Spectacular diverse landscape, stunning natural scenery and a welcoming community makes New Zealand a big contender for the world’s best honeymoon destinations. A home where nature’s beauty is right at your doorstep, it’s no doubt that every couple wants to have a love affair with New Zealand. Imagine cruising through glacial fords and jagged mountains, marvelling at ancient rock formations, lying on scenic beaches, admiring pristine lakes, and basking in soft evening light… the honeymoon experience in New Zealand is truly magical. We scouted these Top Things to Do on your New Zealand honeymoon that will make you want to pack your bags now and teleport there right now.
Top Things to do on your New Zealand Honeymoon [North Island]
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New Zealand consists of 2 main islands, known as the North Island and South Island. To make it easier on your travel planning, we have organized it into North and South. Part 1 below will feature Things to Do on the North Island of New Zealand.
1. Visit Bilbo Baggins’s House at Matamata
Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans would die for this epic experience. Situated a two hour drive south from Auckland, Matamata is where Hobbiton and The Shire come to live. The lush farmland of the Hamilton – Waikato region is famous for its green pastures, rolling hills and more than 44 unique hobbit holes (including Bilbo Baggins’s house)! You can visit the Hobbiton Movie set on a guided tour as hear the fascinating commentary of how it was all created. You will get to see the mill, double arched bridge and the famous Party Tree before a drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Farmstays are also available in Matamata. Talk about having living out an adventure!
How to get there: A 2 hour drive from Auckland, 45 minutes from Hamilton and 1 hour from Rotorua
2. Discover the highest waterfall in the North Island – Wairere Falls
East of Matamata town you will discover North Island’s highest waterfall – Wairere Falls, a spectacular plunge of 153m metres. From the carpark, you can walk the well formed track, which weaves its way through moss covered rocks and tree roots. Along the way you will see the large round boulders that form natural pools and cascading waterfalls, which makes for a mesmerizing natural landcsape (and great Instagram photos). Take the steady climb up the base of the cliff where steps will lead you up to the top of the gorge. Pass through a grove to get to the lookout platform that will give you a spectacular view looking from the base of the falls. Take the steps up (it gets steeper from here, but trust us it’s worth it). At the top of the hill, you will wind through a rich mosaic of forest species, before branching off to the falls lookout, where you will be rewarded with a magnificient view overlooking the valley and the Waikato Plains. The entire trek will take you bout 3-4 hours (5km return via same track).
How to get there: Wairere Falls Track is on Goodwin Road off Te Aroha-Okauia road, south of Te Aroha
3. Dig your own thermal spa at Hot Water Beach
How often do you get to dig up your own free spa? Near the rocks at the southern end of Hot Water Beach, you can. And just metres away from the Pacific Ocean too! Visitors flock here to find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Dig up to two hours either side of low-tide (that’s when the tide is low enough to expose the area of sand with hot water underneath). Rent a shovel from the local cafes to dig up your very own naturally heated mineral water bath for a relaxing soak, as you gaze at the waves crashing on the shores.
4. Transport yourself to The Chronicles of Narnia at Cathedral Cove
C.S Lewis fans will squeal at this one. At beautiful Hahei Beach on The Coromandel, you can take a one hour walking track to Cathedral Cove, the site where The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was filmed. The scene was which the Pevensie children took their first steps back into Narnia. Arguably one of the most picturesque spots in The Coromandel, here lies a cathedral-like arch, hence its name. Just off the beach, wind and waves have sculpted the large pinnacle of rock known as ‘Te Hoho”, making it a true artwork of nature. If you prefer a slightly shorter walk (about 1.5 hours return), start from the car park at the end of Grange Road in Hahei – turn left after Hahei shops. See more details here.
How to get to Hahei Beach: Take a 10 minutes drive from the famous Hot Water Beach.
