The largest city in New Zealand has a very multicultural population indeed, the biggest Polynesian population rubs shoulders with Asians and whites in this city known for its Volcanoes. Auckland in Maori is ‘Tamaki makaurau’ or ‘Akarana’ for short. If you’re going to see one volcano then make it ‘One Tree Hill’ – Maungakiekie in Maori, it is the best known and most significant of the many volcanoes here. On its highest point is a single pine tree and a monument that marks the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell who was the founder of Auckland City. There are more than 170 constructed terraces located around three Maori Pa (fortifications). One Tree Hill is one of the biggest former Maori settlements in New Zealand, and has even been claimed to be the biggest pre-historic earth fort in the world.
The volcano sits amongst the restful grassy parkland and pretty gardens of Cornwall Park, where you’ll see many visitors and locals out on a sunny day – not to mention the farm animals that still graze on the land. And if you’re lucky enough to visit in spring, you’ll love the gorgeous cherry blossoms on the trees throughout the park.
If you want a dose of history and culture then visit the Auckland Museum, a magnificent building filled with arts and culture, it enables the visitor to look back over the Maori heritage of those who first colonised the islands before the arrival of the Europeans.
‘Nau Mai Haere Mai’ – Welcome to Auckland Museum, where exciting stories of New Zealand people, the Pacific, flora, fauna and incredible land formations of our unique islands, are told within a memorial dedicated to those who have sacrificed their lives for our country. In one of New Zealand’s most outstanding historical buildings you can see the monumental carvings, buildings, canoes and taonga (treasures) of the Maori. Within the museum you can have an insight into the diversity of cultures which now combine to form the rich tapestry of nationality and race which currently makes up the modern New Zealand or ‘Aoteroa’ as it is called in Maori.
There is plenty to do in Auckland for families too, head to the Wynyard quarter, where you’ll find the waterfront space. You can enjoy a meal looking over the water there are many restaurants to choose from. Also take the family on a 1920’s tram ride up and around the Wynyard Loop. The children will love the maritime-themed playspace, while Silo Park is home to regular food markets, live music and even a cool new outdoor cinema in the summer. Otherwise if you just want to hang out on the beach with a bucket and spade then you have plenty of sandy beaches to choose from in Auckland. The west coast has black sand beaches but if you go up to the north part you’ll find the golden sandy beaches of your dreams.
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