Auckland facts for kids
From upper left: Skyline of Auckland City, Sky Tower, Town Hall, Auckland Harbour Bridge, Ferry Building
|Nickname(s): City of Sails
Queen City (archaic)
|Settled by Māori||c. 1350|
|Settled by Europeans||1840|
|• Urban||559.2 km2 (215.9 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||196 m (643 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Population (June 2016)|
|• Urban density||2,673.5/km2 (6,924.2/sq mi)|
|Time zone||NZST (UTC+12)|
|• Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
|Local iwi||Ngāti Whātua, Tainui, Ngati Akarana|
Auckland (// AWK-lənd) is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the most populous urban area in the country. Auckland has a population of 1,495,000, which constitutes 32 percent of New Zealand's population. It is part of the wider Auckland Region—the area governed by the Auckland Council—which also includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,614,300. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions. It has also been called Ākarana, the Māori pronunciation of Auckland.
The Auckland urban area (as defined by Statistics New Zealand) ranges to Waiwera in the north, Kumeu in the northwest, and Runciman in the south. It is not contiguous; the section from Waiwera to Whangaparāoa Peninsula is separate from its nearest neighbouring suburb of Long Bay. Auckland lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west. The surrounding hills are covered in rainforest and the landscape is dotted with dozens of dormant volcanic cones. The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few cities in the world to have harbours on two separate major bodies of water.
The isthmus on which Auckland resides was first settled around 1350 and was valued for its rich and fertile land. Māori population in the area is estimated to have peaked at 20,000 before the arrival of Europeans. After a British colony was established in 1840, the new Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, chose the area as his new capital. He named the area "Auckland" for George Eden, Earl of Auckland, British First Lord of the Admiralty. It was replaced as the capital in 1865, but immigration to the new city stayed strong and it has remained the country's most populous urban area. Today, Auckland's Central Business District is the major financial centre of New Zealand.
Auckland is classified as a Beta World City because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, education and tourism. Auckland's landmarks such as the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower, and many museums, parks, restaurants and theatres are significant tourist attractions. Auckland is frequently ranked among the world's most liveable cities: the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland 3rd place in the world on its list, while the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking placed Auckland in 8th place.
The isthmus was settled by Māori around 1350, and was valued for its rich and fertile land. Many pā (fortified villages) were created, mainly on the volcanic peaks. Māori population in the area is estimated to have been about 20,000 people before the arrival of Europeans. The introduction of firearms at the end of the eighteenth century, which began in Northland, upset the balance of power and led to devastating intertribal warfare beginning in 1807, causing iwi who lacked the new weapons to seek refuge in areas less exposed to coastal raids. As a result, the region had relatively low numbers of Māori when European settlement of New Zealand began. There is, however, nothing to suggest that this was the result of a deliberate European policy. On 27 January 1832, Joseph Brooks Weller, eldest of the Weller brothers of Otago and Sydney bought land including the sites of the modern cities of Auckland and North Shore and part of Rodney District for "one large cask of powder" from "Cohi Rangatira".
After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840 the new Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, chose the area as his new capital and named it after George Eden, Earl of Auckland, then Viceroy of India. The land that Auckland was established on was given to the Governor by local Maori iwi Ngāti Whātua as a sign of goodwill and in the hope that the building of a city would attract commercial and political opportunities for the iwi. Auckland was officially declared New Zealand's capital in 1841 and the transfer of the administration from Russell (now Old Russell) in the Bay of Islands was completed in 1842. However, even in 1840 Port Nicholson (later Wellington) was seen as a better choice for an administrative capital because of its proximity to the South Island, and Wellington became the capital in 1865. After losing its status as capital, Auckland remained the principal city of the Auckland Province until the provincial system was abolished in 1876.
In response to the ongoing rebellion by Hone Heke in the mid-1840s the government encouraged retired but fit British soldiers and their families to migrate to Auckland to form a defence line around the port settlement as garrison soldiers. By the time the first Fencibles arrived in 1848 the rebels in the north had been defeated so the outlying defensive towns were constructed to the south stretching in a line from the port village of Onehunga in the West to Howick in the east. Each of the four settlements had about 800 settlers, the men being fully armed in case of emergency but spent nearly all their time breaking in the land and establishing roads.