5. Get starstruck by magical glow worms at Waitomo Caves
Incredibly breathtaking. As one of the must-see natural attractions in New Zealand, the Waitomo Caves is never to be missed. The walls are magically decorated with galaxcies of native glow worms that will fill your eyes with delight. Formed over thousands of years, the Waitomo caves were carved by underground streams pushing into soft limestone. Marvel at the amazing stalactites growing down from the ceiling and up from the cave floor, and layered rocks formed by dripping water. A walking or boat tour will take you through this gorgeous attraction. If you’re up for some adventure, I suggest you try blackwater rafting for a truly unique experience. You’ll crawl, swim and float through the caves on a rubber tube. You can also abseil or zip-line through the darkness.
6. Marvel at the majestic Marokopa Falls
At Waitomo up above on land, is the Marokopa Falls. Standing at 35 metres high, they are often described as the most beautiful in the country. Here the Morokopa River cascades over the undercut greywacke basement rock. Take the short trek (20 minute return walk) through the forest down to the viewing platform. You can combine this walk with the Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk and Piripiri Cave Walk on a scenic drive from Waitomo to Marokopa. Nearby is Otorohanga Kiwi House where New Zealand’s rarest birds reside. The nearby Pureora forest offers you great hikes, hunting and fishing oturs. South of Waitomo is Piopio where you can see Fairy Feet Waitomo, the filming location for Staddle Farm and the Trollshaw forest in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
How to get there: Marokopa Falls is 15 km east of Marokopa and 31 km west of Waitomo, on Te Anga Road
7. Visit a Thermal Wonderland at Wai-o-tapu
Labelled as one of the most surreal places in the world, WaioTapu is New Zealand’s geothermal wonderland thousands of years in the making. Here bubbling mud, steaming ground and volcanic craters reside. You will be introduced to an entirely different natural landscape for your New Zealand honeymoon! Explore spectacular nature here as you witness ongoing geothermal activitiy. Walking tracks range from 30 minutes to 75 minutes or more. Explore spectacular nature here as you witness ongoing geothermal activitiy.
Waiotapu 201 Waiotapu Loop Road, RD 3, Rotorua 3073, NZ (35km Southeast of Rotorua) Admission: S$32 for adults and S$11 for children (5-15 yo). Free for children below 5yo. Tel: +64 7 366 6333 Website
Opening Hours: Open every day including all Public Holidays April-October: 8:30am-5:00pm (last admission 3:45pm) November-March: 8:30am-6:00pm (last admission 4:45pm) Christmas Day: 8:30 am-5:00 pm (last admission 3:45pm)
8. Be part of a traditional gathering at Rotorua
There is no better way to learn about the distinctive Maori culture than by immersing yourself in a tribal gathering. A strong and vital cornerstone of New Zealand, the Maori culture is still practiced at Tamaki Maori Village. Here you can journey back in time to experience ceremonial rituals, powerful performances and hangi feasting. It will be a fascinating experience on your New Zealand honeymoon!
Tamaki Maori Village Highlands Loop Road, Ngakuru, Rotorua Tel: +64 (0)7 349 2999 Website
9. Use the earth to cook your food
Hāngi (earth oven) is a traditional method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. It starts with digging a pit, heating stones in the pit with a large fire, placing baskets of food on top of stones before covering it up for several hours to be cooked. During the cooking time, you can socialize and make friends with the locals! You can experience it at Rotorua.
10. Ease all muscle aches with a mud bath at Hells Gate
This is one unique spa session indeed. Hells Gate is home to eurupting waters, steaming fumaroles, pools of boiling mud, mud volano and the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the most active geothermal field in New Zealand. At Hells Gate you can see, hear and feel this unique place and its sulphurous waters and geothermal mud. Immerse yourself in a iconic mud bath followed by the beathing, beauty and healing therapies as practiced by the locals. If you are more adventurous, try the twilight spa, which is the night version where you can enjoy soaking under the stars. You can also enjoy steamed Hangi here. For the full experience, take a guided tour through the thermal park and bush walk.
Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath Spa State Highway 30, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand Tel: v+64 7-345 3151 Daily 8.30am – 10.00pm (Summer); 8.30am – 8.30pm (Winter) Website
11. Ski down the powdery slopes of Mount Ruapehu
There are two commercial ski slopes at Mount Ruapehu – Whakapapa on the northern side and Turoa on the southern side. They are the two largest ski fields in New Zealand, with Whakapapa the larger one. From beginners to advanced skiing slopes, you can have yourself a thrilling time here. Apart from skiing, you can also try snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, white water rafing, rail cart/bike rides – many adventures await you on your New Zealand honeymoon! Time to turn up the adrenaline! At Ruapehu also lies Hidden Bay, the entrance to The Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (source).
12. Spot active volcanoes in Tongariro National Park
Ruapehu is also home to both the Tongariro (east) and Whanganui National Parks (west). Tongariro National Park is the oldest park in New Zealand, and is home for many endemic animals like kiwi. It is also home to the famous 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing (see #13 below) and many other hikes and walks. The Tongariro Park rose to fame after the release of Lord of the Rings triology, where the area was depicted as the Land of Mordor, with Mount Ruapehu featured as Mount Doom in the movies. From active volcanoes to the mighty Whanganui River, this place offers you expansive scenery and a natural playground for your New Zealand honemoon.
13. Walk on Mars at Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Togariro Alpine Crossing in Ruapehu is arguably the finest day hike (19.4km) in New Zealand, and ranks among the top 10 single-day treks in the world. The trek takes 7-8 hours, with the opposite direction more uphill and takes longer. This is where you can have a a truly out of the world experience for your New Zealand honeymoon. Walk through the red rocks (like mars) of the volcanic alpine landscape and see vivid emerald-coloured craters, steaming vents, hot springs, old lava flows dot the perimeter. Steamy geothermal vents add a misty effect that makes your whole experience seem surreal. Simply stunning. ‘Nuff said.
14. Walk the “tight rope” Timber Trail
Looking for a thrill? The Timbre Trail has it in store for you. Venture deep into Pureora Forest Park to find ancient forest, exotic wildlife and graceful suspension bridges (35 of them) that might have your heart beating faster with each step. Experience the full grandeur of the forest either on foot or a bike. The Maramataha Suspension Bride is not for the faint hearted. For those with a fear of heights, we strongly suggest you look forward and nowhere else. Click here for more information on the track.
The Timbre Trail 138 Maraeroa Road, Pureora, Waikato / Waitomo, North Island, NZ Tel: 07 929 8708 (within NZ) Tel: +64 7 929 8708 (international) [email protected] Website
15. Visit the City of Sails (Auckland)
Rated as the third most liveable city in the world, Auckland, also known as the City of Sails presents a multi-cultural hub of fine cuisine, music, art and culture. It’s vast harbour, quiet islands and vibrant cityscape adds an exciting urban touch to your New Zealand honeymoon. Be sure to check out the iconic Sky Tower for impressive views of the harbour, filled with yachts to the brim.
16. Be told the story of the First World War
Created by Sir Peter Jackson, The Great War Exhibition commemorates the role played by New Zealand in the First World War. Here you can relive the gruelling hardship and battlefield horror of those who were caught in the conflict. Guided tours are provided at $15 and are a great way to make the exhibition come alive.
17. Swim with bottlenose dolphins at the Bay of Islands
If this is not on your bucket list, it has got to be. At Bay of Islands, you get to jump into the sparkling waters for an up close and personal encounter with playful dolphins! Those who prefer to stay dry can stay on board to take beautiful photos of them. You might also see Orca, seals, flying fish and feeding seabirds dive bombing for food. Do note that swimming with the dolphins is dependent on the sea and weather conditions. If the waves are too lumpy, it might not be possible, but it still makes for a pretty amazing experience. Dolphins take a lunch break 11.30am and 1pm, so these protected mammals get their rest from all the fun. You can book your trip here.
