New Zealand is one of the most picturesque countries in the world, with millions of people venturing to the islands every year to take in its unique landscape.
Its beauty was renowned in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that was filmed here, featuring Te Anau and Milford Sound along with Queenstown and Tongariro National Park. There is no shortage of incredible sights to be found across the country.
The Kiwis are also one of the proudest sporting nations in the world. It is part of the identity of a New Zealander, a nation who have punched above their weight in both codes of rugby and cricket, despite the small population size compared to their rivals.
New Zealanders take their sport very seriously – which is why making a trip to watch a sporting event is a must when visiting the islands. Here are our top three venues for attending a game in the country.
Eden Park – Auckland
Eden Park hosts almost every sport that New Zealand play at international level. It holds a capacity of 50,000, which is often full to the brim. The world-famous All Blacks have played 86 times at the venue where they have been truly imperious. Watching them in person is like poetry in motion. No team plays rugby union like New Zealand at the peak of the powers.
You will even witness the Haka – the ceremonial dance which occurs before every rugby game played by the All Blacks. The venue also hosts rugby union matches from Super Rugby as the home soil of Blues, whilst cricket is played on the pitch for the Black Caps, who are currently captained by Kane Williamson. There is always guaranteed excitement watching New Zealand’s cricket team, especially alongside a full house in Auckland.
Mount Smart Stadium – Auckland
If you’re a fan of the different code of rugby – rugby league – then you have to make the journey to Mount Smart Stadium to watch the New Zealand Warriors. The Warriors compete in the National Rugby League and are the only team outside of Australia to compete in the division. They’ve not been too successful in their period in the division, and in the latest campaign, they’re backed at +10000 in the rugby league betting odds to win the crown.
Team performance notwithstanding, Mount Smart is still an interesting place to visit as the stadium was built on the site of an old volcano in 1967. It was used sparingly until the 1980s where it became the home of rugby league in New Zealand. The stadium holds a capacity of 30,000, although concerts have also been held at the venue with an increased standing of 47,000. Adele holds the record for the highest crowd here, when 45,000 attended her Adele Live set in 2017.
Bay Oval – Mount Maunganui
One of the newest venues in New Zealand, the Bay Oval was constructed in 2005 and has hosted international cricket since 2014. It as a beautiful of Mount Maunganui, which provides the perfect backdrop to cricket. It has an old school vibe with spectators sitting in around the oval on the grass, although there is also a small concourse.
It boasts a capacity of a cosy 10,000, which provides ample space for people to space out and enjoy the cricket. Test cricket was hosted at the venue for the first time in 2019 when the Black Caps defeated England by a dominant margin. It is situated in the city of Tauranga so a metropolis is not too far away. In terms of sheer beauty, the Bay Oval is perhaps the most scenic of all the stadiums in the country.