New Zealand is a nation of golfers. There are approximately 400 private and public courses that offer myriad opportunities. And we're lucky to have some of the best, yet cheapest, golfing facilities you'll find anywhere. Greens fees are well below the world's average - you'll pay anything from NZ$10 to NZ$135 for 18 holes on a good course, and up to NZ$155 to NZ$475 for the country's top links. Clubs, equipment, and a motorized cart (trundler) can be rented.
Die-hards hit the courses year-round, but the best time to golf is from October to April, when temperatures range from 60°F to 70°F (16°C-21°C). Courses tend to be crowded on weekends, less so during the week.
There are 40 golf courses in the Auckland area alone. The Gulf Harbour and Formosa Country Clubs are the newest on the scene, and the former hosted the 1998 World Cup of Golf. In Rotorua, the Arikikapakapa course is dotted with geothermal activity, which makes the course tricky to play; near Taupo, you'll find one of the country's finest, the Wairakei International Golf Course. Wellington's Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club was rated one of the world's top 50 courses by Golf Digest. In Christchurch, both Russley and Shirley are well rated, along with Balmacewan and St. Clair in Dunedin.
For more information, contact the New Zealand Golf Association (tel. 09/485-3230; fax 09/486-6745; www.golf.co.nz).
For golf packages, contact New Zealand Golf Excursions USA, Inc., 2141 Rosecrans Ave., no. 1199, El Segundo, CA 90245 (tel. 800/622-6606 in the U.S.; fax 310/322-4972), or Kiwi Golf Tours (tel. 800/873-6360).
In New Zealand, try Golf NZ (tel. 06/870-8740; fax 06/870-8749; www.golfnewzealand.co.nz), which offers multiday tours for 12 to 36 golfers and partners from NZ$1,600 per person including accommodations, travel, and golf; or Big Boys Golf Tours (tel. 06/858-4993; www.bigboysgolf.co.nz or www.paradisegolf.co.nz), which offers tours of top golf courses in the Auckland region. Also check www.bestofgolfnewzealand.com for golf holiday planning.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.