Fixture 1: British & Irish Lions V Barbarian F.C - Hong Kong
The Lions first opponents of the 125th anniversary Tour are the second most famous touring team on Earth – The Barbarians.
In what will be a groundbreaking and emotionally charged occasion, the Lions will play in Hong Kong for the first time on 1 June 2013 as they look begin their Tour of Australia with a victory against the greatest invitational rugby team.
While the Lions prepare for one of the most anticipated Tours in history, fans can experience a taste of the Orient where East meets West. A boat trip around the harbour on the Duk Ling, the last remaining sailing junk in Hong Kong, high tea in a wonderful hotel or the aromatic delights of street corner food await as the hustle of everyday life swarms around you in the towering cityscape.
The Lions odyssey continues with a peek at the tightly packed streets with their blazing neon and steam-filled snack shops. Gems of satisfaction will offer themselves in the constantly changing harbour views, open air beers or an afternoon tea in the lobby of your luxury hotel.
Escape the city limits and other experiences await – watching the sun rise from a remote mountain peak, hiking surf-beaten beaches or exploring deserted islands.
All this set amongst the greatest two touring teams in the world battling it out for 80 minutes. One thing is certain, there is still plenty to do and see in Hong Kong once the final whistle has blown.
Fixture 2: Western Force V British & Irish Lions - Perth
With the sun setting on the opening clash in Hong Kong, thoughts immediately turn to the next game on the Tour and the first in Australia on 5 June 2013 against Western Force – the first of the Australian Super XV sides to take on the Lions.
When the British & Irish Lions were last in Perth, back in 2001, they faced a Western Australia team that was thrashed in a 10-116 defeat. Since then the Emirates Western Force has been formed, and will provide a tough challenge for the Lions as their preparations for the opening Test in Brisbane begin in earnest.
Not only will the rugby provide a thrill but the city of Perth is renowned for its pristine parkland and over 50 miles of white sandy beaches. In addition to the beautiful landscapes, food lovers will be in their element, as Perth has more restaurants per capita than any other Australian city.
Other attractions that make Perth stand out as one of the finest destinations in Australia include the world’s oldest operating mint, art galleries and vast array of shopping opportunities.
Fill your time before and after the match with a range of activities then take your seat at the stadium to see the Lions take centre stage in their first of nine games against a variety of Australian sides.
Perth may be the world’s most remote city, but it is certainly not one that will be forgotten.
Fixture 3: Queensland Reds V British & Irish Lions - Brisbane
The last time the Queensland Reds met the Lions, they were on the end of a 42-8 defeat in Ballymore. This time round, on 8 June 2013, the 2011 Super XV Champions will be looking to avenge that defeat as they take on the mighty Lions in Brisbane.
The match, at the Suncorp Stadium, will provide another step up in intensity and focus as the clock ticks down to the first Test.
Lions fans will get an early taste of Brisbane’s street cafe culture and a vibrant nightlife that is one of the highlights of Queensland’s capital city and a focal point for the 2013 Tour.
Sport plays a huge part in Brisbane life which means British & Irish Lions fans will be well catered for. As well as the Gabba sports ground, freshly re-developed and famed for Test cricket, Brisbane is home to Ballymore, where the Wallabies often take on the world at rugby.
Whatever you decide to do, there will be no shortage of news and views to fill your days in a sports mad city, made complete with an exhilarating match watching the British & Irish Lions take on the winners of the 2011 Super XV League.
Fixture 4: Combined Country V British & Irish Lions - Newcastle
The previous mid-Tour fixture in Australia was against a Presidential XV, who were taken apart by the strength, power and finishing quality of the British & Irish Lions as they lost 6-83 at the Dairy Farmers Stadium in 2001. This time around, in the fourth match of the 2013 Tour, the Lions take on Combined Country in Newcastle at the Ausgrid Stadium.
As Lions fans swarm to Newcastle, the second biggest city in New South Wales, the distinctive geography creates mesmerising beach and waterfront scenery to enjoy prior to seeing the Lions and their unique brand of attacking rugby.
Newcastle is the epitome of the outdoor Aussie lifestyle which means adventurous fans will be right at home on the coast.
In addition to the beach and surf culture, Newcastle possesses many of the usual city delights; from restaurants and cafés, to parks and shopping centres.
With the Lions battling it out against the Combined Country on the 12 June 2013, there will be plenty of hype surrounding the game and the destination.
Fixture 5: HSBC Waratahs V The Lions - Sydney
The HSBC Waratahs are next on the agenda for the British & Irish Lions on 15 June 2013 – and return to the big time in Sydney with the first Test a week away.
It will represent one of the final chances for players to stake their claim for a place in the first Test side but if the Lions can emerge with a victory as conclusive as their 41-24 success in 2001, they will be in great shape ahead of their showdown against the Wallabies.
Whilst the rugby is the main attraction, Sydney itself is an iconic destination, and is home to the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Dunk yourself in the Bondi surf, sail under the Harbour Bridge on a yacht, jog along the Coogee cliff tops or clip-clop through Centennial Park on horseback. Sydney is an ‘outside’ city and Lions fans will love it.
No matter when you head to Sydney your days will be active and engaging, your nights indulgent and intense.
British & Irish Lions supporters will embrace the city together, ensuring an atmosphere like no other in world rugby.
Take in Sydney, then take in the Lions as the battle against Australia edges ever closer.