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Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

The Rugby Lover's Tour of the North Island, New Zealand

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For rugby fans worldwide, a trip to New Zealand is a bucket list essential. Home of the All Blacks, this little island in the South Pacific is proud of its rich rugby history. Whether you’re visiting for the 2017 rugby tour of New Zealand, or on holiday, we’ve mapped out the ultimate itinerary around the North Island.

Over three weeks, visit cultural and geological highlights of this natural paradise interspersed with test matches, activities and a visit to the New Zealand Rugby Museum.

Oysters Couple Salad

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Camping

Campervan parking is limited in Auckland so if you have not booked a place to stay we strongly recommend that you do.

Alexandra Park have opened their facilities especially for the Lions Tour Supporters. More information and how to book can be found here

Auckland Racing Club has also partnered with Auckland Tourism Events & Economic Development to deliver a pop-up campervan park on set nights between June 5-July10. For more information and how to book, visit the Ellerslie Event Centre website​.

You can also find out more about the Auckland Fanzones & Fan Trail on the ATEED website here​.

Day 1: Auckland–Waitomo

Stay: Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park or Otorohanga Holiday Park

Enjoy an underground wonderland and visit the Waitomo Glowworm Caves – as an added bonus, the campervan driver goes free! Explore the three caves of Waitomo, Ruakuri or Aranui and their magical living light displays.

Days 2 and 3: Matamata–Tauranga

Stay: Silverbirch Holiday Park

On your second day, travel through lush pastures you may recognise as The Shire from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. If you’re a Tolkein fan, the Hobbiton Movie Set is a must-do. The picturesque village is a permanent fixture of the landscape and a highlight for tourists to the area. Spend the night in Tauranga – a resort city and playground for lovers of watersports and activities. On Day 3, try the Scenic Lake McLaren Kayak Tour for a chance to get up-close with birdlife and native bush.

Day 4: Auckland British and Irish Lions Tour Test Game 1

Stay: Alexandra Park Campervan Parking (exclusive for rugby tour campervans)

Join your fellow Lions fans at the Lions Supporter Village before cheering on The British & Irish Lions against New Zealand in the first test at Eden Park in Auckland.

Days 5 and 6: Auckland–Rotorua

Stay: Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park

Head south-east again to New Zealand’s lively geothermal centre, Rotorua. Be sure to visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland to watch an active geyser erupt and see nature at its most raw with colourful geothermal pools and bubbling boiling mud.

The next day, visit Tamaki Maori Village for a cultural education and an unrivalled encounter with Maori traditions set in an ancient forest just outside of Rotorua.

Days 7 and 8: Rotorua–Taupo

Stay: Great Lake Taupo Holiday Park

A cruise is the only way to truly appreciate Lake Taupo and the 1.5-hour Scenic Lake Cruise is the perfect way to take it all in. For the truly adventurous, try a tandem skydive and take in a bird’s-eye view of this beautiful region!

Day 9: Taupo–Palmerston North–Martinborough

Stay: Coney Wines Winery Haven, Martinborough

Immerse yourself in rugby history with a visit to the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North, then venture into wine country and enjoy an overnight stay at the Coney Wines maui Winery Haven. You’ll enjoy exclusive accommodation at the vineyard, plus a gourmet hamper for two and a bottle of wine.

Day 10: Wellington British and Irish Lions Tour Test Game 2

Stay: Evans Bay Marina Carpark

Enjoy the second test at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Day 11: Wellington

Stay: Evans Bay Marina Carpark

Spend some time exploring some of the many museums, art galleries or theatre shows on offer in the country’s capital. Spend around an hour on a tour of Te Papa or the Maori highlights tour.

Day 12: Wellington–Napier

Stay: Napier Beach Kiwi Holiday Park or Linden Estate Winery Haven

Explore this time capsule of the Art Deco era and then spend the night either beachside or at your second maui Winery Haven stay at Linden Estate – nestled into the slopes of Esk Valley hills.

Day 13: Napier–Ohope

Stay: Ohope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park

Ohope Beach was recently voted New Zealand’s Most Loved Beach by a nationwide AA travel poll, so this is a perfect destination for some picturesque camping.

Day 14: Ohope–Waihi

Stay: Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Park

Check out the new Gold Discovery Centre in Waihi and take a tour ‘inside the fence’ of the Martha Mine to witness the monumental process of gold and silver extraction. 

Day 15: Waihi–Whitianga via Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove

Stay: Mercury Bay Holiday Park or Mercury Bay Winery Haven

Visit one of New Zealand’s most iconic beach spots Cathedral Cove for an unbeatable photo opportunity, and then pick up a shovel and head to Hot Water Beach. Thanks to underground hot springs you can dig yourself your own personal hot pool in the sand, lay back and relax. 

Day 16: Whitianga–Coromandel Town

Stay: Coromandel Top 10 Holiday Park

This is where you’ll find postcard New Zealand: misty forests, pristine beaches and hundreds of hideaways for a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle.

Day 17: Coromandel Town–Miranda

Stay: Miranda Holiday Park

If you haven’t already had your fill of lazing about, visit the Miranda Hot Springs and rest your weary legs in the thermally heated mineral water pools.

Day 18: Auckland British and Irish Lions Tour Test Game 3

Stay: Orewa Beach Top 10 Holiday Park or Alexandra Park Campervan Parking (exclusive for rugby tour campervans)

Travel back to Auckland via Kawakawa Bay to enjoy a short, picturesque walking track before getting ready for the final test of the tour and then venturing into Northland!

Day 19: Auckland–Whangarei

Stay: Whangarei Top 10 Holiday Park

If you’re a beer aficionado, or simply love good music and an informal atmosphere, pay a visit to Brauhaus Frings in Whangarei. Alternatively, check out the various colonial style restaurants along the marina and pick up some souvenirs from the local craft shops.

Day 20: Whangarei–Russell–Paihia

Stay: Beachside Holiday Park

If you’re willing to walk for an incredible 360-degree view, you’ll want to summit Flagstaff Hill – there’s a 2.5km walking track loop from the town centre. Then take the ferry across to Paihia, where you can snorkel among the colourful sea life that inhabit the clear water of this relaxed town. 

Day 21: Paihia–Dargaville

Stay: Orewa Beach Top 10 Holiday Park

It’s a fair drive back to Auckland so stopping in Dargaville can break up the distance. It’s still quite a drive, though, so be prepared. If you have time, explore the Kauri Coast for an encounter with the world’s oldest and largest kauri trees.

Day 22: Drop-off in Auckland