New Zealand: An Island Getaway Like No Other

On a New Zealand honeymoon, you will be able to explore a country full of Maori culture and famous for its breathtaking backdrop to the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies. New Zealand is an island country made up of two main islands and many smaller ones, all located about 1500 km east of Australia in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

New Zealand Honeymoon

New Zealand offers a unique mix of Māori culture, Western influence, and spectacular natural beauty.

The two major islands are separated by the Cook Straight, some 22km wide at its narrowest point, with the two islands being topographically diverse, one sporting the Southern Alps, and Mt. Cook, the other dormant volcanoes. Thousands of miles of coastline, unique creatures like the kiwi bird, a mild maritime climate and many diverse things to do all make New Zealand a wonderful honeymoon destination.

The country is also blessed with hot springs, some of the best scuba diving spots in the world, and beautiful natural places like the famous Milford Sound and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Some visit New Zealand for her natural attractions, others go for an adventure vacation while still others go for her fabulous wines and culinary wonders or to explore the major cities like Wellington, Auckland, or Christchurch.

Come along as we discover some of those can’t miss features and culinary treasures that make New Zealand an island getaway like no other.

Getting to New Zealand

You can travel to New Zealand by air or cruise ship. From the west coast of the United States, New Zealand is only a 12 hour flight away. It is closer to the United States than its neighbor Australia, and as the Air New Zealand flights leave at night, you can sleep on the way. San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver, BC offer non-stop flights to the country. There is also a newer non-stop route that goes from Houston to Auckland direct.

Cruises to New Zealand are also popular choices, as you can discover all that she has to offer in one trip.  Some Australian cruises incorporate New Zealand, or look for one that is just NZ, depending on your preferences.

American citizens will need a valid passport to enter and exit New Zealand, where the currency is the NZD.

New Zealand: An Island Getaway Like No Other

On a New Zealand honeymoon, you will be able to explore a country full of Maori culture and famous for its breathtaking backdrop to the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies. New Zealand is an island country made up of two main islands and many smaller ones, all located about 1500 km east of Australia in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

New Zealand Honeymoon

New Zealand offers a unique mix of Māori culture, Western influence, and spectacular natural beauty.

The two major islands are separated by the Cook Straight, some 22km wide at its narrowest point, with the two islands being topographically diverse, one sporting the Southern Alps, and Mt. Cook, the other dormant volcanoes. Thousands of miles of coastline, unique creatures like the kiwi bird, a mild maritime climate and many diverse things to do all make New Zealand a wonderful honeymoon destination.

The country is also blessed with hot springs, some of the best scuba diving spots in the world, and beautiful natural places like the famous Milford Sound and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Some visit New Zealand for her natural attractions, others go for an adventure vacation while still others go for her fabulous wines and culinary wonders or to explore the major cities like Wellington, Auckland, or Christchurch.

Come along as we discover some of those can’t miss features and culinary treasures that make New Zealand an island getaway like no other.

There are several great things to do in New Zealand for honeymooners, so let’s take a look to see what each of the islands has to offer.

What to see on New Zealand’s North Island

The Maori culture is alive and well on the North Island, where visitors can check out the Tamaki Maori Village to learn traditional games, partake in the traditional cuisine and learn the culture of the first inhabitants on the island. Rotorua is the town where this village is located, and is also home to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, where you can walk through craters, take a boat cruise, watch the geysers and marvel at the other thermal features like hot springs and bubbling ponds. For more thermal surprises, head to Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland, a colorful volcanic area where you can see a champagne pool, steaming ground, bubbling mud and glorious vistas. For a relaxing change of pace, immerse yourself in the thermal pools and bath houses that are scattered around this part of the country.

Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in the country, and as you would expect from a big city, there are plenty of museums, points of interest and of course, a multitude of things to do. Hauraki Gulf is one such place that is a must-see for a day trip from Auckland. It boasts 47 islands full of beaches and bays and is a great place for water activities, lazing on the sand and taking in the breathtaking scenery. Rangitoto Island is what is left from a volcano that last erupted some 600 years ago. Today visitors can go bird watching, swimming, fishing or hiking around the island, and to the top of the volcano for splendid views. Speaking of views, you won’t want to miss the Skytower, the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere. You can go to the top to sightsee or dine and for the real thrill seekers among you; bungee jumping from the summit is not to be missed. If bungee jumping isn’t for you don’t worry, you can go on the Skywalk, in full body harness around the top of the tower, free from rails and free to see the expansive view from the outside. The Auckland Zoo is always a good choice for a day amid the animals, and you will see plenty of them, some 750 in fact, in natural surroundings in a park like setting. Also on solid ground is the Coast-to- Coast Walkway, a sign posted trip from one end of the city to the other with lots of things to do and see along the way, including stores, restaurants, kiosks and the beautiful harbor. Still not finished with the sights in Auckland? Not to worry, you can take to the lovely Harbor Bridge to walk or climb for even more views of the city and surrounding areas.

The capital of New Zealand is the city of Wellington, sitting on the southwest tip of the North Island between the Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range.  This lovely city also boasts lots of interesting things to do like a visit to the Museum of New Zealand where you can discover all of the country in one building. It is packed with treasures, history, stories, artifacts and art from all over the country, blending the influences and culture of the peoples who inhabit it. Located on the waterfront, this museum is a must see and best of all admission is free. ZEALANDIA: The Karori Sanctuary Experience is something unique to Wellington, as a conservation attraction allowing visitors to see rare and native plants and wildlife in a setting free of predators, but still as they would be in the wild itself. Night safari tours are available, or visit by day to see all of these magnificent creatures, many indigenous to the country. Another must-do in Wellington is a trip to Mt. Kaukau, full of trails, lookouts and fabulous views, especially from the top. The Wellington Cable Car can also take you on a great tour up, but through the city. This treasure first hit the rails more than one hundred years ago and is still the way to see the city, with stops at some of the most popular attractions. Stop at the Botanical Garden and go for a tour, or stop at Kelburn Lookout and check out the free Cable Car Museum with its history and collection of old cable cars. For a quiet, relaxing afternoon, you won’t want to miss Oriental Bay, a beach with warm sand and cool waters, perfect for that hand-in-hand stroll or jog on the beach. Ice cream kiosks, bike paths and views of the city make this a paradise all its own.

What to see on New Zealand’s South Island

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island, located on the east coast, and known as the gateway to the Antarctic both because of its location and its history of Antarctic explorers. Perhaps one of the most interesting places to see, especially if you are from a warm region of the world is the International Antarctic Center where you are treated to all things cold. From the snow room, always at a balmy -5C to a simulated blizzard, Hagglund ride, and some of the cutest penguins around, this place is a treat for the senses, whether you take to the ice slope or the simulated 4D movie ride with incredible sights of the region. The Banks Peninsula, just outside Christchurch is something out of postcard, with many bays, campgrounds, vistas, shops and cafes all within beautiful surroundings. There are bays just for surfing with remarkable waves, those with calm waters perfect for swimming, and plenty of trails, rolling hills and wildlife just waiting to be explored. The South Island is known for its breathtaking beauty with another must-see in Mt. Pakaki, an area with glacial lakes, snow-capped mountains in the background and plenty of peaceful trails and walks make for a lovely picturesque way to spend the afternoon. Picnic, hike or simply sit and admire the views in the clean mountain air, this area is also splendid for romantic sunrises and sunsets.

One of the most, if not the most popular tourist attraction in all of New Zealand is Milford Sound, a fjord on the southwest side of the island located in Fjordland National Park. This largest National Park in the country is also a World Heritage Site and home to dolphins, whales, penguins and seals, not to mention the scenery. An underwater tourist observatory allows you to see rare black coral, boat rides take you to some of the best photo destinations in the country and the unspoiled wilderness will inspire with its unsurpassed beauty.

New Zealand has plenty of things to see on land, but also one of the best places to scuba dive in the world in Poor Knights, located just 24 km off the coast. This marine reserve is home to thousands of fish, underwater arches, caves, islands of steep cliffs and so much more, making it a highlight of your vacation.

