As mentioned in the previous post, Frank and I spent last weekend in Auckland. We hadn’t planned to visit another big city so soon after Australia but the draw of a Christmas Parade was enough to change my mind — and then Frank’s!
We discovered that the city is much more than tall buildings and lots of people. What makes Auckland unique is its geography. The region lies on an isthmus between two harbors with almost 2,300 miles of coastline. It is the only city in the world built on a still-active volcanic field and the region is dotted with 48 volcanic cones, many of which provide panoramic views of the city and harbor. A lot of the nearby islands are part of Auckland City and one of them, Rangito Island, was formed by two eruptions just 600 to 700 years ago. (More about volcanos at the end of this post.)
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and is home to 1.4 million people (30% of the country’s population). They all live within a half an hour of a beach, which may explain why 1 in 3 families own a boat and why the city is known as the “City of Sails.” Frank was impressed by all the activity along the waterfront. I was a fascinated by the volcanos and how hilly the city was — even more so than San Francisco. We were surprised to find out that Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world but weren’t surprised that it was recently rated the world’s fourth best city in which to live!
More about volcanos: You are probably wondering why anyone would live here among all these volcanoes. While the volcanos in the center of the North Island (i.e. near Taupo), are more explosive and are the result of the movement of tectonic plates, the volcanos in the Auckland area are far less dramatic. The Auckland Volcanic Field is monogenetic, which means each volcano usually only erupts once. The field itself is considered active but dormant. There is no way to predict where or when the next ‘bubble’ of magma will rise to the surface and create a new volcano but no one seems to be that worried about it.