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.

New Zealand Weddings - - CONTENTS - By PAMELA MCIN­TOSH

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.


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.



“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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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