• Donna Thomas CTC, 118 South Bellevue Avenue, Langhorne Borough Pa 19047
  • +1 800-367-5494 | +1 215-741-5155

16 Years as Travel and Leisure Magazine Top Travel Expert for New Zealand and Australia

Travel and Leisure says: "Donna Thomas has explored many corners of North and South Islands in search of hidden gems. She can help birdwatchers see the endangered yellow-eyed penguin or send avid trekkers on guided hikes to secret waterfalls in Paparoa National Park."


The Auckland 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 bounded in the north by the Northland Region and in the south by the Waikato Region. 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, most notably Great Barrier Island in the northeast. An arm of the Hauraki, the Waitemata Harbour forms the main port of Auckland city. 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 square kilometers. The region is blessed with many fine beaches, especially on the Tasman coast, south of the Kaipara. These include Muriwai and Piha beaches.

To the north of the Auckland urban area lies Rodney District, which includes the towns of Helensville and Wellsford. To the south lies the district of Papakura, containing a town of the same name. Further south, the Auckland region covers the northern half of the Franklin District (the southern half is part of the Waikato region). Franklin contains the towns of Waiuku and Pukekohe. Between the rural districts of Rodney and Franklin lies the dense urban development of the region's four main cities.

The Auckland metropolitan area encircles the Waitemata Harbour and extends south from the Auckland Isthmus along the shores of the Manukau Harbour. Auckland city takes up the bulk of the isthmus itself. Across the Waitemata from Auckland city lies North Shore city. To the west of Auckland city, nestling beneath the eastern foothills of the Waitakere Ranges, is Waitakere city. Finally, the city of Manukau extends to the south of Auckland, close to the eastern shore of the harbour which shares its name.


The Franklin District is a municipality to the south of Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand. The district is divided between the administrative regions of Auckland to the north and Waikato to the south. It is administered from the town of Pukekohe. The district is mainly rural with local settlements such as Waiuku and Tuakau supporting the farming industry. One industry of note is the factory of New Zealand Steel at Glenbrook, north of Waiuku. The district is bounded in the north by the start of the Auckland metropolitan area and the waters of the Manukau Harbour. A long peninsula stretches up the Tasman coast to the mouth of this harbour. To the south, Franklin is bounded by the fertile lowlands of the Waikato Plains. In the east, the land rises to the Hunua Ranges, to the east of which is the coast of the Firth of Thames. In the west is the Tasman Sea. Here are located several holiday spots such as Kariotahi Beach and Matakawau, which is close to the south of the entrance to the Manukau Harbour. The Waikato River mouth is at Port Waikato in the south of the region. This is renowned as a good place for surfcasting.

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