Midway between Auckland and Wellington is Wairakei International, which for a long time was regarded as the finest course in New Zealand. Opened in 1970, Wairekei was arguably the spur for the more recent boom in golf course construction that has propelled New Zealand forward, and although it may have been eclipsed by fellow North Islanders Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs, the International remains a monumental layout.
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English civil engineer Commander John Harris was the man responsible for the development; Wairakei was very much his brainchild, and he followed his dream all the way to realisation. Very much pre-empting a style of architecture that is en vogue today, Harris allowed the lie of the local land to dictate the style and character of his golf course, and the results are beautifully natural.
Wairakei International has some stunning holes, none more so than the monstrous 16th, which is played in the shadow of a natural sulphur geyser. The inherent character of the land is what allows the golf course to retain its charm, and also helps it to affirm its place among the world's most amazing golf destinations.