Swap pricey international air fares for a luxe honeymoon right here in Aotearoa. Here’s three regions we recommend and where to go, where to stay and, yes, what to eat.
Swap pricey international air fares for a luxe honeymoon right here in Aotearoa. Here's three regions we recommend
Sure, exotic and far-away lands are full of exciting opportunities for romantic, relaxing or adrenalin-racing adventures. But before you update your passport and book the travel insurance, why not consider something a little closer? What you save on air tickets you can spend on amazing experiences right here in New Zealand. For your first holiday as Mr and Mrs, tick off some must- dos in the place you call home – it’s where the heart is, after all.
Waihi Beach is a small beachside town that exudes a laid-back holiday atmosphere while still offering modern comforts ( like luxury accommodation and a morning latte and pastry!). Explore this paradise by hiking the well-marked track over the headland to Orokawa Bay. Soak up the spectacular ocean views along the 45-minute walkway and enjoy a picnic on the sand under the pohutukawa. Afterwards, treat yourselves to a blissful massage, reflexology or reiki treatment from local wellness practitioners, or join a local yoga class during your stay.
Eat Secret Garden Smoothies, coffee and tasty treats in a Balinese-inspired garden.
WHITE ISLAND AND TAURANGA
SS Helicopters’ White Island Volcano Adventure is a unique experience: visiting a continuously active, living and breathing volcano is rapidly becoming a must- do for international visitors and locals alike. White Island ( Whakaari) lies 49 kilometres from Whakatane, and is one of the world’s most accessible volcanoes. Most of this geological giant lies underneath the water, but the top 321 metres sticks out above the ocean, forming a circular island that’s about two kilometres wide. On a clear day you can see billowing clouds of steam rising out of White Island’s vent from the Bay of Plenty coastline, but seeing it up close is something exceptional. After your day of adventure enjoy dinner in Tauranga and then treat yourself to a night (or two) at boutique accommodation beauty, The French Country House.
Eat Nomads Seasonal food, global twist. Macau Delicious Asian fusion.
VISITING AN ACTIVE VOLCANO IS RAPIDLY BECOMING A MUST-DO FOR VISITORS AND LOCALS ALIKE.
“The Mount” is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, with one of New Zealand’s most popular beaches on one side of its peninsula, and the sheltered Pilot Bay on the other. The iconic mountain is steeped in Maori history, and you will see several historic pa sites (villages) as you explore the hiking tracks. After your walk, take a swim and indulge in some alfresco dining at the many seafront foodie spots. Then wander around the corner for some boutique shopping. EAT Mount Bistro A 10-year history of good food and great times, founded by multi-award winning chef Stephen Barry. Flour and Water All food cooked via grill or woodfire oven. Postbank Fine dining in an historic building. BAY OF PLENTY ISLANDS CRUISE Spend a day on board the Bay Explorer. Discover the beautiful Bay of Plenty islands and catch a glimpse of the abundant marine life including orca, dolphins and seal colonies. If you’re feeling adventurous, grab one of the kayaks or stand-up paddle boards available on the deck. The crew will lower them into the water for you at a quiet and restful bay.
A fresh barbecue lunch is included aboard the cruise – it’ll be all you need.
CYCLE THE VINES IN MARTINBOROUGH
CYCLE THE FLAT ROADS IN MARTINBOROUGH; LINED WITH VINEYARDS AND OLIVE GROVES.
For those who enjoy cycling and tasting premium wine, then this is a mustdo. The roads in this region, just an hour north of Wellington, are flat and wide and lined with vineyards, olive groves and farms. Grab a wine map from the Martinborough iSITE and hire a bike – whether that be a single speed cruiser, mountain bike, trike, tandem, or even a four- to six-seater brightly covered quadri- cycle. Wineries are located close to each other and you’ve a good chance of meeting the winemaker and hearing their story first-hand.
Eat Poppies After your wine tasting, order a few share platters.
