G’day mates! New Zealand sports are enjoyed by all and quite competitive, so it’s not surprising that they dominate in one of the world’s most popular sports- rugby. Over the weekend we at Down Under Endeavours were lucky enough to watch the NZ All Blacks go head to head with the USA Eagles! This got me thinking, we should probably share some of the many other sports Kiwis are drawn to (as well a much of the rest of the world). From rugby and netball to golf and cricket, there are many sports, professional and recreational, that you’ll find in New Zealand.
Rugby– Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport, so it’s no surprise that their national team, the All Blacks, dominate in world competitions. Ranked number 1 in the world, their fierce and dynamic skills keep them on top. From Rugby Union to Rugby League, you’ll find kids teams to professional teams throughout the country. New Zealand rugby goes as far back as 1880, and runs deep in Kiwi veins. If you’re in New Zealand, make sure to pop by a match and learn all about the game! For more information on rugby click here.
Golf– New Zealand is home to some of the best and most breathtaking golf courses in the world. Scottish pioneers introduced the game over a century ago, giving New Zealand a long and loving history with the game. From the dramatic scenery and long stretches of coast, to soaring mountains and immense greenery, New Zealand is perfect for golf. Some of the best New Zealand golf courses include Kauri Cliffs and Jack’s Point, both of which are design to show off the surrounding scenery and work with the natural terrain. Don’t worry about getting to the golf courses either, there are so many you’ll find one around every corner. If you’re ready to play golf in amazing scenery, check out our golf itineraries by clicking here.
Netball– Netball is the most popular women’s sport in New Zealand. The Silver Ferns are the national Netball team, and they’re one of the leading Netball teams in the world. Netball is hugely supported in New Zealand, from grass root teams to the national level. I’m sure you’re wondering what Netball is? It’s a sport played between two teams of seven players, played on a rectangular court with raised goal rings at each end. Teams attempt to score goals by passing the ball down court and shooting it through the goal ring. Similar to basketball, however very much different. For more information on Kiwi Netball click here.
Basketball– Basketball is quickly growing in popularity in New Zealand, especially Men’s basketball. It was introduced to the country by the YMCA and popular among serviceman returning from the Pacific after World War II. The first national championships took plays in 1938. Both the men’s and women’s teams have represented New Zealand in the Olympics multiple times. Fun fact, the New Zealand national team, the Breakers, is nicknamed as the Tall Blacks, a playful pun related to the national Rugby team. For more New Zealand basketball information click here.
Cricket-New Zealand is one of the top ten countries that take part in test match cricket. The national Cricket team, the Black Caps, played their first test match in 1930 against England in Christchurch, NZ; it was this game that made New Zealand the fifth country in the world to play Test Cricket. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Test Cricket, here’s a quick breakdown of the game. Cricket is a “bat and ball” game. Each team is made up of 11 players, playing a four-innings match, on a field with a 22-yard rectangular pitch in the center. Each team takes turns to bat, attempting to score runs, while the other team fields. Quite similar to baseball, but very different in rules and terms. Test Cricket is played between national representative teams, deemed to have ‘Test Status,’ this is determined by the International Cricket Council. These matches can last up to five days long! Each day there are typically three two-hour sessions with one forty-minute break and one twenty-minute break. Want to learn more about New Zealand Cricket? Click here.
Cycling & Mountain Biking– It’s no surprise that cycling is popular in New Zealand, what with its amazing scenery and variety of terrain. As you zip through trails mountain biking or hug the curves of the road, you’re bound to be blown away. If you’re a major road cyclist, click here and check out the wonderful list of recommended road events. If mountain biking is your thing, you’re in for a treat. Both the North and South Islands are packed full of amazing trails. If you’re a beginner, have no fear! There are a plethora of easy riding touring trails for you to choose from. If you’re advanced, well then the entire country can be your play ground. For a great list of trails and events click here, or check out some amazing first hand articles and videos here.
These are just some of the many New Zealand sports. You’ll also find swimming, tennis, horse racing, boating, fishing, diving, kayaking, windsurfing, snowboarding, and skiing are all popular and catered to year round. Now that you’ve got a good idea on what sporting events you can see and partake in, what are you waiting for? Give us a call at 312-951-8517, and let us handcraft for you, an amazing New Zealand vacation! For sample itineraries, click here.