It’s the City of Sails, which says it all really. The Maritime Industry Association illustrated the point rather well, revealing in 2006 that the city, which has hosted two America ‘s Cups and seven stopovers in this race’s history, is home to 135,000 “proper boats” and 60,500 yachtsmen. In context, the city’s population is a shade more than 1.3 million, supporting the popular feeling that Auckland is the sailing capital of the world.
The city’s geography and climate make it the perfect spot for sailing, while the great bars, restaurants and atmosphere do little to deter the salty sea hounds. In short, a wonderful place that is sure to be welcomed back to the fold by the race’s huge Kiwi contingent (not least because it avoids a re-run of the China-Brazil leg).
For fans chasing a little more diversity in their sport, the cricket and rugby scene here is also healthy. The race’s visit coincides with the southern hemisphere’s Super 14 season, arguably the world’s best rugby union club competition in which one of the city’s teams, the Blues, are typically among the strongest taking part.
The stopover will also overlap with the Round the Bays Fun Run, which is an 8.4-kilometre dash that follows the contours of Auckland ‘s Waitemata Harbour and finishes on the waterfront at St Heliers Bay. Running is a pretty dull way to pass the time but the sight of 70,000 others doing it is quite spectacular.
There are many more non-sporting components that give Auckland its appeal. In 2009 the Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked the city fourth in the world, while The Economist’s World’s Most Livable Cities list also put Auckland in its top 10. As a cultural venture, a trip to Auckland is also very worthwhile. It is the multi-cultural hub of New Zealand, with Maori, Pacific Islander and Asian communities added to a core of European descendants and the largest Polynesian population in the world.
Statistics aside, the city, and country as a whole, is made up of beautiful scenery. You will never take better photographs.
Did you know: In 2006, the New Zealand Herald conducted a survey in response to the Chamber of Commerce’s claim that the “City of Sails” slogan did not represent the region. Of 400 people polled 92% insisted that the slogan should not be changed.
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