Auckland’s a city of volcanoes, with the ridges of lava flows forming its main thoroughfares and its many cones providing islands of green within the sea of suburbs. As well as being by far the largest, it’s the most multicultural of NZ’s cities. A sizable Asian community rubs shoulders with the biggest Polynesian population of any city in the world. The traditional Kiwi aspiration for a freestanding house on a quarter-acre section has resulted in a vast, sprawling city. The CBD was long ago abandoned to commerce, and inner-city apartment living has only just started to catch on. To get under Auckland’s skin you’re best to head for the rows of Victorian and Edwardian villas in its hip inner-city suburbs.
Auckland straddles the Auckland Volcanic Field, which has produced approximately fifty volcanoes. Auckland lies on and around a peninsula, less than 2 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, between Mangere Inlet and the Tamaki River. There are two harbours in the Auckland urban area: Waitemata Harbour to the north, which opens east to the Hauraki Gulf, and Manukau Harbour to the south, which opens west to the Tasman Sea. Auckland has a warm-temperate climate, with warm, humid summers and mild, damp winters. It is the warmest main centre of New Zealand and is also one of the sunniest.
The greater Auckland area has expended considerably over recent years and the population is now around 1.2 million people.