Spectacular diverse landscape, stunning natural scenery, and a welcoming community make New Zealand one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world. Also known as Aotearoa, which means the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand is a fantasy on earth. Home to breathtaking glaciers, epic mountains, volcanoes, pristine grassland, idyllic beaches and never-ending farmland, New Zealand’s ethereal allure sends many couples heading its way every year. Many films, like Lord of The Rings, have used New Zealand’s majestic beauty as its backdrop. A New Zealand honeymoon presents endless options and has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a romantic escape, an adventurous trip, a cultural experience, a New Zealand honeymoon has it all in store for you. In our Ultimate New Zealand honeymoon guide, we share the Top Things to Do in New Zealand, along with essential travel tips and where to stay. After reading this post, be sure to head to our New Zealand Travel Page to start planning your trip, or simply refer to our epic 2-week New Zealand South Island itinerary for the ultimate convenience.
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This article was updated on 26 November 2019.
Essential New Zealand Travel Resources
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When is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?
New Zealand, despite having four seasons, is an all-year-round destination. That means it has something special to offer you each month of the year, depending on your interests. If you love skiing, the winter season (June to August) is great for you for it has tons of winter sports activities. Fair warning though, the South Island can get very cold. The high season in New Zealand is during summer, which is December to February. This would mean busy crowds and higher prices, though the weather would be perfect for just about anything.
We love to visit places during their shoulder seasons. This means good weather yet lower prices. Visit New Zealand during Fall (March to May) and Spring (September to November). The cheapest month for flights is March. We visited the South Island of New Zealand in September 2019. As winter just ended, the mountains are still snow-capped and incredibly beautiful, making for a beautiful New Zealand honeymoon.
Getting Around New Zealand (try Kiwi Motorhomes)
With scenic hikes and activities located everywhere, the best way no doubt is to rent a campervan or car and go on a road trip. I first visited New Zealand 10 years ago, and I went on a tour group with my parents. This time prior to our trip, we asked our friends and they all sang the same tune – hire a campervan to tour the island. Needless to say, after coming back from our 2-week road trip, they were 110% right. Not only are you able to tour the island at your own leisurely (or rapid, whichever you prefer) pace, you can make stops anywhere to see the sights and take your Instagram shots. Driving around New Zealand is easy – using GPS or Google Maps will get you to places you need to, and roads will get you where you need to go. Living out of a mobile home is also quite a must-try experience that I would highly encourage.
For our trip, we decided to rent from Kiwi Motorhomes. We picked the 6 Berth Automatic Bella. I initially expected living out of a mobile home to be really tight and compromising, but it ended up being pretty roomy for the 4 of us. The beds too were surprisingly comfortable (I had my best sleep on the road ever) and we had total privacy thanks to the fancy Venetian blinds installed on all the windows (seeing how exposed other campervans were initially worried me). Their kitchen was also well equipped with a fridge, stovetop pots, pans, even basic seasoning were provided! We also had our own BBQ and outdoor table set that we used for an impromptu stargazing session at Wanaka. Renting from Kiwi Motorhomes also came along with the best customer service (thanks to Chris, Leon, and Varnier!). They offered us a lot of travel advice and itinerary tips prior to the trip and were the ones who asked us to download the apps Campermate and MetService prior to our trip. Be sure to check out their campervan honeymoon package!
We spent 2 weeks on a road trip with the beautiful Bella from Kiwi Motorhomes, and came up with this cinematic video sharing the Top 15 Things to Do in New Zealand South Island. Do check it out for inspiration, and feel free to drop us a comment if you need any help for planning your very own New Zealand trip! We will be happy to share more.
Which Island should I visit? North or South Island?
New Zealand comprises two main islands surrounded by 600 small islands. One of the top questions asked about New Zealand is should I visit the North or South Island? It does depend on what you like, though the South Island is more popular among tourists because of its spectacular landscape and plenty of Instagrammable spots.
The North Island is known for its geothermal landscape (volcanoes, geysers), as well as its rich Maori heritage and culture that you can experience in their village and historic sites. Its cosmopolitan cities are also a great way to experience arts, cuisine, culture. The North Island is home to ¾ of New Zealand’s population. You will also find nature walks in beautiful ancient forests (Waipoua & Te Urewera), and relaxing coastal resorts in the Bay of Islands & Coromandel. Auckland is the primary gateway to the North, though you can also fly to its capital, Wellington. The weather is generally warmer here than in the South.
