Rugby Tours

In June 2017, the British & Irish Lions Series of New Zealand will bring much-anticipated rugby excitement and more than 20,000 visitors to New Zealand. It’s the biggest sporting series to be held in New Zealand since Rugby World Cup 2011. Host cities will be Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua and Wellington, in the North Island – and Christchurch and Dunedin, in the South Island.

NORTH ISLAND

Whangarei
The rugby proud region of Northland will kick off the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour at Whangarei's Toll Stadium.
The city of Whangarei is an excellent place to relax into the laid back Northland lifestyle. A subtropical city on the edge of a beautiful harbour, you will enjoy Whangarei’s stylish cafes and restaurants as well as museums, art galleries and shops.
Getting there
Whangarei is a 35-minute flight from Auckland or an easy two-hour drive.

Auckland
Auckland's Eden Park is set to create more sporting history, hosting three matches during the British & Irish Lions 2017 Series. Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and main transport hub. With a stunning natural landscape, beautiful beaches, outstanding food and wine, rich culture, great shopping and plenty of adventure – Auckland has it all.

Hamilton Waikato Stadium will be in full chorus when Super Rugby team the Chiefs take on The British & Irish Lions in 2017. The Waikato region has a proud rugby history and the Chiefs boast a number of current All Blacks. The city of Hamilton is nestled on the banks of the mighty Waikato River and is known for its walks, gardens, cafes and nightlife.
Getting there
Auckland International Airport is under two hours away by road, or a short domestic flight or 2.5-hour train ride away.

Rotorua
Rotorua staged the official welcome when The British & Irish Lions toured in 2005 and visitors for the 2017 series can expect another rousing introduction to the heartland of Maori culture when the Lions next meet the Maori All Blacks. Rotorua is known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing New Zealand’s fascinating Maori culture. Getting there Located in the centre of the North Island, visitors can get to and from Rotorua by road or by air. Auckland is a 45-minute flight or 3.5-hour drive away.

Wellington
New Zealand's capital, will welcome The British & Irish Lions for two matches during their 2017 series. Wellington is a small-but-perfectly-formed city - built on the edge of a deep harbour juxtaposed by the steep hills that surround it. Known as one of the most creative cities in New Zealand, Wellington has a reputation for its vibrant café culture, world-class restaurants, craft beers, public art works and distinctive architecture.
Getting there
Head to Wellington by road, air, sea or rail. Wellington central is perfect for exploring by foot, and public transport is readily available for heading further afield.

SOUTH ISLAND

Christchurch
The garden city of Christchurch will no doubt be brimming with excitement when The British & Irish Lions visit to take on the most successful Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders as part of their 2017 tour. Christchurch, New Zealand is interwoven by two rivers linking parks, gardens and avenues. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop.
Getting there
Visitors can arrive in Canterbury by road, rail, or by flying into Christchurch International Airport, then explore the area easily with plenty of transport options. .

Dunedin
New Zealand's only covered rugby ground will host The British & Irish Lions when they play the Highlanders in 2017. Forsyth Barr Stadium holds just over 30,000 people. Sport, particularly rugby, is firmly imbedded into Dunedin culture, hardly surprising in the Scottish-flavoured environment known as the “Edinburgh of the south”. Historic Dunedin is renowned for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, as well as its proximity to rare wildlife. The city is situated along Otago Harbour, home to unique wildlife including the rare Yellow-Eyed Penguin and the Royal Albatross. Dunedin is rich with preserved heritage – the railway station, Otago University and First Church are amongst the most iconic buildings.
Getting there
You can get to Dunedin by air from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, or by road (as they will be driving in winter they should be careful of potentially icy roads).


Lions Series Ultimate Route

Auckland - Christchurch Days - 37


With this itinerary you will experience the ultimate road trip of New Zealand. They will discover the sights without missing a match. To ensure you are well rested after their flight, we recommend you stay a night or two in their arrival city before collecting a rental vehicle. Driving in a new country can be challenging and will be even worse if the driver is tired. The driver should always be well rested, take regular breaks during the journey and plan to drive for only 1-2 hours at a time.

