Golf adventure across the Pacific

Fifth in the 10-part golf destination series, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand overwhelms with its finger-like landscape

Completed in 2004, the Cape Kidnappers golf course in New Zealand is hailed as one of the greatest modern marvels in golf. It is set in a 6500-acre sheep ranch and is owned by Julian Robertson, who also built Kauri Cliffs. The course is designed around 7-finger-like strips of land that run along the Pacific Ocean with steep ‘drop-offs’ on either side. The setting is definitely more evocative than the name.

For any golfer, it’s an overwhelming experience to stand up on the cliffs, 140 meters above the ocean and look down at the waves across the Hawke’s Bay. This course has one of the most dramatic locations for a golf course and, along with its sister course, Kauri cliffs, has created a huge buzz among golfers who now want to travel to New Zealand. It’s a very challenging layout. The drive from the main gate to the clubhouse is a good 8 km! That’s longer than the course yardage of 7137 yards. Caddies are available. You can rent golf shoes, golf clubs and golf carts at an extra fee.

When to visit: October to April is the best season while May to September is the “value” season. While the weather is good to play throughout the year, the best month from both a weather and value perspective is possibly the month of September.

How to get here: The closest town is Napier. So, fly from Auckland to Napier airport — it is a 40 min flight.

The course is about 30 minutes from the Napier airport. And, by car from Auckland, it’s a six-hour drive south while its a five-hour drive north from Christchurch. Moreover, you can fly in on a helicopter from Auckland to the course directly!

How to go about it: Fly out from India either via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong. You will get the best value-for-money if you head here in September, when the green fees are low and the weather is just about ideal.

Plan a golf holiday around the North Island of New Zealand. If you have a week, then make Auckland your base (they have about four very high quality courses in and around Auckland) and play a round or two at Cape Kidnappers. If you have two weeks to spare, then you can play around eight golf courses — that will give you enough time to also explore sightseeing. Ideally, go as an eight-ball as you can hire two cars and drive around the North Island.

Costs and financials: A 6N/7D holiday with stay at top 4/5 star hotels, including five rounds of golf, will cost around ₹1.5 lakh per person on a twin-share basis, including car rental costs if you choose to go in September as a group of eight. High season costs would be about ₹1.75 lakh per person.

The writer is a passionate golfer and founder of

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