The South Island, on the other hand, is renowned for its majestic scenery – mountains, lakes, glaciers, fjords, valleys, waterfalls are a common sight here. Also known as Te Waipounamu, which means the water of greenstone, the South Island of New Zealand is road-trip heaven. The Southern Alps stretches almost the entire length of the island, making any drive as scenic as it can be. Notable sights like Arthur’s Pass, Milford Sound, Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, and the Wanaka night skies are not to be missed. Picton & Christchurch are the main gateways of the South Island, though you can also fly to Queenstown, the adrenalin capital of the South.
If it is your first time visiting New Zealand, and you can only visit one island, I would suggest starting with the South Island. It is more beautiful and very scenic, also perfect for campervan road trips.
Top 19 Things to do on your New Zealand North Island Honeymoon
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 to 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 lived 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 10 minutes to 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 tours. 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 for 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 activity. Walking tracks range from 30 minutes to 75 minutes or more. Explore spectacular nature here as you witness ongoing geothermal activity.
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 for your New Zealand honeymoon. Hells Gate is home to erupting waters, steaming fumaroles, pools of boiling mud, mud volcano 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 sulfurous waters and geothermal mud. Immerse yourself in an iconic mud bath followed by the breathing, 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 bushwalk.
Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath Spa State Highway 30, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand Tel: v+64 7-345 3151 Daily 8.30 am – 10.00 pm (Summer); 8.30 am – 8.30 pm (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 trilogy, 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 honeymoon.
13. Walk on Mars at Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Tongariro 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. A must for your New Zealand honeymoon. The trek takes 7-8 hours, with the opposite direction more uphill and takes longer. This is where you can have 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-colored 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 thrill on your New Zealand honeymoon? The Timbre Trail has it in store for you. Venture deep into Pureora Forest Park to find an 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 Auckland, the City of Sails
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 for your New Zealand honeymoon. 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 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 at 11.30am and 1 pm, 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 are bound to take your breath away on your New Zealand honeymoon. 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 civilizations, arts, beliefs and lifestyles. 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 daylight hours. Admission: Entry and parking to the Gardens is free. [email protected] Tel: 07 838 6782 Website
19. Get a magnificent 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 magnificent landscape and coastline. Be prepared to be blown away by it all.
Top 19 Things to Do on your New Zealand South Island Honeymoon
1. Take a boat cruise around New Zealand’s most famous fjord, Milford Sound
Milford Sound takes the top spot when it comes to the majestic fjords of New Zealand. British writer Rudyard Kipling even labelled Milford Sound as the eighth wonder of the world after visiting it in the 1890s. Home to colonies of fur seals, dolphins, and penguins, this fascinating body of water is enclosed on three sides by striking peaks, most notable of which is Mitre Peak. The best way to get a taste of this magnificent fjord is through a boat cruise. You can get close to one of the several waterfalls cascading down the cliffs and enjoy a sumptuous lunch on board. If you’d like to know what lies underneath the deep blue waters, head to Harrison Cover to see Milford Sound’s secret – the rare black corals.
2. Explore an off-the-beaten-path hike at Lake Marian
Near Milford Sound lies a hidden treasure of a hike – Lake Marian. Featuring a 3-4 hour return journey, we thoroughly enjoyed the Lake Marian hike, with several steep climbs through the forests, and emerging out into snow-covered openings where we had some fun, intense snowball fights. Highly recommend to pair this hike with your Milford Sound trip!
Elevation Gain: ~300m
Duration: 3-4 hours
3. Grab that Instagram worthy shot with the beautiful lupins at Lake Tekapo
Blooming from spring to summer, September to February in New Zealand, lupins make for an incredibly scenic and romantic shot for all honeymooners. Peak lupin season begins from mid November to December, so if you have to get a shot of these beauties during your New Zealand honeymoon, we suggest planning your travels then.
4. Unleash your inner daredevil by defying gravity in Queenstown
Queenstown, a resort town that lies beside Lake Wakatipu, is officially the paradise for adrenaline junkies. It is an ideal location for exciting water sports and daring jumps – all of which will let you experience the staggering scenery from above in unique ways.
What’s a New Zealand honeymoon without skydiving?! Trust us, you absolutely have to do it! Even though you may be scared of heights, like one of us is, the experience is surreal and out of this world. Breathtaking in many ways, skydiving in Queenstown gives you a panoramic aerial view of the wonders below. At 15,000 feet, you will be able to see up to 6 lakes in this area, the Clutha River, and the Southern Alps where Mt. Cook’s peak stands tall over the rest. We highly recommend couples to get the 12,000 feet package (which we did at NZONE Skydive) at the very least, which features 45 seconds of freefall. 9,000 feet only has a freefall experience of 25 seconds, which in our honest opinion, isn’t long enough for you to begin to appreciate the freefall feeling. Do note that you will not be allowed to bring your own camera equipment, and photo and video options are available for purchase at NZONE Skydive.
