Editors' Picks

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

Secluded, lavish, classic

139 Tepene Tablelands Road, Matauri Bay 0478

(64) 9-407-0010

See Website

Indagare Adored

At a Glance

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs sits in the northern Bay of Islands, and major draws include the acclaimed golf course on 6,000 acres of farmland with panoramic ocean, top service and a comfortable vibe (though guests tend to dress for dinner).

The property was the first lodge opened by the Robertson Family. Two others now include The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, also on the North Island, and Matakauri Lodge, set along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island. All three properties are small (fewer than 25 rooms) and offer superb service, private, elegant cottages and farm-to-table dining.

The Standout: A private barbecue at Pink Beach with freshly caught seafood Don’t Miss: A boat excursion through the surrounding archipelago with a picnic lunch

Indagare Loves

  • The view of the Bay of Islands from the resort’s lofty perch
  • Golf at Kauri Cliffs in the subtropical region of Northland
  • The plethora of outdoor activities—from surfing at Takou Bay to sea kayaking, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and much more
  • The gourmet picnics prepared for guests who want to spend the day exploring the great outdoors
  • The private swimming beaches


In 1978, on a sabbatical from Wall Street, investor Julian Robertson Jr. chose New Zealand as a place where he could escape and ponder the future. He and his wife, Josie, and their three sons visited Auckland. The perspective he gained there led him to found the Tiger fund, one of the first dazzlingly successful hedge funds, and to return to New Zealand in 1995 to buy a farm on the North Island. At the time he had no intention of becoming a hotelier. But when Robertson, an avid golfer, first saw the 4,000-acre farm and the way it hugged the coastline, he thought it cried out for a golf course. Visions of creating a Pebble Beach of the South Pacific haunted him. In 2000, the now top-rated course opened and, a year later, its namesake lodge. The lodge was designed by Virginia Fisher, the New Zealand interior designer responsible for Huka Lodge, and the main house feels like a beautiful private home (in fact, it was for a while when the eleven guest cottages were being built).

The cottages at Kauri Cliffs have two separate suites, each of which, after you pass through a small entryway and into a large bedroom with a fireplace and sitting area, opens onto a private porch that looks out over the Pacific. The owner’s cottage has two bedrooms, an enormous living room, an office, a kitchen, a library and an infinity pool. Golfers have come from around the world for the Dave Harman–designed championship course since it opened, but Robertson gave them another reason to visit when he opened a second course, Cape Kidnappers, an easy helicopter hop away. And for those who want to do something other than golf, activities include sailing, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling and sea kayaking in the Bay of Islands, even sheep shearing at a Kauri Cliffs’s farm. On my visit, I confess, I spent a lot of time just reading before the fireplace in my suite (I loved the instant fire generated by a light switch) or on my porch, where I could also take in the views. Meals are included in the rate of the rooms – be aware that Kauri Cliffs is one of New Zealand's more formal lodges: men are required to wear jackets during cocktails and dinner.

Who Should Stay

Those who want top resort amenities in an elegant atmosphere; avid golfers

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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