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New Zealand offers world-ranked, quality golf courses that provide a golf vacation rich in variety and stunning landscapes, no matter which region of New Zealand you’re visiting. Whether you are a pro-golfer or weekend amateur there is something for all golfers. We can help plan a vacation that is 100% golf orientated or include a mix of golf with other pursuits.
Cape Kidnappers in the Hawkes Bay, North Island of New Zealand is ranked 1st amongst New Zealand’s top courses. The course is situated on the Cape Kidnappers estate and was designed by legendary golf architect Tom Doak. A par 71 golf course measuring 7,119 yards (6,510 meters) that will challenge golfers of all skill levels. Perched on the cliff tops, 140 meters above sea level, with views across the ocean of the Hawkes Bay. The 18 hole course was built in 2004. There is a Proshop, dining room and men’s and women’s locker rooms on site. What the architect Tom Doak has to say about the course “Our goal in designing golf courses is to create interesting holes you wouldn’t find anywhere else. That wasn’t hard to do at Cape Kidnappers, because the site is not like anywhere else in golf. If it were any bigger or any more dramatic, it would probably be cordoned off as a national park. It’s an overwhelming experience to stand up on the cliffs, 140 meters above sea level, and look out across the waves far below in Hawke’s Bay.
Cape Kidnappers is not true links terrain, with the wrinkles of sand dunes; instead the land tilts toward the sea as a series of ridges jutting out toward the edge of the cliffs. Yet, the play is seaside golf at its finest. The surface is firm and fast, the conditions can be windy, and the player who can control his trajectory will be master of the course. You’ll hit shots over the tops of the tea trees, and play along the edges of deep ravines. If you stray on your approaches, you’ll actually hope to get caught up in bunkers hanging off the green’s edge, some of them deeper than you’ve ever seen before. Three times, you’ll have to make the perilous leap from the end of one ridge to the end of the next. And at the sixth and fifteenth holes it’s possible to pull your approach off the very end of the earth, though it will take nearly ten seconds of hang time for your ball to reach the ocean below”
Membership is not necessary at the club, visitors are welcomed at Cape Kidnappers, the dress code is appropriate golf attire. Neat and tidy at all times with collared shirts, dress trousers, or shorts, no jeans, track pants, sandals, or boots. Green fees range from NZ$285 – $425 per person for international visitors. Guests at The Farm, Cape Kidnappers receive a 25% discount off the applicable 18 Hole Green Fee for their first round, a 35% discount on their second round, and a 45% discount for their third round and beyond.
Cape Kidnappers also has a spa on site, perfect to keep both husband and wife happy! Tariffs at The Farm start at $760 per person low season, the rate includes all meals, and some lodge activities (excluding golf & spa). It is not necessary to stay at the lodge to play golf at Cape Kidnappers, there are other accommodation choices in the Hawkes Bay area, we can also recommend Millar Road, a less expensive option than the Farm at around $400 per night for a private villa and located only 15 minutes drive from Cape Kidnappers. There are several other options within the vicinity, which we can recommend to suit your tastes and travel budget, please ask our team.
The Hawkes Bay has a micro climate not dissimilar to Central Otago (excepting the winter), and offers much more than golf, there are many celebrated wineries in the region as well as rugged beaches, clean rivers and quaint villages. You could combine other New Zealand destinations in your trip and also visit Cape Kidnappers sister property Kauri Cliffs , which is New Zealand’s second ranked golf course.
Kauri Cliffs, is situated in the far north of the North Island, an area which has some of the warmest weather in New Zealand, with stunning beaches and an aquatic playground. Other than golf the area is good for diving, sailing, and anything water based! There are also good walks in the area, and natural tourist attractions such as Ninety Mile Beach and the giant Kauri trees, particularly Tane Mahuta. Kauri Cliffs is closer to the ocean than Cape Kidnappers and has been designed to make the most of the ocean views. Kauri Cliffs was designed and built by David Harman of Golf Course Consultants, Orlando, Florida. The par 72 championship golf course measures 7,119 yards ( 6,510 metres) and offers five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen holes view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs which plunge to the sea. As with Cape Kidnappers there is a well-stocked pro-shop and lockers as well as world-class practice range, putting and chipping greens. The green fees are equal to that at Cape Kidnappers with discounts valid for guests staying at Kauri Cliffs lodge. It is not necessary to stay at the property to play or to be a member, visitors are welcome.
