Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in both Polynesia and New Zealand, with a population of around 1.5 million people. It is in the northern half of the North Island, on a narrow isthmus of land that joins the Northland peninsula to the rest of the North Island.

The Auckland skyline at night from a beach in Devonport
This article only deals with Auckland City itself. In November 2010, four formerly separate cities were amalgamated. These four were Manukau in the south, Waitakere in the west, North Shore in the north and Auckland City itself, on and around the isthmus. These other cities, rural areas, small towns and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf can be found in the Auckland Region article.

Auckland is a modern cosmopolitan city with a population of 1.4 million people — roughly one third of New Zealand’s entire population reside in Auckland.
The city and suburbs have developed within the same time frame and similar urban patterns as California (Los Angeles and Auckland have shared urban planning designs and are sister cities). Today the city and suburbs sprawl over a large urban area, hemmed to the east and west by two large harbours (Waitemata and Manukau) and ocean (Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea) beyond.
Many suburbs were once separate towns and offer examples of early European settlement (Devonport, Mission Bay, Parnell Village, Ponsonby and Howick are historic suburban centres that remain well preserved and contain good examples of Victorian, Edwardian, Deco and Bungalow residential styles).
An extensive tram system was removed in the 1960s and motorway systems have since been implemented, although recent efforts to return two areas to trams for tourism purposes (in the CBD Wynyard Quarter and at Western Springs linking the Zoo and Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)) have been successful.
Because of its large geographic sprawl (and urban design focus on motorway systems) public transport can be frustrating and is not cheap by international comparisons – however – most destinations within 5km of the CBD and of appeal to visitors are served by frequent bus, train and ferry services from the Britomart transport centre (located in the downtown area of the CBD). An information desk operates at the ferry building and from inside the street level entrance to the train station with information for all public transport options across the city.
Regular ferry services depart the ferry building; with historic Devonport just 15min away – the view of the city and islands of the harbour make this a highly recommended trip. Further away with plenty of good beaches, boutique accommodation, wineries and olive groves is Waiheke Island (45min). Also worth a visit by ferry is Rangitoto (the large volcanic island that flanks the eastern horizon) – take good walking shoes, food and water to walk to the top – it can be very hot in summer – a bus service operates on some days for those that dont want to walk (enquire at the Britomart or ferry building information centre before setting out – and don’t miss the last ferry back to the city as there is no accommodation on Rangitoto).
Popular areas on good bus routes include Ponsonby, Newmarket, Parnell, Mission Bay, Takapuna. A tourist explorer bus also completes a regular circuit of popular tourist sites. For travel to more distant suburban locations a car is recommended – many car hire firms have set up business in Auckland and rental rates are reasonable especially if renting for longer periods of time. Be aware that parking in Auckland can be complicated – make sure you read and understand parking control signs ( local government enforces parking fines and has no hesitation to have your vehicle towed). Be aware also of bus lanes (zones marked out on the road where only buses are permitted at certain times). These zones are also signposted but it can be easy to miss seeing them if concentrating on traffic. Fines are large and the authority administering is not tolerant.



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