There is something mysterious about touring New Zealand that we find special. So close to home (Melbourne), and with so many lifestyle similarities yet from the moment you arrive, you know you are in a vastly different and spectacular country. A few square km larger than Victoria, the varying wonders in such a small area are what makes an Australian Cricket Tour To New Zealand one of the more fun-filled, adventure-packed, and unique tours.
You are never far from amazing wineries, gushing geysers, stunning golf courses, freshwater fishing, America’s Cup yacht sailing, glacier walks, downhill skiing, epic railway journeys, thermal fields, thermal springs, ancient forests, sheep, art-deco towns, jetboating, thriving Maori culture, and gorgeous beaches when not lounging in some of the finest cricket ovals the global game has played.
The north island alone has 6 international grounds between and including Auckland and Wellington, separated by only 640km of single-lane highway. Thus, somewhere new to experience something special is only ever 'just down the road'.
We first toured Kiwiville in 2000 and ever since have longed to return more often than every 5, 6, or even 8 years as it could be by the time we are ‘scheduled’ to tour again. It is sad that we live so close to each other yet play so little cricket against each other.
After that first exhilarating tour, we questioned why Australia and New Zealand didn't play every year. We'd be more than happy to face off annually, especially if it meant us going to New Zealand more often. You cannot go wrong touring New Zealand.
As we prepare for what we are only prophecying will be an Australian Cricket Tour to New Zealand in Feb 2022, it will have been 29 years since the Kiwis last beat Australia at home by 5 wickets in Auckland in 1993. Before that was 1990, so the Kiwis have lost form against Australia, save for winning in Hobart 2011. For the love of a good contest, we hope the Blackcaps stand up to be counted!
Poor records do not stop the Kiwis from filling the embankments of some of the nicest test cricket grounds you can ever wish to see, which make the thrill and enjoyment of touring New Zealand. We hope you can find out in 2022 if you haven't already!
Cross-Ditch Cricket rivalry kicked off in 1946 when Australia toured for 1-Test at the Basin Reserve, Wellington; though you may think 'tour game' when you see the scorecard. Australia setting the standard for conflict between trans-Tasman foes with an innings and 103runs victory inside 2-days.
It took near 29 years for our 2nd Test to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over the new year of 1973/74. New Zealand fared better reaching triple figures in both innings though still succumb by an inning and 25 runs.
Since then, it's been a regular fight for the poorly named Trans-Tasman Trophy over 58 Tests from 1974 to 2020. Disappointingly, the Blackcaps don’t have the success against Australia that saw them reach #1 of Test-playing nations in 2020, having only won 8 tests against Australia’s 34 since 1946.
The scoreline doesn’t make any contest any less combative, whether played across the ditch or in Australia as evidenced when 80,000 attended the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne 2019, the highest single-day crowd ever to watch these fierce rivals going toe to toe, nose to nose!
The Basin Reserve only welcomes 11,000, yet a full-house still presents energy equal to that on Boxing Day, which is the beauty of watching cricket in New Zealand. Small grounds put you much closer to the action and a lot closer to that local energy, cheering and golf-clapping their side to perform at their best. They could fit more if not for the Wakefield Memorial at mid-wicket taking 10 places!
The game’s only dedicated Test Cricket ground, the Basin Reserve is one the world’s great venues, and where Australia has played every tour except 1977. In 2016 crowds lined the streets early to get into the Basin, and we expect no less in our current live-cricket-starved lives in 2022.
If there is good in the tragedy of the Christchurch earthquake 2011, it is Hagley Oval. Too-large-for-Test-Cricket Jade Stadium was condemned, presenting an opportunity to (re)develop the cricket oval in Hagley Park. A small pavilion with limited seating at fine leg is framed by lush embankment that allows 18000 people to set up camp, kick-back, and enjoy the game. Picnic chairs, blankets, and chilly-bins (eskies) all-round! It’s an outstanding ground with great people and facilities in a ‘village cricket’ atmos.
Remember the masses surging Brendon McCullum to a world-record fastest 100 at Christchurch in 2016, after being caught off two no-balls no less? #Epic
Between Wellington and Christchurch, you are so far removed from the hubbub & intensity of stadium cricket, you'd tour New Zealand every year without forgetting many other beautiful grounds to play.
Although its small ‘grandstands’ make it more MCG than Hagley, the sweeping embankment at one end (like Adelaide) and timeless art-deco architecture of the city, makes McClean Park, Napier a wanted fixture. The embankments and tree-lined fences of Seddon Park, Hamilton are long-time favourites, as is newly minted Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.
This is another cricket ground akin to Hagley Oval, in what can only be described as a ‘coastal village’. It's a testament to the focus of New Zealand Cricket as they evolve the global game in regional towns. Grounds don't have to hold 10’s of thousands to make them special, or the cricketing achievements any less remarkable to witness. Just head to a game at University Oval, Dunedin.
The ground only holds 4500 yet has still hosted 8 Tests since 2008 including South Africa twice, and England. By comparison, Eden Park, Auckland has only had 3 Tests since 2006. With so many stunning ‘cricket ovals’ in New Zealand you don’t want a Test at Eden Park no matter how good Auckland city is!
Over the years many, including us before 2000, have shied from touring New Zealand thinking it is ‘just like Australia’. We were so very wrong. New Zealand is #3 on our list of countries to tour and why we've since called it ‘The Dark Horse Tour’. Scrap what you don't know about watching cricket across the ditch and go enjoy some spectacular venues & cities.
Again, you cannot go far without seeing a unique geographic wonder or social splendour. We've championed Sri Lanka because of the very-short distances between venues. With less between Auckland, Hamilton, and Mt Maunganui than between Colombo, Kandy, and Galle perhaps we can elevate New Zealand to our #1 spot???
Being excited about touring New Zealand suggests all manner of adventure with so much to see in and near each city. It's impossible to nail down any 1 or 2 things to include and why New Zealand 2022 will be our simplest tour ever, without day trips or city-sightseeing. Like any tour, however, if the game ends early we will organise optional day trips such as a wineries tour, or America's Cup sailing, or hot springs swimming, or jetboating, or golf, or... ???
Conversely New Zealand is convenient for many on Australia’s east coast to pop over for one test and go home, so day trips, road trips, or even match-day transfers won't be needed. New Zealand is one of the few nations where all grounds are a short walk away no matter where your hotel is, except Auckand where you need a short train journey.
Without knowing where or for how long we will be touring, if we do, our straight-forward Australian Cricket Tour to New Zealand will include:
8 Nights Hotel Per Test
Pre-Test Dinner Party
Embankment Chair (if req.)
That is all.
This is our quintessential, 'bringing people together to enjoy the game'. It's what we love doing above all else. If you prefer a different hotel, or drive between cities, or just pop over for the weekend, our Match Ticket & Dinner Tour includes:
Pre-Test Dinner Party
Embankment Chair (if req.)
On our Hotel Tours, we will have 8 nights in each city and fly to the next city 2-days after the Test, depending on the fixture. We will list our flights once known so you are welcome to book the same. On arrival, door-to-door Super Shuttle operates 24/7 from every major airport and can be booked online.
Whichever tour suits, the casual approach to cricket life, along with the fun & adventure that is in the nation's DNA, will make you ask why we don't tour New Zealand more often. If you're yet to experience an Australian Cricket Tour to New Zealand, join us and you'll ink in every tour across the ditch to come!
Once we know we'll tour New Zealand in 2022, our detailed tours and advice will be published. Feel free to BOOK NOW to secure one of our embankment chairs, knowing the grounds do SELL OUT.