Tariffs to stay at the lodge at Kauri Cliffs are similar to that of Cape Kidnappers starting at $760 per person, low season. There are also other fantastic properties to stay in the region that are within a short drive of the Kauri Cliffs golf course. We can recommend Eagles Nest, with 5 luxury villas and also Huntaway Lodge is an excellent choice at a lower price point.
Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is considered by many as one of the greatest links course in the southern hemisphere. The course is located on the Kapiti Coast, just 45 minutes drive from New Zealand’s capital city Wellington and has hosted the New Zealand Open 12 times and famously in 2002 it hosted the world’s number 1 golfer (at the time), Tiger Woods. The course was designed in 1949 by former Australian Open champion Alex Russell, the highly acclaimed course architect. The club has well equipped clubrooms with locker rooms, bar and restaurant. Fees to play at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club range from $75 for New Zealand residents to $150 for international guests. The dress code, is no jeans or track pants, collared shirts and shorts, with socks for gentlemen and for women, smart casual tops or sports shirts that cover the shoulders.
Wellington City has several hotel options that Luxury Adventures can recommend, Ohtel & The Bolton are both great boutique hotels within a 45 minute drive from the club. A little further afield is Wharekauhau Luxury Lodge, located at Palliser Bay and set in 5,000 acres of farm land (2 hours drive from Wellington) with tariffs starting at NZ$995 per person, including pre-dinner drinks and canapés and dinner – Wharekauhau and also has a day spa. Luxury Adventures can arrange helicopter transfers from Wharekauhau to Paraparaumu Golf Club. Wellington is a vibrant city, with great restaurants, bars and shopping. Luxury Adventures can also arrange city tours, wine tours, and more.
Queenstown in the South Island is home to three of the top golf courses in the country; Jacks Point, The Hills and Millbrook courses. Our team can arrange for you to stay in the area and play one, two or three of these courses. The area also offers a lot more than just golf, with everything from jet boats, and world class hikes to wine tours, spas and private helicopter tours. There are accommodation options to suit any pocket with boutique hotels such as Queenstown Park, The Spire, Eichardt’s and The Rees, to some of the best luxury lodges in the country, Azur Lodge, Blanket Bay and Matakauri Lodge, also many luxury private homes. We’ll be able to find something to meet your individual tastes and budget requirements. Luxury Adventures can arrange private transfers by road or helicopter or if you prefer to self-drive a hire car.
Jacks Point is a par 72 championship course that offers golfers of any caliber a unforgettable and challenging experience. The course has tee positions for all levels of golfer, it is considered a very challenging course and requires skill to negotiate the many hazards it possesses. With a dramatic back drop of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountain range it truly is a stunning location. Fees to play this course start at $175 per person. Jacks Point Clubhouse, is situated on the edge of Lake Tewa and hosts the golf shop, restaurant, bar and delicatessen.
The Hills Golf Course, is set in 500 acres of former deer farm and located in Arrowntown, a short 15 minute drive from the center of Queenstown, The Hills was designed by Darby Partners and opened in 2007 to host the New Zealand Open, which they again hosted in 2014. The club house won the New Zealand Institute of Architects Supreme Award in 2008 and was also a finalist in the World Architecture Festival in the same year. Sir Michael Hill is a keen sponsor of the arts and has created a contemporary sculpture park at The Hills. The course is a par 72 championship course and features numerous elevated tees offering players an excellent view of the challenge ahead as well as the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Fees for playing at The Hills range from $245 in the off season to $500 per player for 18 holes. Players visiting The Hills have access to the clubhouse, locker room facilities, and driving range for the day of their booking and treatments in the on-site day spa can also be arranged. The clubhouse restaurant is open to players for both breakfast and lunch, and food and beverages can be delivered on course by request. All players receive a complimentary bottle of water, a yardage book, and a bag tag. There is also the option of staying at the Lodge at the Hills, one of the most luxurious options presently available in the Queenstown area.
Millbrook Golf Couse is situated close to The Hills, also in Arrowtown, and set among 500 acres of grounds, with views across to The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. The Millbrook course opened in 1992 and was originally designed as 18 holes by famous golfer Sir Bob Charles. The new Coronet Nine hole course was added in 2010 when 4 of the original holes were redesigned by one of New Zealand’s most successful PGA Tour players, Greg Turner. The course suits every type of player and there are 5 tee options to choose from. Club tees for both ladies and men measure 4450m and 5410m stretching back to tournament and professional tees for the longer hitters. Millbrook has been voted the Best Golf Resort in Australasia and the winner of many other awards over the years.