2 June 2017: Auckland
Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest cosmopolitan city.
Recommended activities:

3 June 2017: Auckland - Whangarei
GAME DAY: The opening match of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour in New Zealand. See a Provincial Union XV host the visitors at the Toll Stadium, Whangarei. Today you will drive north to Whangarei, a subtropical city on the edge of a beautiful harbour. Enjoy stylish cafes and restaurants as well as museums, art galleries and shops.
Recommended activities: 4 June 2017: Whangarei - Paihia
A series of small settlements will lead you north. Stop in Kawakawa at a remarkable public toilet designed by Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser. The resort town of Paihia makes an excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands.
Recommended activities: 5 June 2017: Paihia
Today is a day of leisure.

6 June 2017: Paihia - Hokianga
Today you will drive across to the Hokianga harbour to experience the wonder of Hokianga’s 500m high golden sand dunes.
Recommended activities:

7 June 2017 : Hokianga - Auckland
GAME DAY: The second match of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour sees the Auckland Blues host the visitors at Eden Park. Today you will drive from Hokianga back to Auckland. There are lots of great places to stop, so you can take your time and enjoy the day’s driving.
Recommended activities: 8 June 2017: Auckland
Today will be at your leisure. Enjoy one of many activities listed earlier in this itinerary.

9 June 2017: Auckland - Christchurch
Today you fly from Auckland to Christchurch.
Christchurch is one of the world’s most unique destinations – see urban regeneration, creativity and innovation, in this ever-evolving city following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
Recommended activities:

10 June 2017: Christchurch
GAME DAY: The third match of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand sees the visitors take on the Canterbury Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch. Today will be at your leisure.

11 June 2017: Christchurch - Lake Tekapo
Today you will drive through the backbone of the South Island, to Lake Tekapo.
With its stunning turquoise water, Lake Tekapo offers a magnificent spectacle and is a year-round destination. There are so many ways to enjoy this part of the country – hiking, fishing or relaxing in hot pools while gazing at the lake.
Recommended activities:

12 June 2017: Lake Tekapo - Dunedin
You will continue the drive down the South Island today to Dunedin.
Recommended activities: 13 June 2017: Dunedin
GAME DAY: The fourth match of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour sees the Otago Highlanders host the visitors at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. Today will be at your leisure.

14 June 2017: Dunedin - Queenstown
Today you will drive from Dunedin through to Queenstown.
Recommended activities:

15 June 2017: Queenstown
Today will be at your leisure.

16 June 2017: Queenstown - Auckland
You are on a plane today, back to Auckland. You may like to spend the day in Queenstown and take a later flight to Auckland and stay near the airport, as you will be driving south tomorrow.

17 June 2017: Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua
You will drive through to Rotorua today via Waitomo Caves.
Recommended activities:

18 June 2017: Rotorua
Rotorua offers a multitude of experiences, all located amongst beautiful lakes, native forests and pristine rivers. Known for its bubbling mud pools and shooting geysers, you won’t want to miss a visit to one of the many geothermal parks to see these impressive natural elements up close.
Recommended activities: 19 June 2017: Rotorua - Matamata - Hamilton
Today you will drive from Rotorua to Hamilton via Hobbiton Movie SetTM, home of The Shire in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Recommended activities: 20 June 2017: Hamilton
GAME DAY: The sixth match of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour sees the Waikato Chiefs host the visitors at the FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton. Today will be at your leisure.

21 June 2017: Hamilton - Whitianga
You will drive through to The Coromandel today, a coastal region New Zealanders love to visit on holiday.
Recommended activities:

22 June 2017: Whitianga
Today will be at your leisure.

23 June 2017: Whitianga - Auckland
You will head back to Auckland today in advance of the game tomorrow. Alternatively the may like to spend an additional night in this laidback region.

24 June 2017: Auckland
GAME DAY: The first test of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand sees the Lions take on the New Zealand All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland. Today will be at leisure before the game tonight.