When A J Hackett leapt off the Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland in 1986, bungy jumping was officially born. Originating in New Zealand, this extreme sport has since evolved to include swings and catapults. If you are an adrenaline junkie, try these three jumps in one package for more savings. You may pick from a list of heart-stopping activities – the Nevis Bungy, Nevis Swing, Nevis Catapult, Kawarau Bungy, Ledge Bungy, or Ledge Swing on your adrenaline-pumping New Zealand honeymoon. Certainly not for the faintest of hearts!
Fly over the Southern Alps
If you’d rather explore the highlights of Queenstown without having to jump off of anything, then smoothly gliding over snow-capped peaks is a great alternative to see the town from above. Hop on one of these sleek aeroplanes and cruise over the Omarama Basin to enjoy its gorgeous alpine views while being safely strapped in. For a completely new adventure, you can learn to fly a glider yourself!
5. Embark on a sunset hike with world-class views at Roy’s Peak
Seen that famous Roy’s Peak photograph and looking to take one for memories of a beautiful honeymoon? It isn’t as straightforward as it sounds as Roy’s Peak has become one of the most famous hikes in New Zealand, and you can expect a queue at the lookout point. The good news is, you can beat the queue by following these tips. We recommend to head up Roy’s Peak on a sunrise or sunset hike. That means setting off around 3-4 hours before sunrise or sunset. That way, you will get more beautiful shots during the golden hour, and way less crowd to compete with for that perfect Instagram shot. We aimed for sunset hour, and got treated to a night sky full of stars on our way down. We even took out our camping tables and chairs and dined under the stars with a bottle of wine! Sounds perfect for a New Zealand honeymoon right?
Elevation Gain: ~1250m
Duration: 5-7 hours
6. Hike up Isthmus Peak (it has arguably better views than Roy’s Peak!)
Heading up to both summits at Roy’s Peak and Isthmus Peak, we had to say that the view at Isthmus Peak was incredible, and arguably better than Roy’s Peak. Boasting a 360° panoramic view of the mountains and lakes at the summit, it was one of the most beautiful scenes we have ever witnessed. As Isthmus Peak is less well-known, you certainly do not need to worry about crowds. We probably saw less than 30 people throughout the 7-hour hike, and even got to see horses, sheep, deers, and cows along the way as the trail passed by some private farmland on the side. Definitely a welcoming sight when you are getting tired from all the walking.
Elevation Gain: ~1100m
Duration: 5-7 hours
7. Get up close and personal with New Zealand’s elusive animals in Kaikoura
Kaikoura is a beautiful small town located on the east coast of the South Island. Home to a massive population of sperm whales, Kaikoura also houses many diverse species of New Zealand wildlife. You can experience all these via boat tours or trekking the Peninsula Walkway. The most popular activities to do here are:
You can witness the aquatic acrobatic skills of sperm whales on a boat ride here at Kaikoura, and wave at these massive mammals as they greet you with a flip of their tails. If you’d like to see more than the tails, you can opt for a ride in the sky. From up high, you will not only get to see the aerial beauty of whales playing in the water, but also a stunning view of the coastline and the mountains beyond.
Bird or dolphin-watching
Besides the colossal whales, catch a glimpse of affable dolphins as they leap out of the water. At the same time, get your shutter speeds up to capture the flights of the mighty southern royal albatross. Together, both make for beautiful sights for your New Zealand honeymoon, especially for couples who love nature and animals.
8. Explore the mystical blue ice glaciers of New Zealand
Located at the southwest area of South Island, this frigid hike at Fox Glacier will introduce you to astounding ice caves and arches, and even a flowing waterfall amidst the ice. The best way to get to this frozen wonderland is via helicopter. Take in the stunning alpine views as you soar overhead before landing on the glacier. Have an adventurous partner? Ice climbing will probably make for the perfect New Zealand honeymoon then! Be sure to dress warm and fuel up before heading out.
9. Get your adrenaline pumping at Hanmer Springs
A picturesque alpine village known for its natural hot pools, Hanmer Springs also steps up to bat as a worthy competitor to Queenstown for adrenaline-pumping activities. Grab your partner’s hand and hold on tight as you gear up for these chest-thumping activities.
