Exploring Urban Auckland
Auckland is home to about 1.3 million people and you will be hard pressed to find a more culturally diverse population. Wherever you are in Auckland, look around and try to count how many of the people around you are actually born and bred Kiwis. Probably not many. In fact, about 1 in each 3 people in Auckland were born overseas.
The population is made up of New Zealanders, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, Asians, Maori, Middle Easterns, Latin Americans, Africans... You name it, we have it. There are many more people of Polynesian descent living in Auckland than in other city in the world. In fact, there are more people from the Cook Islands and Niue living in Auckland than back in those island nations. It's a true melting pot, this big little city.
With so much diversity comes, of course, a very culturally rich society. From Asian neighbourhoods showcasing the best of their home countries to Pacific Island cultural displays or ethnic markets, there is a wide variety of experiences to have in the city. It is a little bit like travelling to all these places without having to leave Auckland. And we love it that way.
Being the most populated city in the country, Auckland is often mistakenly thought of as a busy and crowded city but that could not be further from the truth. Ok, that might be a little bit true at 5pm down Queen Street (Auckland's main street, right in the heart of the CBD), but it is definitely not the case for the rest of the city.
Aucklanders, like all New Zealanders, love spending time outside. Few cities provide a wider range of opportunities for lovers of the outdoors, right at their doorstep. The city boasts a massive number of small parks and reserves in every suburb (where you'll often find families having their picnic dinners while others play rugby, cricket or other sports nearby), and has 23 beautiful regional parks, which all include a range of stunning walking tracks, from easy grade to adventure-type hiking.
Auckland Domain, in the heart of the city, home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, is one of the main parks in the city. Western Springs, not far from there, is another prime example of Auckland's public spaces, with a beautiful lake and a population of resident ducks, geese and pukekos that aren't too scared to walk alongside the path with you.
If you're more of a beach bum, then this is also the city for you. There's a beautiful beach pretty much wherever you point your finger. Go to Takapuna, Long Bay or Browns Bay on the North Shore (all very close to our event location) for beaches with easy access, or head over through the Waitakere Ranges to the famous (and stunning) West Coast beaches, such as Piha, Muriwai or Bethells/Te Henga.
On any given day, Auckland harbours will be dotted with sail boats venturing into the waters. We have more yachts per capita than any other city in the world. About one in three Auckland households owns a boat. No wonder the city used to be known as "City of Sails" and we're not too bad at the whole yacht racing thing.
The 2011 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland 3rd equal place in the world on its list for quality of life and the Economist's World's most liveable cities index of 2011 ranked Auckland in 9th place. Once in Auckland, we are sure it won't take you long to figure out why.