New Zealand’s national sport has always been rugby, with over 150,000 registered players in the country. While they may not be as adamant about playing other sports, there are a host of spectacular sporting venues hosting everything from cricket and football to athletics and concerts! Here are some of the must visit sporting venues for you to experience should you share the country’s enthusiasm for sport during your vacation to South Africa.
The largest stadium in New Zealand, Eden Park has been a sporting venue since 1900. This huge structure has hosted the Rugby World Cup twice in its history, once in 1987 and the second time in 2011. If you want to learn some of the history of New Zealand’s greatest sporting achievements, look no further than Eden Park.
The 1950 Empire Games, 1992 Cricket World Cup and the infamous 1981 Springbok Tour in which a low flying aircraft flour-bombed the park are some of the notable occasions to have happened here. Situated in the heart of Auckland, the stadium was renovated to increase its capacity to 60,000, and it was also given a brand new Hall of Legends area, housing over 2,000 items of New Zealand sporting memorabilia.
Located in New Plymouth, Stadium Taranaki was named the third best rugby ground in the world in 2009. While you watch the sporting spectacle unfold in front of you, the stunning Mount Taranaki looms in the skyline behind. Many people have described the stadium as having one of the best atmospheres you can find, with the stands being very close to the pitch meaning you feel like you are part of the action.
Wellington Regional Stadium
Opened in 1999, the Wellington Regional Stadium has become an extremely successful large capacity sporting venue. The stadium hosts a variety of events every year, such as the IRB Sevens tournament in February and many cricket matches have been played here. The stadium has become so successful that during Peter Jackson’s filming of Lord of the Rings, he recorded 30,000 people chanting to put into his film, and the stadium is also often used as a concert location for bands such as the Rolling Stones!
Situated in Christchurch, the AMI Stadium was forced to close after one of its stands collapsed in the 2011 earthquakes. However, recently reopened, the stadium is back to hosting a wide variety of sporting events such as rugby, football, cricket and athletics.
The stadium has also been used in the past for religious occasions, with Pope John II holding a public mass on the oval, attracting well over 28,000 people.
Rugby Park is located in Hamilton, an area that is filled with avid rugby fans. The region is largely a dairy farming area and as such the stadium has acquired the nickname Mooloo heaven. Rugby Park is the home of the Waikato rugby team and there have been plenty of international teams that have come here only to be beaten by the ferocious playing style of the locals.