Free parking is being offered to rugby fans travelling in campervans to watch the British and Irish Lions play in Whangarei but they need to get in quick.

The Whangarei District Council has teamed up with the New Zealand Motorhome Association and provided parking for 170 self-contained campervans with fulltime security at three locations.

The idea of providing campervan parking came from the 2005 Lions tour, when many Lions supporters travelled around New Zealand in campervans.

For this year's Lions tour, the council will provide 80 spaces for campervans at the Town Basin on the northern side of the Canopy Bridge, closest to the river and accessed off Hatea Drive.


A further 60 spaces will be available at the end of Railway Rd and 30 at Barge Park on Maunu Rd.

Council acting district promotions and tourism manager, Sarah Archer, said the spaces at Town Basin would be filled first before bookings were accepted for the Railway Rd lot.

She said the free parking was only for campervan travellers who would be at Toll Stadium on June 3 when the Lions kick-start their New Zealand tour with a game against the Provincial Union XV.

They will need to show their game tickets on arrival at the parking venues.

"All host cities are offering parking areas for campervans and motorhomes and so we've identified three areas but all may be filled up."

She said free parking would be available from 5pm on June 2 until 10am on Sunday after the match.

"We are looking forward to hosting domestic and international visitors and showcasing our region to the global audience who will be following the series."

Wendy Millar of Tauranga arrived in a campervan to the Town Basin yesterday and said she may buy a ticket for the Lions match to qualify for free parking.

She said the provision of free campervan parking by the council during the Lions match was good news.

"There should be more free parking available for campervans at other times. We don't cost anything apart from the space we take up," she said.

All accommodation in Whangarei is fully booked on June 3.

Bookings for free campervan parking can be made through the i-Site Visitor Centre in Otaika and the offer is advertised through the association and AA websites.