In the early 1860s Auckland became a base against the Māori King Movement, and the 12,000 Imperial soldiers stationed there led to a strong boost to local commerce. This, and continued road building towards the south into the Waikato, enabled Pākehā (European New Zealanders) influence to spread from Auckland. Its population grew fairly rapidly, from 1,500 in 1841 to 3,635 in 1845 to 12,423 by 1864. The growth occurred similarly to other mercantile-dominated cities, mainly around the port and with problems of overcrowding and pollution. Auckland had a far greater population of ex-soldiers, many of whom were Irish, than other settlements. About 50% of the population was Irish which contrasted heavily with the majority English settlers in Wellington, Christchurch or New Plymouth. Most of the Irish, though not all, were from Protestant Ulster. The majority of settlers in the early period were assisted by receiving a cheap passage to New Zealand.
Trams and railway lines shaped Auckland's rapid expansion in the early first half of the 20th century, but soon afterward the dominance of the motor vehicle emerged and has not abated since; arterial roads and motorways have become both defining and geographically dividing features of the urban landscape. They also allowed further massive expansion that resulted in the growth of urban areas such as the North Shore (especially after the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge), and Manukau City in the south.
Economic deregulation in the mid-1980s led to dramatic changes to Auckland's economy and many companies relocated their head offices from Wellington to Auckland. The region was now the nerve centre of the national economy. Auckland also benefited from a surge in tourism, which brought 75% of New Zealand's international visitors through its airport. In 2004, Auckland's port handled 43% of the country's container trade.
The face of urban Auckland changed when the government's immigration policy began allowing immigrants from Asia in 1986. According to the 1961 census data, Māori and Pacific Islanders comprised 5% of Auckland's population; Asians less than 1%. By 2006 the Asian population had reached 18.0% in Auckland, and 36.2% in the central city. New arrivals from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea gave a distinctive character to the areas where they clustered, while a range of other immigrants introduced mosques, Hindu temples, halal butchers and ethnic restaurants to the suburbs. The assertiveness of Pacific Island street culture and the increasing political influence of ethnic groups contributes to the city's multicultural vitality.
Harbours, gulf and rivers
Auckland lies on and around an isthmus, less than two kilometres wide at its narrowest point, between Mangere Inlet and the Tamaki River. There are two harbours in the Auckland urban area surrounding this isthmus: Waitemata Harbour to the north, which opens east to the Hauraki Gulf and thence to the Pacific Ocean, and Manukau Harbour to the south, which opens west to the Tasman Sea. The total coastline of Auckland is 3,702 kilometres (2,300 mi) long.
Bridges span parts of both harbours, notably the Auckland Harbour Bridge crossing the Waitemata Harbour west of the Auckland Central Business District (CBD). The Mangere Bridge and the Upper Harbour Bridge span the upper reaches of the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours, respectively. In earlier times, portage paths crossed the narrowest sections of the isthmus.
Several islands of the Hauraki Gulf are administered as part of Auckland, though they are not part of the Auckland metropolitan area. Parts of Waiheke Island effectively function as Auckland suburbs, while various smaller islands near Auckland are mostly zoned 'recreational open space' or are nature sanctuaries.
Auckland also has a total length of approximately 21,000 kilometres (13,000 mi) of rivers and streams, about 8 percent of these in urban areas.
Auckland has an oceanic to humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfb, Trewartha Cfbl) with warm humid summers and mild damp winters. It is the warmest main centre of New Zealand and is also one of the sunniest, with an average of 2,003.1 sunshine hours per annum. The average daily maximum temperature is 23.7 °C (74.7 °F) in February and 14.7 °C (58.5 °F) in July. The absolute maximum recorded temperature is 34.4 °C (93.9 °F), while the absolute minimum is −3.9 °C (25.0 °F). High levels of rainfall occur almost year-round with an average of 1,115.5 mm (43.92 in) per year. Snowfall is extremely rare: the most significant fall since the start of the 20th century was on 27 July 1939, when snow stuck to the clothes of people outdoors just before dawn and five centimetres of snow reportedly lay on the summit of Mt Eden. Snowflakes were also seen on 28 July 1930 and 15 August 2011.
