find market gardens, wineries and greenery in the form of lush bush and amazing coastlines. A couple of places that need to be mentioned are the Waitakere Ranges and the Titirangi Village; the former offers walking trails through native bush, but also showcases an arts and crafts scene like no other. One can also visit beaches such as Whatipu, Karekare, Piha and Muriwai to enjoy activities such as surfing and coastal walks.
The most significant landmark in this area is the Auckland International Airport. This region is also home to the fastest population base, with the unmistakable presence of the Maori and Pacific Island heritage. Visitors can shop to their heart’s content at the Polynesian markets. You can also visit the Auckland Regional Botanic Garden and the Rainbow’s End Theme Park, where one can enjoy a variety of flora and fauna.
6: Franklin District
This region lies to the south of Manukau and is known for its boutique vineyards, country towns, and farmland. Some of the villages that one could visit include Pukekohe, Clevedon and Waiuku. While you are in the region, do not forget to visit the Hunua Ranges, which is popular amongst Aucklanders. Walking trails, waterfalls, picnic facilities and streams are part of the view that one can take in when visiting this scenic location.
7: Rodney County
This region is located to the North of Auckland and can be reached by the main highway to Whangarei. Its prominent features include rolling farmland and bush-clad hills. Apart from the scenic coastline in this area, there are vineyards and the settlement in Puhoi that will spice up your visit.
8: Hibiscus Coast
One significant feature of this region is the beach resort of Orewa. Not very far is the Gulf Harbour Marina, where one can visit the open bird sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi Island, and the Shakespear Regional Park.
9: Matakana Coast
If you visit this region, make sure you see the Warkworth village that is truly the centre of the Matakana Coast. It extends from the Wenderholm Park to the white sands of the Pakiri Beach. Apart from this, you can also visit Goat Island, Kawau Island and Sheep World. Also, don’t forget to visit the Couldrey House in the Wenderholm Regional Park!
As is obvious, there is so much more to Auckland than you can imagine when it comes to activities, places to visit, and sights to see. Without a doubt, you will also be able to see the sensible balance between the old and the new, and a cosmopolitan culture, if you will.
Having said that, are there any other places in Auckland that we might have missed out on? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!