Kauri Cliffs – Top 100 Rat­ing

It is hard to for­get an amaz­ing place like this.

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Travel - Travel by David Bow­den

Kauri Cliffs, spec­tac­u­larly lo­cated over­look­ing the Pa­cific Ocean, is con­sid­ered one of the world’s best cour­ses with the pic­turesque Cavali Is­lands form­ing the back­drop for 15 of its holes (six are played along the cliff top).

From the club­house ve­ran­dah over­look­ing Matauri Bay vis­i­tors can ap­pre­ci­ate the vi­sion the Amer­i­can owner had when he iden­ti­fied this re­mote sheep sta­tion as a site for a golf course.

Kauri Cliffs is de­scribed as New Zealand’s an­swer to Peb­ble Beach and is ranked num­ber 39 on Golf Di­gest’s top 100 cour­ses in the world. The par 72, 6,510m-long course de­signed by David Har­man is metic­u­lously main­tained and ac­cord­ing to the head golf pro­fes­sional Cameron Barnes, it’s a course for all golfers. He adds: “Golfers love the wide fair­ways but aren’t al­ways so gen­er­ous in their com­ments on the rough which some con­sider to be too pun­ish­ing.”

Kauri Cliffs is lo­cated in the re­mote north­east of the North Is­land and most golfers make a hol­i­day of their visit, stay­ing overnight and play­ing at least two rounds of golf. Lux­u­ri­ous ac­com­mo­da­tion is avail­able in 22 spa­cious rooms and the owner’s cot­tage is a pos­si­bil­ity for those seek­ing the height of lux­ury. Allinclu­sive ac­com­mo­da­tion, meals and golf pack­ages are avail­able. There is a spa and dress codes apply for the restau­rant.

Kauri Cliffs is un­der the same own­er­ship as the equally fa­mous Cape Kid­nap­per’s course on Hawke’s Bay and while a round at ei­ther isn’t cheap, few com­plain about the brag­ging rights in play­ing two of the world’s most pres­ti­gious cour­ses.


The Bay of Is­lands has a sub­trop­i­cal cli­mate which makes it warmer than the rest of New Zealand. Fly into the ru­ral air­port of Kerik­eri and hire a car to ex­plore towns in the re­gion such as Kerik­eri, Pai­hia and Rus­sell.

Kerik­eri sur­prises in many ways as there is ex­cel­lent mo­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion, fine restau­rants, a mar­ket and Mars­den Es­tate win­ery and restau­rant.

The re­gion is renowned for its fruit and Kerik­eri is home to the Old Pack­house Mar­ket. This former fruit pack­ing shed is put to good use ev­ery Satur­day from 8 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. as farm­ers and ar­ti­sans dis­play their pro­duce rang­ing from white­bait (small ikan bilis-sized fish) to jew­ellery, beeswax can­dles, clothes, plants and Maori reme­dies.

Be­ing the re­gion’s big­gest mar­ket, there’s a lively buzz and a com­mu­nity spirit with mu­si­cians and food stalls (try the oys­ter po boys, pies, mus­sel frit­ters and Maori hangi dishes).

Rusty Trac­tor Café is lo­cated op­po­site the mar­kets and its pre­mium cof­fee and cre­ative cui­sine makes it the place to en­joy break­fast in semi-ru­ral sur­round­ings. A wickedly rich and de­li­cious choice is the cin­na­mon sugar donuts served with crème fraîche, berries, maple driz­zle, gin­ger crunch and rasp­berry

‘paint’. For some­thing more con­ven­tional, the three eggs, ham, cheese and tomato om­lette is made even more invit­ing with tomato rel­ish and cheese on onion toast.

Din­ers at Food at Whare­puke can en­joy sit­ting in the lush gar­dens and savour­ing Euro­pean cui­sine pre­pared with a touch of Thai flair. Lo­cal lamb is de­li­cious as are the re­gional wines and craft beers that com­ple­ment the food.

Rus­sell is a mag­i­cal place to visit by ferry from Pai­hia and a seafood meal on the ve­ran­dah of the Duke of Marl­bor­ough, New Zealand’s old­est pub is highly rec­om­mended. Sun­set is the time to ar­rive or bet­ter still; check into one of the ren­o­vated rooms, stay the night while en­joy­ing seafood ac­com­pa­nied by lo­cal Mars­den Es­tate wines.

It’s im­por­tant to book a ta­ble on the ve­ran­dah and with the late af­ter­noon sun fil­ter­ing through trees lin­ing the bay, there’s no finer place to dine. Ac­cord­ing to the menu, the ‘Duke’ has been ‘re­fresh­ing ras­cals and repro­bates since 1827’. Modern NZ cui­sine fea­tures with lo­cal pro­duce, es­pe­cially seafood, fea­tured promi­nently. A spe­cialty item is the oven-roasted ha­puka (a deep-sea fish) with salsa verde, con­fit ku­mara, smoked ba­con, rain­bow chard and beurre blanc.

Wine flights are avail­able in­clud­ing lo­cally-pro­duced Chenin Blanc from Mars­den Es­tate. This is def­i­nitely a venue to save room for desserts such as pan­na­cotta, rose jelly, mac­er­ated straw­ber­ries, pis­ta­chio sponge, pink pep­per meringue, freeze-dried berries and flow­ers.


An­other re­gional at­trac­tion is the short jour­ney on a her­itage train that op­er­ates from Kawakawa to Tau­marere. Trains were once im­por­tant in the North­land but ser­vices are now lim­ited to tourist trains.

This vin­tage train has one of New Zealand’s long­est steam train her­itages and it op­er­ates on one of the only tracks in the world that runs on a state high­way and along a town main street. Trains de­part from Kawakawa Sta­tion for Tau­marere Sta­tion, a jour­ney of just 5km.

‘Gabriel’, a Class 4-4-0 steam lo­co­mo­tive built by Peck­ett and Sons in Bris­tol, is the rail­way’s big at­trac­tion. While Gabriel is reg­u­larly used and is ev­ery­body’s favourite, one of four vin­tage diesel lo­co­mo­tives is also used as a re­place­ment. It hauls three car­riages in­clud­ing an open­sided ob­ser­va­tion car which is the most pop­u­lar car­riage on the 45-minute jour­ney.

The train trav­els down the middle of the main street and pas­sen­gers and well-wish­ers along both sides of the street wave en­thu­si­as­ti­cally. Once out of the town lim­its the land­scape is rolling hills where con­tented beef cat­tle graze.

novem­ber 2017

novem­ber 2017

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