“COAST TO COAST”
Auckland is on an isthmus;
on the West coast it has the Tasman Sea, (which is the sea between Australia and New Zealand), and on the East coast it has the Pacific Ocean. The South West Pacific Ocean is a very large area of sea with not much landmass in it. The nearest largest landmass to New Zealand is Australia (to the West), and to the East is the country of Chile in South America, (which is many thousands of kilometres away).
On our tours, you will see this coast and the gannet colony. It is a very wild and rugged coast compared to the beaches on the East coast of Auckland. Although many people go swimming on West coast beaches, this is very dangerous and for recreational swimming (and with children), we advise you go to the East coast beaches as these beaches are much safer.
In early times, sailing ships used to arrive on the West coast of New Zealand (since it was closest to Australia), but due to the ferocity of the West coast and the shifting sands (especially at harbour entrances) of this coastline, many ships became wrecked (with large losses of life!) Nowadays, most ships sail around the top of New Zealand’s North Island and arrive at ports on the East coast. This is a much safer route, even though it is longer.
Most of the sand on New Zealand’s North Island West coast has originated from old volcanoes and makes the sand BLACK. On New Zealand’s East coast, the sand is WHITE. West coast black sand has a very high metal content and New Zealand has an industry which extracts the iron from these sands to manufacture metal. Some of this sand is also shipped overseas for processing.