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 use this time of day to walk and run in parks.
Auckland occasionally suffers from air pollution due to fine particle emissions. There are also occasional breaches of guideline levels of carbon monoxide. While maritime winds normally disperse the pollution relatively quickly it can sometimes become visible as smog, especially on calm winter days.
|Climate data for Auckland Airport (1981–2010, extremes 1962–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||30.0
|Average high °C (°F)||23.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||19.1
|Average low °C (°F)||15.2
|Record low °C (°F)||5.6
|Rainfall mm (inches)||73.3
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||8.0||7.1||8.4||10.6||12.0||14.8||16.0||14.9||12.8||12.0||10.3||9.3||135.7|
|Source #1: NIWA Climate Data|
|Source #2: CliFlo|
Auckland straddles the Auckland volcanic field, which has produced about 90 volcanic eruptions from 50 volcanoes in the last 90,000 years. It is the only city in the world built on a basaltic volcanic field that is still active. It is estimated that the field will stay active for about 1 million years. Surface features include cones, lakes, lagoons, islands and depressions, and several have produced extensive lava flows. Some of the cones and flows have been partly or completely quarried away. The individual volcanoes are all considered extinct, although the volcanic field itself is merely dormant. The trend is for the latest eruptions to occur in the north west of the field. Auckland has at least 14 large lava tube caves which run from the volcanoes down towards the sea. Some are several kilometres long. A new suburb, Stonefields, has been built in an excavated lava flow, north west of Maungarei / Mount Wellington, that was previously used as a quarry by Winstones.
Auckland's volcanoes are fuelled entirely by basaltic magma, unlike the explosive subduction-driven volcanism in the central North Island, such as at Mount Ruapehu and Lake Taupo which are of tectonic origin. The most recent and by far the largest volcano, Rangitoto Island, was formed within the last 1000 years, and its eruptions destroyed the Māori settlements on neighbouring Motutapu Island some 700 years ago. Rangitoto's size, its symmetry, its position guarding the entrance to Waitemata Harbour and its visibility from many parts of the Auckland region make it Auckland's most iconic natural feature. Few birds and insects inhabit the island because of the rich acidic soil and the type of flora growing out of the rocky soil.
The Auckland metropolitan area has a population of 1,495,000 people according to Statistics New Zealand's June 2016 estimate, which is 31.9 percent of New Zealand's population. Many ethnic groups from all corners of the world have a presence in Auckland, making it by far the country's most cosmopolitan city. Europeans make up the majority of Auckland's population, however substantial numbers of Māori, Pacific Islander and Asian peoples exist as well. Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world.
As at the 2013 New Zealand census, 59.3 percent of Aucklanders identified as of European ethnicity, 23.1 percent as Asian, 14.6 percent as Pacific peoples, 10.7 percent as Māori, 1.9 as Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, and 1.2 percent as another ethnicity (mainly 'New Zealander').
Nationalities and migration
|Largest groups of foreign-born residents|
Auckland's population is predominantly of European origin, though the proportion of those of Asian or other non-European origins has increased in recent decades due to immigration and the removal of restrictions directly or indirectly based on race. Immigration to New Zealand is heavily concentrated towards Auckland (partly for job market reasons). This strong focus on Auckland has led the immigration services to award extra points towards immigration visa requirements for people intending to move to other parts of New Zealand. However, this is partially offset by net emigration out of Auckland to other regions of New Zealand, mainly Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
At the 2013 Census, 39.1 percent of Auckland's population were born overseas; in the local board areas of Puketapapa and Howick, overseas-born residents outnumbered those born in New Zealand. Auckland is home to over half (51.6 percent) of New Zealand's overseas born population, including 72 percent of the country's Pacific Island-born population, 64 percent of its Asian-born population, and 56 percent of its Middle Eastern and African born population.
Around 48.5 percent of Aucklanders at the 2013 census affiliated with Christianity and 11.7 percent affiliated with non-Christian religions, while 37.8 percent of the population were irreligious and 3.8 percent objected to answering. Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination with 13.3 percent affiliating, followed by Anglicanism (9.1 percent) and Presbyterianism (7.4 percent).