Where to Eat in New Zealand

Of course there are literally thousands of places to eat in New Zealand and take part in the unique culinary treasures. Here then is just a sampling of restaurants found in the cities of Rotorua, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Rotorua:

Mokoia Restaurant is a seafood spot featuring Pacific Rim cuisine, tasting platters and unforgettable romantic meals surrounded by incredible décor, ambiance and attentive service. If you want to explore International Pacific fusion cuisine, the Regent of Rotorua deserves a visit. Sharing plates, tapas and exquisite dishes are served either inside with a courtyard view or outside on the courtyard under the stars. Herbs and Spice may be off the beaten track, but this unassuming little restaurant boasts some of the best Thai food in the country. It is an intimate venue for understated elegance in its signature dishes.

Auckland:

SidArt is an intimate restaurant with a creative culinary team that has mastered the art of degustation dining. The extensive wine list, signature dishes and beautiful view of the lights over Auckland make SidArt the place to eat for a romantic dinner in the city. If your cuisine choice is European and more notably French, you won’t want to miss The French Café. Tasting menus, fine dining options, premium wines and courtyard/garden views are the hallmarks of this bistro -like establishment. For unforgettable New Zealand cuisine, head to Cibo, where the exotic and the familiar are fused into incredible dishes. Inside or out, the seating is charming, the menu creative and the atmosphere outstanding.

Wellington:

Fine dining need not be stuffy and pretentious, and the people at Logan Brown make sure of that at their stylish restaurant. Serving a contemporary menu with an extensive local wine list, you can also partake in afternoon tea, or sample degustation and bistro menus. The Larder is a restaurant that is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and offers a quirky, eclectic menu for all, including fresh and organic ingredients at every turn all in a stylish and chic atmosphere. For a lovely romantic evening for two, head to the Boulcott Street Bistro, an elegant escape from the city in a cosy cottage feel establishment. It is unpretentious and serves hearty meals amid the lovely atmosphere in its out of the way locale.

Christchurch:

When you think of French restaurants, usually romantic is the first word that springs to mind. At St. Germain, this is what you get, in spades. An elegant and cosy space, St. Germain features local products and an impressive wine list. Pure decadence right in the city. The Cornershop Bistro blends Mediterranean and French fare with seafood and is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Nestled in the seaside village of Sumner, this restaurant features candle lit dinners for two with lovely views. Not to be outdone, Flames is an Italian restaurant in town that is small, but has tons of signature dishes like fresh, homemade pasta, gnocchi, risotto and steaks. The seasonal menu rotates during the year at this lovely establishment located at the base of Mt. Pleasant.

So much to see, so much to do and so many memories that will last a lifetime, this is what beautiful New Zealand offers, and why it is truly an island getaway like no other.

New Zealand: An Island Getaway Like No Other

On a New Zealand honeymoon, you will be able to explore a country full of Maori culture and famous for its breathtaking backdrop to the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies. New Zealand is an island country made up of two main islands and many smaller ones, all located about 1500 km east of Australia in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

New Zealand Honeymoon

New Zealand offers a unique mix of Māori culture, Western influence, and spectacular natural beauty.

The two major islands are separated by the Cook Straight, some 22km wide at its narrowest point, with the two islands being topographically diverse, one sporting the Southern Alps, and Mt. Cook, the other dormant volcanoes. Thousands of miles of coastline, unique creatures like the kiwi bird, a mild maritime climate and many diverse things to do all make New Zealand a wonderful honeymoon destination.

The country is also blessed with hot springs, some of the best scuba diving spots in the world, and beautiful natural places like the famous Milford Sound and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Some visit New Zealand for her natural attractions, others go for an adventure vacation while still others go for her fabulous wines and culinary wonders or to explore the major cities like Wellington, Auckland, or Christchurch.

Come along as we discover some of those can’t miss features and culinary treasures that make New Zealand an island getaway like no other.

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