Rugby fans booking weeks before test

Dunedin accommodation is being booked fast for the first test rugby match the city has hosted in about three years.

While tickets to the Tri-Nations match between the All Blacks and Springboks at Carisbrook do not go on sale until June 3, and then only to people south of the Waitaki for the first two weeks, those in the accommodation sector say motel accommodation for July 12 was getting "tight".

However, there were plenty of beds still available, including bed and breakfast accommodation.

Dunedin I-Sight Visitor Centre manager Louise Van de Vlierd said it was the official Otago Rugby Football Union agent for test accommodation and bookings had been brisk, so people seeking a specific type of accommodation for that weekend needed to book fast.

"It'll be quite tight, but we've got a complete register of all the accommodation types that are available in town."

The perception that accommodation was already sold out applied only to a handful of major hotels and there were other options, including motels within walking distance of Carisbrook, she said.

Previous test matches indicated rooms would be released up to, and immediately before, the weekend.

"We'll find fans a bed, but if they're late, we cannot guarantee it will be where, or exactly the type of accommodation, they want."

Otago Motel Association chairman Neville Butcher said many inquiries had been received about that weekend.

As many motels were full or filling up, queries or any vacancies were being passed to I-Site to co-ordinate.

"It certainly fills the town and in the off-season, these games are always good. It adds a lot of vibrancy to the town." The association accounts for 720 rooms.

Dunedin Holiday Park manager Rex Moss said his 63 units were booked out and he expected many people in campervans and caravans to arrive for the weekend.

The demand was similar for any weekend with a large sporting event, he said.

"It should be a good weekend and bring lots of money into the city."

Aaron Lodge Holiday Park was also looking reasonably busy for the weekend and expected it to get more so when match tickets went on sale.

The last time the All Blacks played in Dunedin was 2005, also against South Africa.


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