Located on the North Island of New Zealand, booming Auckland is a city of harbours that has much to offer both leisurely strollers and die-hard explorers. Visitors can explore the city's various neighbourhoods to get a grasp of its diverse cultural roots, be they Maori, European or Asian. This lively city boasts a pleasant climate and many uniquely-landscaped regional parks strewn with volcanic cones.
Originally known as Tamaki-Makau-Rau, a Maori word meaning "the city of 100 lovers," Auckland is home to the world's largest Polynesian community. Visitors standing atop the Sky Tower, the Southern Hemisphere's highest tower, will be amazed by the breathtaking view of the city's landmarks. Nautical excursion enthusiasts will delight in the many opportunities offered by the Hauraki Gulf and the surrounding islands and their magnificent beaches, while avid hikers will find much to love in the region's many trails that lead through lush rainforests and to the summits of volcanoes. Furthermore, wine lovers will want to explore the area's vineyards to sample the excellent local Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons. Auckland will also impress history and art buffs with its many museums, including the Auckland Museum, the Auckland Art Gallery and the Museum of Transport and Technology. For their part, amateur oceanographers can head to the New Zealand National Maritime Museum or Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World.