Lions Tour of NZ 2017 - How to See the Big Games in a Motorhome
Whenever the British and Irish Lions come to New Zealand it's a momentous occasion. Catch every moment of the excitement and see the wonders of NZ at the same time with this itinerary.
In 2017 the Lions will be heading to the antipodes for a 5 week tour of New Zealand. You can be one of the 20,000 plus fans expected to follow the combined home nations as they play three tests against the All Blacks.
Be part of a convoy or go out on your own to see rugby at the highest level with this beautiful country as a backdrop.
First stop – Touch down in Auckland
You’ll want to get to Auckland a few days before the first game so you can adjust to the 12 hour time difference coming from the other side of the world. Check yourself into a nearby hotel for your first nights’ stay and get refreshed before you hit the road for 3 weeks.
Pick up your motorhome
Most of our motorhome suppliers will be able to pick you up from an airport hotel and take you to their depot where the paper work can be done and the keys can be handed over. From here you can start on your journey around the North Island. If you have a spare few days before the first test, venture north to the Bay of Islands for some sight-seeing or whale watching, before heading to the first test.
Set up camp for the first test – 24th June at Eden Park
Check yourself into a nearby motorcamp. Keen to be on the beach? Park up at Takapuna Beach Holiday Park. Just 15 minutes from the city, this can be your base before and after kickoff. There will be special buses that will run from the nearby Takapuna shops and bus lanes that will take you straight to The Fortress (aka Eden Park).
If you prefer to be closer to the action, stay at the Remuera Motor Lodge and a short taxi or bus ride will get you to the gates.
Tip: if you want to soak up some of the game day atmosphere, head over to Kingsland for a drink and bite to eat at one of the many local pubs. Make sure you get there early, as there will be plenty of Lions and All Blacks fans alike that will be there slinging banter between each other.
Start heading south
After you have celebrated victory or consoled yourself for defeat, start heading south for game two in Wellington. To help break up the trip, stop by at Waitomo to see glow worms light up the underground caves. Take a cruisy boat ride down the Waikato River, or go black water rafting to clear any sore heads. Afterwards, shack up for the night at the nearby Otorohanga Holiday Park or Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park.
Tip: If you book a Britz/Mighty or Maui vehicle, the driver gets a free boat ride throughout the caves!
Once you have experienced Waitomo, follow the compass due southwest, where you will end up at New Plymouth. Named after Plymouth in Devon, England, the “New” version is a coastal town on the rugged West Coast of the North Island. Here you can take walks, including the 11km/6.8mi coastal walkway, explore the nearby Mt Egmont National Park or catch some waves at one of the renowned local surf breaks.
There are many choices available when it comes to finding a place to stay in New Plymouth. There are options for freedom camping in Mt Egmont National Park, or you can stay at the Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park, a popular spot for motorhome travelers.
Head to the capital for test 2 in Wellington
Once you have experienced New Plymouth, head down to the “Coolest little capital in the world”.
There are plenty of places to stay in and around Wellington. You might opt for a campground or even choose to freedom camp in permitted areas. Evans Bay is the closest place to freedom camp and the Capital Gateway Motor Inn is only 7 minutes from the city if you prefer to stay at a campsite. Get amongst the atmosphere on Cuba Street before the game and stroll along the waterfront to the “Cake Tin”, the venue for the second test. Other points of interest to keep you engaged either side of the match include visiting Te Papa museum and riding the famous cable car up to the Botanical Gardens and admiring the stellar view of the city.
Start cruising north
Start making the trek back to Auckland - this time, try going via the East Coast of the North Island to Hawkes Bay. Here you will find wineries, art deco buildings and cool cafes. Park up for the night at the Clifton Road Reserve and you’ll be just a 5 minute walk away from a local winery!
Then move 3 hours north to explore the geothermal activity around Rotorua. For a more relaxing retreat, soak in one of the Polynesian spas, take a ride up the gondola or simply check out the boiling mud pools scattered around the city. If you are looking for a bit more excitement, try white water rafting, the luge, or zorbing. Stay at the Trout Pools reserve and catch some fish that bear the same name. There are plenty more campsites in the areas that will have to waking up to a beautiful view over one of the region’s many lakes.
The final test – 8th July back at Eden Park
Once you are done with Rotorua, head back to the big smoke for the third and final test. You may want to return to the same place you stayed at the start of your trip, or you may want to try somewhere different. If time allows, consider taking a day trip to Waiheke Island to sample delicious wine and food to match, or check out the marine life at Kelly Tarltons – followed by a stay at nearby Mission Bay. Just double check that you aren’t in a prohibited area.
Make sure you start planning your motorhome road trip today, as vehicles are selling already and the longer you wait, the less choice of vehicles you have!