NORTHLAND, New Zealand -- You could travel the world and not find another place as wonderful as The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs.
Golf Digest ranked The Lodge no. 1 among the "World's Best Golf Hotels" in the international category in 2009.
Golfers worship the sublime setting of Kauri Cliffs, where six holes hug the cliffs along Matauri Bay. Both Golf Digest (no. 25 in 2012) and Golf Magazine (no. 80 in 2011) consider the thrilling David Harman design one of the world's top 100 courses.
Luxury travelers, many of whom don't play golf, come for everything else the 6,000-acre working farm delivers, the pleasant hikes, the picnics on Pink Beach and the sumptuous spa. Trying your hand at tennis, bird watching, fishing, hunting, mountain biking and clay pigeon shooting provides more leisure pursuits.
However you spend your time, the fresh ocean air and the scenery involving the Bay of Islands tends to set the soul on fire. Gorgeous suites, and an owner's cottage, reside conveniently steps from the lodge, where wine tasting sets the mood for dinner.
"If you look at this place overall, the location, privacy and general hospitality, it's fabulous," said David Lamb, visiting from the United Kingdom in March. "It's hard to beat."