Responsible Travel Guide: New Zealand
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This New Zealand honeymoon combines romance, luxury and adventure in a spectacular outdoor playground. Together, you’ll navigate some of the world’s most stunning natural scenery, creating wonderful memories that you’ll cherish forever.
This suggested 11-day self-drive itinerary begins on the tranquil banks of the Takou River, with a luxury glamping experience in the secluded wilderness, complete with an opulent outdoor bath. You’ll spend your first full day in New Zealand sailing through the magical Bay of Islands on your private chartered catamaran.
Next, you’ll arrive in the friendly city of Christchurch before heading off on the iconic TranzAlpine scenic train journey. Gaze in wonder as you wind through spectacular peaks and valleys, gorgeous plains and farmlands.
Your train journey comes to an end in Greymouth, where you’ll depart for Hokitika. Indulge in another luxury glamping experience on the tranquil banks of the Kaniere River, where you can soak in your outdoor bath under the shade of an ancient forest.
You’ll enjoy a unique private tour led by the son of the paramount chief of the Hokitika area. He will take you along the sacred Arahura river, only accessible by Maori, to find greenstone.
Your final destination is Queenstown, where you’ll spend a memorable three days taking a helicopter tour over the stunning Fiordland National Park, cruising through the magical Milford Sound, trying out adrenaline-pumping activities or relaxing with world-class wines and dining, as well as relaxing hot pools.
Your New Zealand honeymoon will be packed with intimate experiences and spectacular romance, perfect for the adventurous couple ready to explore the world together.
After you land in Auckland, you’ll catch a 30-minute flight to Kerikeri, where you’ll pick up your hire car. Your dream New Zealand honeymoon begins.
You'll drive to Magic Cottages, one of the best luxury lodges in New Zealand, set on the banks of the stunning Takou River. You’ll stay at their exclusive luxury camping site (known as glamping), hidden away in a secluded corner of the 150-acre organic farm.
You’ll camp in luxury, with a beautiful camp kitchen, hot shower, flushing toilet, candles and lamps, solar panels, electric fridge and charging points for phones and cameras. Gaze up at the stars from the deck of the safari-style tent, or take a bath in the private outdoor bath overlooking the river. This is the ultimate romantic experience!
This morning, you’ll make the 40-minute drive from your campsite to Paihai, where you’ll meet with Sail Cool Change for an exclusive boat charter around the world-renowned Bay of Islands. Climb aboard the 54-foot sailing catamaran; complete with private cabins, a spacious lounge, outdoor dining space, comfortable seats and trampolines in the bows for relaxing and dolphin watching.
You’ll sail through the stunning archipelago of more than 140 subtropical islands, exploring unspoilt beaches and ancient Maori cultural sites. Swim, snorkel, paddle board or kayak through the dazzling blue water, stroll along the sandy shores, and then enjoy a delicious lunch as you soak up the idyllic surroundings on your private boat.
The day is yours to explore the region, with plenty of amazing things to do.
Take a drive past Paihai to see Haruru Falls, a tumbling waterfall that arches like a horseshoe. There is a walking trail that begins at the waterfall, leading you along a boardwalk through a mangrove forest. The trail finishes in Waitangi, an important historical site rich in Maori culture.
Continue your drive to Henderson Bay, where you can go quad biking along the huge expanse of pristine, snow-white sands of Great Exhibition Bay.
Keep driving up to Cape Reinga, an iconic landmark and one of the most northern points on the North Island. This is where oceans collide, as the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean in a fascinating churn of currents.
An ancient pohutukawa tree, believed to be over 800 years old, stands at the northernmost tip of the cape and is the most sacred site in Aotearoa. In Maori tradition, the spirits of the deceased leap from the tree into the ocean, departing from the world and making their final journey to their ancestral homeland.
Check out of your luxury campsite and drive to Kerikeri airport, where you will drop off your hire car and board your flight to Christchurch, via Auckland, since there are no direct flights.
On arrival in Christchurch,x you’ll catch a taxi for the 20-minute drive to your hotel. You’ll be staying at Hotel 115, a new and locally-owned boutique hotel styled with modern elegance and a chic European design. The hotel is located in the heart of Christchurch, steps away from Cathedral Square.
Spend the afternoon exploring the city, with plenty of nearby attractions. Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and take a stroll along the Avon River. Explore the Ferrymead heritage park or check out Sumner Beach, just a few minute's drive from the city.
Today, you’ll be taking in the spectacular New Zealand landscape on a scenic train journey through the Alps.
In the morning, you’ll catch a taxi to the Christchurch train station, where you’ll board the TranzAlpine train. The journey takes around five hours, stretching from the East Coast through breathtaking river valleys, farmlands and the Canterbury Plains. You’ll wind through the stunning Southern Alps and Arthur's Pass, before arriving in Greymouth, a town on New Zealand’s West Coast.