Recent immigration from Asia has added to the religious diversity of the city, increasing then number of people affiliating with Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism, although there are no figures on religious attendance. There is also a small, long-established Jewish community.
Auckland's lifestyle is influenced by the fact that while it is 70% rural in land area, 90% of Aucklanders live in urban areas – though large parts of these areas have a more suburban character than many cities in Europe and Asia.
Positive aspects of Auckland life are its mild climate, plentiful employment and educational opportunities, as well as numerous leisure facilities. Meanwhile, traffic problems, the lack of good public transport, and increasing housing costs have been cited by many Aucklanders as among the strongest negative factors of living there, together with crime. Nonetheless, Auckland ranked 3rd in a survey of the quality of life of 215 major cities of the world (2015 data). In 2006, Auckland placed 23rd on the UBS list of the world's richest cities.
In 2010, Auckland was ranked by the Mercer consulting firm as 149th of 214 centres on a scale of cost of living, i.e. making it among the most affordable cities worldwide to live in, with living expense of $20,000 per year, based on the comparative cost of 200 aspects of life including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods.
One of Auckland's nicknames, the "City of Sails", is derived from the popularity of sailing in the region. 135,000 yachts and launches are registered in Auckland, and around 60,500 of the country's 149,900 registered yachtsmen are from Auckland, with about one in three Auckland households owning a boat. The Viaduct Basin, on the western edge of the CBD, hosted two America's Cup challenges (2000 Cup and 2003 Cup).
The Waitemata Harbour is home to several notable yacht clubs and marinas, including the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Westhaven Marina, the largest of the Southern Hemisphere. The Waitemata Harbour has several popular swimming beaches, including Mission Bay and Kohimarama on the south side of the harbour, and Stanley Bay on the north side. On the eastern coastline of the North Shore, where the Rangitoto Channel divides the inner Hauraki Gulf islands from the mainland, there are excellent swimming beaches at Cheltenham and Narrow Neck in Devonport, Takapuna, Milford, and the various beaches further north in the area known as East Coast Bays. The west coast has popular surf spots such as Piha, Muriwai and Bethells Beach. The Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Orewa, Omaha and Pakiri, to the north of the main urban area, are also popular. Many Auckland beaches are patrolled by surf lifesaving clubs, such as Piha Surf Life Saving Club the home of Piha Rescue. All surf lifesaving clubs are part of the Surf Life Saving Northern Region.
Queen Street, Britomart, Ponsonby Road, Karangahape Road, Newmarket and Parnell are popular retail areas, whilst the Otara and Avondale fleamarkets offer an alternative shopping experience on weekend mornings. Most shopping malls are located in the middle- and outer-suburbs, with Sylvia Park and Westfield Albany being the largest.
Arts and culture
A number of arts events are held in Auckland, including the Auckland Festival, the Auckland Triennial, the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, and the New Zealand International Film Festival. The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is the city and region's resident full-time symphony orchestra, performing its own series of concerts and accompanying opera and ballet. Events celebrating the city's cultural diversity include the Pasifika Festival, Polyfest, and the Auckland Lantern Festival, all of which are the largest of their kind in New Zealand. Additionally, Auckland regularly hosts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Important institutions include the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand Maritime Museum, National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the Museum of Transport and Technology. The Auckland Art Gallery is considered the home of the visual arts in New Zealand with a collection of over 15,000 artworks, including prominent New Zealand and Pacific Island artists, as well as international painting, sculpture and print collections ranging in date from 1376 to the present day. In 2009 the Gallery was promised a gift of fifteen works of art by New York art collectors and philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson – including well-known paintings by Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin and Piet Mondrian. This is the largest gift ever made to an art museum in Australasia.
Parks and nature
Auckland Domain is one of the largest parks in the city, close to the Auckland CBD and having a good view of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island. Smaller parks close to the city centre are Albert Park, Myers Park, Western Park and Victoria Park.
While most volcanic cones in the Auckland volcanic field have been affected by quarrying, many of the remaining cones are now within parks, and retain a more natural character than the surrounding city. Prehistoric earthworks and historic fortifications are in several of these parks, including Maungawhau / Mount Eden, North Head and Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill.
