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If you’re dreaming of the ultimate golf vacation, Cape Kidnappers near Hawkes Bay on New Zealand‘s North Island should be on your bucket list. It’s home to one of the most spectacular golf courses you’ll ever play, luxurious lodges and a beautiful spa. All just an hours’ flight from Auckland.
Set in 6000 acres of beautiful farmland countryside and perched high above the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Cape Kidnappers is a sanctuary not just for golfers, but for native birds and some of New Zealand’s most precious flora, fauna and endangered animals.
Spectacular cliffs, reminiscent of California‘s Torrey Pines, are the signature of this stunning par 71, 7,119-yard course designed by legendary architect Tom Doak. The inland front nine is challenging with strategic bunkering and sculpted undulating greens – but the back nine is truly awesome. Several of the holes, especially the signature par 5 15th named Pirates Plank, play 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean along several breathtaking fingers of land separated by deep gullies. We rate this course as the world’s 9th best.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offers a number of tranquil accommodation options. There’s the Owner’s Cottage, which is a palatial, luxurious retreat with an everlasting horizon that sleeps up to eight people. With the option to reserve as either a two or four bedroom house, this exclusive villa has four deluxe bedrooms, each with their own open fireplaces, spacious bathrooms and private balconies with stunning views.
Then there’s a cluster of lodges which sit atop rugged cliffs with amazing sea views. They are tastefully designed and offer sumptuous relaxation and awe-inspiring scenery. There are eight one-bedroom deluxe category Ridge Suites, four one-bedroom rustic and beautiful Lodge Suites, eight one-bedroom Hilltop Suites with views of the golf course, and two Hilltop Family Suites, which can accommodate up to four people and have private balconies overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The Spa has incredible views of Hawke’s Bay that will calm and relax you before your treatment even begins. There’s three treatment rooms (including a couple’s suite, perfect for honeymooners), and a collection of massage styles, facials, pedicures, manicures and hair care are all offered. All spa treatments are 60-90 minutes in length and packages can be customised to suit your individual needs.
The nearby main lodge building features a lounge and bar, dining spaces, outdoor entertainment areas, a fully equipped fitness centre and a stunning outdoor 50ft heated infinity pool, with a shady poolside cabana and minibar.
As it’s a working sheep and cattle farm, Cape Kidnappers harvests much of its own meat, and vegetables from its onsite garden. Head Chef James Honore creates daily menus based on what is freshest. The resort offers exquisite dining options including in the Snug, Library, Small Dining Room, Main Dining Room and Loggia, with private dining arranged upon request. It’s a great place for foodies. You can also pack a picnic to take out on to the farm.
Cape Kidnappers offers mountain biking, walking trails, flat-rock fishing and quad biking. Animal life is also abundant here, so you can experience Kiwi Discovery Walks, a chance to encounter New Zealand‘s famously rare and endangered kiwi bird in a local conservation project. Away from the resort, Hawkes Bay offers extreme adventure sports, including river kayaking, white-water rafting, horse treks, hot-air ballooning, paragliding and helicopter flights.