Top 9 Insane Facts You Never Knew But Should About Auckland, New Zealand – South Pacific Ocean
Port of Auckland, Waitemata Harbor
Lying on the central and eastern waterfront of the city along Waitemata Harbor is Port of Auckland, one of New Zealand‘s largest container and international trade port. Founded in the 1840s and located on an eighty two-hectare strip of land by the middle of both Waitemata and Manukanu harbors in Auckland, it is owned and operated by the Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL). It provides container terminal handling, bulk cargo handling, freight hubs, cruise facilities and other services to all sea vessels in the world.
Waitemata Harbor or often referred as Auckland Harbor is the main access by sea to Auckland here in New Zealand where the Port of Auckland occupies.. The 55 hectares of wharves and storage areas are almost exclusively situated on a reclaimed land. POAL is also responsible for other marine services like pilotage, bunkering, as well as the provision of services and facilities to support the cruise ship industry of Auckland.
A Brief History of Auckland:
Just like Tauranga, the early inhabitants of the area were the Maoris in 1350 and it was known then as “Tamaki Makaurau.” They built fortified villages (or terraced pa) on volcanic peaks and although the coastal plain is narrow, the soil was productive and provided them great agricultural opportunities while the two harbors yielded diverse seafood. Two main tribes fought over the land: the Ngati Whatua and Tanui but later on, with the aid of the first Europeans (British) that arrived in their territory, the Ngati Whatuas subdued the Tanuis.
Te Kawau, chief of the Ngati Whatua tribe had offered the first British Governor, William Hobson a land (of what is now Auckland‘s central area) in 1840, named it after George Eden, Earl of Auckland, and with six other chiefs they signed the Treaty of Waitangi on March 20, 1840. The 3,000-acre strip of land was eventually chosen as the site of New Zealand‘s capital due to its auspicious location on both fertile lands and the harbors. Although Wellington replaced Auckland as the capital city in 1865, this city however became the country’s biggest metropolis in the 1990s. After World War II, the area saw an increase in immigration of more Maoris and new arrivals from the Cook Islands as well as those from Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, tourism also flourished and today, Auckland‘s mixed settlers have given the city a truly cosmopolitan vibe.
The largest Polynesian city in the world, just after our cargo of logs from Tauranga Port, we sailed further towards the Port of Auckland for additional shipment on September 2016 via the IVS Kingbird. Built on one of the world’s youngest volcanic fields, Auckland is punctuated with around 50 volcanoes but dormant nevertheless. It may lack the animated quality of Wellington or the primordial culture of Tauranga yet Auckland possesses charm and character, something that makes it remarkably unique and I’ve put together top insane facts you never knew but should about this city.
1. It’s where you can walk from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea in just FOUR HOURS!
Absolutely right, and due to its setting between two harbors, Waitemata on the Pacific Ocean side and Manukanu by the Tasman Sea, you can actually have a coast-to-coast hike in a matter of four hours, a top insane fact you never knew but should in Auckland. In this 16-kilometer route, you will pass by The Domain, a postcard-perfect park and at Mount Eden a splendid 196-meter dormant volcano.
2. At Great Barrier Island in Auckland, pigeons are still in use to deliver mails.
A top insane fact you never knew but should that at Great Barrier Island in Auckland was the first place in the world to use doves (or pigeons) to deliver mails with postage stamps. This kind of mailing service started after a ship sank on October 1894 and the disaster didn’t reach Auckland until after three days so pigeon mail or pigeongram was introduced. Written on a light paper called “flimsies”, most of the letters sent were for the requisition of supplies and this practice ended in 1908 with the launch of undersea cable but revived in the 1990s to mark its centennial anniversary.
3. Nicknamed “City of Sails” because one in every three residents has a sailboat.
Because it features two big harbors and bordered by immeasurable seascape, a top insane fact you never knew but should that Auckland is a strong magnet for sailing aficionados. This city takes pride of having the highest sailboat ownership per capita earning its moniker as the “City of Sails.” Sailing is a ritual in this side of the world and I bet it wouldn’t be a wasted trip if your prime goal to visit Auckland is to sail through its shimmering waters.
4. It was first known as “Tamaki Makaurau” or “the maiden with 100 lovers” in Maori language.
Long time ago, this city was known as ‘Tamaki Makaurau” in Maori which is translated as woman (Tamaki) with 100 lovers (Makaurau), a top insane fact you never knew but should about Auckland. This was a place coveted by many tribes and fought over for its natural resources and the two harbors laden with sea foods. It’s not a surprise then that even at modern times, Auckland still attracts people wanting to live the good life it offers.
5. Travelers visiting Auckland are encouraged to buy a piece of pounamu jewelry, a valuable greenstone sacred to Maori culture.
It is highly recommended to everyone visiting this city to buy and bring home a piece of pounamu jewelry, a highly prized possession and with spiritual significance in New Zealand, a top insane fact you never knew but should in Auckland. Sometimes called greenstone or New Zealand jade, pounamu is hard to find and a very precious stone therefore it is sacred and treasured by the Maoris. However it is warned that buying a pounamu jewelry for yourself is not advised but should be purchased as a gift for your beloved back home, a significant memory of your visit in Auckland.
6. Taking a selfie on top of One Tree Hill is a must in Auckland.
This city is a place of photo opportunities where you don’t usually look that far for a perfect Instagram occasion. One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) for one is a volcanic peak found inside Cornwall Park where you can ride a car, hike or bike your way up to its zenith for that mandatory selfie, a top insane fact you never knew but should in Auckland. Historically significant and scenic at the same time, One Tree Hill serves as an important memorial site to both Maoris and European residents alike.
7. It is a city seating on dormant volcanoes.
Believe it or not, this is a city dotted with over 50 dormant volcanoes with each originating from a magma source located 100 kilometers below the ground, a top insane fact you never knew but should in Auckland. This may sound spine-chilling but don’t you worry a bit because these volcanoes are not expected to erupt again in the city.
8. Skywalking and skyjumping are the two exciting adventures you can do in Auckland.
A great activity for the thrill seeker, skywalking and skyjumping are the most exciting things you can do, a top insane fact you never knew but should in Auckland. If you are adventurous, get your adrenaline pumping with skyjump which is New Zealand‘s highest fall jump or the unbelievable skywalk where you will be walking around the exterior of the Sky Tower (Auckland‘s highest building) with nothing between you and the ground below but just a rope and a 1.2-meter wide platform!
9. It got the most innovative ice cream in the world, the Hokey Pokey.
This is the New Zealand ice cream variety that consist of vanilla flavor with small lumps of honeycomb toffee scattered all over it – hokey pokey, a top insane fact you never knew but should here in Auckland. An iconic piece of the Kiwi food culture, hokey pokey comes from the Italian word “ecco un poco” which means to have a little and don’t leave Auckland without having a scoop of this yummy ice cream.
Lots of sunshine, a laid-back feel and culturally diverse, that is Auckland. A city that enjoys a Polynesian past, there are lots of festivities in the are for you to discover about the culture. If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand soon, don’t skip Auckland as it offers you unusual things and facts that make it so special.
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