New Zealand’s Top Sporting Venues

For a country with a population of under 5 million people, New Zealand certainly punches above its weight on the international sporting stage. The country’s main sport is Rugby Union, whilst they also participate in Cricket, Football and Rugby League. New Zealand’s sporting culture has been heavily influenced by its British colonial heritage, and they are considered to have the finest Rugby Union team in the world. Here’s my guide to some of New Zealand’s finest sporting stadia, which are definitely worth a visit for a closer look at the kiwi’s sporting prowess and fierce competitive spirit.    

Eden Park  

New Zealand’s national stadium is used all year round for Rugby, Football and Cricket, as well as occasionally hosting concerts and other events. If your itinerary includes spending time in Auckland, then a visit is a must.  As well as being New Zealand’s largest stadium, it is also the home of the mighty All Blacks, and resultantly the focal point of the country’s national sport. New Zealand are a dominant force in International Rugby, and this stadium is their fortress. There is simply no better place to see the famous Maori ‘Haka’; a pre-game, testosterone fuelled routine that is possibly, for the opposition team at least, the most intimidating display in world sport.

Wellington Regional Stadium

With a capacity of 35,500, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium provides an arena for a number of the capital’s sports teams, as well as the occasional international Rugby and Football match. Among the teams that use the stadium are Cricket’s Wellington Firebirds and Football’s Wellington Phoenix – not to mention International Rugby League tournaments such as the Four Nations Final. The stadium is fondly known as ‘The Cake Tin’, because of its shiny silver exterior, and is open for tours as well as sporting fixtures.  

Forsyth Barr Stadium

Found on the South Island in Dunedin, Forsyth Barr Stadium is an impressive feat of architecture, and can make the bold claim of being the only fully roofed, naturally turfed stadium on the planet. With a capacity of over 30,000, ‘The Glasshouse’ is an incredibly versatile venue, having previously hosted games in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, music concerts and Football matches. There is something for everyone, all year round, whether you want to simply take a tour and admire the unique structure, or get some tickets for a music or sporting event! 

Mount Smart Stadium

In the suburb of Penrose, Auckland, Mount Smart Stadium was built out of the quarried remains of an old volcano, and now serves as a world class music and sports venue. The current teams that call Mount Smart home include Rugby League’s New Zealand Warriors, and some household names such as Elton John, U2 and Michael Jackson have performed there in recent times.

Basin Reserve

The Basin Reserve is the home of test Cricket in New Zealand, and is an island of sporting tranquillity amidst inner city Wellington. The famous old ground is New Zealand's only sports venue on the National Heritage list, having been in use since its construction was completed in 1868. For a fan of Cricket, the Basin’s east bank is the perfect place to lounge in the sun and watch a Test Match unfold.