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Auckland was once the capital of New Zealand and is now a major English language learning destination, with a number of important educational institutions, including some of the largest universities in the country.
Located on the North Island of New Zealand, this cosmopolitan city contains the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world and boasts a spectacular landscape, flanked by the sea and surrounded by around 50 volcanoes, which are now considered extinct.
The stunning natural landscape meets a traditional city skyline which is dominated by Auckland’s Sky Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, where visitors can take a “Sky Walk” or even “Sky Jump” from a height of 192 metres. Adrenalin junkies have plenty of options in Auckland, with activities such as bungee jumping, skydiving, paragliding, horse trekking, kayaking and mountain biking within easy reach.
Auckland hosted the 2000 and 2003 Americas Cups and is popularly known as the "City of Sails" because the harbour is often dotted with hundreds of yachts. According to statisticians, one in three Aucklanders owns a boat. The Waitemata Harbour has beautiful swimming beaches and the west coast has popular surf spots such as Piha and Muriwai.
The influence of the sea on the country’s development can be seen in the New Zealand Maritime Museum.
Other cultural attractions include the Auckland Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Maori taonga (treasures) and there is also a thriving performing arts scene with theatre, music, dance and live comedy.
The sea’s influence is reflected in Auckland menus too, with many fish and seafood dishes on offer alongside “Pacific Rim” style cuisine, a blend of Asian and Pacific flavours. There are award-winning wines to choose from revered Auckland vineyards, many of which offer wine-tasting for those wishing to explore the local grapes.
For night owls, Auckland has a vibrant bar and club scene.
The best areas to visit are Parnell, Ponsonby, Princes Wharf and the Viaduct. Many bars offer live music and at the weekend stay open until the early hours.
Other activities popular with students learning English in Auckland include trips to see the national treasures at the Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tāmaki, one of the country’s most iconic buildings and home to seven centuries of art, exotic creatures at Auckland Zoo and Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World. For sports fans, the city’s main stadium is Eden Park, home to the All-Blacks rugby team and the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final.