Auckland is New Zealand's largest city, with a resident population of 1.3 million people. Nestled within the isthmus of the Pacific ocean and Tasman sea, the city of Auckland contains much serene natural beauty, including three harbours, numerous volcanic sites, scenic mountain ranges and more than fifty islands.
It is not, however, the capital, although it was at one time, until the capital moved to Wellington. Auckland is the centre of commerce and industry, and is perhaps the most vibrant, bustling and multicultural city in New Zealand. Auckland is the biggest Polynesian city in the world, and this cultural influence is reflected in many different aspects of city life.
The city's landscape is dominated by volcanic hills, the twin harbours, bays, beaches and islands. Its nickname 'the city of sails' is very apt. Auckland has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.
Auckland is dotted with volcanic hills, many of which were once the site of Maori pas, or fortified villages, and which currently afford great views of the city. Auckland lies between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours, and its geography is such that glistening waters seem to beckon from every point. It is a water lover's paradise, with some of the best beaches, swimming, diving, fishing, sailing, windsurfing and watersports in the country.
Auckland has a warm-temperate climate, with warm, humid summers and mild, damp winters. The early morning calm on the isthmus during settled weather, before the sea breeze rises, was described as early as 1853: "In all seasons, the beauty of the day is in the early morning. At that time, generally, a solemn stillness holds, and a perfect calm prevails..." Many Aucklanders used this time of day to walk and run in parks.
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