Auckland city - includes, The Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour & Auckland's beaches, Mt Eden, One Tree Hill, Devonport and Takapuna. Further afield is the Hauraki Gulf including Rangitoto and Waiheke Islands. Waitake Ranges, Piha, Karekare Beach, & Bethells Beach.
This region represents only 2% of New Zealand's land area, but a population bigger than the entire South Island or the rest of the North Island.
The Auckland region is renown for its marine environments, but more importantly, it is home to New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, making it the main gateway to New Zealand as well as the main centre of commerce in the country.
Auckland city contains one third of the country's population. It is also the largest Polynesian city in the world and there are more Polynesians in Auckland than there are in all the islands of Polynesia, (outside of New Zealand). There is also a sizable Asian population and the result is a city with a unique blend of Polynesian, European, an Asian culture. Auckland also has the world's highest proportion of boats per person in the world. This is why Auckland is called the "City of Sails". The city has even hosted and won the world's most presigious Yachting trophy the Americas Cup. Near the old America's Cup Village are yachting berths occupied with some of the world'smost expensive yachts.
The location of Auckland city is a spectacular harbour which contains many islands like 'Waiheke', a popular holiday area. This island is accessible from the hussle and bustle of downtown Auckland by a mere 20 minutes on a ferry from downtown Auckland to an island that is continually in holiday mode complete with fine beaches and beautuful holiday homes nestled amongst bush clad hills. Other islands in the harbour or further out in the Hauraki Gulf include Great Barrier, Little Barrier, and Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto is the most famous island because it is am Auckland landmark due to being visible from the whole east coast of Auckland including many suburbs further inland. This island is actually a young volcano, and is a protected wilderness area.
The Auckland region has 50 volcanic cones, many of these in Auckland city itself. These volcanoes are collectively known as the Auckland Volcanic Field, fortunately the last eruption took place over 600 years ago. Today, many of these volcanic cones and vents have been converted into reserves and parks, and usually have a lookout at the top. The whole region has a many regional parks and islands, set against two magnificent harbours. Besides the natural attractions of this region, there is also fantastic shopping, over 1000 restaurants, great cafes, adventure activities, vineyards, and hundreds of kilometres of walking tracks.
Auckland's east coast has many sandy beaches suitable for swimming. Notable beaches here include Mission Bay, Cheltenham, Takapuna, Browns Bay, Torbay, and Long Bay. The west coast is more rugged and favours surfing. The sand here is a grey to black colour. Piha the most well known beach on this coast also supports a small settlement. Other more isolated beaches include Bethells Beach and Muriwai, which are both expansive and scenic. There are also many good walks through lush native vegetation in the nearby Waitakere Ranges. Driving to this coast from Auckland city requires a trip over these scenic hills.
The Auckland region is the location for a number of movies and television series. Productions such as Xena & Hercules series were filmed in the Waitakere Ranges and west coast beaches. Other productions such as the oscar winning Lord of the Rings were filmed close and The Piano (another oscar winning movie) was filmed at Bethells Beach.