The Auckland Region is one of the sixteen regions of New Zealand, named for Auckland City, the large city at its heart. It is the most populated region of New Zealand, as well as being the most prosperous in economic terms.
On the mainland, the region extends from the mouth of the Kaipara Harbour in the north across the southern stretches of the North Auckland Peninsula, past the Waitakere Ranges and the isthmus of Auckland to the Hunua Ranges and low-lying land south of the Manukau Harbour. The region ends within a few kilometres of the mouth of the Waikato River. It is bordered in the north by the Northland Region, and in the south by the Waikato Region. It also includes the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.
In land area it is smaller than all the other regions and unitary authorities except Nelson. Its highest point is the summit of Little Barrier Island, at 722 metres.
The Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea form the coastline around the Auckland region. The east coast is lapped by the waters of the Hauraki Gulf, an arm of the Pacific sheltered by a considerable number of small and large islands, notably Great Barrier Island in the northeast. An arm of the Hauraki, the Waitemata Harbour, forms the main harbour and of Auckland city, and also accommodates New Zealand's largest port. The mainland coastline is 1,613 km long. Much of the coastal marine area comprises sensitive tidal inlets and estuaries and semi-enclosed Waitemata, Manukau and Kaipara Harbours.
To the west lie two large natural harbours, the Kaipara and the Manukau. Both of these have treacherous entrances and are little used by shipping. The Kaipara Harbour (of which the southern half is in the Auckland region) is one of the world's largest natural harbours, covering an area of 530 km². The Manukau Harbour, located in the southwest part of the region, has a small port at Onehunga, but also suffers from difficult navigation - especially when the predominant southwesterly wind is blowing. Auckland Airport is located on the edge of the Manukau Harbour. The region is blessed with many fine beaches, especially on the Tasman coast south of the Kaipara. These include Muriwai and Piha beaches.
Much of Auckland's urban area lies on top of the dormant Auckland Volcanic Field. The region is dotted by 49 volcanoes of varying age with the oldest being in the region of 150,000 years old. The most recent eruption occurred approximately 600 years ago, ending a few hundred years of activity during which Rangitoto Island was formed.
Each volcanic eruption has tended to be bigger than the previous, with Rangitoto making up almost 60% of the entire volume of erupted material. All of the volcanoes are relatively small, most being less than 150 meters in height.
A large number of the Auckland volcanoes have been levelled or strongly altered - in small part due to historical Māori use of the cones as fortified 'Pā's or for terraced fields, but for most part having been quarried relatively recently for roading and construction materials (mainly scoria). However measures are now in place to preserve many of the remaining volcanoes as landmarks and parks.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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