You can’t go past these fab picks for fantastic golf, good food and wine, great accommodation options and fun times, whether it’s for a weekend or a whole week away.
Capital Bucketlist Tour
Destination: Canberra and other New South Wales regions
The golf: You can play at Royal Canberra, Federal, Yowani, Gold Creek, Gungahlin Lakes and Queanbeyan golf clubs.
The food: Excellent food is available at each clubhouse, but Canberra has some funky and fine eating areas such as Braddon, Manuka and Kingston, as well in the CBD.
The wine: Canberra has some of the best cool-climate wineries in the country, with Cloanakilla producing a shiraz viognier that is considered one of Australia’s great wines.
The fun: There’s lots of shopping to done in the CBD and Braddon, but there are also the national attractions such as the Australian War Memorial and the National Gallery to see as well as some stunning outdoor locations.
The stay: Accommodation can vary from holiday parks to five-star hotels. You can twin-share or have your own apartment overlooking the Parliamentary Triangle.
Golf & Tours Women’s Bucket List Golf Tours
Destination: Travel with women who share your love of golf and exploration. With small bespoke tours on offer, you can select from a range of desirable international golf locations, from Hawaii, France, Morocco and Spain to Bali, Ireland, Scotland and Italy. Plus, there are a bunch of tours across Australia and to New Zealand.
The golf: Play at world renowned golf courses like Spain’s Finca Cortesin (host of the Solheim Cup 2023), Pebble Beach in the US or the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland.
The food: The company loves to support and experience local restaurants, from tapas in Portugal and Spain to local South African delicacies. Savour the local flavours for a complete cultural experience.
The wine: Tours are not just about the golf! Depending on the location, tours will venture out for a local wine tasting, a champagne tasting or two or even some whisky.
The fun: Off the golf course, guests like to experience their destination so they feel like a local. The company can charter a private yacht and have a VIP barbecue seafood lunch on a secluded beach in Portugal or Spain or go on a historic walking tour in Ireland and Scotland.
The stay: High-end accommodation helps guests rest after action-packed days. Tours tend to support family-run hotels rather than larger chain hotels for a more personalised experience.
Narooma Golf Club
Destination: South Coast, NSW
The golf: No visit to Narooma is complete without playing a round on its famous golf course. With a uniquely stunning coastal setting, the course is both a challenge for serious golfers and a pleasure to play for the not-so-serious. Narooma’s most famous six holes are perched high on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean [left] while the third hole is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular holes in Australian golf.
The food: With stunning ocean views, the Seaside Brasserie represents an unmissable coastal dining experience. Fresh local seafood features prominently on the menu and the
team loves to create wholesome and delicious meals.
The wine: The modern clubhouse features some of the most spectacular views in Australia along with a large public bar, a comfortable lounge area, a brasserie and two outside deck areas.
The fun: A visit to Narooma breaks your everyday routine with a range of activities to consider, including recreational fishing, whale watching, scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking. The popular Mill Bay Boardwalk provides space for strolling, skating or running, while the Narooma to Dalmeny cycle track encompasses an enjoyable 21-kilometre ride.
The stay: With commanding views across the Narooma course to Montague Island and Glasshouse Rocks, Amooran Oceanside Apartments & Motel is an ideal accommodation option for golfers. Another option is the Apollo Holiday Units, located just minutes from Narooma Visitors Centre and close to Bar Rock Lookout.
Pacific Dunes Golf Club
Destination: Port Stephens, NSW
The golf: With natural bushland and manicured greens, Pacific Dunes [above] is a beautiful, 18-hole course set within a stunning residential community. Warm up at the practice putting green or jump straight in and test your game – so long as you don’t mind a challenge!
The food: Enjoy a delicious breakfast at The Greenhouse, with fresh, seasonal produce from the on-site kitchen garden. The Greenhouse’s eatery, alfresco terrace, bar and events space will provide you with the perfect solution for a great midweek bite or a special meal out.
The wine: After your game, relax outside in the afternoon warmth or catch the sun going down over a glass of wine at The Greenhouse. Or head up the Hunter Valley – from big-name wineries to boutique beauties hidden away down country back roads, there are loads of cellar door options.
The fun: Aside from fantastic golf, venture over to Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay for shopping, beautiful beaches and incredible views. Don’t miss camel riding at Birubi Beach via Oakfield Ranch Camel Rides and scenic fun with Sahara Trails Horse Riding. Otherwise, the Hunter Valley boasts hot-air ballooning, cycling along the Hermitage cycleway, the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park and Hunter Valley Gardens. Kotara in Newcastle is the go-to shopping hub.
The stay: With the four-star Mercure Airport Hotel located only 300 metres from Newcastle Airport and only five minutes away from Pacific Dunes, you can’t do better.
The Vintage Golf Club
Destination: Hunter Valley, NSW
The golf: The Vintage Golf Club features an 18-hole, Greg Norman-co-designed golf course that has been ranked among the best in Australia. A course that is challenging, engaging and welcoming in equal parts, The Vintage welcomes you to enjoy a game – be it as leisurely or competitive as you like.
