In March 2013 Irene and I embarked on a two week golf and sight seeing trip to the North Island of NZ. Just for a change, we reduced the amount of golf so as to allow more time for travelling around the Island so I know there are some good courses we did not get to experience.
I first ventured to NZ in 1978 when I was playing competitive tennis. We had matches organized on grass courts throughout the North Island. However 1978 was a diabolical drought year and all the grass courts were baked hard and were unplayable.
My return, 35 years later, in March 2013 saw NZ in one of the worst, if not the worst, droughts in their history. This did not affect the top quality courses but many in the next tier were very dry and the fairways were rock hard. Even at the best locations it was strange seeing the surrounding hills with a grey hue and very little sign of greenery.
If you have never driven around the North Island then you will be surprised just how long it can take to drive from south to the north. The long distance is exacerbated by the traffic congestion at any time of the day when you drive through the outskirts of Auckland.
We spent the first week staying on the waters edge at beautiful Lake Taupo. Taupo is about a 3 hour drive south from Auckland - provided you don't get stuck in peak hour traffic when leaving the airport.
We had planned to play Wairakei, Taupo, the recently built Kinloch and Cape Kidnappers which is a two and a half hour drive south east near the town of Hastings at Hawke's Bay.
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