Other parks around the city are in Western Springs, which has a large park bordering the MOTAT museum and the Auckland Zoo. The Auckland Botanic Gardens are further south, in Manurewa.
Ferries provide transport to parks and nature reserves at Devonport, Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island and Tiritiri Matangi. The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park to the west of Auckland offers beautiful and relatively unspoiled bush territory, as do the Hunua Ranges to the south.
Rugby union, cricket, rugby league, football and netball are widely played and followed. Auckland has a considerable number of rugby union and cricket grounds, and venues for basketball, motorsports, tennis, badminton, netball, swimming, soccer, rugby league, and many other sports.
- Eden Park is the city's primary stadium and a frequent home for international rugby union and cricket matches, in addition to Super Rugby matches where the Blues play their home games.
- North Harbour Stadium is mainly used for rugby union and Football (soccer) matches, but is also used for concerts. Home Stadium for North Harbour in the ITM Cup.
- Mt Smart Stadium is used mainly for rugby league matches and is home to the New Zealand Warriors of the NRL, and is also used for concerts, previously hosting the Auckland stop of the Big Day Out music festival every January.
- ASB Tennis Centre is Auckland's primary tennis centre, hosting international tournaments for men and women (ASB Classic) in January each year. ASB Bank took over the sponsorship of the men's tournament from 2016, the event formerly being known as the Heineken Open.
- Vector Arena is an indoor arena. It is primarily used for concerts and international netball matches.
- Trusts Stadium is an indoor arena which primarily hosts netball matches, and is the home of the Northern Mystics of the ANZ Championship. It is also where the 2007 World Netball Championships were held.
- North Shore Events Centre is an indoor arena, primarily used for basketball. It is home to the New Zealand Breakers.
- Pukekohe Park Raceway is a motorsports venue that hosts V8 Supercars races annually, along with other motorsports events.
- Western Springs Stadium hosts many large-scale concerts, as well as Speedway racing during the summer, as it has done since 1929.
- Main teams
- Formerly the Auckland Blues, the Blues, a team in Super Rugby. Auckland is also home to three ITM Cup rugby teams: Auckland, North Harbour and Counties Manukau.
- Previously the Auckland Warriors, the New Zealand Warriors is a team in Australia's NRL competition. They play their home games at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, although some games are played at Eden Park.
- Auckland's men's first class cricket team, the Auckland Aces, play their home matches at Eden Park. The women's equivalent (the Auckland Hearts) play at Melville Park in Epsom.
- Auckland City and Waitakere United are football teams which play in the ASB Premiership.
- The Northern Mystics netball team compete in the ANZ Championship and play their home games at Trusts Stadium.
- The New Zealand Breakers is a team in the NBL and play their home matches primarily at North Shore Events Centre, although some games are played at Vector Arena.
- Major events
Annual sporting events include:
- The ASB Classic men's and women's Tennis events, held annually in January (the men's event having been named the Heineken Open prior to 2016).
- The Auckland Marathon (and half-marathon), an annual marathon which draws thousands of competitors.
- The Auckland Harbour Crossing Swim from the North Shore to the Viaduct Basin, Auckland CBD, is a yearly summer event, covering 2.8 km (often with some considerable counter-currents) and attended by over a thousand mostly amateur competitors. It is New Zealand's largest ocean swim.
- The 'Round the Bays' fun-run, starting in the city and going 8.4 kilometres (5.2 mi) along the waterfront to the suburb of St Heliers. It attracts many tens of thousands of people and has been an annual March event since 1972.
Auckland hosted the 1950 British Empire Games and the 14th Commonwealth Games in 1990, and hosted a number of matches (including the semi-finals and the final) of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final events were held in the Auckland CBD in October 2012. The 2013 Series kicks off in April in Auckland and will continue there yearly for at least 3 more years.
- Road and rail
Private vehicles are the main form of transportation within Auckland, with around 7% of journeys in the Auckland region undertaken by bus in 2006, and 2% undertaken by train and ferry. For trips to the city centre at peak times the use of public transport is much higher, with more than half of trips undertaken by bus, train or ferry. Auckland still ranks quite low in its use of public transport, having only 46 public transport trips per capita per year, while Wellington has almost twice this number at 91, and Sydney has 114 trips. This strong roading focus results in substantial traffic congestion during peak times.
