Auckland holidays: What it’s like to go glamping at Eden…

Auckland holidays: What it’s like to go glamping at Eden…

Travel

Staydium Glamping invites you to stay where the stars come out to play at New Zealand’s national stadium.

When it comes to gift-giving, I like to opt for something that will also benefit me. This is why last year I decided it’d be a fantastic idea to purchase an Eden Park “Staydium” Glamping experience for my boyfriend’s birthday: our national stadium’s answer to posh camping.

I like escapades that are a little off-the-wall; I’m pretty sure my partner has watched at least one rugby game. It was a win-win; I wanted to go glamping under the guise of generosity.

If you know a die-hard rugby fan, this is an experience that scores some serious brownie points. Photo / Supplied; Eden Park
If you know a die-hard rugby fan, this is an experience that scores some serious brownie points. Photo / Supplied; Eden Park

Along with ziplines and rooftop tours, Auckland’s Eden Park Stadium is home to two igloo-style dome tents, positioned high above the pitch and furnished with bougie must-haves such as Nespresso machines and Bose speakers. No expense has been spared on widescreen TVs, Eames chairs and bedspreads with high thread counts. No need to walk to the stadium toilets either, both domes are equipped with an en suite bathroom and showers. I particularly liked the surrounding white picket fence, where you can sit al fresco mere inches from the regular seats – like a misplaced Desperate Housewife.

No expense has been spared on widescreen TVs, Eames chairs and bedspreads with high thread counts. Photo / Supplied; Eden Park
No expense has been spared on widescreen TVs, Eames chairs and bedspreads with high thread counts. Photo / Supplied; Eden Park

Game-day stays are exceptionally hard to come by so we opted for a middle of winter staycation when the stadium was empty. With Kingsland’s bars and restaurants on the doorstep, fun is to be had elsewhere.

Watch out for The Colonel come nightfall. Photo / Anna Sarjeant
Watch out for The Colonel come nightfall. Photo / Anna Sarjeant

I say empty. This is what we presumed to be the case. That was until we lay unawares in our new abode, sipping wine and admiring the setting sun, when, quite unexpectedly, an entire troupe of rugby fans paraded past the window – the last of the day’s stadium tours, running mildly behind schedule. All we could do was raise our glasses and smile. They cheered. And despite it getting slightly awkward as the 25th sightseer trundled past, it did provide us with a good giggle, before we swiftly drew the curtains.

I don’t believe it matters whether or not you’re a rugby fan for an Eden Park sleepover but if you know of one, this is an experience that scores serious brownie points. Especially as the overnight price includes a complimentary stadium tour: changing rooms of the All Blacks et al.

Die-hard devotee or otherwise, it’s hard to escape the magic of a venue where so much history has been made, where tears have been shed and legends forged. Standing in a deserted, deadly-silent arena is a guaranteed spine-tingler. You’ll either feel like the sole survivor of a post-apocalyptic disaster or an A-list celeb with enough sway to keep out the peasantry.

Game day stays are exceptionally hard to come by so opt for a staycation when the stadium is empty. Photo / Anna Sarjeant
Game day stays are exceptionally hard to come by so opt for a staycation when the stadium is empty. Photo / Anna Sarjeant

Highlights that give this stay the X-factor include pin-code entry to the entire stadium. I’m not sure how else I expected to access the dome but I’ve also never been given the keys to a multi-million-dollar sports ground before. It felt good.

Other questions I know you’re dying to ask – because everyone has. No, you can’t run amok on the pitch and pretend you’re a champion All Black. It’s strictly out of bounds. Yes, it’s tempting, especially after a few cocktails in Kingsland. Nor did I run into a rugby player or have a pillow fight with the Barrett brothers. Chance would be a fine thing.

I don’t believe the stadium is haunted either. Many have asked. But the ghosts of All Blacks past did not make themselves apparent to me. Albeit empty, at night Eden Park is more enchanting than eerie. However, the six-foot face of The Colonel (of KFC fame) did give me a fright when we returned from dinner. I’d forgotten his booth was directly outside and his great moustache sprang out at me, bathed in a spooky moonlight glow.

Albeit empty, at night Eden Park is more enchanting than eerie. Photo / Anna Sarjeant
Albeit empty, at night Eden Park is more enchanting than eerie. Photo / Anna Sarjeant

The next day we packed up and shipped out; returned the keys, so-to-speak, and returned home, which, lacking the capacity to seat 50,000, paled in comparison.

I know, I’ve outdone myself present-wise. What am I possibly going to gift my betrothed this year? I’m unsure, but I hear a spa weekend in Hanmer Springs is just fabulous.

Checklist
EDEN PARK
DETAILS
For more info, or to book visit edenpark.co.nz/experiences or canopycamping.co.nz/staydium. Prices start from $275 p/n including free parking and stadium tour.

For more travel inspiration, go to newzealand.com/nz.

Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz

from www.nzherald.co.nz Source link

[2019-07-24 09:50:01

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