In this incredible fourteen day journey across New Zealand, Ker & Downey takes you by private jet to some of the world’s best golf courses. Preview the article below and download the current issue of BESPOKE magazine for information on more bespoke journeys.
Even after being quickly catapulted into popularity by The Lord of the Rings, New Zealand has maintained a unique charm that seems untouched by the outside world. The pristine wilderness of Taupo and the Bay of Islands, contrasted with the cosmopolitan cities of Auckland and Queenstown, provides a harmonious balance between adventure and relaxation in luxurious accommodations. New Zealand seems to offer something for everyone, so it’s no wonder the country is quickly becoming a golfer’s paradise. Our New Zealand Golf Adventure whisks you by private jet to the most scenic locations, where you’ll play on courses with landscapes so gorgeous you’ll struggle to keep your eyes on the ball. The distinctive courses are challenging for experienced golfers, yet accessible and enjoyable for all skill levels.
This incredible trip begins in Auckland, the “city of sails” and Polynesian capital of the world. The golf starts at the Titirangi Golf Club, set between the Waitakere Ranges and Manukau Harbor. The developers took the original nature of the site into consideration during the club’s inception, so the bushland par-70 course has elevated tees and rolling fairways. This beautiful landscape is one of the reasons it is consistently ranked as a top course in New Zealand. After a full day of golf, including a clinic with the club professional, unwind at the waterfront Sofitel Auckland, which overlooks Waitemata Harbor. Floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies provide views of the marina, and the well-appointed rooms have deep soaking tubs and rain showers to rejuvenate sore muscles.
The tour of incredible courses and scenery continues with a northbound flight to the Bay of Islands and two nights at Kauri Cliffs, located on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay. Tee off here on a course named the 18th best in the world by Golf magazine. The 7,120-yard, par-72 course has 15 holes with views of the Pacific Ocean, while six are played along cliffs that plunge into the sea below, making for one extraordinary water feature. At the lodge the views continue, with a 180-degree panorama of the ocean or golf course from your room. Tennis courts, a tranquil spa, and three secluded beaches will fill the time between hitting the links.
Your private jet then makes its way south to Taupo and a unique golf experience at the Kinloch Club. This par-72 course is surrounded by Lake Taupo to the south and the Kinloch hills to the east, and is currently the only Jack Nicklaus exclusive signature club in New Zealand. You’ll stay at one of the world’s most famous retreats, Huka Lodge, located on 17 acres of manicured grounds. The iconic lodge sits above Huka Falls on a bend of the Waikato River and has 25 suites designed to reflect the beauty of their surroundings.
Then you’ll balance the days of golf with some downtime at Timara Lodge, a charming five-room property on 600 acres of land. The grounds include a 25-acre English garden, five-acre lake, and a rose garden with 350 varieties of roses. The well-appointed rooms have Italian marble bathrooms, Italian linens, and modern amenities.
The journey concludes with four nights overlooking Lake Wakatipu at Matakauri Lodge, a sister property of Kauri Cliffs just a few minutes from the heart of Queenstown. All 11 suites and villas have private terraces with magnificent views, cozy fireplaces, and generously sized bathrooms. You’ll have the opportunity to golf at two clubs in the area. At Millbrook, try out one of the three courses design by Sir Bob Charles. A mix of parkland and links, groomed fairways and greens set the scene for the perfect round of golf. At the Hills Golf Course, your final round commences in a 500-acre valley. No two holes are alike, and the elevated tees have 360-degree views of the snow capped mountains. Unique sculptures by local artists complement the course’s natural beauty.
When you aren’t working on your swing, exclusive tours and excursions round out your time in New Zealand. Near Auckland, you can visit an artist on Waiheke Island and enjoy a private tour of the Connell’s Bay Sculpture Park. You’ll interact with the local Maori people in Taupo as your Maori guide, a direct descendant of the high chief of the Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe, provides insight into the tribal heritage and the legends surrounding the Taupo area. In Wellington, a visit to the Weta Workshop gives you the chance to see props from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Avatar while learning about the artists who created them.
Epicureans aren’t forgotten on this journey – they’ll find steamed mussels and Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough Sound and taste Pinot Noir at the Valli Winery in the southernmost wine-making region of Central Otago.
New Zealand is an adventurer’s playground, and the outdoor activities go far beyond the links to reveal even more of the islands’ beauty. Take a helicopter ride above Milford Sound for picturesque views of Mitre Peak and a landing on a glacier. In Taupo, another helicopter takes you to White Island, an active volcano, to walk on the crater floor before landing on the breathtaking summit of Mount Tarawera.
Private jet transfers throughout the entire 14-day journey allow you to take in incredible scenery at every turn and from every angle. In a country with distinctive golf courses and varied, unforgettable landscapes, the only thing you’ll need to consider is which to pull out first: your driver or your camera.