Auckland is still growing up. It's a vibrant New Zealand city on the move on the world destination stage. It may be about the same size in area as London but so much is new, exciting and changing.
There's still the terribly small bumpy Pah Road from the airport into the city - no motorway into town here. The face of Auckland changes almost daily. London, Paris, Milan or most other big cities are pretty much as they were 30 years ago - -with a few more skyscrapers.
The beauty of Auckland is there is so much on in such a small C BD and harbour area. I put my feet up on the seating at nearby Eden Park and watched Australia claw a win over the Black Caps at cricket. It was a breeze getting to and from the ground and heaven strolling back into my Hyatt Regency hotel. I scooted up to the club floor for a Te Awa chardonnay at sunset. The dusk colours and tones danced across the glass tower buildings: another day in paradise about to end.
I freshened up in my suite then headed to the Spa for the best massage I have ever had from Caroline, a bubbly lass from Manchester who has already seen much of the world. She loved La Paz and was dying to sample the South Island's scenery and glaciers. I sleep like a baby that night.
The next morning I rose early for 20 laps of the Hyatt Regency 25 metre pool - probably the biggest and longest hotel pool in New Zealand. It was magic and tiring; I slid into in the giant hot tub, still puffing but so contented. I chat away to a tall striking middle aged woman who had just completed a big triathlon event the previous week and suggested I head out on the harbour to get a feel of the city from the water.
Auckland is not unlike Sydney with its harbour, harbour bridge (longer than Sydney's) and skyline. No Circular Quay here but a ferry shuttle set up and the train station across the road. Auckland, New Zealand's biggest metropolis and home to 1.4 million of the country's four million people, is known as the City of Sails, though some women clearly think it should be the City of Sales judging by the shopping malls.
The Auckland viaduct is teaming with people - office workers, tourists and evidence of a bubbly mood and atmosphere. Out on the Waitemata Harbour, urban Auckland goes on forever and all its little suburbs and villages nestle in snugly for a great sub-tropical lifestyle.
I trawl through the quirky second hand bookshops across the bay in Devonport, quaff a latte in sunshine and steam back to the city. The sea air has whet my appetite. I head to the Hyatt's Club lounge for a quiet drink.
The club ambience is improving and another big flat tv screen, more magazines or better art work would help; but it's a peaceful oasis I love as I ponder the meal chef Nitan Kumar has prepared for me. I go for the pan seared scallops sautéed pak choy, turnip, crispy shallots and spiced coconut dressing for entree a the roasted red snapper fillet, kumara mash and watercress seedlings for mains washed down with the finest Spy Valley Echelon bubbly - just the best around.
Before heading away next morning I stroll the leafy streets around the 127 year old university and realise Auckland is growing into one of the best cities in the Pacific.
Being positioned in the historical belt of Auckland and easy access to Auckland's numerous attractions, including Vector Arena for concerts, the Hyatt Regency was the perfect base for the most relaxing visit I have ever had - thanks to such happy and genuine hotel staff. This place will do well during the Rugby World Cup next year.
Auckland is the gateway to the Pacific and is the biggest island city in the South Pacific. According to Wikipedia the city covers 6059km2 while greater London rams 11 million people inside 1570km. Auckland has more volcanoes - 48 - than any city of its size in the world. Luckily they are extinct!