New Zealand, known as a “clean, green” playground of adventure, is one of the top destinations in the world. The Land of the Long White Cloud is home to some of the world’s top rated golf courses, beautiful beaches, alpine glaciers, mountain ranges, and green farmland. “Kia Ora” is how you'll be greeted as you step into New Zealand. Kia Ora, traditionally meaning good health, is a Maori greeting that has evolved to mean a casual hello. The Maori are the tangata whenua, the aboriginal people of New Zealand. The Maori culture is central to Kiwis - the people of New Zealand - as its traditions, history and language are at the heart of the Kiwis' identity. Today, Maori make up 14% of New Zealand's population and their deeply entrenched culture makes it a unique and extraordinary experience for visitors.
New Zealand’s natural landscapes are a glorious treat to the eyes and the soul. Their rugged coastlines, primordial rainforests, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, fjords, volcanic craters and alpine lakes will make nature-lovers fall to their knees in its awe. In fact, Kiwis are extremely proud to be born in their country, a place they believe to be "Godzone" - God's own country. New Zealand has been hailed as "Home of the Middle-earth" ever since the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbiton movie set hit the screen. The claim is not unfounded as The Middle-earth as you see in the films is not a only a fantasy land, but exists in in reality in its purest, and most natural form.
Natural beauty in New Zealand is best represented by its spectacular golf courses. New Zealand’s two best known golf courses, Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs, have each been ranked as TOP100 golf courses in the world by Golf Digest Magazine (Cape Kidnappers being #17 and Kauri Cliffs #37). As Elite Golf Experiences´ owner Evelyn Gruber has noted, “Designed by acclaimed golf course architect Tom Doak, Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay has been hailed as one of the great modern marvels in golf. Built on a ridge-and-valley landscape with stunning sea views, the course plays high above the ocean atop dramatic cliffs. Common to its sister course 500 miles south, Kauri Cliffs in Northland NZ is a cliff-top golf course as well. Fifteen holes of the challenging par 72 championship course view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs that plunge to the sea”.
Tara Iti, New Zealand´s first American-style private golf club is located about 90 min north of Auckland and debuted with a top 50 world ranking. The elite course as climbed the ladder quickly and is now ranked as the world's 11th best golf course according to Golf Digest Magazine. With holes inspired by Royal Dornoch and Royal St. George's and views of the Hauraki Gulf from basically every hole, this may be New Zealand's answer to Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. The greatest meeting of land and sea is clearly up for debate! Beyond the imagery, the general ethos of Tara Iti instructs the entire experience. Billionaire Ric Kayne and designer Tom Doak came up with a vision of golf’s perfect playground and put it in the most ideal setting you could envision!
Stunning Jack’s Point Golf Club, private The Hills Golf Course, a world-class championship golf course owned by jewelry mogul Michael Hill, and Millbrook Golf Resort are the golf highlights in the outdoor capital of the world – Queenstown.
Tricky Kinloch Club at Lake Taupo is the only Jack Nicklaus Signature course in the country. Gulf Harbour Country Club, a Robert Trent Jones Jr design north of Auckland, is the Home Club of LPGA star Lydia Ko. It witnessed England´s one and only World Cup of Golf win in 1998 - thanks to the pairing of Nick Faldo and David Carter. Windross Farm with a Links-style layout is very different from anything else in Auckland area and hosted the very first LPGA event within weeks of opening its tees in 2016. Titrangi Golf Club, where legendary designer Dr Alister MacKenzie created his only New Zealand masterpiece, is another marquee course not to be missed when in the capital.
It’s no secret why golf is the most participated in sport by all Kiwis. All pristine and awe-inspiring championship caliber courses that have now catapulted New Zealand into THE top destination for the trend setting golf traveler!
World renowned food critic Margaret Swaine has said of New Zealand, “Each time I travel to New Zealand, I find new culinary delights, more delicious wines and more often than not a few taste bud surprises.” Central to the success of New Zealand wine are temperate maritime climate, the unwavering passion of Kiwi wine producers, and the highly distinctive nature of wine styles. Sauvignon Blanc was the first wine to put New Zealand on the map, and it developed a cult following with millions around the globe. Cabernet blends and Syrah flourish in New Zealand's warmer regions, such as Hawke's Bay, Auckland and further north. Cooler climate varieties, such as Pinot Noir and Riesling are cultivated with great success in the more southerly regions: the Wairarapa, Marlborough, Canterbury, Waipara and Central Otago. Similar to Australia, the cuisine of New Zealand is a diverse British-based one with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim influences as the country becomes more cosmopolitan. A bounty of seafood, world famous lamb, gregarious Maori cuisine, an old-fashioned fish and chips, and world class cheese to pair with your wine is central to New Zealand´s food culture.
No trip through New Zealand would be complete without immersing yourself in a bit of Maori culture. You can take in a rugby match where the “All Blacks” team performs a pe match Haka, a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge that has been passed down from the Maori people of New Zealand. Experience the genuine warmth and hospitality offered by the Maori for well over 150 years. Take a journey into the past at a Maori village and learn more about their lifestyle and traditions central to Kiwis' identity. Engage in singing and dancing and dine at a traditional Hangi feast cooked deep within the earth. This is the real and authentic New Zealand!
New Zealand has emerged as one of the top golf travel destinations in the world over the past decade because of its unparalleled natural beauty, its awe-inspiring golf courses and diverse life-style experiences. Join Elite Golf Experiences on an epic golf expedition to the Land of the Long White Cloud – it will be one of the most unique and memorable experiences in your life, guaranteed!
Photo Credit: JacobSjoman