Golf Courses Every Keen Golfer Should Try in New Zealand
New Zealand is all about the great outdoors so unsurprisingly, golfing is one of the most popular sports to experience the landscapes. In fact, golf is the highest participation sport in New Zealand (you thought it was rugby, didn’t you?) with around 7 million rounds played per year. With Kiwis’ obsession for tee time, there are some of the best golf courses in the Southern Hemisphere right here in New Zealand. We’ll show you some of the best golf courses in New Zealand.
Almost all golf courses in New Zealand follow the traditional 18-hole, par 72 course. In this list, we have made sure to include some of the most prestigious golf courses for the most serious of golfers, while adding a few top-rated and affordable golf courses in New Zealand for those more casual days out with friends.
1. Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers is home to some of New Zealand’s most dramatic coastal landscape. The golf course is situated 140m (459 yards) above sea level atop of ridges and valleys with 6,510m (7,119 yards) of ground to enjoy. Many play here to experience the marvel of design and engineering in this unique golfing environment. Check the course out in Hawke’s Bay.
Location: Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, North Island
2. Arikikapakapa Golf Club
This 18 hole golf course in Rotorua is New Zealand’s only geothermal golf course! “Arikikapakapa” means the gentle sound of plopping mud and you will quickly see where the name comes from as you play among steaming lakes and bubbling mud pools. The golf course is extremely visitor-friendly with green fees being around NZ$70.
Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island.
3. Royal Wellington Golf Club
This is the capital city’s premier golf club, the Royal Wellington Golf Club. Based alongside the Hutt River, enjoy teeing off in the parklands and lakesides of the Hutt Valley. Although the Royal Wellington Golf Club is a private members club, visitors are welcome.
Location: Lower Hutt, Wellington, North Island.
4. Wainui Golf Course
Just north of Auckland city, Wainui Golf Course is an affordable all-level golf course and an excellent day out. International visitors can benefit from gear hire and course access packages. Play either on the 18-hole or 9-hole course through a fruit orchard. There are even “footgolf” challenges.
Location: Rodney, Auckland, North Island.
5. Wairakei Resort
Easily accessible from one of the North Island’s main highway, plus extremely affordable, the Wairakei Resort Golf Course is a great pit stop for casual golfing at all levels. The 9-hole course is open to the public in a tree-lined setting. Check it out in Taupo.
Location: Taupo, Waikato, North Island
6. Kauri Cliffs
Kauri Cliffs is sure to bring a new challenge to golf by naturally drawing your attention to the sensation coastal scenery. The 6,510m (7,119-yard) golf course is of 72 par championship standard offering tees at every skill level. Situated at Matauri Bay in Northland, the golf course is famed for its sunny climate.
Location: Matauri Bay, Northland, North Island
7. Jack’s Point
It’s no surprise that in the town that has something for every type of traveller, Queenstown has a world-class golf course. Jack’s Point lies on the shores of the magnificent Lake Wakatipu with a backdrop of the jagged Remarkables mountain range. Golfers play alongside native bush, tussock lands and rocky outcrops on this par 72 championship course. Check out tours to Jack’s Point with Remarkable Golf Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Queenstown, Otago, South Island
8. Wairakei Golf Club
Not to be confused with the Wairakei Resort, the Wairakei Golf Club is further along the road holding not only an 18-hole course, but it’s also a wildlife sanctuary. Wairakei Golf Club is protected by a state-of-the-art predator-proof fence, giving native birds a sanctuary away from introduced pests. Find out more about New Zealand’s fascinating wildlife in Wildlife Encounter in New Zealand: A Quick Guide to New Zealand Wildlife.
Location: Taupo, Waikato, North Island.
Millbrook Resort is on many serious golfers’ bucket list as its the only course in New Zealand with 27 holes. Plus, its alpine surroundings and diverse natural playing hazards have made it top “Best Golf Course in Australasia” lists. Each season brings dramatic looks to course with long hot summers, vibrant autumn colours, crisp and clear winters, and popping spring colours. What’s more, it’s another incredible golf course in Queenstown.
Location: Queenstown, Otago, South Island.
