Hutch is on his way to New Zealand today for the Rugby World Cup 2011, and here is the rough outline of the 8-week campervan tour itinerary. Let me know if our paths might cross and we’ll catch up for a beer.
Week 1: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin
New Zealand is a long way away isn’t it? Leave on Sunday, get to Dunedin on Thursday! I have a night in Auckland to pick up accreditation and to meet some the NZ-based SportGuru and SuperBru players, then a brief visit to Christchurch to see the earthquake devastation and pick up the campervan.
It’s a long drive down to Dunedin but I’ll be there by Thursday to set up camp for the weekend, taking in England v Argentina and everything else on offer on TV – including South Africa v Wales on the Sunday, which should be huge.
Week 2: Queenstown
It’s off to the South Island’s party central between the first couple of matches, picking up Justin and Stu, and then taking in some adrenaline sports and hopefully some golf.
Then back to Dunedin with a night in Ranfurly on the way to try our hand at Curling! Australia v Ireland is the big game of the weekend though…can’t wait for that one.
Week 3: Otago
We’re not quite sure what we’ll do between the Georgia and Romania matches, but perhaps some more golf, a vineyard tour and some walking in Otago.
Then back to Dunedin again for the England v Romania fixture, and New Zealand v France in a bar somewhere.
Week 4: Queenstown, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Wanaka
We’re going to miss the England v Scotland game in Auckland, and spend a fortnight making our way north before the knock out stages.
It’s back to Queenstown, and then a tour of various incredible places such as Milford Sound, Te Anau and Wanaka, making sure we find somewhere interesting to watch the rugby.
Week 5: Glaciers, Abel Tasman, Wellington, Taupo
It’s a whistle-stop tour up the west coast of the South Island, across on the ferry to Wellington and then up through the north island to get to Auckland in time for the first Quarter-finals.
Plenty to see and do on the way, and we’ll be gearing up for the business end of the tournament. Hopefully some of the home nations will be in action!
Week 6: Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula
After a spot of sailing in Auckland, we’ll head to the Coromandel between the quarters and semis, which is one of the main holiday destinations for New Zealanders.
Only four teams will be left by this stage, and the excitement will be incredible!
Week 7: Bay of Islands
It might all be getting a bit much as we approach the final, so we’re planning to visit the Bay of Islands at the very northern tip of the country. It looks nice and peaceful in the photos, although we’ll be enjoying it with thousands of other rugby fans.
Who will contest that final? It’s not easy to call at this stage, but hopefully we’re going to have a lot of fun along the way before we find out!
Celebrate a Northern Hemisphere victory in the greatest World Cup final there has ever been. Then come home.
Follow me on Twitter for tour updates and banter (@Hutch_James) and keep an eye on The Rugby Blog for various tour diaries, photos and videos that we’ll capture on along the way.