Challenge the rapids and test your teamwork in this river adventure. Armed with a paddle and determination, experience the calm, serene waters of the Hanmer Springs as well as its rough, rushing rapids. One thing’s for certain, you are definitely getting wet!
If aching arms isn’t on your agenda for a fun-filled honeymoon, then you can opt for a fast and furious jet boat ride that will leave you breathless. Hold on to your loved one as you zoom across gorges and braided rivers at 90 km/h! If you think only racing cars drift, just wait till your jet boat driver does his fancy maneuvers.
10. Go stargazing at Mount Cook and chase the Southern Lights
For the hopeless romantics, what better than a honeymoon night spent staring into the sky and watching thousands of stars together? If you have penned down Mount Cook as one of your itinerary stops, do visit the full-dome planetarium to learn about the cosmos and observe the twinkling lights using powerful telescopes.
Another perfect place to watch the stars is at Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve. This region has uniquely clear skies with almost no light pollution – one of only eight and the largest in the world. Here, prepare to be engulfed by the myriad stars, constellations, and visible galaxies that stretch beyond the horizon. If you are lucky, you might even get to witness the magical Southern Lights!
11. Stay in Blanket Bay where spectacular lake and mountain views await
Dubbed as “New Zealand’s ultimate alpine escape,” Blanket Bay is the most exquisite Alpine retreat on Lake Wakatipu where you can wake up to a majestic view of towering mountains, with snowy peaks standing out against immaculate blue skies. Blanket Bay offers various styles of luxurious accommodation. One can enjoy the lakeside scenery through a bedside bay window in a chalet suite, or cosy up in your own private fireplace in one of Blanket Bay’s villas. The Main Lodge also offers rustic-chic lodge rooms and suites, each with incredible vistas of Greenstone Valley and the lake. Definitely an ideal place to unwind and relax before or after the extreme activities outdoors.
12. Witness the clearest lake in the world at Nelson Lakes National Park
The Blue Lake at Nelson Lakes National Park is dubbed “the world’s clearest lake” because of its astonishing water visibility up to 80 meters. That means a glass of its water is nearly as crystalline as a glass of distilled water. Known by its Maori name Rotomairewhenua, Blue Lake is sacred to Maori, hence swimming or entering is not permitted. Nevertheless, you can still hike to its shore or take a scenic helicopter flight over the area.
13. Enjoy a high tea buffet in the only castle in New Zealand
Time to switch gears and turn this adventure honeymoon into a fairytale. The quintessential setting for this genre can be found in Dunedin, home to Larnach Castle, the one and only castle in the country. Steeped in an eyebrow-raising past, this historical monument is surrounded by a lush garden spanning 7 acres and was awarded the title “Garden of International Significance”. Slip on a pair of metaphorical ruby slippers to turn into Alice for a bit as you hunt for the Oamaru Stone Cheshire Cat. Don’t forget to trek up the castle rooftop and be wowed by the stunning 360-degree alpine scene! When you are famished by the workout, transit to enjoy a high tea buffet of fresh steaming tea and finger sandwiches and cakes.
14. Explore wine caves while wine tasting in Gibbston Valley
Your honeymoon is a time for indulging, so why not go on a prestige wine tasting tour? While Wanaka prides itself on wineries with beautiful settings, Gibbston Valley takes you indoors, deep within their wine cave. This seemingly endless corridor houses hundreds of oak barrels where the future vintages come alive. Breathe in the wonderful aroma of oak while learning about wine-making from your guide. You will also get to taste a couple of Gibbston Valley’s best creations as part of the tour. If you decide to take home a bottle of Gibbston Valley’s finest, do drop by their cheesery to get some cheese that pairs well.
15. Snuggle up with fluffy and friendly alpacas near Christchurch
Going “awww” at the picture of the loveable alpacas above? Wait till you meet these adorable fluffy alpacas in person! We bet you will fall in love with their soft fleece and irresistible smiles when you go on an alpaca farm tour in Akaroa, an hour and a half ride from Christchurch. Snap a selfie or two with them while on the interactive farm tour. Too bad you can’t take one home, so cuddle up to these cuties as much as you can.
16. Witness remarkable rock formations at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes Walk
Another surprise from nature is this set of rocks formed like pancake stacks called Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. These are actually limestone exposed to pressure and other natural elements that gave it its current form. If you are craving for an easy, relaxing day on your honeymoon after those long hikes, then taking a walk along the flat platform is as easy as it can get. You can also get to see several blowholes along the path, as well as impressive seaside forests and wildlife.
