The colonial-style buildings of this luxury property perched over Matauri Bay near the top of the North Island are dwarfed by the endless wavy greens of a championship par-72 golf course that ends at the Pacific. The ocean views and holes positioned adjacent to plunging cliffs make Kauri Cliffs one of the most famous golf resorts in the world. The hilltop infinity pool is another crowd pleaser, especially when it reflects the pinks and purples of the sunset. Lodge interiors have a beach-meets-country vibe and are outfitted with New Zealand artwork and furnishings imported from Europe and Australia. Patches of totara tree forest are interspersed throughout the property’s 6,000 acres. One section houses the tranquil spa shrouded in fern trees. Walking paths lead to a waterfall, three secret beaches, and picnic sites that offer every choice of view of Cape Brett and the Cavalli Islands.
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The 6,000-acre property, near the stunning Bay of Islands, offers a number of hikes, including one that takes guests to a 700-year-old kauri tree. If that’s not enough, 144 isles in the Bay of Islands archipelago are within reach, including the largest, Urupukapuka. Many important cultural sites dot the landscape, from Maori hill forts to ancient churches and historic homes. At the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, visitors can see a copy of the treaty signed by British settlers and Maori chiefs in 1840, which has caused land disputes that continue to this day. Across the harbor from Waitangi lies Russell, once known as "the hell hole of the Pacific" due to its reputation for unruly sailors and whalers. Back near the hotel, Jacques Cousteau ranked the Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world.
Need to Know
Rooms: 6 suites, 16 deluxe suites, and 1 owner’s cottage. From $584 per person. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:Gourmet à la carte dining is available in the main dining room or on the verandas. Guests gather prior to dinner each night to enjoy drinks and canapés while mingling with other guests. Then they’ll sit down to a formal dinner that highlights local lamb and beef. The resident pastry chef whips up exotic creations for dessert. Spa and gym details:Set along a stream lined with totara and fern trees, the spa specializes in personalized services that incorporate indigenous traditions and ingredients—kiwi fruit, manuka honey, and volcanic clay are a few favorites. Attached are a gym, spa, sauna, and pool. In-room spa services are also an option.
Who's it best for:Avid golfers looking for a top-quality food, wine, and nature experience. Our favorite rooms:Six standard suites are beach-chic and tucked into a small swath of forest. The sandy tones contrast against the golf greens as well as the ocean in the distance. Spend a cool evening by the fireplace or a summer afternoon on the private porch. Local beauty:Pink’s Beach, where the shore is composed entirely of pink shells, is a beautiful spot for a picnic.