Sprawling across a narrow isthmus, Auckland and its far-flung suburbs are divided by two magnificent harbors. At the city's downtown doorstep lies sparkling Waitemata Harbour, separated from the Hauraki Gulf and Pacific Ocean by Rangitoto Island. West of the city, the shallow, turquoise waters of Manukau Harbour funnel into the Tasman Sea. As a dramatic backdrop, numerous cones of extinct volcanoes protrude from Auckland's landscape.
With a population of 1,000,000, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city. Nearly a quarter of the country's inhabitants live here. The "City of Sails," as Auckland is often called, boasts more boats per capita than any other city in the world. With 70,000 powerboats and sailing craft, this means there is one boat for every four households. No one lives far from the sea and Auckland's balmy year-round climate encourages water-oriented recreation.
Some of the city's major attractions stem from its love affair with the great outdoors. Even the downtown area, with its expansive farm-like parks, exudes a sense of spacious beauty. At Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, exhibits offer a glimpse of the frozen continent and its marine and bird life. Tarlton was New Zealand's most celebrated undersea explorer and treasure hunter.