Honeymooning New Zealand: 9 Must-See Destinations
May 2018 | By Charlotte Karp | 4 minute read
What’s better than a honeymoon where you plan the itinerary yourself, doing what you want, and be the only ones on the tour? Nothing – it’s the dream! Customize the perfect New Zealand honeymoon with just the right amount of adventure and romance that suits you best.
Rotorua, Waitomo & Taupo
Te Puia and Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserves have boiling mud pools and active geysers that are amazing to watch. Working farms present demonstrations showcasing the talents of working sheep dogs and the variety of sheep that contribute to New Zealand’s worldwide reputation for wool products. The Waitomo Glow Worm Caves is a stunning underground wonderland, magically lit by glow worms. Lake Taupo is the largest lake by surface area in the country, and is a trout fishery with stocks of introduced brown and rainbow trout.
Born during the 1860s gold rush era as a mining camp, Queenstown retains an element of that frontier excitement and energy., hence the nickname, ‘Adventure Capital’. This is the place for all sorts of sports – bungee jumping, skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, sky diving, hot-air ballooning, hang gliding and mountain biking. This is the gateway to some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer.
Milford & Doubtful Sound (Te Anau)
The region has achieved UNESCO World Heritage status for its famous landscapes, including Mitre Peak, Milford and Doubtful Sounds and Mount Aspiring National Parks. Doubtful Sound, also called ‘the Sound of Silence’, has a sheltered serenity that contrasts with Milford Sound. New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins inhabit many of the small islets. Doubtful is also the deepest of the fjords, with three distinct branches with several outstanding waterfalls. Doubtful Sound can be explored in a kayak, on a cruise, as a day trip or overnight. The hub of the fjord region is the beautiful town of Te Anau, nestled on the edge of a beautiful lake, with a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Luxmore and the Murchison Mountains.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands in the northern region of the North Island is about 37 miles northwest of Whangarei, close to the northern tip of the country. This is a particularly beautiful area and has been popular for deep-sea fishing and boating since American author Zane Grey publicized it in the 1930s. Ninety Mile Beach (actually 55 miles…) stretches just west of Kaitaia towards Cape Reinga along the Aupouri Peninsula. The lighthouse at the cape bears witness to the majestic display of the Tasman Sea clashing with the Pacific Ocean. According to Maori legend, the cape is where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld. Cape Brett’s lighthouse dates back to 1908.
Hawke’s Bay is home to some of the country’s award-winning wineries. On the east coast of the North Island, it encompasses a large semi-circular bay some 62 miles long. There are dozens of wineries as well as orchards and olive groves. The city experienced an earthquake and fire in 1931, and was rebuilt in the Art Deco-style popular at the time. Today, it represents the most complete and significant group of Art Deco buildings in the world.
The region appears in stories and legends of the indigenous Maori, and Marlborough’s year-round sunshine and easy-going lifestyle that draw people here. With forests, trout-filled rivers, rugged backcountry and sheltered bays, it is a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts. There are opportunities for sailing, diving, fishing, biking, kayaking and hiking. You can also go on vineyard tours, walk around formal gardens, browse galleries and craft studios, and some great food options. The wildlife includes dolphins, seals, spotted and king shags, tiny blue penguins, and the native bellbird, tui. Blenheim is the largest town in the Marlborough region.
Arthur’s Pass and Lake Moeraki
In the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, both Arthur’s Pass and Lake Moeraki offer a wide range of adventure activities – hiking, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife treks, fine dining, and much more. Arthur’s Pass is the center of the Southern Alps and is surrounded by Arthur’s Pass National Park. Lake Moeraki rests in the wild heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Southern Alps (Franz Josef/Greymouth)
Haast Pass is the entryway to World Heritage Westland National Park with its dramatic mountain ranges, native forests and lakes. Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers offer adventures like scenic flights, or guided walks on one of the glaciers. Greymouth is home to the Tranz Alpine Train, which travels through lush beech forests and past the village of Arthur’s Pass, before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps.
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is set on the edge of a peaceful harbor and surrounded by rolling hills. It is an amiable city with boutique shops, galleries and great restaurants – all within easy walking distance of the town. Wellington has a rich cultural life that includes Royal New Zealand Ballet, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre and National Portrait Gallery, along with lots of shops, restaurants, and cafes to choose from.