The All Blacks Experience makes rugby fun at this informative and engaging hands-on exhibition. Whether you’re a rugby fan or not, this family-friendly experience is one not to be missed in Auckland.
Rugby is as much a part of Kiwi culture as pineapple lumps, buzzy bees and red band gumboots.
It makes us who we are and is deeply intertwined with our heritage.
Maybe you played rugby growing up.
Maybe you get up at unspeakable hours to cheer the boys in black on when playing international test matches.
Or maybe you don’t understand what all of the fuss is about when it comes to our national game.
Regardless of what you think about rugby, we guarantee you’ll come out of the All Blacks Experience buzzing!
The All Blacks Experience: What to Expect
This state-of-the-art guided tour combines the best of technology with a guided, personalised tour.
From the moment we stepped off the escalator, we were welcomed warmly like long-lost friends. The hospitality that we experienced throughout was distinctly Kiwi.
The sense of pride and mana that each of the All Blacks Experience crew members had was clearly evident throughout. They really are fantastic ambassadors, both for New Zealand and rugby in Aotearoa.
As we made our way through the experience, it became clear why the staff demonstrated such pride – this is something for all Kiwis to be proud of.
The passion expressed in this exhibition really is something else.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of the game, or someone with very little interest in rugby, it’s hard not to be pulled into it all.
Information is shared in an engaging way throughout and clever use of video footage makes a surprisingly emotional addition, time and time again.
Sitting in the changing rooms, absorbed in storytelling I found myself with tears in my eyes. Trust me when I say, this was the last thing I’d ever expected from this exhibit!
In addition to the videos, the whakatauki scattered throughout the space were moving and offered cause for reflection.
The bilingual use of te reo Māori throughout the entire experience was exemplary – not that you’d expect any less from a tour organised and run by Ngai Tahu Tourism.
The All Blacks Experience: Seamless & Fully-Immersive
The All Blacks Experience is broken into two distinct zones – the first of which is a fully-guided tour whilst the second is an interactive zone that allows guests to try their hand at a range of rugby skills.
Each tour takes approximately 45 minutes. In addition, you’ll have another 30 minutes to test yourself out in the interactive zone.
To ensure you’re able to make the most of the experience, we suggest you wear comfortable clothes and shoes – that way you’ll be able to race around.
With that said, if you find yourself in the city in more formal attire, you’ll still be fine to join the tour.
A Guided Tour Through All-Things All Blacks
As you step into the All Blacks Experience, you’ll enjoy a combination of guided, personalised commentary, video footage, interactive games, and impressive audio.
Our guide was friendly, full of energy and incredibly knowledgeable. She was always happy to answer our questions and provided plenty of opportunities for genuine interaction.
Just quietly, she was a bit of a superstar!
With your guide, you’ll learn about the history of our national game, how we came to be so good at it (in a relatively short timeframe) and how the game has evolved over the years.
They’ll take you behind the scenes, discovering just how deep our country’s connection to rugby union runs.
Once you’ve stepped into the shoes of an All-Black-in-training and tested your skills, you’ll be invited into the famed changing room. There, you’ll discover, in an incredibly personal and emotional video montage, what it means to play for our national team.
Finally, you’ll make your way onto the pitch. There, you’ll experience a chill in the air (just as you would, walking onto a rugby field in the middle of winter) as you line up ready to face the haka.
Filmed during the buildup to a real match, facing the haka in such an immersive manner will send a totally different chill down your spine!
Test Yourself in the Step Up Zone
Once you’ve learnt about the history of the All Blacks and the Black Ferns, you’ll be allowed to put yourself to the test!
This interactive zone allows visitors to try their hands at the key skills required in rugby – passing, kicking, running and more.
They’ve done a fantastic job of combining real-life interaction (such as kicking or passing a rugby ball) with virtual reality.
Regardless of your age or skill level, it’s a lot of fun!
Are you up to the challenge?
Wear Black and Show Your Support
Upon leaving the Step Up zone you’ll find a fantastic collection of All Blacks gear available for purchase.
This is the largest All Blacks retail store in Aotearoa and is also the only store to sell official personalised jerseys.
What better way to show your support for the greatest team on Earth?
Did you know? Even if you’re not joining a tour, it’s possible to shop at their retail store.
The All Blacks Experience – Fun For Everyone
Whether you’re a long-time player or have never watched a game of rugby in your life, you’ll find something of interest at the All Blacks Experience.
Engaging, interesting and surprisingly emotional, this exhibition has been brought to life as only Kiwis can do. You’ll get a glimpse into our culture, history and the lives of the countless Kiwis that have shaped the game in Aotearoa.
Auckland is the only place in the world to offer a glimpse into the wonderful world of rugby like this – and with what team are you better to do that, than with the All Blacks?
We were hosted at the All Blacks Experience for the purpose of this review. All thoughts are entirely our own.