17. Jump down the bridge at the Blue Pools
Featuring one of the clearest waters in New Zealand, the Blue Pools are a short 30-minute return journey from the highway car park. Here, travellers have been known to jump off the bridge into the crystal clear waters. Definitely a thrill-seeking activity for the adventurous couples! Blue Pools is known to have quite a number of sandflies, so do apply some insect repellent before going. Otherwise, you will get some nasty bites that last for weeks. Sadly, we didn’t put insect repellent…
18. Go horse riding alongside glacial-fed rivers at Dart Stables
Reenact a scene out of a classic romance novel as you gently trot along on horseback against a dramatic alpine backdrop. Clip-clop your way around Hobbit’s Hack, and you might just discover yourself passing by Middle Earth. This area was used to depict the fictional land in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Along the course, you will also walk by the edge of Dart River’s pristine waters. It is like shooting your very own romance movie starring you and your partner.
19. Enjoy a day spa at Tekapo Springs
Sitting right in the middle of Christchurch and Queenstown is Lake Tekapo, home to your soon-to-be favorite spa wonderland, Tekapo Springs. If you have spent your honeymoon challenging intrepid activities, this is the perfect last stop for winding down. Relax your muscles and melt your stress away under the expert hands of professionals in their Glacial Day Spa. Not only will the treatments rejuvenate your body, but the accompanying alpine view in each treatment room will heal your weary soul. Following which, you and your partner can soak in various hot pools, sweat out in the sauna, enjoy a cup of coffee and carrot cake (it’s the best we had so far) at the cafe, or if you are still up for it, add another thrilling day to your honeymoon by sliding down a 150-meter snow-covered slope on a tube! New Zealand’s South Island is the perfect nature escape from steel and concrete jungles. Each town has its own color and flavor that will add a fond memory to your honeymoon. Romance, excitement, and an encounter with nature in its pure glory – these are what will make your New Zealand South Island honeymoon an adventure you’ll never forget.
New Zealand Trip Cost & Budget
On average, a daily budget of S$200 – $250 for each person would be comfortable. You can opt to do a more budget (The Travel Intern did a 2 week trip under $2,500), or a more luxury trip (luxury accommodations will range from $300 upwards per night.
For our 14-days trip, we spent about ~$3,000 per person. That includes our flights, campervan rental, paid campsites for some days, meals and activities. We frequented supermarkets often and cooked our meals, though we had occasional visits to restaurants. See our cost breakdown below:
The cost of flights will vary depending on the season, airline and arrival city you choose. All things aside, I would set aside ~S$1,000 – S$1,200 for flights. From Singapore, flying to Wellington and Christchurch would be the cheapest, and it is likely you will have a layover in Australia. You can also fly to Auckland or Queenstown. Remember, shoulder months are when you’ll get better prices. Summer (Dec – Feb) is the high season so prices will likely double. The cheapest month for flights is March or August.
On this note, Matt is amazing at finding flight deals. For our Sept 2019 trip, we got a deal for return tickets to Wellington (North Island) for ~S$650 and transited through Sydney. From Wellington, we took an hour’s domestic flight to Christchurch (South Island) for ~S$100+. We then picked up our Kiwi Motorhomes campervan from there and got started.
There is a wide range of accommodation in New Zealand to cater to all types of travel. You have hostels, apartments, chain hotels, and luxury lodges to choose from. Set aside $150 – $300 per night for 2 pax if you are booking a hotel or apartment.
If you are getting a campervan (which I highly encourage you to! Check out Kiwi Motorhomes), then you’ll be staying out of your mobile home. While there are free campsites that you can park at, you would have to occasionally park at paid campsites in order to use their charging facilities and refilling/dumping stations. During the low season, paid campsites cost about S$20+ per person/night and will double during the high season.
3. Car rental
Renting a car will cost about $20 – $30 per day. A campervan will cost about $200 – $300 / day, and you can split it among your travel buddies. The eventual cost will depend on the model.
If you rent a campervan, powered campsites (for you to charge your battery, do refilling and dumping) costs about $20 – $25 per day, though this can double during high season. There are shower and kitchen facilities at these powered campsites. Gas costs about NS$2.50 per litre.
*Important: Make sure to get the insurance that covers the minimum excess when you rent. Insurance is very important, I cannot emphasise this more.
If you are renting a car or campervan, you might not incur this cost. Buses are the cheapest, most common mode of public transport for traveling between towns or cities. Intercity and Naked Bus are the two main providers, and fares start from NZ$10.
