Rugby fans rushing to book rooms in Whangarei on the day the British and Irish Lions play at Toll Stadium are out of luck - "no vacancy" signs have gone up for all types of accommodation.

An estimated 2000 Lions fans are expected to watch the match, some of whom booked their accommodation in Whangarei this time last year.

That number will swell to about 22,000 Lions visitors for the three tests, starting on June 24.

The Lions kickstart their New Zealand tour on June 3 with a game against the Provincial Union XV at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.


Those wishing to snap up tickets for the game need to get in quick because only 5000 general admission tickets remain.

Accommodation providers are still fielding calls and emails from Lions fans in Britain but rooms are available only either side of June 3.

All 15 rooms of Lodge Bordeaux, the only five-star commercial accommodation provider in Whangarei, were booked for June 3 by rugby fans about this time last year.

Two-thirds are overseas guests, says owner Lyn Sawyers.

"We are usually fairly booked so this is a bonus. We haven't raised the price because of the game but there's a minimum two-day stay, which enables them to spend some time in Whangarei," Mrs Sawyers said.

Motel Six on Bank St is also fully booked for June 3 and owner Khandu Keshav said even without major sporting events, his business was doing well because of the popularity of Northland as a tourism destination.

"A lot of them coming to watch rugby booked online this time last year for one and two nights. Rooms are hard to get one or two days either side of the game but are available from Monday after the game," he said.

The manager of Whangarei i-Site Visitor Centre, Cheryl Lee, said: "We have called all accommodation providers in Whangarei - this includes hotels, motels, campgrounds and bed and breakfast providers - regarding availability on the night of June 3.

"The town is fully booked that night, no rooms available at all, though there is some availability for the nights either side of this date".

Northland Rugby Union chief executive Alistair McGinn said the grandstand tickets were sold out early this year and he expects the remaining 5000 general admission tickets to sell quickly.

Tickets for the Toll Stadium match went on sale on October 28 last year.

"We're the only provincial union to be awarded a game and that's outstanding," he said. "It's a one-in-12-years event and the level of public interest and inquiry about tickets is unprecedented."