Rugby league’s biggest preseason event, The Downer NRL Nines, is back for the fourth time at Auckland’s Eden Park.
The stripped back version of rugby league will be played over the weekend of February 4 – 5, during New Zealand’s national Waitangi Day long weekend.
All 16 of the NRL rugby league teams will be represented with superstars of the game showing off their skills in the fast-paced, action-packed version of the game.
Crowds at Eden Park, the home of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, get into the spirit by dressing up in costume to add to the atmosphere of this family event.
With Eden Park’s proximity to downtown Auckland, after a day of watching exciting rugby league it’s a short walk or train into the city centre to experience what Auckland has to offer.
Warriors’ captain and Australian representative Ryan Hoffman loves Auckland, the city he now calls home: “Ever since I’ve lived here, I’ve really enjoyed all the different things Auckland has and it’s quite a cosmopolitan city, great restaurants, great cafés and really there’s just so much to do. You can visit Waiheke Island one day, you can go to Rangitoto the next and walk to the top and look at the view, every day there’s something different to do.”
Make the most out of Auckland during the NRL Nines
But it’s not just about the on field action; there is also plenty to experience off the field while in Auckland for the Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
The region’s geographic diversity with volcanoes and harbours, rain forests and endless coastline provides the perfect playground for an outdoor adventure.
Auckland is a water lover’s playground known as the 'city of sails'. In just 10 minutes you can go from the buzzing streets of Auckland, to the serenity of a boat on the Waitemata harbour - rod in hand. Or, if you are after a more thrilling way to explore the harbour, take a spin in a jet boat or try your hand at sailing.
With hundreds of walking tracks and some of New Zealand's best surf beaches, Auckland's west coast is a natural playground. This spectacular region of lush native bush, coastal rain forest and rugged black sand beaches, provides a green fringe to the city's western boundaries, and is all within a 30-minute drive from downtown Auckland.
Auckland has a range of ways to get an adrenalin fix. The Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungy was the first harbour bungy in the world. Or go even higher in the sky, and inch along a narrow walkway around the Sky Tower with no handrail, nothing but thin air and the city 192 metres below.
Food and wine
Fresh food and fine wine are essential ingredients in a New Zealand experience. Visit a selection of Auckland restaurants where innovative chefs combine ingredients freshly harvested from garden, land and sea with a Pacific influence. The city also has a thriving craft beer scene and more than 250 locally brewed beers.
Art and culture
Take a guided journey to Auckland’s extinct volcanoes including Rangitoto and neighbouring Motutapu islands while local Maori guides share traditional and contemporary stories linked to these beautiful islands. Or visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum for a window into cultural and natural history with collections of Māori treasures and Polynesian artefacts.
Experience the abundant marine life of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park just minutes from down-town Auckland on a dolphin safari, or jump in a kayak and enjoy a sunset tour to Rangitoto Island.
Whether it’s a sleek or more eclectic fashion look you’re after, it can be found amongst all the nooks and crannies of the streets of Auckland. From retro vintage pieces on Auckland’s K’ Road, to New Zealand designer favourites in hip inner city suburb Ponsonby, there is something in Auckland to suit every fashionable taste and budget.
The Downer NRL Auckland Nines
Downer NRL Auckland Nines is a two-day, nine-a-side, knock-out tournament showcasing the world’s greatest rugby league talent live in Auckland. With a carnival atmosphere inside Auckland’s 46,000 capacity Eden Park, the off-the-field action is also a key part of the event.