New Zealand is an ideal destination for a honeymoon, with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and breathtaking destinations waiting around every corner. Whether you’re the type of couple who want to mark the start of your next chapter in life together with an adrenaline-pumping bungy jump, or you prefer to snuggle up in a cosy private cabin away from the crowds, you’re sure to find the perfect something – and somewhere – in New Zealand to make your honeymoon special.
For a little guidance on how to go about planning your perfect honeymoon in New Zealand, we’ve put together a guide to help you choose where to go and what to do, as well as a few little heads-ups and extra tips for honeymooners in New Zealand. To start with, let’s take a look at which regions and activities you might like to target...
Where to go: the best regions for a New Zealand honeymoon
For gorgeous backdrops, romantic beach walks, or secluded hideaways, here are a few of the most romantic regions to look at when planning a honeymoon in New Zealand. A fabulous New Zealand honeymoon is by no means dependent on visiting these areas – but whatever else you plan, it’s hard to go wrong if you choose these locations:
The Coromandel Peninsula
Sensational beaches, rugged interior landscapes and quirky local towns make the Coromandel a perfect destination for a New Zealand honeymoon. Paddle out to Cathedral Cove on a kayak tour, book a private boat or yacht tour out to sea, dig yourselves a private natural jacuzzi at Hot Water Beach, or climb the brilliant Pinnacles hiking track (the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail) for unspoilt views along the coast and out across the Pacific Ocean.
The Bay of Islands
Regarded as New Zealand’s version of the tropical South Pacific islands, the Bay of Islands is a quiet, subtropical region characterised by pristine beaches, turquoise waters, warm weather and – you guessed it – lots of secluded islands and islets. It’s the ideal place to find a secret hideaway for just the two of you. Go snorkelling, island hop by boat, take a scenic helicopter tour, or get dropped at your own private beach and island for some seriously special alone time.
New Zealand’s largest lake – and the largest salt-water lake in the Southern Hemisphere – has plenty of places to please planning honeymooners. Find a cosy cabin hideaway overlooking the lake and line up anything from a week of total isolation and intimacy to an action-packed itinerary of kayaking, water-skiing or wakeboarding, skydiving, visiting Maori rock carvings, and spending a day hiking the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
The Marlborough Sounds
Few places in New Zealand have as many romantic honeymoon hideaways as the Marlborough Sounds, a breathtaking area of tranquil reflective waters and bush-wrapped hills, full of secret bays and remote beaches. Book a private house in your own secluded cove or hilltop cabin, and get around between these ancient sunken river valleys by boat in between beautiful bush walks, iconic kayaking trips, top-class nature-spotting, and delicious seafood.
The West Coast
Another expansive area which you’ll feel like you have all to yourselves, the rugged West Coast of the South Island is perfect for couples wanting to escape the crowds, get away from the cities, and feel alone in nature. Several of New Zealand’s Great Walks are located here, as well as the country’s two best-known glaciers, and some fantastic kayaking and white-water rafting opportunities to keep active couples busy. For the eye-locking candle-lit dinner types, visit the wonderful twinkling glow-worm caves before enjoying a romantic meal in trendy Greymouth, the former gold-mining town where you can catch the scenic Tranz Alpine train all the way to Christchurch.
No matter what season you’re planning your honeymoon in New Zealand, Central Otago is sure to paint the backdrop of it with beautiful landscapes. Whether falling autumn leaves in Arrowtown, stunning snow-capped winter mountains to ski in Queenstown, or rolling yellow grasslands in summer, this region is home to no shortage of romantic settings. Combine that with world-class adventure tourism, fantastic wineries, remote wilderness lodges and quirky small towns, and you have a region ready to satisfy the tastes of any aspiring honeymooners.
If you’d prefer to arrange your New Zealand honeymoon itinerary by activity rather than region, then here are some sure-fire options for unforgettable newlywed experiences:
What to do: activities and experiences for a New Zealand honeymoon
For the romantic types
Sunrise hot-air balloon ride
Glide over the Canterbury Plains, Lake Wakatipu, Mt. Ruapehu, the Hawke’s Bay wine region and other iconic New Zealand landscapes on an early-morning balloon ride, revealing stunning views over mountains, fields, forests, croplands, lakes, rivers, and the open ocean as the sun just starts to hit them. Combined with often-included breakfast (and even bespoke private menu options), watching this scenery from the intimacy and serenity of a quiet balloon basket is hard to beat for romantic New Zealand honeymoon experiences.
Sail into the sunset on a private yacht
Whether around the Bay of Islands, Coromandel Peninsula, Marlborough Sounds, Banks Peninsula, Milford Sound, or Abel Tasman National Park, a private yacht tour or charter is a romantic way to soak up the serenity and beauty of New Zealand’s coastal regions, fiords and lakes. For the full honeymoon treatment, line up a luxury multi-day tour or an overnight Doubtful Sound yacht cruise to wake up in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful places before the crowds arrive.
