Backgrounder: ICC CWC 2015 venues

Seven New Zealand centres have been chosen to host matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

Auckland, Hamilton, Napier and Wellington in the North Island and Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin in the South Island will join seven Australian cities to jointly host the tournament in the summer of 2015.

The announcement is welcome news to Kiwi sporting fans who fondly remember the "stadium of four million" concept that brought the country to life during the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the world’s largest sports tournaments and the flagship event of the international cricket calendar. All eyes will be on the chosen cities from 14 February to 29 March 2015 as they not only host thousands of players, officials and fans, but are also profiled globally to an expected television audience of more than a billion people.

As well as a warm welcome, visitors can expect a diverse range of scenery and a varied cultural experience as they travel throughout New Zealand’s host regions.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: NZ host regions

From north to south, the regions preparing to host ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in New Zealand offer varied landscapes and experiences - no two the same.

Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city and boasts the country’s largest sporting stadium - Eden Park, the home of Auckland cricket since 1910.

As well as being the country’s main gateway for international travellers, the city is home to a third of New Zealanders and ranks as one of the top 10 places in the world to live. The blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern downtown has created a unique urban outdoors lifestyle.

Auckland’s natural assets are ideal for land and water activities - from bungy to sailing, casino to wildlife experiences, food and wines - or getting away from it all on island sanctuaries. Within half an hour of downtown Auckland, visitors can relax on an island in the Hauraki Gulf, trek through native rainforest, sample wines at a local vineyard or take a walk along a wild, black sand surf beach.

Just an hour and a half south of Auckland is the bustling commercial centre of Hamilton - a fast-growing university city and major events centre on the banks of the mighty Waikato River.

The city lies in the heart of the lush Waikato farming region which provides the setting for The Shire of Hobbiton made famous by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings film trilogies, and the perfect example of New Zealand as 100% Middle-earth. Waikato is also the home to the Māori royal family, the vast Waitomo cave system and one of the country’s most notable public gardens.

Further south on the North Island’s east coast is the famous wine region of Hawke’s Bay. The city of Napier will host matches at McLean Park - regarded as one of the most batting friendly wickets in the world.

Napier is famed for its extensive collection of Art Deco architecture as a result of being completely rebuilt following a massive earthquake in 1931. As well as its colourful heritage story, the city is the main centre of Hawke’s Bay wine country. The region’s sunny, Mediterranean climate makes it New Zealand’s leading producer of red wine and the second largest wine producing region overall - with more than 30 award-winning vineyards.

Hawke’s Bay is also known for artisan gourmet foods, glorious beaches and iconic Cape Kidnappers where a world class golf course sits high on the cliffs above a gannet colony.

Wellington is New Zealand’s creative as well as capital city - and home to the country’s oldest first-class cricket ground, the Basin Reserve. The inner city venue is known throughout the cricket world and is the only sporting ground in New Zealand registered by the NZ Historic Places Trust.

Within an easy walk of the Basin Reserve is a vibrant inner city mix of lively cafés and restaurants, boutique shopping, heritage buildings, museums and galleries, and entertainment venues. Nestled between harbour and hills, Wellington is also home to a world famous wildlife sanctuary and has easy access to a variety of outdoor activities.

It is also New Zealand’s film capital and sometimes referred to as Wellywood because it's home to film-maker Sir Peter Jackson and his production empire.

Across Cook Strait at the top of the South Island lies Nelson, a sunny pocket paradise famed for outdoor lifestyle.

The region is home to many top New Zealand artists and craftspeople, including traditional and contemporary Māori artists. Artistic works are often inspired by the region’s ever-changing light over luscious coastal, forest and valley landscapes. Food, wine and some of New Zealand’s best walking tracks and national parks are also part of the Nelson experience.

The boutique cricket ground of Saxton Oval was described as a "beautiful, lovely little ground" by ICC management and has new facilities in preparation for the world cup.

The garden city of Christchurch is embracing the chance to welcome international cricket supporters. It is now officially liberated from the red cordon erected following the devastating 2011 earthquake, and the city rebuild will include historic Hagley Oval which has been home of Canterbury cricket since 1851.

Christchurch is New Zealand’s oldest city and the centre the country’s largest region, Canterbury - bordered in the west by the Southern Alps and the east by the Pacific Ocean. With a vastly contrasting landscape, the region offers a myriad of outdoor nature and adventure opportunities from whale watching off Kaikoura coast in the north to cheeky alpine parrots that entertain tourists at Arthur’s Pass. Christchurch is also a centre of art, culture and beautiful gardens - with 700 public parks.

Dunedin is a city of firsts including New Zealand’s first university and the University Oval which has been home of cricket in this historic region since play began last century. The city’s strong Scottish heritage is a unique colonial experience and Dunedin is renowned for being one of the world’s best preserved Victorian / Edwardian cities.

On dramatic hills above a natural harbour, Dunedin has been home to Māori, whalers, gold-miners and migrants from Scotland, China and other distant places. The region is also incredible for its local wildlife - the world's rarest penguins, an albatross colony, fur seals and sea lions. And, as well as first newspaper, first medical and dental schools, first female lawyer and first public art gallery, Dunedin also claims the world’s steepest street.

More information

Cricket World Cup overview