Ah, New Zealand, land of the long white cloud. Anybody who has been to their neck of the woods will attest to the abundance of natural beauty, and those who have not will have seen photographs, or at least have heard whispers of it. The rumors are true – the people are lovely, the sheep are plentiful, and the views are phenomenal!
Each town has its own little quirks, and I have not found a place I do not like. Its natural beauty and preservation of its unique culture have made New Zealand a hotbed for lovers of all ages, and there are many reasons to celebrate here in this gorgeous country.
Let us explore some of the best locations for a New Zealand honeymoon!
Mt. Cook (and the Southern Alps)
When going to New Zealand, a land of great wilderness, you just have to jump right into the deep end. In this case, Mt. Cook is the high end; the highest mountain in New Zealand. Getting to the area is pretty hectic (it is a mountain range, after all), everything has to be planned around the weather, and yet if everything goes right, it goes swimmingly.
Summer is probably your best bet, as the weather is generally calmer then. However, if you are looking to bypass the summer trampers, head over when the winter takes hold and blankets everything in a pure sheet of white! There are many alpine walks around Mt. Cook village for the amateur and mountains to scale for the most experienced couples (1).
If the both of you are outdoorsy people, Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps must not be missed on your New Zealand honeymoon. Its distance from cities cuts out light pollution and star-gazing is ever so popular here! Mountain biking and skiing can be attempted during the day.
Plus, if you are looking for the perfect snapshot of your beloved on your honeymoon, this is it. Take a helicopter atop any one of the mountains, and strike a pose! There will be nobody around but the people you bring up, no pollution, and nothing but stunning views all around (2).
As a bonus, search up Lake Pukaki, a lake only 33km away from Mt. Cook. Not only is the lake flawless, it is also the perfect lookout to Mt. Cook. Phenomenal!
There is almost no time during the year that Coromandel is not packed with both locals and tourists. This was the setting of one of the scenes in Narnia and is therefore especially packed in the summer, with almost 10,000 visitors to the area. Coromandel Cove, even when packed full of people, is a sight to behold, with its gorgeous white sand beaches and its giant rock formations.
Picking the right spot to sit back and relax can be tough, especially with more popular spots. During low tide, follow the wave of people shuffling toward the Hot Water Beach! The ocean remains chilly, and yet if you dig deep enough into the golden sand, hot water comes bubbling up. Allow it to mix with some of the cool seawater, sit back, and relax with your significant other (3)!
After the beach, head inland and check out Coromandel Peninsula. Locals go about their business serving up hot chips and ice cream on a typical summer’s day. More recently, there have been new art installations in most cafes, restaurants, and even homestays. Check out the brand new arts scene in this buzzing little town, and enjoy your time in Coromandel (4)!
Nothing on this planet matches the majesty of whales or draws the eye like a pod of dolphins breaking the surface to play. There are not many places around the world for a sight like this, and if your new partner-in-crime loves animals or loves natural scenery, this is the place to be. Amazingly, only 3,800 people call this little piece of paradise home.
When I was there two years ago, I learned that Kaikoura is Maori (the indigenous’ language) for “meal of crayfish”. I tried the crayfish, and there have not been many things that can hold a candle to that. Kaikoura is literally crescent-shaped, with its coast almost as long as its entire length, making it easy to see why seafood is so fresh here (5).
New Zealand’s whaling practice officially stopped in 1964, and the region has benefitted greatly from it. It is not uncommon to see a sperm whale break the surface while feeding on the plankton-rich waters of Kaikoura. Humpback whales and orcas also often visit this area while on their regular migratory route.
Dusky Dolphins also call these waters home, and if the weather conditions are right, the both of you can suit up, dive in, and swim with these playful creatures! Their pods number from 100, all the way to 800, and they often come up to the boats to greet visitors, making for a fantastic interactive experience (6).
There is no escaping this – the Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Granted, over the years that I have returned, there has been an incredible influx of tourists to the area, and yet it still gets to me every time. Of course, there is not just one fiord (it isn’t called Fiordland for nothing), but Milford Sound is by far the most popular and most accessible.
The journey to and from the Sounds an incredible experience on its own, with the landscape and wildlife entirely intact despite corporate and government interest. If you wish for a quieter, more personal experience, head further south by water to the Doubtful Sound instead. It is twice as long as Milford Sound and can be experienced either by overnight cruise or multi-day kayak.
Really, there is no better way to spend time with your newly-wed than in silence surrounded by natural beauty (7).
If the two of you are a little more adventurous, trek through Fiordland National Park! It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been protected for decades, and its incredible views will do nothing but add bliss to your marriage (8)!
It may seem odd that I have added a country’s capital as a romantic place for a honeymoon getaway, but hear me out on this. Wellington is not your typical big city, as it has an abundance of character, and a distinct lack of skyscrapers! I mean, the first time I wandered around the city I was whisked away by the expression of Kiwi culture, music, and architecture.
Feel your way through the city with your life partner and be wowed by the blossoming arts scene. Museums, galleries, theaters and boutiques line the streets of Wellington, and if you love a good deal on some gorgeous second-hand clothing, be sure to check out Cuba Street (9)!
After all the walking, feel free to pop in any one of the many restaurants around the city (more bars and restaurants per capita than New York City). Close out your night down by Oriental Bay, and watch the lights shimmer across the water.
Do keep in mind that if you go in the winter, “Windy Wellington” really does earn its stripes. Being a coastal city is one thing, but a coastal city near the bottom of the world is a whole other thing. Pick a good time to go, and hope for the best! Wellington will welcome you newly-wed lovers any day of the week (10).
At the end of every trip, it takes me all my willpower not to pack my stuff up back home and just move to New Zealand for good. It is just pure, natural beauty that will enchant the both of you. I urge you to make New Zealand your honeymoon destination, and you will absolutely not regret it.