Indulge in a luxury natural mud spa treatment or private hot spring
Soak in a secluded onsen hot bath overlooking the mountains during a full-day spa treatment in Queenstown, or line up a full day of pampering the natural way with a luxury mud spa couples’ treatment and private mineral spa overlooking Lake Rotorua, where you can also visit the other-worldly Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland for that unique honeymoon photo against a background of bubbling bright volcanic pools and geothermal landscapes.
For the active couple
- Take the ultimate leap of faith and skydive together over lakes and mountains in Wanaka or Taupo.
- Tandem bungy jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge or Queenstown’s Kawarau Bridge together.
- Heli-hike or ice climb on Fox Glacier with champagne and canapes to follow.
- Swim with the dolphins together in Akaroa or Kaikoura.
- Hike up to a romantic, luxury forest cabin on the Routeburn Track.
- Snuggle up under the stars beneath a UNESCO World Heritage-listed night sky in Mt. Cook, Twizel or Tekapo.
And for the urbanites…
The best New Zealand cities to visit on your honeymoon
Find a grandiose historic homestead for your love nest, pose in front of New Zealand’s most photographed building (the Dunedin Railway Station), and drive through funky towns along the beautiful peninsula to the royal albatross colony at Tairua Head.
Walk hand-in-hand around the revived waterfront, visit New Zealand’s national museum at Te Papa, take in a professional theatre show at the Circa, or get the most comprehensive Lord of the Rings filming and production tours in the country.
Take a boat trip out on the harbour, dine at a fancy waterfront restaurant, kayak out to Rangitoto Island, or venture Waiheke Island for a wine tour or romantic escape just a short ferry from the city centre.
Nestle into a cosy Bed & Breakfast in the Garden City and enjoy a romantic punt boat down the Avon River, soak up the vibrant art and cultural scene in the post-earthquake, revamped city centre, or head out to Banks Peninsula and Akaroa for cute eateries, gorgeous views and great wildlife encounters.
How to get around on a New Zealand honeymoon
In terms of public transport, New Zealand has a pretty good intercity bus system and there are a few passenger train services covering major routes, including Auckland to Wellington and Christchurch to the North Island ferry terminal at Picton. However, these trains are primarily scenic options rather than convenient ways to get from A to B, and in general, the train and bus services are significantly less developed than in the likes of Europe and North America.
If you’d like to have your own freedom and go at your own pace, then by far the easiest and most convenient way to get around on a New Zealand honeymoon is by having your own vehicle, whether it be a car, campervan, motorbike, or 4WD. There are hundreds of different vehicle hire companies operating all over the country, ranging from budget options to high-end services including the choice of having a personal driver. Many companies provide the option to pick the vehicle up in one city (eg. Auckland) and deposit it at another city, even at the other end of the country (eg. Dunedin). This is very useful for honeymooners hoping to fit as much into their New Zealand itinerary as possible.
Planning ahead: knowing the weather and the seasons
Although it’s a time to see everything through rose-tinted lenses and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences, a New Zealand honeymoon still has potential dangers if you’re unprepared. New Zealand has a range of diverse climates, from rugged coastal regions and rainforests, to sub-zero alpine areas and subtropical beaches. With that in mind, it’s always essential that you know what weather to expect in the areas you’ll be visiting.
Some national parks, hiking trails and wilderness areas are in extremely remote areas, so you should always plan properly when venturing into these regions, even on a honeymoon. This means letting people know where you’ll be and when, checking accurate and localised weather forecasts (the national New Zealand MET Service is best for this), and packing appropriate clothing and equipment for the season.
What to know – helpful tips for what to expect on a New Zealand honeymoon
New Zealand is a relatively progressive country when it comes to romantic intimacy and P.D.A. (public displays of affection), so holding hands, shoulder caressing, and cuddling up should not draw any unwarranted attention or discomfort wherever you go. However, do keep things well above the belt in restaurants and family-friendly areas, and anything above a solid two- or three-second kiss should probably be reserved for private times behind closed doors!
If you are planning to go with the flow, see where the wind takes you and make your itinerary up on the fly, then getting around by campervan or tent will become much easier if you use the Campermate website or download the Campermate app. This will display all the campgrounds, freedom camping sites, and motor camp parks in the areas you’re travelling, including up-to-date availability and pricing.
Hiring a professional
If you’ve gotten used to having a wedding planner organise everything for your big day, you can keep that going and hire a honeymoon planner to organise your perfect trip around New Zealand.
Luxury Adventures, First Light Travel, and Guest NZ are a few companies who offer bespoke New Zealand honeymoon packages and tours, meaning they will take care of all the finer details, and all you have to worry about is relaxing and enjoying your honeymoon.
Final words: congratulations and enjoy!
If you’re ready to start booking and planning your perfect honeymoon in New Zealand, get in touch with Pelorus Eco Adventures to find out more about the Marlborough Sounds, the Hobbit Kayak Tour, and many more activities to be enjoyed on your romantic New Zealand escape!