Wairakei Golf Course & Sanctuary

The first world-renown course in New Zealand, this quintessential Kiwi forest course features a pre-European natural surrounding in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary.

Built by the New Zealand government in 1970s to support tourism in the Lake Taupo area, Wairakei is now privately owned and boasts both incredible natural beauty and thermal activity. Golfers will notice a large perimeter fence to keep out predators from preying on birds which make their home in the sanctuary.

The course is very picturesque, with plumes of steam common as you walk amongst the geysers. Spread over a large area, landing zones are large but there is challenge via doglegs and water hazards throughout. Drivers off the tee will often sitdown upon landing (due to heavy watering within the fairway) so don't expect large rolls via a links-style course. Always well maintained, Wairakei is a truly a unique golfing experience in the heart of the country.

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Signature Holes:

6th: This 437 yard par-4 begins from an elevated tee box, actually the highest point on the course, which results in the tee-shot down to a two-step fairway. Long hitters will have a higher lofted club for an approach to a narrow green banked by sand on three sides.

8th: A challenging par-4 which plays 382 yards, the tee shot is important in order to avoid the water hazard to the right and to land on the flat part of the fairway. With water short and bunkers to the left and right of a two-tiered green, control of the approach shot is crucial. This is a very interesting hole!

14th: One of the longest and most iconic holes in New Zealand is "The Rogue." This 600 yard par-5 features a dogleg right and a very large tree which essentially blocks the approach to a elevated boomerang-shaped green. After a very straight tee shot players need to decide which way to hit.. right or left. An ability to shape shots around the tree and you might be able to putt for Eagle. However, as the green is very elevated, split-level, and protected by three deep bunkers... getting past the tree safely and taking the third shot with a lofted wedge is the correct play.

Customer reviews

The Henley was incredible. What a find. Incredible grounds, the staff was waiting for us when we pulled up, great rooms, lovely breakfast. We could have stayed another day or two. Definitely the perfect place for us to recharge after the flight and a busy day... Everyone has been enjoying the trip.

—S Kucirek, CA

I can’t thank you enough for your help planning a truly memorable vacation. Yuliya and I had an amazing time. Two definite highlights were the sailboat charter and the Marlborough Lodge. Nik and his girlfriend Natalie were such a pleasure to meet and spend a perfect day with. The Marlborough Lodge is one of the nicest places I have ever stayed. From the room, to the staff and the exquisite food it was top notch. I have referred you to a couple of my friends who are planning trips next year and when We make it back, you will be our first call. Thank you again for everything.

—Matt & Yuliya B., Long Beach, CA