We came from many countries.....
Our little group comprised two American and two Australian couples, and we met in Auckland airport for the short flight to Keri Keri. Then we separated again with the Aussies heading for the lovely seaside town of Paihia for the night and the Americans heading straight to the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs.
We woke to a gorgeous day- blue sky, 25 degrees warm, and little if any breeze - just perfect conditions for our outing on the legendary course at Kauri Cliffs.
The views out over the Bay of Islands were a little distracting, but the golf course does command your attention from time to time with some heroic tee shots called for and plenty of decisions required on the best method of approach.
For the full course report on Kauri Cliffs click the link:here
That evening we all dined together at The Lodge - an amazing culinary experience where the group got to know each other for the first time- we had plenty of laughs, and all went to bed content knowing we had experienced an amazing day...
Day 3 was a moving day - and we all flew Keri Keri to Auckland and then had a very short connection for the short flight into Taupo. The Americans could not believe how easy the whole process was - being internal flights security was not as much of an issue, and they likened the process to hopping on and off a bus!
We arrived into Taupo at lunchtime and headed to Wairakei International Golf Course where we were greeted by a traditional Maori welcome. We appointed out American friend Mike as our ambassador and he did a grand job- starting with the greeting:
'We come from many countries.....well, two!'
Again the weather was perfect as we played Wairakei - formerly rated as a top 100 world course ( see course report for Wairakei here )
We also checked out the famous Huka Falls, and then headed off to our accommodation - The Aussies to the Hilton hotel in Taupo, and The Americans to the world famous Huka Lodge.
Day Four was the much anticiapated golf at Kinloch GC, just out of Taupo. This was Jack Nicklaus design at it's wildest. The course is demanding, and does not offer the options to players of different abilities that perhaps the great designs might. But some regard it as the best course in New Zealand, and I must admit to being a huge fan. However this is a course where you really need to bring your A game or you will be beaten up...
For a full course report on Kinloch GC click the link here
That night we all got together again for dinner- this time at Huka Lodge.
What a night!
We had our own room looking out over the river, and it was a night we wont forget.
We laughed and drank and ate our way through a memorable night. No wonder Huka Lodge is one of THE premiere places to stay in the world..
Day five was another moving day as we boarded our own private bus and headed for Napier where we lunched at the iconic Craggy Ranges winery, and then dropped our US counterparts at their accommodation on The Farm at Cape Kidnappers- very swish!
The entrance road to the golf course was the main talking point as we traversed creek beds, forest, and then a series of steep chasms to gain access to the golf course.
On day 6 we had another perfect weather day for our encounter with the Cape Kidnappers course. This Tom Doak masterpiece covers land one would not have thought to be golfing territory with fingers of what is still a sheep farming property projecting out into the Pacific Ocean - sometimes at a height of 400 ft.
The course always rates in the top 40 or so on the planet - and is a must play for the keen golfer.
For a full report on the Cape Kidnappers course see the link here.
After golf we all gathered for dinner at The Farm. Once again it was a sensational dinner, and a brilliant night.
Day seven was another travel day, and it was time to leave the north island. Our American friends had stayed at 3 world class lodgings to this stage and all rated The Lodge and The Farm as amongst the best places they had ever stayed anywhere - now that is a nice recommendation!
We flew Taupo - Auckland and connected into Queenstown where we headed to our accommodation at the scenic Millbrook Resort- one of my favourite places to stay.. It is pretty, it has 27 holes of good golf, a number of quality dining options - and one could get very comfortable staying here!!!
On day 8 we golfed at Millbrook playing the Remarkable and The Coronet nines. We had wonderful weather again, and all enjoyed the course
For the full course report for Millbrook Resort see link here
Day 9 involved golf at The Hills - site of the NZ Open - and an expensive private club.
With perfect conditions we all saw the best of The Hills which I would consider a very good championship course.
One of the real highlights encountered when playing The Hills is the amzing sculptues and artwork spread around the links - much of it created by owner Michael Hills talented son. These are very serious and sizable works of art and really add to the whole experince of playing there.
For a full course report please see the link here
At night we ventured into Queenstown and sampled the wares of one of the highly rated restaurants - The Botswana Butchery- lovely!
Day 10 was our final day of golf, and we had a short journey down the road from Millbrook to Jacks Point GC.
Jack's Point is a truly spectacular course sited between the remarkable Remarkables Mountain range, and the Waiiaiiad'aha Lake. When the sun is out, the lake is blue and the place is stunning!
Unfortunately for us our final day on tour was our only day without perfect weather. We had overcast skies, and hints of precipitation- so Jacks Point was judged on its merits.. it is a must play for golf in the Sth Island.
For a full course report on Jacks Point see link here
Our final night on tour was a wine and dine experience at Amisfield Winery- a very classy alternative to heading back into Queenstown and one I would recommend
And that was that!
Spectacular New Zealand was a smorgasbord of spectacular golf courses in dramatic setting, some of the best accommodation options in the world, fine wine and dining, and on this particular case - good company as well!
Lets hope we can all do it again sometime...
Spectacular New Zealand is a hosted tour from The Travelling Golfer
The itinerary can and will be tailored to each group, and we can vary the courses, and level of accommodation to suit the client group.
Possible inclusions, or add ons to this trip include:
The Melbourne Sandbelt and Barnbougle Dunes
Terrace Downs and Clearwater Resort in Christchurch
Paraparaumu Beach and Royal Wellington in Wellington, and
Titirangi, Formosa, and Gulf Harbour in Auckland
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to New Zealand to suit your group. For more suggestions see Great Golf Destinations: New Zealand
For further information please enquire here: