Sunday, November 6, 2016

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is on the North Island and is the largest city in New Zealand.  The city is home to almost 1,5 million people with about 1,6 million  in the greater metro area" almost 32% of the entire country's population.

The city landscape is dotted with dozens of dormant volcano cones.  With Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean, Auckland is one of only a handful of cities in the world with harbour on two separate major bodies of water.

It's also the only city in the world that is built on an active basaltic volcano field.

The Māori first settled the area around 1350.  The British established a colony here in 1840.

The city is quite diverse and it is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world.  In Māori, the city is called Tāmaki.

Auckland is often ranked among the world's best cities to live.

Sky Tower is the city's best known landmark.  It is 328 meters (1,076 feet) tall.  While it is the world's 23rd tallest tower it is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere.  The tower was built to withstand an 8,0 earthquake within a 20-km (~13 mile) radius.

St. Paul's is the city's oldest church.  The church was consecrated in 1895 and it has served as the Anglican Cathedral for more than 40 years.

The Auckland Town Hall was built in 1911.

Aotea Square opened in 1979 and is used for markets, open-air concerts and rallies.  It underwent major redevelopment in 2010.

The Civic Theatre opened in 1929 and it's where we saw Priscilla on our second night here.  The theatre is really beautiful and the design and lighting creates an open auditorium feel complete with twinkling stars.

The Auckland Art Gallery is the city's principal public gallery.  With over 16 000 pieces it is holds the most extensive art collection in the country.  The modern extension was completed in 2011.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is a 19th century building.  The Catholic cathedral was completely renovated in 2007.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum was built in 1929.  It is very well done and defiantly worth a visit.

St. Matthew's Anglican Church was consecrated in 1905.  The church building has a 1300-year-old stone from the ruins of the St. Augustine Abbey in England.

Rangitoto in the background

Rangitoto Island is only a 25-minute ferry ride from the harbour.  It's a great little day drip for a bit sunshine and hiking.

About an hour's drive east is the Muriwai Gannet Colony.  About 1200 pairs of gannets nest here from August to March ever year.

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