Bus services in Auckland are mostly radial, with few cross-town routes. Late-night services (i.e. past midnight) are limited, even on weekends. A major overhaul of Auckland's bus services is being implemented during 2016–17, significantly expanding the reach of "frequent" bus services: those that operate at least every 15 minutes during the day and early evening, every day of the week.
Rail services operate along four lines between the CBD and the west, south and south-east of Auckland, with longer-distance trains operating to Wellington only a few times each week. Following the opening of Britomart Transport Centre in 2003, major investment in Auckland's rail network occurred, involving station upgrades, rolling stock refurbishment and infrastructure improvements. The rail upgrade has included electrification of Auckland's rail network, with electric trains constructed by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles commencing service in April 2014. A number of proposed projects to further extend Auckland's rail network were included in the 2012 Auckland Plan, including the City Rail Link, rail to Auckland Airport, the Avondale-Southdown Line and rail to the North Shore.
- Other modes
Auckland's ports are the second largest of the country, behind the Port of Tauranga, and a large part of both inbound and outbound New Zealand commerce travels through them, mostly via the facilities northeast of Auckland CBD. Freight usually arrives at or is distributed from the port via road, though the port facilities also have rail access. Auckland is a major cruise ship stopover point, with the ships usually tying up at Princes Wharf. Auckland CBD is connected to coastal suburbs, to the North Shore and to outlying islands by ferry.
Auckland has various small regional airports and Auckland Airport, the busiest of the country. Auckland Airport, New Zealand's largest, is in the southern suburb of Mangere on the shores of the Manukau Harbour. There are frequent services to Australia, and to other New Zealand destinations. There are also direct connections to many locations in the South Pacific, as well as the United States, Asia and Santiago and Buenos Aires in South America. In terms of international flights, Auckland is the second-best connected city in Oceania.
Research at Griffith University has indicated that in the last 50 years, Auckland has engaged in some of the most pro-automobile transport policies anywhere in the world. With public transport declining heavily during the second half of the 20th century (a trend mirrored in most Western countries such as the US), and increased spending on roads and cars, New Zealand (and specifically Auckland) now has the second-highest vehicle ownership rate in the world, with around 578 vehicles per 1000 people. Auckland has also been called a very pedestrian- and cyclist-unfriendly city, though some efforts are being made to change this, with Auckland being a major participant in the government's "Urban Cycleways" initiative, and with the "SkyPath" project for a walk and cycleway on the Auckland Harbour Bridge having received Council support, and planning consent.
The State Highway network connects the different parts of Auckland, with State Highway 1 being the major north-south thoroughfare through the city (including both the Northern and Southern Motorways) and the main connection to the adjoining regions of Northland and Waikato. The Northern Busway runs alongside part of the Northern Motorway on the North Shore. Other state highways within Auckland include State Highway 16 (the Northwest Motorway), State Highway 18 (the Upper Harbour Motorway) and State Highway 20 (the Southwest Motorway). State Highway 22 is a non-motorway rural arterial connecting Pukekohe to the Southern Motorway at Drury.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge, opened in 1959, is the main connection between the North Shore and the rest of the Auckland metropolitan area. The bridge provides eight lanes of vehicle traffic and has a moveable median barrier for lane flexibility, but does not provide access for rail, pedestrians or cyclists. The Central Motorway Junction, also called 'Spaghetti Junction' for its complexity, is the intersection between the two major motorways of Auckland (State Highway 1 and State Highway 16).
Two of the longest arterial roads within the Auckland Region are Great North Road and Great South Road – the main connections in those directions before the construction of the State Highway network. Numerous arterial roads also provide regional and sub-regional connectivity, with many of these roads (especially on the isthmus) previously used to operate Auckland's former tram network.
Auckland has four railway lines (Western, Onehunga, Eastern and Southern). These lines serve the western, southern and eastern parts of Auckland from the Britomart Transport Centre in downtown Auckland, the terminal station for all lines, where connections are also available to ferry and bus services. Work began in late 2015 to provide more route flexibility and connect Britomart more directly to western suburbs on the Western Line via an underground rail tunnel known as the City Rail Link project.
