The magic of New Zealand's North Island softens the blow of leaving Queenstown and the Remarkables Mountains behind
I miss them already.
The Remarkables Mountains surrounding Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island are too beautiful for words and pictures. They’ll never fade from my memory. I’ve played golf around them and driven between their peaks in an off-road jeep and even hit a golf ball off of a cliff after a helicopter ride to the top.
The first five days of my first trip in New Zealand have been spectacular, but I’m off to a new island adventure. Two flights later, I’m relaxing in the Huka Lodge in Taupo in the middle of the North Island. This luxury hideaway feels like it’s set along a river basin of the jungle. Lake Taupo, a holiday destination, offers two of the best courses in the entire country at the Wairakei Golf Resort and The Kinloch Club, a Jack Nicklaus design. I’m playing both tomorrow before moving on to stay at Wairakei.
Then comes the grand finale, Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs, the two world top 100 courses on everybody’s bucket lists. The funny thing is I could go home right now and feel satisfied. The golf in Queenstown was way better than I could have anticipated. The Queenstown Golf Club (also known as Kelvin Heights Golf Course), Jack’s Point (see the photo above), Millbrook Resort (photo below) and The Hills Golf Club (site of the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship) are all special in their own way, giving the South Island a marquee smorgasbord of golf, too.
I’m secretly hoping the food and wine aren’t as good on the North Island as on the South Island, but I know better. The popularity and reputation of New Zealand’s culinary scene and wineries have exploded within the past decade, proving to be among the world’s best. I’ve already splurged too much on both.
Oh well. Self control will have to wait. When you’re in paradise, it’s just silly to say no.
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