Auckland is the largest and most populous urban city of New Zealand with over 31% of the countryís population residing there. 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 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 Maori, New Zealandís indigenous people, called this land "Tamaki Makau Rau" which means a maiden with 100 lovers. It was a place desired by many and fought over for its riches, including its forested hills, productive volcanic soils and harbours full of seafood.
The first sailors to settle here were the Maori, and in later years migrants from the Pacific Islands have contributed to the Polynesian population. You can take a walk through the city with a guide from the local iwi (tribe), visit the Auckland Museum, or wander through the weekend markets at Otara and Avondale for the flavours, sounds and sights of the South Pacific. In the city centre, Auckland has seen an explosion of ethnic restaurants and shops, especially Asian-style eateries.
Auckland enjoys a warm coastal climate without extremes of temperature. The mean daily temperature during January and February is 23 degrees Celsius, and during July and August, the mean daily maximum is 14 degrees Celsius. It is one of the sunniest spots in the country, with annual sunshine hours of 2060. It also has a high rainfall, which ensures the lushness of its rainforests, with a mean annual rainfall of 1240mm. Summer is from December to February; Autumn or Fall is from March to May; Winter is from June to August; and Spring is from September to November.