Nov, 2013: Kauri Cliffs is in Northland, close to the Bay of Islands. On arrival into New Zealand, many of our clients are anxious to get to the mountains, the fishing and the less populated South Island.  This is unfortunate because the northern tip off the North Island is spectacularly beautiful with incredible beaches, fine weather and lots of activities, including fishing, diving and some of the best golf Down Under… This area of New Zealand also boasts a lot of history. The region is a short 30-minute flight from Auckland and Kauri Cliffs is a great place to rest and relax after the long journey.

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is a Relais & Chateau Property. The main lodge overlooks the golf course, Pacific Ocean, Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Islands. This panorama can be viewed from the verandas, living room, card room and the guest cottages. Gourmet a la carte dining is available in the main dining room or on the verandas. Facilities include two Astroturf tennis courts, an infinity swimming pool with spa and a fully equipped fitness center. Kauri Cliffs has three secluded swimming beaches, which are also available for picnics and barbeques.

The Lodge has accommodation with 22 guest suites and a two bedroom Owner’s Cottage. Every suite offers its own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom. The cottages are nestled in a native forest overlooking the golf course and the Pacific Ocean.

The Kauri Cliffs golf course was designed and built by David Harman. The par 72 PGA championship golf course has been home to The Kiwi Challenge PGA Golf Event and the course is currently ranked 18th Greatest Golf Course in the World by Golf Magazine’s World Top 100 Course Ranking Panel who has compiled a list of the top 50 greatest golf courses of the last 50 years.

A second day at Kauri Cliffs afforded us the opportunity to explore the area and discover some of the amenities offered on property. Yesterday, Boyd gave us a driving tour of the 6,000 acre working ranch including the golf course, miles of walking trails and three beach areas. After breakfast, Kristene set out on foot to walk to the Kauri tree, from which the property takes its name, and one of the oldest trees on the island estimated to be over 700 years old. This walking trail takes you through the bush and over to the 14th hole with breathtaking views of the bay. For those a bit more ambitious, you can continue the trek 30 minutes down to Waiaua Beach, a beautiful white sand beach ideal for swimming, snorkeling and other water sports. Afterwards, Kristene made use of the spa facilities including a sauna, whirlpool and heated lap pool.

Mike played golf with Colin McAnalley from Travel Time, a partner company of Frontiers who handles a lot of our transfers, guiding, and other special travel requests in country. It was nice to have Colin with us at Kauri Cliffs. The golf course is absolutely amazing with sweeping views of the coastline from 14 of the 18 holes. Following golf, we drove 45 minutes to the Bay of Islands with Colin to visit a few B&B’s we utilize for our clients in the region.

The Bay is one of the most popular fishing, sailing and tourist destinations in the country, and has been renowned internationally for its big-game fishing since American author, Zane Grey, wrote about it in the 1930s. The first European to visit the area was Captain Cook who named the region in 1769. The Bay of Islands was the first area in New Zealand to be settled by Europeans. The quaint town of Russell was the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand, and is home to the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, one of the oldest in the country.

We returned to the Lodge for a great “Tasting Menu” and thoroughly enjoyed our final overnight at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs. We are off to Tongariro Lodge tomorrow and it is time to unpack the fly rods!

Tasting Menu

  • Marinated Feta Cheese
  • Pressed Cucumber, Bell Pepper
  • Olive & Tomato
  • 63°C Poached Hen’s Egg
  • Parma Ham, Parmesan Crisp
  • Truffle Emulsion
  • Aromatic Steamed Scallops
  • Thai Pumpkin & Eggplant Salad
  • Den Miso
  • Wakanui Blue Angus Sirloin
  • Carrots, Swede, Green Beans
  • Beetroot Fondant & Jus

By: Mike Jr. and Kristene Fitzgerald


As son of the Frontiers founders, Mike Fitzgerald, Jr. was brought up in the outdoor travel business. He has handled a number of sporting programs for Frontiers through the years. Today as President, Mike works closely with the Senior Management Team and the department heads and is quite involved with the Southern Hemisphere freshwater programs. Mike loves to travel with his fly rods, shotguns and cameras. He is passionate about trout, salmon and conservation. He sits on the boards of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.