Kauri Cliffs golf course - 7th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 7th
An aerial view of the par-3 seventh hole shows off the beauty of Kauri Cliffs. Courtesy of Kauri Cliffs
Images
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 18th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 18th
The views stretch for miles overlooking the 18th green at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 10th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 10th
Shadows creep toward the 10th hole at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course
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Kauri Cliffs golf course
Sunrises at Kauri Cliffs can be stunning. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 4th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 4th
The fourth fairway at Kauri Cliffs rumbles downhill toward the ocean. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 3rd
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 3rd
The 357-yard third hole is the easiest at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 5th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 5th
The par-3 fifth hole at Kauri Cliffs plays over a gorge. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 7th tee shot
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 7th tee shot
The tee shot of the par-3 seventh hole at Kauri Cliffs is daunting. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs G.C.
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Kauri Cliffs G.C.
Kauri Cliffs remains one of the most scenic golf courses in the world. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 12th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 12th
Wetland guards the 12th green at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 13th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 13th
The 427-yard 13th hole is the final inland challenge before Kauri Cliffs heads toward the coast. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 14th
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 14th
The 14th green at Kauri Cliffs overlooks the Bay of Islands. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs owner Julian Robertson
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Kauri Cliffs owner Julian Robertson
Julian Robertson (at right) developed both Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers. He loves to show off his courses to guests. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 15th hole
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 15th hole
The views from the 15th green at Kauri Cliffs never end. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 16th hole
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 16th hole
A golfer chips to a green on the 16th hole that hangs over the ocean at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 17th hole
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 17th hole
The par-4 17th hole at Kauri Cliffs clutches land's end. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kauri Cliffs golf course - 18th hole
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Kauri Cliffs golf course - 18th hole
Players must driver over a canyon, and traverse a bridge, to reach the 18th fairway at Kauri Cliffs. Courtesy of Kauri Cliffs
Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
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Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
Guests love the convenience of The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, which is just steps from the pool, spa, cottages and golf course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Savor the scenic splendor of Kauri Cliffs on New Zealand's North Island

NORTHLAND, New Zealand -- The sheer majesty of the setting surrounding Matauri Bay has catapulted the Kauri Cliffs golf course among the best in the world.

The 7,151-yard course, home of the 2008 and 2009 Kiwi Challenge with sister course Cape Kidnappers, ranks no. 80 in the world by Golf Magazine and no. 19 among the top courses outside the United States by Golf Digest.

This beauty at the northern tip of New Zealand's North Island, however, has brains, too.

David Harman's design, which opened in 2000, plays as good as it looks. There's shot-making and risk-taking to go along with all those photogenic moments. Six holes dance along the cliffs, playfully tempting players into heroic shots they might not have in their bags.

Climbing to Kauri Cliffs' 14th tee feels like the curtain dropping on the premier of a Hollywood blockbuster. The par 3 introduces the Pacific Ocean in full glory, overlooking the Bay of Islands. The most demanding tee shot comes on no. 15. This par-5 -- called "Cook's Hook" -- rises up a narrow fairway to a green clinging to the cliffs. The fun 16th hole tumbles downhill, tempting players to take on a slew of bunkers up the left side to potentially drive the green.

Kauri Cliffs' Cape hole at no. 17, the longest par 4 on the course at 472 yards, again tests a player's course management skills, capping a stirring stretch that owner Julian Robertson calls "the best holes in golf." It's hard not to agree.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Related Links
Jack Nicklaus left his design mark at the Kinloch Club, a dynamic inland links that opened in 2007 in the heart of New Zealand's North Island. Golf Digest rated the course no. 76 among its top 100 courses outside of the U.S. in 2012. Glimpses of Lake Taupo in the distance add beauty to an intoxicating amphitheater of hills surrounding the golf course.
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Savor the scenic splendor of Kauri Cliffs on New Zealand's North Island
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