Rugby players enjoy New Zealand's great outdoors
17 Oct 2011
Winning or losing aside ... off the field and away from the pressures, New Zealand’s great outdoors has provided some amazing experiences for Rugby World Cup players between matches.
Last week, ahead of their unsuccessful RWC semi-final clash, the Welsh team took some time out to blast through Auckland’s beautiful Woodhill Forest on a 4-wheel motorbike safari.
The players took the 4Track Adventures quad bikes on a dirt track through pine trees before cruising over sand dunes and along the rugged west coast surf beach of Muriwai.
Wales hooker Huw Bennett (pictured) said quad biking in the forest was a superb way to spend their day off in Auckland.
4Track Adventures Auckland
Shotover Jet, Queenstown - Ireland team
Earlier in the tournament, the Irish team had some extra thrills when they boarded the ‘Big Red’ Shotover Jet - a New Zealand tourism icon - for a spin down Queenstown’s Shotover Gorge with a 360-degree turn or two.
The multi tourism award winning attraction is owned and operated by Ngāi Tahu Tourism, one of New Zealand’s premier tourism operators.
Shotover Jet Queenstown
4WD at Lake Wanaka - Georgia team
The Georgia rugby team got a taste of authentic New Zealand with a visit to the alpine town of Lake Wanaka for a traditional Kiwi barbecue on the South Island's most scenic rugby field.
Then, they headed out for an afternoon of 4WD in the Criffel Range and some spectacular views across Lake Wanaka to Mt Aspiring National Park.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools - Wallabies
The Aussie players Stephen Moore, Pat McCabe and James Horwill were happy just to soak up some thermal therapy in a spectacular setting at Hanmer Springs, in northern Canterbury.
"We've actually received a great welcome everywhere we've been, whether it was Hanmer Springs in the South Island or the northern side of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in Takapuna, where we've been based this past week," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans told Australian newspaper Adelaide Now.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Resort
Surfing Dunedin - England team
The lure of Dunedin's St Clair Beach surf pulled in England rugby players Manu Tuilagi and Tom Wood who signed on with the Esplanade Surf School and hit the waves.
First-time surfer Tuilagi said he’d thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and Wood described the water as "like a nice bath".
Esplanade Surf School - Dunedin
Omaka Aviation Heritage, Marlborough - Russia
The Russia team felt quite at home at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where their capping ceremony was held.
It turns out that most of the team plays for the Russian club VVA-Podmoskovje that’s based in the Gagarin Air Force Academy. Russia players Vladimir Botvinnikov and Andrey Garbuzov, and team director Kingsley Jones check out one of the planes.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Hukafalls Jet, Taupo - Springboks
The South Africans went for a spin on the Hukafalls Jet - a thrilling jet boat ride to the base of the spectacular Huka Falls on the Waikato River and near Lake Taupo.
Hukafalls Jet boat driver Steve Ming said they were great fun to take out, really responsive to all of his normal jokes, and took advantage of their time at Huka Falls to take "heaps of photos".
Hukafalls Jet - Taupo
Black Water Rafting, Waitomo - All Blacks
It hasn’t been all work and no play either for the All Blacks.
Conrad Smith, Corey Flynn, Adam Thompson and Anthony Boric were among a group that navigated the icy waters and depths of the Black Labyrinth at Waitomo Caves.
Waitomo - Black Water Rafting
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