Auckland is experiencing substantial population growth via natural population increases (one-third of growth) and immigration (two-thirds), and is set to grow to an estimated 1.9 million inhabitants by 2031 in a medium-variant scenario. This substantial increase in population will have a major impact on transport, housing and other infrastructure that are, particularly in the case of housing, already considered under pressure. The high-variant scenario shows the region's population growing to over two million by 2031.
In July 2016, Auckland Council released, as the outcome of a three-year study and public hearings, its Unitary Plan for Auckland. The plan aims to free up to 30 per cent more land for housing and allows for greater intensification of the existing urban area, creating 422,000 new dwellings in the next 30 years.
Tourist attractions and landmarks in the Auckland metropolitan area include:
- Attractions and buildings
- Auckland Civic Theatre – an internationally significant heritage atmospheric theatre built in 1929. It was renovated in 2000 to its original condition.
- Auckland Harbour Bridge – connecting Central Auckland and the North Shore, an iconic symbol of Auckland.
- Auckland Town Hall – with its concert hall considered to have some of the finest acoustics in the world, this 1911 building serves both council and entertainment functions.
- Auckland War Memorial Museum – a large multi-exhibition museum in the Auckland Domain, known for its impressive neo-classicist style, built in 1929.
- Aotea Square – the hub of downtown Auckland beside Queen Street, it is the site of rallies and arts festivals.
- Aotea Centre – Auckland Civic Centre building completed in 1989.
- St Patrick's Cathedral – the Catholic Cathedral of Auckland. A 19th century Gothic building which was renovated from 2003 to 2007 for refurbishment and structural support.
- Britomart Transport Centre – the main downtown public transport centre in a historic Edwardian building.
- Eden Park – the city's primary stadium and a frequent home for All Blacks rugby union and Black Caps cricket matches. It was the location of the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.
- Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium – an aquarium and Antarctic environment in the eastern suburb of Mission Bay, built in a set of former sewage storage tanks, showcasing penguins, turtles, sharks, tropical fish, sting rays and other marine creatures.
- MOTAT – the Museum of Transport and Technology, at Western Springs.
- Mt Smart Stadium – a stadium used mainly for rugby league and soccer matches, and also concerts.
- New Zealand Maritime Museum – features exhibitions and collections relating to New Zealand maritime history at Hobson Wharf, adjacent to Viaduct Basin.
- Ponsonby – a suburb and main street immediately west of central Auckland, known for arts, cafes, culture and historic villas.
- Queen Street – the main street of the city, running from Karangahape Road down to the harbour.
- Sky Tower – the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, it is 328 m (1,076 ft) tall and has excellent panoramic views.
- Vector Arena – events centre in downtown Auckland completed in 2007. Holding 12,000 people, it is used for sports and concert events.
- Viaduct Basin – a marina and residential development in downtown Auckland, and the venue for the America's Cup regattas in 2000 and 2003.
- Western Springs Stadium – a natural amphitheatre used mainly for speedway races, rock and pop concerts.
- Auckland Domain – one of the largest parks of the city, close to the CBD and having a good view of the harbour and of Rangitoto Island.
- Maungawhau / Mount Eden – a volcanic cone with a grassy crater. The highest natural point in Auckland City, it offers 360-degree views of Auckland and is thus a favourite tourist outlook.
- Takarunga / Mount Victoria – a volcanic cone on the North Shore offering a spectacular view of downtown Auckland. A brisk walk from the Devonport ferry terminal, the cone is steeped in history, as is nearby Maungauika (North Head).
- Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill – a volcanic cone that dominates the skyline in the southern inner suburbs. It no longer has a tree on the summit (after a politically motivated attack on the erstwhile tree,) but is crowned by an obelisk.
- Rangitoto Island – guards the entrance to Waitemata Harbour, and forms a prominent feature on the eastern horizon.
- Waiheke Island – the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf and known for its beaches, forests, vineyards and olive groves.
Auckland Council maintains relationships with the following cities
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