New Zealand’s largest city is an exciting combination of vibrant culture and stunning natural beauty. Breath-taking scenery, beautiful beaches, outstanding food and wine, great shopping, exciting nightlife and plenty of action and adventure – Auckland has it all.
It’s also ranked as one of the top cities for sports lovers in the world, with first rate venues and a sport-loving culture. At the heart of this is Eden Park – New Zealand’s largest stadium and the home of Auckland Rugby for over 100 years. The ground has played host to some of New Zealand’s proudest sporting moments including the 1950 Empire Games, Cricket World Cup 1992 and 2015 and New Zealand’s victories in the final of Rugby World Cup 1987 and 2011.
Just a short walk or train journey from downtown Auckland, Eden Park will host three fixtures, the second match of the Series against the Blues and two highly anticipated Test matches against the All Blacks.
AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and second largest in New Zealand. Its location, combined with a huge range of outdoor activities all available within a short drive of the city, makes it the ideal destination for visitors. Additionally, Christchurch is the gateway to the Canterbury region and the spectacular experiences available within the South Island of New Zealand.
Christchurch is bursting with new vigour and overflowing with bars, restaurants, inspirational art and creativity as it reinvents itself in the wake of the 2010/2011 quakes. The New Zealand Lions Series 2017 is another perfect opportunity for Christchurch to celebrate and showcase its revival and renewal. The ever-changing city that Lonely Planet and New York Times list as a place to go.
AMI Stadium will host the third match of the Series against the regions beloved Crusaders. This will be the biggest fixture for the home team since winning the Investec Super Rugby 14 final in 2008.
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Sport, particularly rugby, is firmly imbedded into Dunedin culture, hardly surprising in the Scottish-flavoured environment known as the Edinburgh of the south. Lying at the southern end of the South Island’s eastern coastline, Dunedin was founded as a gold mining town by Scottish immigrants, the traces of whom can still be felt prominently across the city. Dunedin is also home to the University of Otago, New Zealand’s first university, whose students account for around a fifth of the city’s population ensuring a surprising and vibrant nightlife.
Just five minutes from the CBD, Forsyth Barr Stadium is New Zealand’s only fully covered rugby venue. It will host the fourth match of the Series against the Highlanders, the 2015 Investec Super Rugby Champions. The stadium’s unique transparent roof removes the distraction of wind and rain - you can just sit back and enjoy world-class rugby and the atmosphere from the passionate crowd. The stadium opened in 2011 to host four Rugby World Cup matches and has since hosted Test matches against South Africa, Australia, Wales and England.
FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
From magnificent parks and gardens to a thriving cultural and hospitality precinct, Hamilton offers a vibrant combination of fine dining and night life options as well as an electric mix of leisure, lifestyle and activity choices. Only a short drive away is New Zealand’s fastest growing tourist attraction – Hobbiton Movie Set – the famous shire which featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Waikato locals are proud of their rugby history and make a lot of noise about it. Since 1951 when Waikato chose ‘Mooloo’ the Jersey cow as their mascot, supporters have rung their distinctive cowbells creating a unique fan-base. The crowds will be in full chorus at FMG Stadium Waikato for the Series match against the Chiefs.
Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
Visitors have flocked to Rotorua since the early 19th century to bathe in the natural hot springs and view the bubbling mud pools, active geysers and other spectacular geothermal activity. Nowadays they also come to experience Maori culture first hand, indulge in world class spa treatments and facilities and to try the variety of adventure activities like mountain biking, trout fishing, zorbing, luging, and white water rafting down the highest commercially rafted waterfall on the planet.
Just a five-minute drive from the heart of the CBD, Rotorua International Stadium must be the only rugby stadium in the world set in such a fascinating geothermal landscape. Locals have dubbed the stadium the ‘Hangi Pit’ as a reference to a traditional Maori cooking technique which uses fire heated stones in an underground earth oven.
All of this accumulates to provide a fitting backdrop for the much anticipated Maori All Blacks match. Like 2005 The British & Irish Lions and their fans can expect rousing introduction to what is considered the heartland of Maori culture.
Toll Stadium, Whangarei
Whangarei in the sub-tropical north of the North Island hosts the opening match of the New Zealand Lions Series 2017 against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians. The rugby proud Northland region is likely to set the tone for an action-packed, fun-filled Series.
The region offers an array of activities from swimming with dolphins, to walking through ancient forest and discovering endless beaches. The historic lighthouse standing at the tip of Cape Reinga is one of New Zealand’s most iconic sights and a place of deep cultural significance to Maori.
Toll Stadium underwent a major redevelopment ahead of hosting Rugby World Cup 2011 matches. The atmosphere created at Toll Stadium is electric and is known for the sense of fun that comes from being in a more intimate environment. As a passionate rugby loving region, the teams and visiting fans will be welcomed and embraced wholeheartedly.
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Named ‘the coolest little capital’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington is said to have more bars and cafes per capita than New York city. Packed with creative entrepreneurs, academic researchers, craft beer brewers and arts professionals, it’s New Zealand’s cultural and political hub.
Westpac Stadium, a short walk from the city centre, is a multipurpose facility which hosts a range of sporting and entertainment events. The stadium is a regular venue for international and domestic rugby, cricket, football, league – including Rugby World Cup 2011, the annual Wellington leg of the Sevens World Series and Cricket World Cup 2015.
Wellington will host two matches inside a week which is sure to attract a strong contingent of The British & Irish Lions supporters for a week long rugby party. A mid-week clash with the Hurricanes will be followed by the second Test match against the All Blacks.