The club hosts a driving range, as well as a unique covered driving range, putting and chipping greens, pro-shop and locker facilities. There is also a range of accommodation available at The Millbrook resort; from Studio rooms to 4-bedroom homes, complete with an onsite spa. Luxury Adventures can assist with booking accommodation here for you. Green fees start at as low as $45 per player for guests staying at the resort in the low season to $180 for casual visitors. Millbrook’s dress code requires that men wear a golf shirt with dress trousers or shorts, and ladies wear a golf shirt with dress trousers, shorts or a skirt. Soft spikes only.
Kinloch and Wairakei courses are both located in the central North Island, close to Taupo. Other than golf the area offers great walks, such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a scenically varied day walk which can be hiked with or without a guide. Also found in the region are the geo-thermal wonders which New Zealand is famous for, the lakes and rivers of Taupo and nearby Rotorua offer fantastic fishing and hunting is also renowned in this region. Again there are many accommodation options available to suit a range of tastes and budget – we can recommend Acacia Cliffs a lovely little boutique lodge set in Acacia Bay which is a firm hit with our clients, or for those looking for iconic luxury, Huka Lodge is an institution on the New Zealand luxury lodge circuit and highly recommended. For Private Villa type accommodation you cant go past the Point Villas in Taupo.
Wairakei Golf Course is positioned on 450 acres of geothermal park, just 10 minutes from the township and Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. This acclaimed 18-hole course is Par 72 and 6429 metres. The course was designed to be New Zealand’s first international-standard course and one round will prove that this aim has certainly been achieved. Wairakei is a ‘must-experience’ for all casual and serious golfers. Wairakei International has a new driving range and a golf professional is available for lessons year round as well as a pro-shop, café and bar. Green fees start at $155 per player for 18 holes, all players must be dressed in appropriate golf attire. Neat and tidy at all times with collared shirts, dress trousers or shorts to be worn, no jeans, track-pants, jandals or boots.
The Kinloch Club at Taupo is the only Nicklaus designed golf course in New Zealand. This par 72 eighteen hole Championship golf course was ranked in the Top 100 in the world by Golf Course Architecture Magazine in 2013. The Kinloch Club was also rated on opening in 2007 as the top new golf course outside North America by the prestigious US Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine. The course has full restaurant and bar facilities as well as a putting green, grass tee driving range and chipping green with bunker. Green fees range from $150 for a New Zealand affiliated player to $235 for an international affiliated player.
Further north and just 30 minutes from Auckland’s CBD is Gulf Harbour Golf Course. This 6,400 metre, par 72 golf course offers spectacular finishing holes, ocean views, rolling terrain and four sets of tees assure playability for every calibre of golfer from beginners to professionals. The Gulf Harbour Golf & country club also boats a spa, gymnasium tennis, squash courts and swimming pool. Eighteen holes of golf will cost between $75 for New Zealand affiliated members to $180 for international affiliated members. The dress code is standard as with most New Zealand courses, for men a shirt with collar golf shorts or trousers and golf shoes with long or short socks, and for women a collared tee (may be sleeveless), shorts, trousers, or skirt, golf shoes and socks. Gulf Harbour doesn’t permit metal spikes on the course. As New Zealands largest and also gateway city Auckland offers significantly more than just golf, with unspoilt beaches, rainforest walks, diverse marine life, great fishing, and sailing, wonderful wineries, shopping, bars, restaurants and nightlife. The Luxury Adventures team can arrange anything for you from private city tours and private yacht charters to canyoning adventures (Spelunking) at Piha, just about anything is possible in this vibrant city. There are plenty of accommodation options available, Hotel De Brett, Sky Grand or Sofitel are just a few of the 5 star hotels in the city, or perhaps a boutique lodge on Waiheke Island, Hei Matau and the Boatshed are both our recommended options there.
To summarise New Zealand has many world ranked golf courses; Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers, Paraparaumu, Kinloch, Jacks Point, The Hills, Wairakei, Millbrook and Gulf Harbour amongst them, further information on these courses and others can be found on our web site. Our team are able to tailor a golf vacation to suit your requirements – choose to play golf at all or a selection of the courses, and perhaps mix this up with other activities, with plenty of accommodation options available to suit all budget levels we’ll plan the perfect golf trip for you!
Tony Townley is a luxury lifestyle specialist and owner of Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.