Column: A visit to Auckland


With Indiana now in the middle of winter, I am writing about places to visit where it is warm and sunny. Today, we will visit Auckland, New Zealand, a sophisticated and vibrant city, where the average temperature in January is about 70 degrees, with an average 228 hours of sunshine during the month.

Auckland is on the northwestern corner of New Zealand’s North Island. The area was first settled by the Māori, Polynesian people who came from other islands in the 14th century and called it “Tāmaki Makaurau.” The city of Auckland was founded by European settlers in 1840 and became the capital of New Zealand in 1841, a position it held until 1865, when the capital was moved to Wellington because of its central location.

Today, Auckland, with a population of about 1.5 million, is the largest urban area in New Zealand. The city’s population is ethnically diverse, with almost half its residents born outside New Zealand. People with European heritages are now less than 50 percent of the city’s population. Because of its location on a narrow isthmus, Auckland has two harbors, one on the Pacific Ocean and one on the Tasman Sea. One in three Auckland households owns a boat, giving rise to it being called the “City of Sails.” The immaculately maintained central business district includes world-class shops and the Sky Tower, the tallest free-standing building in the southern hemisphere. The 1,076-foot-tall tower is part of the Sky City Casino complex, which features 2,100 gaming machines and 150 table games.

In 2021, The Economist named Auckland the most livable city in the world, in part because of its successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Auckland is too far away for a getaway by itself, but if you visit New Zealand during our winters, be sure to make it to Auckland.