39 DAYS WELCOME
to The British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand - you are in for the trip of lifetime. Your motorhome holiday will give you the freedom to explore this wonderful country and also be part of the greatest Lions Test series there has ever been. There is something very special about the Lions - and you will be part of it. Enjoy the open road and some fantastic rugby. Please visit the website for all information about these sample itineraries. Please take some time to read through all the information online – it will save you time in the long run – and allow you to enjoy the open roads on tour.
This morning, drive back south east to Whangarei (119km, 1hr50) and head to Whangarei Falls, the ‘most photogenic waterfall in New Zealand’. Then enjoy the atmosphere in Whangarei as British & Irish Lions kick off the first match of the tour: Provincial Union XV V British & Irish Lions
Head south to the Waitakere Ranges (162km, 2hrs10), located west of Auckland. This area is only 30 minutes from Auckland City and is home to lush native bush, stunning waterfalls and walking tracks. Just past these ranges you’ll find the beautiful black-sand beaches of Piha, Muriwai, Bethells and Karekare. Explore the area on foot, take in the beautiful scenery and check out Karekare Falls, just a few minutes’ walk from Karekare beach.
Pick up your Britz or Maui campervan for your self-drive tour. Head north, for Paihia (240 km, 3hrs30). After you arrive, discover this scenic part of the Bay of Islands with the Excitor, an amphibious vessel that takes you from Paihia to Cape Brett and the Cathedral Cave.
Visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, establishing New Zealand as a nation of the British Empire. Whilst at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds Visitors Centre, catch an authentic kapa haka performance. In the afternoon, head west to Waipoua Forrest (2 hrs from Waitangi), an ancient green world of towering trees and rare birds, and home of Tane Mahuta, the country’s largest kauri tree, which is approximately 2,000 years old and still growing.
From Waitakere, head west, through Auckland (26km, 30 mins) for a car ferry to Waiheke Island. The island is a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves and beaches, and only a 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Check out the craft boutiques and enjoy the local produce while looking out over vine-covered valleys to the blue sea beyond. Explore the island’s trails which meander along cliff tops, down to the beaches and into enclaves of native forest.
Official Lions Merchandise pack
Tickets for three tests and seven provincials
Official Lions Supporter Village passes on Match day for first, second and third tests
39 DAYS Spend the next night on Waiheke Island before taking the car ferry back to Auckland (35 minutes). Use the afternoon to explore Auckland. The best way to do this is to park up and make use of the Auckland Explorer Bus. The bus stops at the major attractions, such as Kelly Tarltons, Auckland Museum, Parnell Village, the Sky Tower and Victoria Park Market. Spend the day discovering why Auckland’s lifestyle is ranked amongst the best in the world – an urban environment where you are always within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Then enjoy the evening atmosphere before the next provincial match: Auckland Blues V British & Irish Lions
Get an early start and head to the terminal for a ferry to the South Island. The ferry from Wellington to Picton, in the stunning Marlborough Sounds, takes just over three hours. After disembarking, head to Christchurch, but stop off at the beautiful coastal town of Kaikoura (258km, 5hrs45 from Wellington). Famous for marine mammal encounters, whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and there are plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops to explore.
Leave Auckland early this morning as you have a long drive to Wellington ahead of you (648km, 8hrs). Spend the night in Wellington before getting the early morning ferry to the South Island.
On the morning of the 10th day, head south (181km, 2hrs30) to Christchurch, explore the town and soak up the atmosphere before the Crusaders V British & Irish Lions match.
Depart Christchurch and drive through the tunnel to Lyttelton. Carry on the Governors Bay Road round to Akaroa (83km, 1hr35 from Christchurch) where the scenery adds to the magic of this place. Visit the Akaroa museum and beautifully restored historic cottages. Akaroa has a French flair with street names, restaurants and colourful characters reflecting the early French settlement. After dinner in a charming bistro, head back towards Christchurch and park up for the night.
Another long drive today (454km, 5hrs30) takes you to Rotorua, in time for the Maori All Blacks V British & Irish Lions provincial match. When you enter Rotorua you might catch the faint scent of sulphur in the air and escaping curls of steam – demonstrating the region’s dramatic geothermal character. From crystal-clear streams and magical forests, to epic biking trails and explosive geysers, there is so much to do in Rotorua. At Whakarewarewa, see how the people living there use the natural geothermal wonders for cooking, bathing and everyday living. In the depths of the forest, take a journey back in time at a Maori village, or fly-fish the rivers and lakes - hiring a guide almost guarantees a catch.
Spend the morning in Queenstown, then head west in the afternoon to spend the night in, or just outside, Christchurch (483km, 5hrs50).
Early in the morning, leave Dunedin for Queenstown (282km, 3hrs35). Surrounded by mountains ranges, Queenstown town centre is nestled beside Lake Wakatipu. With beautiful walks and action packed activities, the area is breath-taking. Cosy up in front of the roaring fireplace in a boutique bar or enjoy one of the 120 restaurants serving locally crafted beer and gourmet fare.
Head north to catch the ferry to the North Island from Picton. Stay overnight in the quaint, colonial town of Martinborough (514km,9hrs15 from Christchurch). Packed with charm, fine wines and gourmet food, Martinborough is the perfect spot for your overnight stay enroute to Rotorua.
Early morning head south to Dunedin (361km, 4hrs30) in time for lunch. Filled with Scottish heritage, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Check out Larnach Castle, built in 1871, which is a must-see for any Dunedin visitor. Spend the second day exploring Dunedin. You could visit Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve dedicated to helping the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin, take a look at St Paul’s Cathedral or visit Dunedin Railway. Then soak up the atmosphere and head to Forsyth Barr Stadium for Highlanders V British & Irish Lions.
Take the State Highway 27 north to The Coromandel (141km, 2hrs5). With early beginnings as a wild colonial gold rush settlement, Coromandel Town is known for its charming mix of Victorian architecture, beaches & forests. The area is full of native forests and Cathedral Cove is not to be missed - arguably one of the most picturesque, and famous, spots in New Zealand.
Today, head back towards Hamilton Waikato to Matamata (102km,1hr20). The area is a land of lush pastures that was chosen to play The Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. If you’re a Tolkien fan, visit Hobbiton, the amazing Hobbitsized village created for the movies.
Leave Rotorua and arrive in Hamilton (106km, 1hrs25) ready for Chiefs V British & Irish Lions. If you have time before the match exploring Hamilton itself, soak up the Lions atmosphere and head to Casabella Lane for unique New Zealand-made items and boutique stores.
Waitomo is a 1 hour drive from Hamilton. The Glowworm Caves are a must see, either by boat or with a walking tour. The driver enjoys free entry to the caves so make the most of this! Once you’ve visited the caves, take the walkway beginning near the Waitomo Museum of Caves which leads through farmland where you’ll see fascinating rock forms and strange fluted outcrops.
Spend another day in Rotorua enjoying this famous region. After marvelling at the distinctive landscapes and volcanic activity within a geothermal park, enjoy a simple soak in a natural hot stream or indulge in a wellness getaway at a luxurious spa.
Today you’ll need to leave The Coromandel for Auckland (169km, 2hrs25) for the First Test: New Zealand V British & Irish Lions. Head to the Lions Supporter Village to really soak up the amazing atmosphere.
Leave for Taupo (275km, 3hr15), but stop just before entering Taupo at the Huka Falls Lookout. After reaching Taupo, enjoy a picturesque lunch on the shores of Lake Taupo and, if you like, try your luck at the Hole-in One driving range on the Lakefront. If you’re feeling active, the forests surrounding the lake offer hiking and mountain biking.for unique New Zealand-made items and boutique stores.
Get an early start and head to the terminal for a ferry to the South Island. The ferry from Wellington to Picton, in the stunning Marlborough Sounds, takes just over three hours. After disembarking, drive to Nelson (134 km, 1hr45) via the Queen Charlotte Drive. Take your time, as this drive is one of the most scenic in New Zealand. Once you arrive in Nelson, there is so much to explore. Head to the fabulous restaurants, some with huge views of Tasman Bay.
Take the road south to Whanganui (231km, 3hrs5) from Taupo. A designated motorhome friendly city, Whanganui encourages selfdrive visitors year-round. The real heart of this place is the Whanganui River - the longest navigable river in the country and once known as the Rhine of New Zealand. In early times the river was an important transport route for Maori and European settlers.
In the morning, drive on to Wellington (193km, 2hrs30) to bask in the Lions atmosphere before the final provincial match: Hurricanes V British & Irish Lions Spend the whole day in Wellington, recently named “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet. Delve into the many museums, art galleries and theatre shows on offer and if you’re into the outdoors, Wellington has action-packed adventure activities like mountain biking and sea-water kayaking, as well as beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills.
Spend the morning exploring Eastland and then head north to the Bay of Plenty (323km, 4hrs15 from Tolaga Bay) in time for dinner.the most easterly point of mainland New Zealand.
Eastland (around 216km and 3hrs from Napier, Hawke’s Bay) is a less-explored part of New Zealand but well worth the journey. Totally unspoilt, it is a stronghold for Maori and a natural wonderland. There is plenty to do in Eastland, visit Tolaga Bay and walk down the longest pier in New Zealand (660 metres) or walk the 700 steps to the East Cape Lighthouse, the most easterly point of mainland New Zealand.
With so much to do around Nelson, it will be hard to tear yourself away, but head back east to the Marlborough region (115km, 1hr35 to Blenheim). No matter what time of year, there is always something going on in Marlborough. Famous for its wine, there are over 40 cellar doors in Marlborough offering wine tours. Spend some time in Blenheim and Picton, the gateway to the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds.
Drive to Napier, Hawke’s Bay from Wellington (315km, 4hrs). Rebuilt in 1930 after a huge earthquake, Napier, Hawkes Bay is New Zealand’s Art Deco centre. Visit the traditional farmers market in Hastings, for the freshest produce and organic foods or try an orchard, farm, honey, cheese or Spend a second day in this beautiful region, famous for producing wine and locally grown delicacies. Take a wine tour around the vines and stop for a sip of Sauvignon Blanc or a taste of gourmet cheese. Self-tour the region with a food and wine trail map, or cycle from one winery to the next on one of the three Hawke’s Bay Trails.
Get the morning ferry back to Wellington from Picton (3hr30 by ferry). Spend the rest of the afternoon in Wellington – head to the Lions Supporter Village and soak up the atmosphere before the Second Test: New Zealand V British & Irish Lions
Head back north to Auckland (213km, 2hrs50), join fellow Lions fans at the Lions Supporter Village and soak up the atmosphere before the Final Test: New Zealand V British & Irish Lions. Return your campervan to the designated drop off before heading to the airport for your transfer and flight home.
The area is home to some of New Zealand’s most stunning beaches and New Zealand’s only active marine volcano. Take a tour around a working kiwifruit orchard with Kiwi 360 and learn about the region’s history at the Elms Mission House. The Bay of Plenty boasts the sunniest climate in the North Island and is a great place to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Watch whales play in their natural habitat and visit Kaiate Falls in Welcome Bay, a beautiful native bush reserve where the river runs through a series of stunning waterfalls.