On your arrival, pick up your hire car and make the 45-minute drive to your accommodation in Hokitika. You’ll be staying at Hurunui Jacks for a truly special luxury camping experience.
Tucked away within 15 acres of ancient forest and peaceful national parklands, you’ll have your own secluded spot on the banks of the Kaniere River. This is glamping at its best, with an enclosed camp kitchen and bathroom, a huge canvas tent and a cosy bed lined with a pure wool duvet.
Relax under the stars as you soak in the outdoor bath, surrounded by trilling bellbirds and the tranquil wilderness. It’s an unforgettable experience.
This morning, you’ll be picked up from Hurunui Jack by Bevan Climo. Pack a picnic lunch, as you’ll be heading out for a full day of adventure.
Bevan is the son of the paramount chief of the Hokitika area. He’s an expert guide on the region, the frontman of a bluegrass band and one of the best carvers in New Zealand. He will take you to Arahura, a sacred river only accessible by Maori, where you’ll learn how to find pounamu (greenstone) and how to carve it.
We keep our days with Bevan unstructured as he is a spontaneous character who can take you to a number of incredible sites. He’s a local guide who will give you a rare and unique tour of a stunning region that is notoriously difficult to explore.
The day is yours to explore the area at your leisure. You can visit Hokitika Gorge to see the striking blue waters piercing the lush green forest. Walk along the iconic swing bridge to marvel at this magical gorge.
Venture across the West Coast Treetop Walk, a high-rise walkway that winds through the canopy of ancient rainforest, home to a symphony of bird life. Climb to the top of the 40-metre tower for stunning views that stretch all the way out to the Tasman Sea.
You can also take a one-hour drive to Punakaiki to see the wondrous pancake rocks and blowholes. In the evening, stroll around the shimmering Lake Kaniere, or take in a romantic sunset on Hokitika Beach.
This morning, you’ll make your way to the airport, where you’ll drop off your hire car and catch a flight to Queenstown via Christchurch. You’ll land at Queenstown Airport, pick up your new hire car and make the 20-minute drive to your accommodation.
You’ll be staying at Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel, a luxury five-star hotel with sophisticated decor, exceptional service and spectacular mountain views. The property is set amidst peaceful parklands, only a 300-metre walk to the heart of the city and Lake Wakatipu.
Spend the evening enjoying complimentary pre-dinner drinks and canapés, made with locally-grown produce, then take a pleasant stroll into town to enjoy the vibrant restaurants and bars.
After breakfast, you’ll be picked up from Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel and taken to a heli base, where you will board a helicopter for a tour over the Queenstown region.
You’ll fly over breathtaking alpine scenery, with dense forests and rolling farmlands, into the Fiordland National Park, filled with lakes, waterfalls and valleys.
As you land at Milford Sound, your pilot will guide you to the boat terminal, where you’ll check in for your spectacular Milford Sound cruise. You’ll glide quietly through this unspoilt valley, marvelling at the hushed atmosphere and grand peaks.
Your pilot will meet you after your special experience to escort you back to the helicopter for your return flight. On this flight, you’ll see stunning ice shelves and will even land on a glacier. You’ll return to Queenstown after this four-hour spectacle with lifelong memories and stunning photos.
Your last day in Queenstown can be spent at your leisure.
Spend the morning on the 1.5-kilometre Queenstown Hill Time Walk, which leads to stunning panoramic views over the region. Take the 45-minute scenic drive to Glenorchy, a picturesque town with a great hiking trail around Lake Sylvan, or hop on a winery tour to sample the region’s world-class wine.
For thrill-seeking couples, Queenstown is an adventure paradise. You can go skydiving, bungy jumping, canyoning, zip-lining, rafting, paragliding… the possibilities are endless! You can also head up to the Skyline Gondola for amazing views over the city.
Have lunch at Amisfield Winery, a beautiful stone restaurant overlooking a breathtaking landscape of vineyards and rugged mountains. Renowned chef Vaughan Mabee has worked in Michelin-star restaurants around the world and has brought his culinary talents to the award-winning wine-producing region.
Unwind in the afternoon with a romantic experience at the Onsen Hot Pools. Sip champagne together and relax in the magical natural hot pools as you take in the stunning views of the Shotover River Canyons.
As your New Zealand honeymoon sadly comes to an end, you’ll make your way to the airport and drop off your hire car before boarding your flight. We hope you’ll be leaving with wonderful memories and funny stories from your first spectacular adventure together as a married couple.
From romantic nights spent glamping in the wilderness to sailing through an enchanting bay of islands and driving your way through breathtaking scenery, you’ll have shared some truly special experiences together.