18. Explore the enchanting Hamilton Gardens
Explore an enchanting world of secret gardens at Waikato’s most visited tourist destination – the Hamilton Gardens. Voted Garden of the Year by International Garden Tourism Network in 2014, the stunning garden collections and themed gardens is bound to take your breath away. This place explores different civilizations to recreates garden styles from all over the world. Uniquely, the Hamilton Gardens is not like your usual botanical garden, but is more like a museum. Each garden collection has historic integrity and provides you a window into the story of their civilisations, arts, beliefs and life styles. It’s the perfect place to stretch your legs and be amazed by the gorgeous flowers. There is a cafe located next to Turtle Lake, not too far from the Information Centre.
Hamilton Gardens Private Bag 3010 Waikato Mail Centre Hamilton 3240 New Zealand Operating Hours: Hamilton Gardens is a public park and is open year-round. The enclosed themed gardens are open during day-light hours. Admission: Entry and parking to the Gardens is free. [email protected] Tel: 07 838 6782 Website
19. Get a magnificient bird’s eye view of New Zealand on a helicopter
There is no better way to admire New Zealand’s scenic beauty than from up above. Take a helicopter ride to see the magificient landscape and coastline. Be prepared to be blown away by it all.
This is the list of adventures in New Zealand’s North Island. For adventures in South Island, read PART TWO here.
How to get to New Zealand from Singapore:
The flight from New Zealand to Singapore is around 10 hours. Airasia and Jetstar both have flights to New Zealand. If you want cheaper fares, and if you have strict dates you need to fly on, opt for Airasia as they have more frequent flights. However they have multiple layovers in KL and Gold Coast. If you want a direct flight, opt for Airasia. However, their flights to New Zealand are not very frequent and it’s much more expensive to fly direct. They also have flights to Christchurch and Wellington, though equally infrequent. I tried to get the cheapest fares available. Here are my return fares:
- A 10D9N trip (22 Nov to 2 Dec) by Airasia was S$521
- A 9D8N trip by Jetstar (11 to 19 Dec 2016) was $1,129.98 without taxes, and $1,383.27 including taxes – Jetstar had no flights to Auckland for Nov 2016 and schedule has not been released for Jan 2016 onwards.
- Scoot and Tigerair unfortunately does not fly to New Zealand at this moment (date of post)
Best Time to Travel to New Zealand:
New Zealand is beautiful no matter the season you visit. The warmest months of the year are from September to April.
- Summer (December to February) presents the hottest months. It’s warm and bustling and perfect for outdoor lovers to hang out with nature and get sun-kissed. Don’t forget your sunblock!
- Autumn/fall (March to May) is the perfect season for hiking. Not only do you get to escape the busiest season, it’s also cooler, quiet and the leaves on trees change colour as the first dusting of snow arrive on the hills. Note that temperature starts dropping in May as its early Winter.
- Winter (June to August) is when trails go quiet but the winter slopes start to get packed with all the action. Mountains are snow-capped, making it a beautiful winter wonderland. Hot pools during this season never felt more shiok.
- Spring (September to November) is when the sun warms up and the days are longer. Lambs bounce around the fields, daffodils and fruit trees blossom. The longer daylight hours give you more time to explore the never-ending beautiful sights in New Zealand. November is fairly quiet on the tourist front, so I personally would head out here during Spring.
The busiest season is from December to end Feburary and you might find it hard to get accommodation at the popular tourist towns (Nelson, Wanaka, Rotorua, Taupo, Hanmer Springs, Mount Maunganui and Queenstown) unless booked in advance. Other busy imes include the long Easter holiday weekend and during the three School holiday periods which fall in the middle of April, mid-July and late September/Early October. You might also find it hard to book accommodation at the winter resorts (Queenstown, Wanaka, Methven, Ohakune and Taupo) during ski-season (early July to late September), so it is best to book well in advance.
Get Insured on your Honeymoon
Do remember to purchase your travel insurance before embarking on your honeymoon. Insurance is key to safeguarding yourself against expensive medical costs or luggage losses.