Rugby World Cup 2011: Venues and Stadium Guide

Eden ParkThomas Cook Sport has put together this handy guide to each Rugby World Cup venue, highlighting some of the activities on offer and places to see as you follow your team in New Zealand.

As Official Travel Agent for Rugby World Cup 2011, Thomas Cook Sport is taking fans to the tournament and there are still some great deals, with limited availability, for a range of fully inclusive tours taking in pool matches and later rounds of the competition.

For those looking to create their own trip to this fantastic country, fans can choose from a selection of flights, hotel & ticket match breaks, self drive and motor home offers – all with the option of adding official match tickets.

For the latest information on availability of Thomas Cook Sport’s Rugby World Cup 2011 packages, visit, or call 0844 800 9900. Get yourself out there if you can…it’s going to be amazing!

Venue Cities and Stadium

New Zealand’s largest city is located within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. With its sunny and temperate climate, the region encompasses beautiful coastline, rich culture and leading-edge enterprise.

Eden Park Stadium, Auckland (capacity 60,000) – New Zealand’s most hallowed rugby stadium, where the RWC began in 1987 and where the host nation defeated France in the final – this year it will play host to England v Scotland on 1 October.

North Harbour Stadium, Albany, Auckland (capacity 35,000) – Built in 1997 and located 19km from Auckland, the visitors to the stadium will see France and South Africa in the group stages.

Sadly Christchurch suffered a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011. Following a detailed review of reports assessing damage to key tournament facilities and infrastructure, a decision was taken to relocate the matches to alternative stadium in New Zealand, although Christchurch will still play a role in the Tournament.

Dunedin, the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh, has a unique Scottish heritage and is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere and has attracted many settlers, particularly English and Scottish migrants.

Otago Peninsula, a short drive from the city centre, is home to a colony of the world’s rarest penguins and the only mainland breeding colony of the royal albatross.

Otago Stadium, Dunedin (capacity 30,000) – The newest sporting venue in New Zealand, and with its all weather roof it’s the first fully covered stadium in the country and the home of England’s remaining three pool games.

Hamilton is the hub of the Waikato region, a diverse region of lush green hills, bush and farmland, stunning surf beaches at Raglan and the mighty Waikato River.

A vibrant city of parks and gardens, fine cuisine, cafés and culture, Hamilton is known nationally for its education and scientific research institutions.

Waikato Stadium, Hamilton (capacity 30,800) – a site for rugby since 1925, and regularly rated as the best Test venue by the New Zealand Rugby Union, the stadium plays host to Wales and will see one of the home nation’s pool matches.

Invercargill is the largest urban centre in the Southland region, which boasts large areas of near-pristine rainforest, ideal for day walks and hiking.

From nearby Bluff, visitors can catch a ferry to Stewart Island – a haven for native bird life and the only place in New Zealand where you can readily see kiwi in their natural habitat.

Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill (capacity 16,500) – Originally established as a rugby venue in the early 1900’s, the stadium plays host to Scotland for two of their pool games.

Napier is situated on the east coast of the North Island in the Hawke’s Bay region – which, with its Mediterranean-like climate, is the second largest wine-growing region in New Zealand.

Hawke’s Bay is also famous for its artisan gourmet foods and glorious beaches that stretch from Mahia Peninsula in the north to Porangahau in the south.

McLean Park, Napier (capacity 16,000) – The world’s most easterly international sports stadium will see France take on Canada in the pool stages.

The Nelson region is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches and National Parks which offer skywires, rock climbing, mountain biking, and horse trekking – perfect for the adventure seeker.

The region also features many working artists and crafts people, boutique wineries, fresh local produce and seafood, historical streetscapes, waterfront cafés and restaurants, and a thoroughly relaxed lifestyle.

Trafalgar Park, Nelson (capacity 20,080) – A venue for rugby for over a century, the stadium will be visited by Australia as they take on Russia.

New Plymouth
New Plymouth is located in the region of Taranaki, which features the snow-capped volcanic peak of Mount Taranaki.

Around the coast are world-class surf breaks, making this one of the few places where you can snowboard and surf on the same day, followed by a relaxing evening of great food and wine.

Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth (capacity 25,500) – Ireland and Wales both play a pool game at the stadium, which was first developed as a rugby venue in 1931.

Palmerston North
The sophisticated provincial appeal of Palmerston North city is located in the Manawatu region with easy access to the charm of rural New Zealand.

The landscape sweeps dramatically from the mountains to the sea in superb hiking country. For the thrill seekers there’s kayaking or jet boating through the Manawatu Gorge, as well as aerobatic flying, scenic helicopter flights, mountain biking and motor sports.

Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North (capacity 18,300) – Home to the first ever Super 12 rugby match in 1996, the stadium plays host to Argentina and Georgia.

Rotorua is a geothermal hotspot, featuring erupting geysers, bubbling mud pools and warm geothermal springs and ponds that create a kaleidoscope of colour.

Visitors can experience Maori culture, spa rejuvenation, thrills and some of the world’s best mountain biking trails, fantastic trout fishing and forest walking.

Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua (capacity 34,000) – The setting for the bronze final in 1987 sees Ireland take on Russia.

The country’s capital Wellington is a compact city nestled between an expansive harbour and bush-clad hills. It’s ideal for walking around with all shopping, cafés, transport, accommodation and attractions nearby.

Recognised as the country’s centre of arts and culture (and the location for the Lord of the Rings film premieres), Wellington tells the stories of New Zealand with its special blend of heritage buildings, museums, galleries and festivals.

Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington (capacity 40,000) – Completed in 2000 and nicknamed ‘the Cake Tin’ due to its distinctive design, Scotland will take on Argentina and Wales will face South Africa.

Whangarei is the largest city in Northland. With its sub-tropical climate, Northland is an aquatic playground for adventure activities and escapist relaxation.

Visitors can take advantage of game fishing, diving, sailing, swimming with dolphins, exploring the kauri forests or just to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches. For those who want to do even more, there is fine wine, gourmet food, world class golf, sumptuous spas and luxury lodges.

Northlands Event Centre, Whangarei (capacity 20,000) – this new multi function events centre plays host to Tonga in the pool stages.