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Kauri Cliffs (Matauri Bay, Northland)
Perched above the Pacific Ocean in New Zealand’s winterless far north, Kauri Cliffs is ranked amongst the world’s best courses. The vistas are stupendous, while the course itself is impeccably groomed and sports two of the nation’s scariest par-threes. It’s less than an hour from the buzzy Bay of Islands with its Maori culture and dolphin-spotting tours. Overnight options include Russell Top 10 Holiday Park or the DOC campground at Puriri Bay further south.
Kinloch (near Taupo)
Designed by golfing great Jack Nicklaus, Kinloch snakes its way over undulating volcanic terrain with panoramic views across Lake Taupo. Jack rates this as one of his best, while others call it his toughest. Taupo’s adrenaline-pumping activities are a short drive away, as are its many geothermal delights including the therapeutic Wairakei Terraces hot pools. Recharge yourself and your Maui campervan at Lake Taupo Top 10 Holiday Resort.
Cape Kidnappers (Hawke’s Bay)
Sympathetically sculpted into a dramatic headland riven with deep gullies and confined by plunging cliffs, Cape Kidnapper’s back-nine holes are legendary. Reflect on your performance over a meal in the Clubhouse, or unwind at the health spa. Hawke’s Bay is renown for its wineries and excellent produce, so don’t miss the Hastings Farmers’ Market if you’re around on a Sunday. Stay at Napier’s Kennedy Park Resort or the Clifton Road Reserve on the way to the Cape.
Nelson Golf Club (Nelson)
Boasting vibrant townships, three national parks and sunshine aplenty, the Nelson–Tasman region is prime territory for your Maui campervan trip. Nelson city shows off its British heritage in the Victorian gardens and cathedral, as well as in the traditional seaside links golf course. The waterfront par-three 6th is as pretty as a postcard. Park your Maui campervan at the big, fun Tahunanui Holiday Park or venture further along the coast to the McKee Memorial Reserve or leafy Motueka Top 10.
The clue is in the name here, with streams, lakes and wetland a major feature of this championship parkland course co-designed by Open-winning Kiwi legend Bob Charles. Clearwater is a short drive from the Garden City, which is dynamic and blooming again after the 2010–2011 earthquakes. For a start, check out rejuvenated Woolston with its boutique shopping arcade and tasty craft brewery Cassels, the Art Gallery and transitional cardboard cathedral.
The Hills (Arrowtown)
The majestic Queenstown region reigns as the country’s top golfing destination. Charming Arrowtown is home to The Hills, built especially to host the NZ Open. Its 18 immaculate holes are dotted with striking outsize sculptures, while epic mountain scenery puts wayward shots into perspective. Other classy courses include Millbrook nearby and Jack’s Point wedged between the craggy Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown Top 10 and Arrowtown Holiday Park are both excellent home bases.
Oreti Sands (Invercargill)
With the big-ticket attractions of Queenstown fading in the rear mirror, drop down a gear and cruise along to Oreti Sands near Invercargill. This remote and wild course at the bottom of the South Island is the world’s southernmost 18-holes (you even get a certificate to prove it). Expert upgrades in recent years have turned this forgotten, rustic links into a hidden gem. Head east from here for a few days exploring the enchanting Catlins coast.