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Golfing in New Zealand

Where to Eat

Pacific Rim cuisine combines lamb, pork, duck and seafood, plus kumara (sweet potato) in European, Asian and Polynesian accents. A Maori hangi is a must—it's a traditional feast in which assorted meats and vegetables are wrapped in leaves or foil and placed in a hole in the ground, where they're cooked with hot stones. At vineyards across New Zealand, you'll find excellent Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, while the local Steinlager is as crisp as beer gets.

Huka Lodge After a round at Wairakei International, head to this lakeside lodge, where dinner consists of five courses in your choice of location. Will it be the wine cellar, the riverbank, the garden, the library or the trophy room?At breakfast, don't miss the bacon smoked with manuka, a popular dark New Zealand honey.
(Eclectic) Huka Falls Road, Taupo, North Island; 011-64/7378-5791, hukalodge.com. $$$

The Lakes Restaurant The team of chefs at the Lakes, the flagship eatery of the Outrigger at Clearwater Resort, recently won national recognition for their inspired use of local seasonal produce. Try the duo of lamb: a shank confit coupled with a baby rack. You'll know you're in New Zealand.
(Regional) Clearwater Avenue, Christ­church, South Island; 011-64/3360-1002, outrigger.com. $$$$

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Fuel up at breakfast on delectable ricotta pancakes with fried bananas and syrup—it's all the carbs you'll need for a full day on the course. For dinner, replenish yourself with the outstanding local kingfish.
(Eclectic) Matauri Bay Road, Matauri Bay, North Island; 011-64/9407-0010. $$$

Marsden Estate Lunch on antipasto platters of local olives and cheeses at this scenic winery near Kauri Cliffs and wash it down with an award-winning glass of crisp Pinot Gris.
(Regional) Wiroa Road, Kerikeri, North Island; 011-64/9407-9398. $

The Postmaster's House This cozy period cottage with a modern vibe whips up local fare with a fresh Asian twist. Order the Belgian chocolate cake for dessert—it just might be the highlight of your entire trip.
(Pacific Rim) Buckingham Street, Arrowtown, South Island; 011-64/3442-0992, postmastershouse.com. $$

Sala Sala The seafood of the South Pacific is on proud display at this award-winning Japanese sushi house, one of five restaurants at Millbrook Resort.
(Sushi) Malaghan's Road, Arrowtown, South Island; 011-64/3441-7000, millbrook.co.nz. $$

Terroir This rustic restaurant at Craggy Range Winery, near Cape Kidnappers, specializes in wood-fired rotisserie cooking. Acclaimed chef Stephen Tindall conjures magic with the likes of paua (abalone) sausage, crab cakes with lavender, lemon and capers, and a velvet-like fennel-crusted pork belly.
(French country) 253 Waimarama Road, Havelock North, North Island; 011- 64/6873-7126, craggyrange.com. $$$

ORIENTATION

Travel Tips
A tour of New Zealand's North and South Islands generally takes at least fourteen days. The most popular route for golfers is from north to south, beginning at Kauri Cliffs in Matauri Bay (a short flight from Auckland International Airport) and ending at Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch (where you can hop a flight back to Auckland). By and large, the country's great golf courses are spread far apart, in many cases requiring flights between them. Plan on driving at least two legs of your journey, though—such as from Wairakei International to Cape Kidnappers and from Cape Kidnappers to Paraparaumu Beach—to get a taste of the New Zealand countryside.

Climate
Golf is played year-round, but the best time to go is from early October through the end of April. New Zealand is known as the "Land of the Long White Cloud," meaning rain and sudden changes in temperature are always possible. The climate ranges from subtropical in the north to positively polar in the south. Pack everything from short-sleeve shirts and light pullovers to heavy sweaters, winter hats and good rain gear.

Tour Operators
For help with booking your golf and lodging, contact New Zealand Golf Tourism Cluster (bestofgolfnew zealand.com) or a U.S.-based tour operator such as Golf Wine Travel (golfwinenewzealand.com) or Wide World of Golf (wideworldofgolf.com).

Local Rules

Yardages
Meters are the preferred unit of measurement on New Zealand golf courses. To convert distances to yards, add 10 percent. Helpfully, most fairways are marked with colored disks at 90 meters (red), 135 meters (white) and 180 meters (blue), roughly corresponding to 100, 150 and 200 yards.

Etiquette
There are no gimmes in New Zealand. Locals expect you to putt out on every hole, just as their Scottish forebears intended the game to be played.major champsMichael Campbell's U.S. Open victory over Tiger Woods last year at Pinehurst was the second major championship won by a New Zealander. In 1963, Bob Charles triumphed at the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in a thirty-six-hole playoff.

Kidnapped
The name Cape Kidnappers refers to an incident during British Captain James Cook's first voyage to New Zealand. His interpreter, a Tahitian servant, was captured by a group of Maori; he managed to escape by jumping into the sea.

NZ Plus

North Island
Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (waitangi.net.nz) in Paihia, Bay of Islands, where Maori chiefs signed a pact in 1840 establishing British sovereignty over New Zealand.

Take a guided architectural tour of the famous art deco town of Napier, which was rebuilt in the 1930s after a massive earthquake (artdeconapier.com).

While staying at Huka Lodge, go on a guided fly fishing trip on the Tongariro River, a rich source of brown and rainbow trout (hukalodge.com).

To soothe your muscles after several rounds of golf, soak in a thermal bath and experience what Maori warriors considered to be the healing powers of a steaming mud pool at Hell's Gate Wai Ora Spa (hellsgate.co.nz) in Rotorua, near Lake Taupo.

South Island
Tour the rugged peaks and narrow inlets of Fiordland National Park on a helicopter ride through Milford Sound (helicopter.co.nz). Some consider it the eighth wonder of the world.

Now is the time to fulfill your dream of skiing and playing golf in the same day. Ski Queenstown's Coronet Peak or the Remarkables—before or after golf (nzski.com).

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