Auckland - The Most Populous City in New Zealand
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 surrounding this isthmus: Waitematā Harbour to the north, which extends east to the Hauraki Gulf and thence to the Pacific Ocean, and Manukau Harbour to the south, which opens west to the Tasman Sea.
Bridges span parts of both harbours, notably the Auckland Harbour Bridge crossing the Waitematā Harbour west of the central business district. The Mangere Bridge and the Upper Harbour Bridge span the upper reaches of the Manukau and Waitematā 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 the Auckland Region, though they are not part of the Auckland urban 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.
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 three America's Cup challenges (2000 Cup, 2003 Cup and 2021 Cup).
The Waitematā 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 Waitematā Harbour has several 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 popular 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 beaches such as Piha, Muriwai and Te Henga (Bethells Beach). The Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Orewa, Omaha and Pakiri, to the north of the main urban area, are also nearby. 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 major retail areas. Major markets include those held in Ōtara and Avondale on weekend mornings. A number of shopping centres are located in the middle- and outer-suburbs, with Westfield Newmarket, Sylvia Park, Botany Town Centre and Westfield Albany being the largest.
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