The food: At The Legends Restaurant and Spike Bar, fine cuisine is served throughout the day and into the evening where guests can surround themselves with breathtaking views of the golf course [above].
The wine: The clubhouse offers an extensive wine list, sourced from the leading vineyards of the Hunter region with live music every Saturday afternoon.
The fun: Located in the heart of a world-famous food and wine region, the staff at the Château Élan resort can advise you on and organise everything from helicopter tours, horse riding and ballooning to local cellar doors, breweries, eateries and fine-dining restaurants.
The stay: Located on-site and overlooking the rolling greens of the course, the award-winning Château Élan – one of Australia’s finest resorts – offers luxury accommodation along with a full-service spa. There is a range of sophisticated accommodation, including spacious suites housed within the hotel complex, as well as standalone one and two-bedroom villas with modern facilities. All rooms have balconies or terraces overlooking The Vintage fairways and with views of the Hunter Valley.
Links Hope Island
Destination: Gold Coast, Queensland
The golf: Enjoy playing a meticulously planned, traditional, links-style 18-hole resort course that’s the product of many disciplines – the locals say nature is generally pleased with the result! You can imagine yourself in Scotland or Ireland except that it is a whole lot warmer. While the course is there for serious play, it’s also everyone’s course.
The food: Dine in the Links’ Mediterranean clubhouse [see page 72] or on the terrace at SOL Cafe and Bar. The mouth-watering menus at SOL change with the seasons, using fresh, local produce and ingredients. It’s open daily for a la carte breakfast, lunch and light snacks plus open late every Friday for dinner – and live music too!
The wine: Cocktail, anyone? Absorb stunning golf course views from SOL as you watch the sun set. Decorated with fairy lights, the café’s balcony overlooks the ninth hole with its large lake on one side and Lake Lugano on the other. Or book the private bar area for a special event.
The fun: Golf game over? Now this is the place to kick back and relax! The Champions Hair and Beauty Day Spa team will look after your every need or indulge in tranquillity at the in-house Yoga Now studio, where specialised teachers will guide you through classes designed to unify your body and mind.
The stay: Just up the road is the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, which features 251 newly refurbished rooms and suites.
Ocean Shores Country Club
Destination: Far North Coast, NSW
The golf: Ocean Shores Country Club is an incredible destination. The 18-hole layout is carved through native flora, tidal lakes and rivers, with the Koonyum mountain ranges as a backdrop to the west and Pacific Ocean views of Byron Bay to the east. It features six non-consecutive par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s, and a combination of large TifDwarf and TifEagle greens protected by extensive bunkering, the turf making them some of the purest and quickest around.
The food: Culinary offerings span from beloved club classics to a curated selection of locally sourced, fresh meats and seafood, ensuring a diverse and delectable array to satisfy discerning palates and food enthusiasts alike.
The wine: The bar at the club offers full facilities along with a happy hour on weekdays, raffles, live entertainment and a courtesy bus – plus stunning ocean views from the front deck.
The fun: Ocean Shores is a peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of many coastal towns. It features beautiful, uncrowded beaches, but if you want to live it up, it’s only 24 kilometres north of Byron Bay, so you really have the far north at your feet.
The stay: Ocean Shores Motel is your accommodation option just off course. There are a variety of additional lodging choices available in the charming town of Brunswick Heads, providing flexibility to meet your accommodation preferences.
Sanctuary Cove’s The Pines and The Palms
Destination: Gold Coast, Queensland
The golf: Enjoy two championship courses, world-class facilities and a lifestyle you can only find at Sanctuary Cove. As Australia’s only Arnold Palmer signature course, The Pines is recognised as one of our best and most challenging courses, all set within a beautiful landscape of pine trees and native wildlife. Nearby, nestled within century-old cabbage palms, The Palms offers a return to the traditions of the game, with distinctive holes, deep greenside bunkers and boldly contoured greens.
The food: Indulge in the theatre of woodfire cuisine inside The Fireplace, the resort’s signature restaurant. Sweeten your stay with the grand experience of high tea or take poolside lounging to the next level at the newly opened Lagoon Beach Club with destination-inspired cocktails, chilled seafood and poke bowls.
The wine: Embark on a signature whisky flight inside the resort’s Verandah Restaurant & Bar or sample a vintage wine from The Fireplace’s award-winning cellar list, a recipient of Two Wine Glass status. The Marina Village, a short stroll away, also offers a tavern and specialty restaurants to enjoy.
The fun: Stroll along the adjacent super-yacht marina and shop in the village boutiques and retail precinct or head out to one of the famous theme parks nearby.
The stay: Located in the heart of Sanctuary Cove, the resort offers newly refurbished rooms and premium suites set within tropical landscaped gardens. A showstopping lagoon beach stretches across the resort grounds with local kangaroos grazing nearby.
Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club
Destination: Hunter Valley, NSW
The golf: Located in the beautiful wine district of the Hunter Valley, Cypress Lakes [above] is a picturesque, par-72 golf course ranked among the top resort courses in Australia. Each tee and green offers stunning panoramic views of the Hunter Valley’s famous vineyards and the surrounding Brokenback Mountain Range. Significant golf course infrastructure investment by the Oaks Hotels group is quickly catapulting Cypress Lakes to the top of must-play resort destinations in Australia.
The food: Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort offers two dining options. The Bar & Bistro is a casual dining option with a social bar offering traditional home-style meals open for lunch and dinner. The Oak & Vine Restaurant is a hidden gem of the Hunter Valley offering a twist on Sri Lankan cuisine, paired with the region’s best wines, in an intimate and picturesque setting.
The wine: Situated in the middle of Wine Country Hunter Valley, there is a wide variety of local wines on the list to enjoy during your stay.
The fun: Attached to Oaks Cypress Lakes is Elysia Wellness Retreats which offers spa, gym and wellness programs – perfect for unwinding from the stresses of the world.
The stay: Nestled among some of the most premium Hunter Valley wine producers and set against the Brokenback Mountain Range, sits Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort. Featuring one, two and three-bedroom villas, the iconic resort also offers premium facilities.
Murray Downs Golf & Country Club
Destination: NSW/Victorian border, set along the Murray River outside historic Swan Hill
The golf: A previous Victorian PGA course of the year winner and consistently voted in the top Australian resort courses, Murray Downs Golf & Country Club [above] has a range of facilities to match its reputation. Known as a challenging and picturesque 18-hole course, you’ll be able to test all facets of your game in surroundings other clubs could only wish for. Experience the pleasure of playing
away from the city crowds, with river gums as a magnificent backdrop and signature holes you will long remember.
The food: The clubhouse boasts a range of facilities to suit every need and is open seven days per week. Enjoy a quick snack in the cafe or a delicious meal in the bistro.
The wine: The bar at Murray Downs offers full facilities, along with a ‘secret’ high-end cellar menu.
The fun: Regular raffles, promotions, bingo, poker, three bowling greens and live entertainment can be enjoyed. Social membership for only $5.50 means you can instantly enjoy food and beverage discounts at the clubhouse and Swan Hill Club.
The stay: Head to Murray Downs Resort to be at the first tee within minutes, then relax in sunshine by the large tropical pool. Wine, dine and enjoy full clubhouse facilities, before finishing the perfect day with a spa. Play and stay packages and plenty of other specials are always on offer.
Nambucca Heads Island Golf Club
Destination: Mid North Coast, NSW
The golf: One of the most picturesque public golf courses in Australia, the unique golf course location on Stuart Island surrounded by the Nambucca River makes for a magnificent setting for a game of golf. The women’s par-70 layout is a challenge for the experienced player but enjoyable for an average golfer – and it’s a flat, easy walk [above].
The food: Boasting a delicious menu with lots of choices, The Island Restaurant at the clubhouse is open daily for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday. Enjoy Wednesday’s schnitzel night and the stone grill steak evening on Thursdays.
The wine: Don’t miss relaxing in the main bar, lounge area or outside deck. The service is warm and friendly and the views over the Nambucca River are sensational.
The fun: Aside from the great golf, Nambucca Heads is the ultimate beach and river destination. With everything from swimming and surfing to fishing, bushwalks, cycling, rock painting and more, there’s something for everyone.
The stay: Our recommendations: Cubana Resort with its spacious and comfortable rooms dotted around the lily pond and gardens, the peaceful Motel Miramar sitting above the Nambucca River, and the beautifully restored, luxurious Beach Rooms, also perched overlooking the Nambucca waterways.
Use this preparation guide before your next golf trip
They say proper preparation prevents poor performance. With that in mind, we polled a group of women golfers to get their best packing tips.
1. Bring twice as many balls as you think you’ll need. Play what you know – and avoid resort pro-shop pricing. Note: if you’re taking caddies, which is common outside Australia, only keep a couple of sleeves in your bag. The rest of your balls can remain in your room.
2. Heavy items?Pack them in your golf bag, and – if time allows you to – consider using a shipping service instead of bringing your bag on the plane so that you can travel light.
3. Use powdered sunscreen to bypass airport liquid restrictions. Plus, it’s spill-proof (no slippery clubs) and doubles as pressed powder so that you can look fresh for the whole round.
4. Wear waterproof golf shoes. Don’t let weather get in the way of fun.
5. Become a hat person.Invest in a visor, cap or bucket hat.
6. Think golf-leisure. You might want to dress it up for the glam of a getaway, but don’t overlook the power of comfy (such as leggings and athletic tops) so that you can feel great while hitting it with the girls.
7. Commit to a colour theme.This allows you to mix and match. But avoid lighter hues (unless you’re immune to tomato-sauce stains).
8. A Bluetooth speaker means instant vibes on course or at the hotel.
9. Foldable totes extend your carrying capacity (read: shop freely).