New Zealand isn't short on romance. This island nation is filled with secluded hideaways and intimate retreats nestled in its spectacular scenery. On the hunt for the best places to visit for a loved-up kiwi vacation experience, here’s a few of our favourites.
Home to over 400 km of white-sand beaches, rainforest and native wildlife, The Coromandel is the perfect combination of relaxation and beauty. Think long walks on the beach, kayaking together in crystal clear waters and digging your own spa pool on Hot Water Beach. Not to mention surfing (if you're more the ‘action’ couple), paddle boarding and swimming. Also on the agenda should be a visit to the Karangahake Gorge to discover disused railway tunnels, walkways and a rich gold mining history.
With its golden beaches, olive groves and world renowned wineries, Waiheke Island is an idyllic escape. Only a 30 minute ride on the ferry from downtown Auckland, it’s relaxed seaside atmosphere and quirky culture make it quintessentially romantic. Wander the foreshore at Matiatia and take the spectacular coastal walkway to Church Bay. Visit the colourful Ostend market on a Saturday morning for local artwork, bric-a-brac and tasty delicacies or hire a tandem kayak and take a picnic to one of Waiheke hidden coves. And If you're partial to a drop of wine, you mustn't leave the island without first taking the time to visit one (or several) of its 25 boutique vineyards.
With the highest amount of sunshine hours in the country, lush native bush, quiet bays and abundant wildlife, there's not a lot more we need to say about Marlborough. Kidding. It’s also New Zealand’s flagship wine region and has over 40 world renowned wineries to visit. Take a cruise from Picton to Queen Charlotte Sound and spend time exploring the Queen Charlotte Track or visit Abel Tasman National Park for golden sand beaches, native forest, azure waters and the opportunity to walk, kayak, swim, or just relax together and take it all in.
An hour from the bustle of Christchurch, the town of Akaroa is perched on the edge of Banks Peninsula. The closest thing New Zealand has to a piece of France, Akaroa is a quaint french settlement featuring colonial architecture and French street names. Take a stroll through the village and stop at one of its many renowned eateries, or head out on the harbour to Dolphin-watch - Akaroa is home to the world's smallest dolphin, the Hector's. For the historically inclined, visit the Akaroa Museum or take a guided tour through its picturesque streets.
Set against the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, with a backdrop of Aoraki Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, Tekapo is a tiny alpine town with plenty of character and romantic charm. The stone-built ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ has become a local icon and captured the hearts of countless brides-to-be. Head to the Tekapo Springs Hot Pools for a luxurious soak, then spend the evening snuggled up under stars at Mt John Observatory - one of the largest ‘International Dark Sky Reserves’ in the world. While you're in the area, a visit to Mount Cook National Park is must do.
One of New Zealand's biggest draw cards, The Bay of Islands, is truly a honeymoon destination. Both stunningly beautiful and historically significant, it boasts a warm climate, white sandy beaches, over 140 islands dotting the harbour and thriving marine economy. Take an afternoon harbour cruise and relax with a glass of wine and antipasto platter as the sun sets, or hire a kayak and venture out to the famous Hole in the Rock. Test your pedal power and take a couples cycling tour on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, through lush farmland and native bush. Explore the beaches of Paihia and the East Coast, and be sure to visit the world-renowned and historically significant Duke of Marlborough hotel for a delicious waterfront meal.
A picturesque alpine town nestled in the middle of the Southern Alps, Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. There's nothing like bonding over a shared adrenaline rush, but if you're not really into bungy jumping, or jet boating or swinging from a really high canyon - not to worry - Queenstown has plenty of sedate activities too! Wander the waterfront and grab a picnic in the Botanical Gardens or take a dawn hot air balloon ride over the Mountains. Visit the Onsen Hot Pools for a private mineral soak, then take an evening gondola ride to the top of Bob Lee peak, and indulge in a buffet-style dinner looking over the city lights.