GO BACK IN TIME IN GREYTOWN
One of New Zealand’s best kept secrets and arguably the prettiest main street in the country, Greytown is becoming a popular spot for all ages with new businesses popping up on the regular. Amongst its treelined avenues and colonial buildings you’ll find designer fashion boutiques and retro stores as well as contemporary homeware, art and furniture. Treat yourself to a handcrafted truffle at Schoc Chocolate – a popular chocolate studio next to Cobblestones Museum. Eat Food Forest Organics Owned by filmmaker, James Cameron. The White Swan For fine dining, live music and accommodation.
CASTLEPOINT AND GLADSTONE
Make an early trip (or stay in Castlepoint the night prior) to watch the sunrise from the spectacular beach settlement. See the 100-year- old lighthouse standing proud on the limestone reef and walk around the gorgeous blue lagoon. Complementing the natural scenery is Castle Rock – a collection of Kiwi baches and idyllic places to fish, surf and walk. On your return journey, stop in at Bar Salute, which is chef Travis Clive- Griffin’s place; he’s recently opened a cooking school run out of his rural lifestyle property in Gladstone.
Eat The General Store For top notch fish and chips.
Cute villages and dramatic geography dominate this ruggedly beautiful coastline. The Putangirua Pinnacles are some of the most amazing rock formations you’ll ever see (Peter Jackson filmed there for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King). In clear weather, you can see across Cook Strait to the tip of the South Island. It’s a two- hour round trip to get there
from the next centre, so take a picnic or snacks and plenty of water. Watching the sunset over Lake Onoke is a romantic way to end the day. Eat Lake Ferry Pub Seafood is a must-try on this menu.
DISCOVERING THE NEW CHRISTCHURCH
A lot has changed in central Christchurch after the devastating earthquake of 2011. The city is in rebuild status, and what is popping up is truly spectacular. After a leisurely breakfast in picturesque New Regent Street, punt down the Avon River (with a guide, no energy required from you) to familiarise yourself with the city and its landmarks. Next up, some retail therapy at The Tannery Complex – filled with quality items, ethical purchases and local crafters and artisans’ treasures – and the Re:START container mall, which is made out of brightly coloured shipping containers. Eat Pescatore An award-winning spot with seafood at its heart. The Tannery A hub of boutique cafes, shopping and bars. Shop Eight A delightful wine bar and intimate dining room that has hosted Kiwi food royalty – Ray McVinne and Annabel Langbein.
NORTH CANTERBURY WINE REGION
Head north from Christchurch for superb landscapes courtesy of weaving rivers, dramatic coastline and the mighty Southern Alps. You’ll also find passionate people producing award-winning wines and tempting food and produce. Enjoy succulent seafood fresh from the Kaikoura coastline, locally made cheeses, and olives and olive oils from hillside groves. In the beautiful Waipara Valley, soak up vineyard settings over lunch, and make sure you do a cellar door tasting while you’re there.
Eat Brew Moon Tuck into some craft beer and wood-fired pizzas, along with platters of local food.
THRILL SEEKER HURUNUI AND HANMER SPRINGS
Walkers of all abilities are well catered for in this region. There are some incredible short strolls (or longer hikes) with spectacular views: Hanmer Springs offers amazing forest walks while the Weka Pass Walkway takes you by ancient Maori rock art. Relax your muscles with a spa treatment or facial at Hanmer Springs Hot Pools and Spa, then enjoy a steamy dip in the heated private or public pools. Eat Pegasus Bay Vineyard Local dining amid breathtaking scenery. Black Estate A contemporary setting with three organic hillside vineyards on clay limestone soils in the Waipara. Get your blood pumping with adrenalin-inducing activities like jet boating, rafting, or perhaps a bungy jump, in Hanmer. (Some might say that taking a leap of faith together is a great way to follow up the vows you just made to each other!)
EatMalabar Restaurant With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and fusion cuisine, this stop- off is a favourite with locals.
Opposite page The view from Mount Maunganui. Left Waihi Beach. Right Flat White Cafe. Below right The Farm Room at The French Country House. Flat White Café & Restaurant A super chic beachfront spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 175 NEWZ EA L A...
Above A rugged coastline wraps around Cape Palliser. Left Delve into boutique and artisan stores at Christchurch’s The Tannery. Right Get your heart racing with some of the South Island’s most adrenalinheavy activities.