10. Carrington Golf Course
In the rolling vales of the sunny Northland region, Carrington Golf Course in Karikari. Golfers of all abilities will enjoy the various terrains from the longest par 5 in New Zealand of 569m (622 yards) to one of the shortest par 3s over water at 113m (123 yards). Soak up views of wetlands, beach, ocean and vineyards while you play.
Location: Karikari, Northland, North Island.
11. The Hills
Serious golfers, look here! A sculpture park and premier gold course come into one at The Hills golf course in Arrowtown. The 72 par course is a must for any serious golfer looking for a challenge, yet still encompasses what a golfing experience in New Zealand is all about with breathtaking scenery all around. While The Hills boasts as an exclusive member’s club, visitors can still make visitor-bookings directly with the golf club.
Location: Arrowtown, Otago, South Island
12. Kinloch Golf Club
Another fantastic golf offering in Taupo, this time in one of Taupo’s most prestigious suburbs, Kinloch. The Kinloch Golf Club provides lots of options for tuition on arguably the best practice greens in New Zealand. Either play 18 or 10 holes with plenty of time at the end of the day to do more activities in Taupo.
Location: Taupo, Waikato, North Island.
13. Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club
Only 45 minutes away from New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is a must for any competitive golf fan. Play over the dune lands of the beautiful Kapiti Coast on a course that has hosted the New Zealand Open 12 times and counting – a record unsurpassed by any other course.
Location: Paraparaumu, Wellington, North Island.
14. Titirangi Golf Course
Play on rolling fairways set among native forest on this golf course just a 20-minute drive from Auckland city centre. The course aims at giving serious golfers a good time on this course designed by the same course designer as Augusta National, Cypress Point and the Royal Melbourne.
Location: New Lynn, Auckland, North Island.
15. Clearwater Golf Club
Clearwater Golf Club lives up to the name in this oasis of clear lakes fed by spring water. The course is just a short drive from Christchurch Airport offering a fantastic golfing experience in the South Island. There’s something for everyone and every time-frame with six tee choices.
Location: Christchurch, Canterbury, South Island
16. Gulf Harbour Country Club
Golfing atop of the coastal cliffs is just one of the ways to enjoy the Auckland country lifestyle at the Gulf Harbour Country Club. Visitor green fees are affordable on this world-class golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr. There’s also a 300m (328 yards) all-grass driving range open to visitors and much more golfing facilities.
Location: Whangaparaoa, Auckland, North Island
17. Chrisholm Links
With plenty of weekday and evening deals, Chrisholm Links is a more affordable golf course in New Zealand for visitors. Chrisholm Link is easily accessible from Dunedin city alongside the popular beach of St Clair.
Location: Dunedin, Otago, South Island.
18. Cromwell Golf Club
When touring around the Queenstown and Otago area, check out the Cromwell Golf Club. This visitor-friendly golf club is centred in the town of Cromwell surrounded by mountains and fruit orchards. Plus, it’s super affordable and casual.
Location: Cromwell, Otago, South Island.
19. Windcross Farm
Located just 30 minutes south of Auckland city centre, Windcross Farm Golf Course makes the ideal first stop of any golf tour around New Zealand. The most predominant feature of the course is water with its many lakes. Plus, the flexibility of the course with starts from either the 1st, 10th, 12th, or 15th with the 9th, 11th, 14th or 18th hole makes your time at Windcross Farm your own.
Location: Papakura, Auckland, North Island.
20. Waitangi Golf Club
For some casual golfing in the stunning Bay of Islands, try the Waitangi Golf Club. No pretentiousness, friendly locals, great sea views: the Waitangi Golf Club just north of Paihia is a great day out.
Location: Waitangi, Northland, North Island.
21. Huapai Golf Course
Huapai Golf Course may be lesser-known internationally, but the locals like to think of it as the best-kept secret of Auckland golfing. It’s one of the more affordable golf courses in Auckland for visitors, just 20 minutes drive from Auckland city. Play 6,000m (6,562 yards) of challenging yet unpunishing golf with a great mix of greenery, tree and water.
Location: Riverhead, Auckland, North Island.
More About Sports and Golf in New Zealand
- The Best Places to Watch Rugby in New Zealand
- 11 Awesome Horse Treks in New Zealand
- Top 5 Golf Courses in Queenstown
Finally, if your whole trip is surrounding the sport, be sure to check out Sports Break Advice: How to Prepare to Travel for Sport.