With its magnificent natural landscape, clear blue waters, outdoor adventures, and unique culture, New Zealand is a honeymoon destination unlike any other. Whether you’re game to climb a glacier, snorkel in the sea, sip wine near the city, or road trip through quaint villages, New Zealand gives honeymooners the unique chance to have it all.
New Zealand is mainly two long islands, one on top of the other in the Tasman Sea and South Pacific Ocean. Traveling from the tip of the north island to the bottom of the south island is farther than driving From New York City to Miami.
While you can drive if road-tripping is your pleasure, flying will save time if your goal is to cover a lot of ground. Plus, for all major attractions, there are tour buses, boating excursions, and guides for hire. In major cities, public transportation and taxi services make it easy to get around. That said, if you do road trip, remember that New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road.
Since New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, their summer months are our winter months, and vice-versa. From December through February, the country buzzes with summertime activities, days spent at the beach, and holiday-time. Fall rolls in from March to May – a great time for hiking and watching the leaves change color. Winter runs from June through August and is absolute paradise for those craving winter sports. New Zealand’s springtime starts in September, bringing warmer air and longer daylight hours. Note: The farther south you go, the air remains cool most of the year.
New Zealand’s dynamic, rugged terrain is just begging to be explored. Go black water rafting in the Waitomo Caves, just south of Auckland. There you’ll find thousands of glowworms hanging in the dark caves – an amazing spectacle! Brave the sulphuric smells of Rotorua and marvel at geothermal parks, geysers, and mineral pools with their awesome rainbow of color.
You can swim with the dolphins in the town of Akaroa, skydive at the Bay of Islands, surf in Raglan, and kayak along the beaches and coves of Abel Tasman National Park. Take the leap and go bungee jumping in Queenstown – the place where commercial bungee jumping was born.
If exploring on foot is more your speed, New Zealand is a hiker’s dream. Don’t miss the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a 12-mile hike through a volcanic landscape dotted with emerald green lakes. Tackle a half- or full-day hike through the coastal forest of the Queen Charlotte Track, where you’ll enjoy incredible views of the Marlborough Sound. With guide or tour group, you can even hike one of New Zealand’s immense glaciers.
Want to bask in New Zealand’s natural wonders without breaking a sweat? Start at Waiheke Island – just a short ferry ride from Auckland – known for its lovely wineries. Travel between the North and South islands of New Zealand on the Cook Strait ferry; it’s a three-hour journey that offers lots of nice scenery. Visit Kaikoura, a spot where the mountains reach the sea and whale watching tours abound. Cruise the Milford Sound by boat to take in the majestic beauty of the “eighth wonder of the world.”
For even more scenic views, ride the TranzAlpine Train between Christchurch and Greymouth on the South Island. The ride only takes a few hours and is a must if you enjoy trains and breathtaking scenery. You can also take a flight-seeing tour in a tiny plane over the snow-capped Southern Alps.
Rather stay on solid ground? Drive the Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins with its coastal views. At Lake Tekapo, you can stop moving altogether: Just sit back, relax, and stargaze at some of New Zealand’s darkest, clearest skies. You just might see the Southern Lights!
If city life is for you, start in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and main hub of transportation. Auckland offers a sunny climate and is within half-hour to beaches, hiking trails, and islands. The city itself boasts diverse food, wine, and shopping. While you’re there take in the view from the top of Sky Tower and sign up for a SkyWalk – a guided walk around the outside of the tower, 630 feet above ground.
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is located at the southern tip of the North Island. It’s nestled between rolling hills and a picturesque harbor with it’s City to Sea walk where you can explore the waterfront on foot. Here you’ll also find the Te Papa museum – New Zealand’s national museum and one of the best interactive museums in the world. Hang out on Wellington’s Cuba Street with its international cuisine, shopping, art, and street performers, or ride the Wellington Cable Car for a short, sweet trip chockfull of fantastic city views.
Before Europeans settled on the islands, New Zealand was home to the Maori people. In Rotorua, visitors can experience a recreated Maori village and enjoy traditional songs, dances, and a hangi dinner (food steamed in the ground).
For nerds and movie lovers, New Zealand is home to the Lord of the Rings franchise, and your trip wouldn’t be complete with a journey to Middle Earth. On the North Island, visit Matamata where the village of Hobbiton was created. The movie set has been reconstructed as a permanent attraction. Other filming locations are scattered throughout the country; one look at the scenery and it’s easy to imagine Frodo on his perilous quest.
There’s a lot to do and see in New Zealand – but what makes it perfect for a honeymoon? First, it’s half-a-world away, making it a total escape. You have the option of enjoying the life of leisure – in romantic coastal towns, on sandy beaches, and in fine wineries. Or you can start your marriage off with adventure: extreme sports, flight-seeing, and braving the elements in the great outdoors. Whatever side of New Zealand speaks to you, this will be the trip of a lifetime. Isn’t that just what a honeymoon should be? B