5. Activities / Tours
This largely depends on what you wish to do. Our main expenditure on tours was skydiving, and that was about S$300. There are many other exciting paid activities that you can do, so you may want to set aside about $1,000 – $1,500 for activities. That being said, hiking is free!
6. Food & Drink
This depends on whether you are cooking or eating out. A regular meal at a restaurant will range from $20 – $30 per person. If you cook, it will probably be about $10 – $15 per person.
At the time of writing, 1SGD = 1.15NZD
New Zealand Travel FAQ
How to Get from New Zealand to Singapore
From Singapore, you can fly into the main cities of New Zealand, like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown. There are direct and transit flights available. During our trip, we flew Qantas and Air New Zealand. We transited in Sydney and landed in Wellington. For budget airlines, AirAsia and Jetstar both have flights to New Zealand, but they are likely to transit.
How long does it take to fly to New Zealand from Singapore?
Below are the estimated flight times for various destinations:
- Auckland to Singapore: 10 hours 30 minutes
- Christchurch to Singapore: 10 hours 40 minutes
- Wellington to Singapore: 12 hours 40 minutes
- Queenstown to Singapore: 12 hours 55 minutes
Does New Zealand have 4 seasons?
New Zealand has a temperate climate and experiences 4 seasons. Each season presenting you with a different experience. It is beautiful no matter the season you visit.
- 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, but it’s also cooler, quiet and the leaves on trees change colour as the first dusting of snow arrives 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 refreshing.
- 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.
When is the high season in New Zealand?
The busiest season is from December to the end of February. 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 times 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 resort (Queenstown, Wanaka, Methven, Ohakune, and Taupo) during the ski-season (early July to late September), so it is best to book well in advance.
What is the New Zealand culture like?
New Zealand was first settled by the seafaring Maori people from the Pacific. In places like Rotorua (North Island), where Maori influences are still strong, you can experience their culture and heritage. You’ll find in New Zealand, many greenstone and jade pendants. Rugby is also a very big sport in New Zealand, and they always perform the famous Haka before a match.
English and Maori are the official languages of New Zealand. Almost everyone speaks English and New Zealanders are very friendly (they are the nicest people I’ve met!), so you will have no trouble getting around.
What is the food scene like in New Zealand?
The food scene in New Zealand is growing. It’s cooking and food, largely influenced and inspired by different parts of the world.- Europe, Asia, Polynesia. In recent years, the main cities like Wellington and Auckland have opened many gourmet restaurants, chic cafes, and bars. The coffee culture in New Zealand is strong, so be sure to hit the local coffee shop to grab a cuppa. Many craft beer and wineries dot the island, so getting a drink would be no problem.
What to expect in New Zealand?
Apart from beautiful scenery and gorgeous landscapes, here are some things to expect.
- Language: New Zealand’s official language is English and Maori. Almost everyone speaks English, so you do not have to worry!
- Currency: New Zealand Dollar. At the time of writing, 1SGD = 1.14 NZD
- Payment: Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards are widely accepted in supermarkets, restaurants.
- Plugs: The plugs in New Zealand are different from Singapore. They are type I whereas ours is type G. But the voltage and frequency are the same as Singapore at 230 V and 50Hz.
- Safety: New Zealand is safe, but with the occasional petty theft happening. Do take care of your belongings, and always remember to lock up.
Don’t forget these:
1) Pick up wifi before you go
Stay connected during your trip. Here is a 4G SIM Card for the whole of New Zealand that you can pick up from Auckland or Christchurch. Here is a 4G WiFi Router that you can pick up in Singapore before heading off.
2) Travel Insurance
While New Zealand is a safe country to travel, always make sure to get travel insurance for your trip. Ever since I got injured on a trip in Vietnam 3 years ago and tore my ACL, I made it a point to always buy travel insurance. A couple of dollars goes a long way in the unlikely event of an accident. Travel insurance also protects you if you fall sick, lose your luggage, and in the event of a flight delay or cancellation. We always use Singsaver to find a suitable travel insurance plan before our trip.
3) Packing List
Not sure what to pack? Simply get our honeymoon packing checklist.
We hope you enjoyed reading our Ultimate New Zealand Honeymoon Guide. If you found it useful, please share this with your family and friends. Also, do not miss our wedding guide and honeymoon guide. If you need any help in planning your New Zealand honeymoon, drop us a note or reach us at [email protected]. I would love to help!