25 June 2017: Auckland - Taupo
You will head south again today, this time with Lake Taupo in their sights. This popular lakeside destination provides visitors with a base to explore the region’s many activities including hiking, mountain biking, geothermal parks and water sports.
Recommended activities:

26 June 2017: Taupo
Today is a day of leisure.

27 June 2017: Taupo - Wellington
GAME DAY: The eighth match of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour sees the Wellington Hurricanes host the visitors at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Today you will continue south to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot.
Recommended activities:

28 June 2017: Wellington
Today is at your leisure.

29 June 2017: Wellington
Today is at your leisure.

30 June 2017: Wellington - Martinborough
You may like to get out of the city before the next match and the Wairarapa is the perfect holiday spot to visit. They can drive over the Rimutaka Hill or if they wish to leave their car behind, they can take the train.
Recommended activities:

1 July 2017: Martinborough - Wellington
GAME DAY: The second test of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand takes place at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Today you will head back to the capital for the next game.

2 July 2017: Wellington - Nelson
Today you will take a short flight from Wellington to the sunny destination of Nelson. The city of Nelson is home to a fascinating community of beach, bush and art lovers. From here you can organise yourself an eco-adventure or become immersed in the local creative culture.
Recommended activities:

3 June 2017: Nelson
Today is at your leisure

4 June 2017: Nelson
Today is at your leisure

5 July 2017: Nelson - Blenheim
You will enjoy the leisurely drive through to Blenheim today.
Recommended activities:

6 June 2017: Blenheim
Today will be at your leisure.

7 July 2017: Blenheim - Kaikoura
Recommended activities:

8 July 2017: Kaikoura - Christchurch - Auckland
GAME DAY: Today marks the third and final test of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour at Eden Park. You will drive from Kaikoura to Christchurch today where they will take a domestic flight back to Auckland.

LIONS TEST MATCH ROUTE

24 June 2017: Auckland
GAME DAY: The first test of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand sees the Lions take on the New Zealand All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland. Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest cosmopolitan city.
Recommended activities: 25 June 2017: Auckland
Today is a day of leisure.

26 June 2017: Auckland - Matamata - Rotorua
Today you will drive from Auckland to Rotorua via Hobbiton Movie SetTM, home of The Shire in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Recommended activities:

27 June 2017: Rotorua
Today is at your leisure.

28 June 2017: Rotorua - Hawke's Bay
Today you will drive through to Hawke’s Bay, one of New Zealand’s leading food and wine destinations. It is the country’s oldest winemaking region and is renowned for its award-winning red wines.
Recommended activities:

29 June 2017: Hawke's Bay
Today is at your leisure.

30 June 2017: Hawke's Bay - Martinborough
Today you will drive through to Martinborough in the Wairarapa region.
Recommended activities:

1 July 2017: Martinborough - Wellington
GAME DAY: The second test of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand takes place at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Today you will drive through to the capital for the next game. Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot.

Recommended activities: 2 July 2017: Wellington
Today is at your leisure.

3 July 2017: Wellington
Today is at your leisure.

4 July 2017: Wellington - Whanganui You will head north today to the picturesque river city of Whanganui. They can take time to explore the restored heritage areas, then check out the various options for an expedition on the river. They can also take the tunnel and elevator to the top of Durie Hill.

Recommended activities:

5 July 2017: Whanganui - New Plymouth
Today you will continue through to New Plymouth, known for its beautiful parks and gardens and vibrant arts scene.
Recommended activities: 6 July 2017: New Plymouth
Today will be at your leisure.

7 July 2017: New Plymouth - Waitomo Caves - Hamilton
Today you will drive to Hamilton via Waitomo Caves.
Recommended activities:

8 July 2017: Hamilton - Auckland
GAME DAY:
Today marks the third and final test of the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour at Eden Park. You will drive from Hamilton to Auckland today in time for the last game.

These are just a selection of some of the options, please contact our Kiwi Specialists for more details