Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city (and some would say only real city), with a population of over one million people, and more racial and cultural diversity than the nation’s other cities. The climate is warm, never too hot, but rather rainy and wet, and with its Pacific peoples, the city sometimes has a subtropical air. Auckland is too far from the nearest snow (4.5 hours) to be considered a ski city, but you may transit through here. Auckland has thriving nightlife and good dining and has enough entertainment to satisfy a skiing traveller during a stopover to or from the snows down south.
The "City of Sails" is said to have the most boats per capita of any city in the world, and the Auckland regatta held in late January is the world's largest yachting event. Auckland is set on two harbours the Waitemata and the Manukau. Beyond the Waitemata is the Hauraki Gulf, inshore waters perfect for sailing, somewhat sheltered from the open pacific by the Coromandel Peninsula, and studded with islands. To the west of Auckland are the ruggest bush covered Waitakere Ranges, and beyond them are ocean surf beaches such as Piha, Karekare and Bethells.