New Zealand’s Half Dozen Best Golf Resorts

New Zealand offers some of the best lodging in the world, especially as relates to golf retreats – easily comparable or superior to many proud American ones.  Below I will rate them, giving 2/3s of my weighting to the golf offering and the remaining third to the lodging and service.  All of the following offerings are low density in nature where one leaves the crowds and hustle and bustle behind (actually isn’t any in New Zealand) and each typically receives a five-star rating.  Dining at all of them is exceptional.

The 5th green at Kauri Cliffs.

Kauri Cliffs – All around perhaps the finest golf resort in the world.  The golf course is more than solid and rates as one of the visually spectacular ones in the world as well.  When you combine the spa together with the private beaches, tennis, luxurious villas, and low number of guests, and 6,000 dramatic acres, it’s hard to beat.  And I will share that the golf course is far better than I had imagined with fun shot values to complement the magnificent views.

Cape Kidnappers – Owned and developed by Julian Robertson who also built and own

Cape Kidnappers

Kauri Cliffs, the size, motif, service, and room designs are very similar with this golf course being every bit as good.  Also situated on 6,000 acres overlooking the ocean, the only thing missing is that the spa is less elaborate.  Tom Doak’s design really is superb and many will rightfully argue that this is the best golf course in New Zealand.

The 18th green at Terrace Downs.

Terrace Downs – This South Island resort is situated among the Southern Alps and an hour’s drive west of Christchurch on the South Island features a gorgeous setting with the clubhouse and all the villas looking down at the golf course and river valley below, and the Southern Alps just beyond.  A host of hunting and fishing, horseback riding, river and wilderness activities together with a 3-minute helicopter ride to the ski slopes (golf and ski in the same day) together with some of the world’s most spectacular heli-skiing are just a few of the many activities to complement a very entertaining golf course.

Carrington – Located near the northern tip of the North Island, the quiet ambiance of the carrwinery/golf course preserve is really something to take in.  Again the clubhouse and villa/rooms all share spectacular views, in this case of the golf course, dunes, and beach in the distance.  A Matt Dye golf course and vineyards surround you.  One of the finest skeet/trap shooting ranges together with fishing, scuba diving, swimming, boating, bird watching, and mountain biking are just a few of the other activities that await you at this five-star resort.

Millbrook Resort – This South Island resort features a country-style motif with wonderfully appointed rooms and 27 sporty holes.  Actually situated in a valley about twenty minutes removed from the tourist hustle of Queenstown and fifteen minutes from the airport. It features surroundings of the Remarkable Mountains and the quaint village of Arrowtown nearby and a well-appointed spa on site.  The area is known for its outdoor adventures that include skiing, bungee jumping, fishing and boating, trekking, helicopter flights, horseback riding, and tennis.  Millbrook has been honored to be named one of the Top 500 Hotels in the World.

Peppers Clearwater Resort – Conveniently situated just minutes from the Christchurch Airport and fifteen minutes from downtown, Clearwater is a suburban oasis featuring a flat Florida-style golf course that regularly hosts the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship.  There is excellent Wild Brown and Rainbow Trout fishing together with tennis and cycling featured.

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