The best places to see rugby in New Zealand (Part 2)

Trafalgar Park (Nelson)

Trafalgar Park is one of New Zealand’s oldest sports grounds – and among the most unusual. The surface of the yard is made of environmentally friendly recycled glass that looks a lot like sand. The iconic stadium is located right in the city center and regularly hosts the New Zealand Cup ITM Cup, a major rugby competition that is held every year. Rugby fans also visited Trafalgar Park to watch a series of Super Rugby matches as well as some RWC 2011 games.

Mangatainoka (Wairarapa)

If you want to see rugby at the best facility, this is the place to be. The Mangatainoka rugby football field is a modest lawn that is located right next to the town of Tui Brewery – one of New Zealand’s most famous restaurants. The grounds have a capacity of 8,500 seats and are known to attract crowds when Hurricanes come to play their pre-season matches.

Yarrow Stadium (New Plymouth)

In 2009, the New Plymouth Plymouth Yarrow Stadium was voted the third best rugby field in the world by Rugby World magazine. The stadium has earned its place on the list because of the strong yet fun community vibe. Audience experienced relatively tight action when the stands were packed on the field. Mt Taranaki can also be seen from the background, making this rather picturesque setting to catch a game.

Rotorua International Stadium

Founded in 1911, Rotorua International Stadium is perhaps the only rugby field in the world within close proximity to geothermal lakes and rumbling geysers. Having more than 40,000 sports fans, this venue is a favorite for national and international matches. It is also known for staging a number of cultural and music programs, including Searchlight Military Tattoo and the Reggae Raggamuffin Festival.

Upper Clutha Rugby Club (Wanaka)

A photo contest in 2010 linked the Upper Clutha Rugby Club to New Zealand’s most scenic spot. Founded in 1922, the club, overlooking sparkling Wanaka Lake, is known for its regular Saturday winter matches. It is not uncommon to find locals standing on the sidelines or sitting in the back of them ‘utes, near the yard, as they enthusiastically cheer for their clubs.

Don’t forget the sports bars

New Zealand doesn’t lack sports bars and you’ll be hard pressed to find a rugby match during the season. If you can keep some tickets, relax and enjoy the game from the side of the screen.