Auckland, New Zealand

Living in Auckland

Iyna Bort Caruso

Auckland, New Zealand, is the largest city in a small country.

A gateway to markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Auckland’s coming-of-age is buoyed by a young, educated and entrepreneurial population. The city is a fusion of European, Polynesian and Maori cultures within a modern metropolis. Bathed in warm summers and moderate winters, Auckland has the good fortune to be plunked down into a stunning environment.

Auckland has been called the City of Sails. One in three households owns a boat and many of those vessels can be seen sailing between the city’s two harbors, Manukau on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata on the Pacific Ocean. Waitemata is home to the prestigious yacht club, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and the Westhaven Marina, which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The city occupies an isthmus between the two harbors and is built on a field that includes 48 volcanic cones and craters. A short detour from the waterfront, cafes and boutiques of Auckland Central is a playground of rainforests, hiking trails, vacation islands and vineyards.

The urban heart of Auckland city is relaxed, cosmopolitan and international. Head west for wild ruggedness and black sand beaches. North of the city is one of New Zealand’s eight main wine regions with about 100 vineyards and wineries. The first vines were planted nearly 200 years ago. The newest wineries are on Waiheke Island, an artist colony, that’s about a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown.

Auckland’s residential housing market is the country’s priciest. Stately homes and leafy streets are found in wealthy suburban enclaves like Remuera and Epsom.  Fashionable Mission Bay, a seaside resort, features luxury marine villas. The Auckland region is also known for its extensive range of late Victorian and Edwardian timbered homes, especially in older, established neighborhoods like Devonport. These traditional  “character” homes have been recognized as playing an important role in Auckland’s cultural heritage, and the city council has stepped up efforts to prevent tear-downs and encourage preservation.