Published: October 25th 2011October 18th 2011
New Zealand was one of my favorite countries from the last trip and when I heard they were hosting the Rugby World Cup I just had to go back. I arrived late afternoon of Thursday 29th September and after clearing a surprisingly quite immigration and customs I was soon back in the Kiwi International hotel on Queen Street again. It felt great to be back and I couldn’t wait to explore again and headed to a couple of the pubs that I’d been to before. The fans were out in style and i got chatting to some South Africans who were confident in their team who were playing Samoa on the Friday. The Irish Pub Father Ted was packed with Welsh and Irish supporters. The Welsh were heading to Hamilton that weekend and the Irish were still buzzing from their win over the Australians that had turned the RWC on its head in terms of who would qualify 1st and 2nd in their respective pools and play in the QF’s. The atmosphere was electric and it was difficult to leave and get an early night. On Friday I was up early at 8am and went to pick up my RWC tickets!!
It was then time for some serious RWC merchandise shopping in the viaduct and by 11am the bars along the wharf were packed with South Africans ahead of their game. The fan zone was amazing with lots of food stalls, bars and a massive Rugby ball (see picture 1). At 5pm I got the bus to the North Harbor stadium about 50 minutes on the bus from Auckland. My first RWC game was a great experience it was so well organized and such a friendly atmosphere. Lots of people were dressed up with painted faces and some South African’s even dressed up as Argentinians! I was sitting with lots of SA’s but there were lots of Samoan fans in the crowd some of which were Australians!!!!
The next day was the must win for England and after a relaxing day getting over the jet lag and still pinching myself thinking how lucky I was being at the RWC I walked the fan trail (via the Dogs Bollix best pub in Auckland!!!!) and got to Eden Park early for the build-up…..and another poor England performance!! On Sunday the Rugby Quarter Finals tour with Hake Tours kicked off. It was with a
really good group all Rugby crazy and over the next two weeks we went to the Wautoma caves, River Valley Lodge, Gravity Canyon, Wellington, Lake Taupe, back to Auckland for the Quarters, Whitianga on the Coromandol coast and Paihia. The highlights were (1)watching the last four group Rugby games in Curley’s bar in Waitomo (2)Dinner, cards and giant Jenga at River Valley Lodge (3) Tasty’s restaurant in Wellington and the Irish pub (where we saw some Rugby players including Shaulk Burger (3) seeing a Kiwi at Zealandia sanctuary at Wellington (4) looking out over Lake Taupo on the terrace of the Tikki lodge (5) Jet boating in Taupo (6) Sailing in one of the America Cup boats in Auckland harbor (7) The Dogs Bolix bands and atmosphere (8) walking the fan trail (9) Burto’s secret beach (10) Carving a pendant from cow bone (11) The lost Springs Whitianga (12) watching the Haka on the big screen with surround sound at the DB’s when New Zealand played Australia. Many thanks to Burto and Haka for a great tour of the sights of the North Island. Enjoy the pictures.
After the Haka Tour finished on Friday 14th October it was semi-final weekend.
I purchased a ticket for the Wales vs France game on the Sunday and met up with the Haka group in the Dogs Bolix before the game. The Wales/France game was good but it was a real shame they lost it would have been great to see them in the final. The NZ vs Australia semi was superb and although I could get a ticket the atmosphere in the fan zone and wharf area was awesome. I walked the fan trail to the DB and watched the game on the big screen. On the Monday I had a 7am flight booked to Queenstown in the South Island. It was the furthest away from home I’d been so far and the aim was to visit Milford and Doubtful Sound and watch the final there. Take care all keep the mesages and gossip coming.
There are more photos below