Part one: Auckland to Whangarei
The first game of the Lions Tour is on June 3rd at the Toll Stadium in Whangarei.
If you are picking up your motorhome directly from Auckland Airport you may chose to hit the road right away especially if you wish to save on precious time and as most will be returning to Auckland again on the 7th June for the 2nd game of the tour anyway.
If you intend to drive as soon as you arrive, do try your best to avoid the notorious Auckland traffic jams which are at their peaks between approx 7.30 - 9am and 3.30 – 6 pm weekdays.
If possible avoid driving through Auckland at these times of the day. Rest up first or risk spending a few hours of snails pace travel....
If you wish to rest up on arrival the closest place from the Airport to park your motorhome is only 10 minutes away at the Manukau Holiday Park
Although there are no official Freedom camping spots in Auckland we are hopeful that the council will allocate specific parking for Lions Tour supporters that is not far from the stadium. We will update our blog when we have this info.
The first Pub stop - ‘The Salty Dog Inn’ Snells Beach
The road north of Auckland takes you through the rather unremarkable towns of Warkworth. However at the Warkworth intersection turn right on to Sandspit Road and follow that down towards Snells Beach. Turn right onto Mahurangi Rd and ‘The Salty Dog Inn’ is on your right at #242
'The Salty Dog’ is well known for it’s warm hospitality, traditional English pub charm and most importantly great food and beer! Their Olde English Theme is continued from bar through to the restaurant with open fire and toby jugs hanging from the ceiling. There is a Guiness Sports bar that has 10 beers on tap including Guiness and Killkenny, pool tables and darts boards, large screen TVs for sport and there is often live music and weekly raffles. Bar meals are available and the restaurant has no trouble catering for large numbers with no booking required!
If you want to call ‘The Salty Dog’ In advance to give them a heads ups their free phone number is 0800 72589 364
There is plenty of space to park your motorhome at the Salty Dog but if you decide to stay overnight there is a Freedom Camping spot along Sandspit Rd. For directions click here There is also a pay camping ground at the end of Sandspit Rd if you need those creature comforts
Back on the road...
If The Salty Dog is simply a pit stop and your driver wishes to continue further North the Highway eventually follows the coast before heading inland again to Whangarei.
Along this stretch of coast there is a D.O.C (Department of Conservation) camp ground called Uretiti Beach Campground located right on Uretiti Beach. Staying overnight here is as cheap as chips at only $10 per Adult per night and leaves only a small journey (34kms) to Whangarei.
Make sure you arrive before 9pm as the camp locks it’s gates! For a map, details and bookings click here or call the campground in advance on 09 432 1051
Uretiti Beach Campground
The night of the big game! Whangarei Pubs and Bars
Whangarei is Northlands biggest city and the gateway to the Far North. In the city itself there are many good pubs and bars to explore but first you need to park your Motorhome!
There is a freedom camping spot in the centre of Whangarei in the Town basin.
The access to this is via Dent St and on Dent St there is also a brewery/bar called Frings mentioned below
Once in Whangarei It's easy and cheap enough to get around either by bus or in a taxi and there are several pubs worth seeing before arriving at the stadium.
1) The Old Stone Butter Factory 8 Butter Factory Lane, Whangarei Central, Whangarei
Despite the name the Old Stone Butter Factory in fact sells beer! Set in a large 100 year old stone building and a really cool outside courtyard. Chose from a large selection of craft beers, unique New Zealand wines, as well as great coffee and food
If you are after entertainment you will find it here. The Butter Factory is known as a place Locals showcase their talents. Expect everything from burlesque shows to poetry jams, visual art exhibitions to open jam nights, and everything in between!
If breweries are more you’re thing check out the Brauhaus Frings Bar and Brewery. 104 Dent Street, Whangarei Central, Whangarei. There is a micro brewery onsite which serves 4 local beers including a lager, draught, old ale or pilsner on tap as well as international beers. Or If you’re after something different try their alcoholic ginger beer or apple cider or sample their wood fired pizzas!
3) Dickens Inn
The Dickens Inn is a very striking Tudor style character building, based on a light English Charles Dickens theme.
The interior is extensively decorated with pictures reproduced from Dickens’ original files and displayed with permission from the Dickens House Museum in London.
4) The Grand Hotel in the Whangarei CBD 2 Banks Street, Whangarei Central, Whangarei
Shunters Bar is for those who enjoy a drink in a social atmosphere. With pool tables, TAB (NZ betting equivalent to Ladbrokes), darts, 18 gaming machines and a large TV to view live sporting fixtures, it provides an ideal bar to meet the locals.
5) McMorrissey's Irish Pub and Eatery 7 Vine Street, Whangarei Central, Whangarei 0110
Grab a pint at the best little Irish bar in town. Situated in central Whagarei, McMorrissey's is a welcoming and lively Irish pub serving up hearty fare and great beers.
Where to go after the game. Whangarei - Cape Reinga
There is only 4 days to get back to Auckland in time for the next Lions Tour game against The Auckland Blues.
This gives you a short amount of time to explore the beautiful Far North.
On either coast Northland has arguably the best beaches in NZ, they are centainly amongst the most remote. However in Norhthland there is not much in the way of surrounding civilaisation and travel requires some patient driving especially if you wish to drive all the way north to Cape Reinga, NZ’s northernmost tip.
To get to Cape Reinga there is only one road in and one road out and nowhere to stop in between. Make sure you have all the supplies you need by stopping for groceries in Kaitaia.
From Whangarei count 4 hrs drive in your motorhome and thats one way!
Along the way there are plenty of freedom camping site and cheap DOC Campgrounds where you can park your motorhome and enjoy the spectacular Norhtland scenery.
If you enjoy surfing, try not to miss out on a visit to Ahipara and the famous point break of Shipwreck Bay offering long quality rides.
Hire a surfboard from Ahipara Adventure. They also hire blowkart or quad bikes for the beach as well as toboggans for sand tobogganing the amazing sand dunes which is a local favourite and a #NZMustDo