IGS Blog

30 June 2020

The 10 best golf courses in New Zealand

The best golf courses combine dynamic terrain with breathtaking scenery, so it's no surprise that New Zealand is a natural fit for the sport, nor that many NZ golf courses consistently rank among the world's finest.

Boasting more golf courses per capita than any other country, you're never far from a world-class golfing experience wherever you're staying in New Zealand, including challenging courses designed by golfing legends such as Jack Nicklaus and NZ's own Sir Bob Charles.

If you're dreaming about your next golf holiday after coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted, here are 10 great reasons to consider Kiwi country and how to make the trip.

Travelling to New Zealand from Australia

COVID-19 restrictions: At the time of writing, COVID-19 measures are currently restricting flights from Australia to New Zealand. As the situation improves, the trans-Tasman 'travel bubble' will allow flights between the two countries, even as travel from the rest of world remains limited. Please check the latest advisories or contact our golf travel team to find out if you can travel.

If you're an Australian citizen, you don't need a visa to board flights to New Zealand. If you're an Australian permanent resident however, you first need to apply for Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) to enter the country, which can be done online. Nationals of other countries will need to arrange a visa and meet other travel requirements.

Flying to New Zealand

Getting to New Zealand is a breeze with direct flights available between most major cities. Most of these are handled by national carriers Air New Zealand and Qantas, with more limited options for budget carriers. Average flight times to Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown from Australia are 3–4 hours from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, just over 6 hours from Adelaide and 8 hours from Perth.

Best time to visit New Zealand

New Zealand is cooler than most of Australia, making the summer months (November to April) the most comfortable season for a day on the golf course. You should prepare for bad weather if you're visiting in the winter, but most NZ golf courses are open and playable all year round.

Best North Island golf courses

Home of largest city Auckland and capital Wellington, New Zealand's North Island is better known to golfers for the exceptional courses around the scenic Northland, Hawkes Bay and Lake Taupo – all conveniently located within a few hours' drive of the major cities.

Kauri Cliffs

Bay of Islands

Named a top 20 course worldwide by Golf Digest U.S., golfers can take in the ocean views over Matauri Bay from 15 holes, six of which are directly on the cliffs. With five sets of tees, this par 72 championship course welcomes players of all abilities.

Kauri Cliffs

Kauri Cliffs

Gulf Harbour Country Club

Auckland

Its convenient location just north of Auckland has seen Gulf Harbour host several New Zealand Opens over the years. Golfers are also drawn by the challenge of the Robert Trent Jones Jr designed course and the picturesque views over Waitemata Harbour to the Auckland skyline.

Gulf Harbour Country Club

Gulf Harbour Country Club

Cape Kidnappers

Hawkes Bay

One for the pros, or anyone who likes a challenge, this par 71 golf course is renowned as one of the most challenging in New Zealand. With cliffside greens looking down 150 metres (500 feet) above the ocean, it's also one of the most breathtaking.

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers

The Kinloch Club

Taupo

The only Jack Nicklaus signature golf course in New Zealand, The Kinloch Club follows a Scottish Links layout along 18 holes of undulating green and rocky terrain. Bordered by Lake Taupo and the Kinloch hills, this scenic course is just 20 minutes from Taupo township in the heart of the North Island.

The Kinloch Club

The Kinloch Club

Wairakei International Golf Course

Taupo

Opening in 1970, Wairakei International put New Zealand on the golfing map as the country's first international standard golf course and resort. Today, it's also notable for serving as a nature sanctuary, and these 18 holes through protected tree-lined countryside still draw casual and experienced golfers today.

Taupo

Taupo

Best South Island golf courses

Home of self-described 'adventure capital' Queenstown – where world-class golf courses compete for attention within a few Kilometers of each other – the South Island can't be missed on golf holidays in New Zealand.

Terrace Downs Golf Resort

Christchurch

At the foot of the Southern Alps between Christchurch and Canterbury, this alpine course combines Links and Parklands styles with 18 holes, 70 bunkers and 11 lakes. The 551-metre par-5 7th hole and 130-metre par-3 16th promise memorable challenges even for expert golfers.

Christchurch

Christchurch

The Hills Golf Course

Queenstown

Purpose-built as a suitably challenging course to host the NZ Open, The Hills occupies more than 200 hectares (500 acres) of a glacial valley incorporating 10 lakes, native grassland and wetland and sculptures by local artists. Visit in the winter to see the landscape transform with snow for an unforgettable golf experience.

The Hills Golf Course

The Hills Golf Course

Millbrook Golf Resort

Queenstown

Designed by Sir Bob Charles, this 18-hole championship course was named the best overall golf resort in the world by Luxury Travel Magazine. With five tee positions and alternating Parklands and Links styles set against the dramatic backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range, this course offers something for everyone.

Millbrook Golf Resort

Millbrook Golf Resort

Jack's Point

Queenstown

Just 20 minutes from downtown Queenstown, the fairways at Jack's Point work with the natural landscape rather than against it. As well as being environmentally conscious, the course captures all the rugged drama of the alpine landscape between the Remarkables mountains and Lake Wakatipu.

Jack's Point

Jack's Point

Queenstown Golf Club

Queenstown

Occupying the headland of the Kelvin peninsula, this traditional members' course is almost completely surrounded by the tranquil waters of Lake Wakatipu for a relaxing golfing experience – though not one without its challenges.

Compare NZ golf deals

If you're planning to visit more than one golf course in New Zealand, you could save money and avoid the hassle of booking flights, hotels and activities separately by choosing an all-inclusive golf travel package.

To find out more about golf holidays in NZ, Australia and other destinations worldwide, talk to our golf travel team today. We'll recommend the best experiences and help you get the best golf travel deal for your budget.

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