ERIKERI, New Zealand – With more than 400 golf courses spread across two islands, golf accommodations in New Zealand run the gamut from five-star luxury lodges to modern fairway homes for rent.
There are options for everyone.
Queenstown on the South Island offers two great choices, the Hilton Queenstown and Millbrook, a cute country resort celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013. The awesome Jack's Point and The Hills Golf Club reside within 20 minutes from either property.
The Hilton snuggles up to the scenic shores of Lake Wakatipu. Golfers can catch a boat ride into Queenstown, where the party never stops after dark, or drive down the street to play Queenstown Golf Club. A relaxing massage at the eforea: spa will unwind any muscles still tight from the long international flight. Breakfast and dinner from the Wakatipu Grill are equally excellent.
Millbrook sits in the shadows of the Remarkables Mountains with all sorts of rooms, suites and rental homes available. Its award-winning combination of spa, dining and golf, all so conveniently located, is hard to beat.
I discovered three distinctly difference places to stay in Taupo near Lake Taupo (the country's largest lake) in the heart of the North Island. Only the fortunate few experience the spoils of the exclusive Huka Lodge along the Waikato River. Jack Nicklaus, who loves fly-fishing in the region, favors it. A five-star meal (including wine and appetizers before dinner) and a bountiful breakfast ensure no one leaves unsatisfied.
For the more budget-cautious traveler, the Wairakei Golf Resort, down the road from the fun Wairakei International Golf Course, provides a perfect escape with a nice restaurant and clean rooms.
Twenty minutes away, the Dunalistair House, a modern four-bedroom home just off the fairways of The Kinloch Club, might work well for those planning to play the club's demanding Nicklaus Course.
Of course, no golfer would dare travel halfway around the world only to skip New Zealand's premier golf destinations, the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in Kerikeri near the northern tip of the island and the Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay along the cliffs of the eastern shore. Both lodges deliver similar five-star service and settings, but each has their own strengths. Cool hangout spots, like the "snug" in the silo and the wine cellar, make the Farm unique. Kauri Cliffs counters with the ultimate outdoor trump card, the secluded Pink Beach, a prime spot for summer picnics and Friday night BBQs.