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Ultimate NZ Golf Package adds helicopter options

The celebrated troika of golf and resort properties owned and operated by American hedge fund legend Julian Robertson has reissued its Ultimate New Zealand Golf Package for 2013-14, complementing a new price structure and access to Asia-Pacific's top-ranked resort courses with further golfing options -- including heli-golf on glaciers and mountain tops in and around the South Island resort haven of Queenstown.
The Ultimate New Zealand Golf Package, first issued in 2011, now includes nine nights spread across three lodges and four courses on the country's two main islands, North and South.

"These additional elements further legitimize our use of the word ultimate," said Ryan Brandeburg, director of golf at two of the Package's primary golfing venues: Cape Kidnappers GC in Hawkes Bay and Kauri Cliffs GC in Bay of Islands -- the two top-rated resort courses in all of Asia-Pacific. "When you consider all the activities that come along with visits to all three of our venues, it's clear we are delivering the ultimate in quality, value and -- if the golfer is up to it -- extremity."

The extreme bit comes courtesy of Over the Top Ltd., and other Queenstown-based helicopter tour companies, whose offerings include scenic tours of stunning Lake Wakatipu and long-drive opportunities from special, vertigo-inducing tees atop glaciers and peaks in the Remarkables mountain range (see here a video taste from Heli Tours).

"This being eco-conscious New Zealand, we provide everyone special biodegradable golf balls," Brandeburg was quick to add.

Six separate actual golf rounds are included in the Ultimate NZ Golf Package:

* Two at Cape Kidnappers GC, a course designed by Tom Doak and ranked by Golf Digest #6 among all courses located outside the U.S.;

* Two at Kauri Cliffs, a 2000 David Harmon design that sits 19th in the same Golf Digest Top 100 ranking; and

* Two more in Queenstown, at stunning Jack's Point Golf Club (just across the lake from Matakauri Lodge) and The Hills Golf Club, new home to the NZ PGA Championship.

"The issue with any golf tour is squeezing everything into a set period of time," Brandeburg said, "so those interested in heli-golf would simply substitute that experience for one of the rounds at Jack's Point or The Hills."
The nine nights comprising the Ultimate NZ Golf Package are split equally among Robertson's award-winning lodges:

* The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay, in the heart of NZ's most bountiful wine region;

* The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in Bay of Islands, at the tip of NZ's North Island; and

* Matakauri Lodge, located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown.

Golfers may choose the order in which these world-class courses and hotels are experienced. Per-person pricing ranges from $9,837 NZD in the low season (May through September) to NZ$10,187 in the shoulder season (October through 14 December) to $12,887 NZD in the high season, which runs Dec. 15, 2014 through March 2014. [The NZ dollar equates to approximately .77 of the U.S. dollar.]

Visit or for further details.

Pricing for the Ultimate NZ Golf Package excludes international/domestic airfare, and helicopter tours. Pricing also excludes 15% Government Goods & Services Tax (GST).

"We've done everything we can to make The Ultimate Golf Package as carefree as possible," Brandeburg said. "All meals are included in the pricing, in addition to cart fees and club rentals -- even drinks and hors d'oeuvres prior to dinner each evening. In truth, each stop on this itinerary is a deluxe stay/play experience in and of itself. Again, the combination of these three venues, the breadth of the activities, and the per person savings of more than NZ$1,000 all make us comfortable using the word ultimate."

Indeed, nowhere is such high quality golf complemented by such exquisite, on-site accommodation, service, cuisine and natural beauty.

At Kauri Cliffs, while the golf course is a fixture on everyone's Top 100 list (GOLF Magazine ranks it #80 in the world), the verandah-wrapped Lodge at Kauri Cliffs recently ranked 5th among the World's Top 100 hotels by Travel+Leisure magazine. (This readers survey, just concluded for 2013, will be included in the August issue). In the 2012 survey, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs received a perfect score of 100.00 in the Service category, a first in the history of T+L's World's Best Awards.

South of Kauri, on the North Island's dramatic eastern coast, Cape Kidnappers offers a combination no less decorated by the world travel and golfing press. The golf course ranks #33 on GOLF's World Top 100, while The Farm at Cape Kidnappers -- opened on this triangular, eponymous headland in 2006 -- was named to Travel+Leisure's "World's Top 50 Hotels" in 2010. Not to be outdone, Cond? Nast Traveller named the property to its Gold List for 2012.

"Sometimes we hesitate to fixate on all these awards, because both of these sprawling properties would be worth visiting for the setting alone," Brandeburg said. "They are essentially 2500-hectare nature preserves that sit atop cliffs overlooking the South Pacific. Pictures don't do either of them justice. You've seen Lord of the Rings, right? It's like that -- only with off-the-charts golf, accommodations and cuisine."

The South Island leg of the Ultimate NZ Golf Package is anchored by the Robertson family's newest addition, Matakauri Lodge, opened in August 2010 and immediately named to Cond? Nast Traveller's "Hot List" for 2011. The private Hills GC is set in a stunning glacial valley; it's also home to an incredible array of flora and sculptures crafted on site by New Zealand artist Mark Hill. Jack's Point has become one of golf's most photographed courses, framed by Lake Wakatipu at ground level and the Remarkables Mountain range above.
Contact: Hal Phillips

Mandarin Media

+1 617.849.8503


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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