Put your passport away and book a getaway that’ll show you the best of your backyard. Here, two of our favourite Kiwi destinations. Your minimoon begins now.
Embrace the natural beauty of our backyard. Your mini-moon begins here.
What could be more romantic than kicking back in a luxury lodge surrounded by pristine mountains, wandering through tranquil native forest or taking a road trip down Taranaki's Surf Highway? Envisage a getaway with no foreign currency required, where you can take in the best of our beautiful country, from the serene Southern Lakes, to the lively culture scene of Taranaki. There's plenty on offer for adrenaline-junkies and laid-back lovers alike.
FOR ADVENTURE SEEKERS: GLENORCHY
Stay Blanket Bay One of the world’s best luxury lodges, boasting magnificent mountain and lake views from all rooms and suites. Kinloch Lodge Stay in one of the EcoScapes, designed and built with local green technology. Camp Glenorchy Book a cosy cabin at New Zealand’s first Net Zero energy campground. Opening late December, 2017.
MORE THAN A JET BOAT RIDE
Take a day to celebrate being newlyweds and explore the heart of Mount Aspiring National Park, first by jet boat and then on foot. Your spectacular 35-kilometre jet boat trip will take you soaring up the Dart River, where you can then take your loved one’s hand and wander through native forest. You’ll be amazed at the tranquility and beauty of the wilderness. Break for a picnic lunch by a glassy mountain lake and be joined by New Zealand’s bird life – bush robins, fantails and tomtits. After lunch, explore the area and maybe even visit a secret cave that only your guides know about.
Eat Kinloch Lodge Enjoy fantastic home-style cooking in the quirky restaurant, or soak in the lake views on the deck outside.
A UNIQUE HORSEBACK ADVENTURE
Romantic spots are aplenty in the South Island, but nothing beats riding a horse through beautiful braided rivers, with mountains behind you and fields of lupins all around. A two-hour horse trek at the head of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s longest lake, will ensure your minimoon is one to remember. Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden a horse – riders of all levels are catered for. And if you and your spouse love horses and are experienced riders, you’ll be impressed with the condition and quality of these animals. You may even be able to enjoy a longer trek with options for cantering and trotting.
Eat Glenorchy Cafe A Glenorchy institution with fantastic coffee and lunchtime fare – their berry cake is not to be missed.
Mrs Woolly’s General Store Takeaway wraps and delicious treats. Sawyers Restaurant Sample the freshest of local produce on offer.
Get up- close with nature as you gently paddle across the crystal clear waters of the Dart River.
DRIFT INTO THE HEART OF NEW ZEALAND Take an amazing journey on an inflatable kayak deep into the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park. Get up- close with nature as you gently paddle across the crystal clear waters of the Dart River and its hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms. Combining an hour of high-speed jet boating and an hour of floating downstream, your experience will include a picnic lunch and glimpses of famous movie locations. You and your other half will be safe in the hands of professional and friendly guides as you explore the magnificent Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.
EAT Bold Peak Lodge Meet the locals and enjoy cold beers at the Humboldt Bar.
END ON A THRILL IN QUEENSTOWN
After a relaxing weekend in Glenorchy, why not end your minimoon with a fleeting visit to nearby Queenstown before you head back to reality? Only a 45-minute drive from Glenorchy, Queenstown offers a range of activities and places to eat. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a thrilling ride on Shotover Jet. This Queenstown jet boat ride speeds up to 90 kilometres per hour through canyons on the Shotover River, skimming across as little as 10 centimetres of water. It’s certainly one way to spice things up!
Eat Rata Treat yourself at this award-winning restaurant, run by Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett.
Madam Woo Malaysian-style hawker food – always bright, fresh and vibrant. Our pick is the pulled pork hawker roll.
A GEM FOR ALL TRAVELLERS: TARANAKI
STAY King and Queen Hotel Suites Located in the arts and culture hub of New Plymouth, this luxury boutique hotel offers cutting- edge architectural design and magnificent views.
Nice Hotel Built in 1870, New Plymouth’s oldest wooden building has been lovingly restored and filled with an eclectic range of art and furnishings to create the perfect blend of old and new.
Ahu Ahu Beach Villas Perched on a clifftop and surrounded by farmland, these villas boast expansive views over Taranaki's surf coast. The accommodation is crafted with recycled materials.
DISCOVER NEW PLYMOUTH You'll quickly find New Plymouth is a hive of activity, from its large street art murals and public art sculptures to its on-trend cafes and art and design stores. Pop into the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, housed in a shimmering stainless steel façade, or immerse yourselves in Taranaki's past, present and future with a visit to Puke Ariki, the original pa site of the great Maori chief, Te Rangi-apiti-rua. For spectacular newlywed photo opportunities, you don't want to miss a visit to Pukekura Park, or the international award- winning Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, for incredible views of Mount Taranaki.
Eat Monica's Eatery A restaurant inspired by the life and spirit of Monica Brewster, founding patron of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. MOUNT TARANAKI POUAKAI CROSSING Fancy yourselves an adventurous couple? Take a day to walk the Mount Taranaki Pouakai Crossing with Top Guides. The expert team will show you the best of the mountain, with breathtaking summit and landscape views that vary from alpine to lush forest, with the route passing beneath towering lava cliffs and the remarkable Ahukawakawa wetland. It’s a hard climb, but in the evening you can recuperate and rejuvenate in the warm mineral waters of the Taranaki Thermal Spa, or book yourselves in for some serious indulgence: a relaxing and romantic couple's massage.
Eat The Hour Glass New Plymouth's top wine bar offers a sophisticated vibe and great selection of craft beer, good wine and classic cocktails.
TARANAKI ROAD TRIP
The scenic Surf Highway 45 presents the perfect opportunity for your first road trip together as newlyweds. There are plenty of stop-offs to choose from – think Koru Pa, the shipwreck of the SS Gairloch or Dawson Falls and the Goblin Forest. The Tawhiti Museum in Hawera has been judged New Zealand's third-best museum, after Te Papa and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and is a must-visit for history buffs. If a dip in the sea sounds like you, make your way to local favourites such as Back Beach, Oakura Beach or Opunake Beach.
Eat Opunake Fish, Chips & More Singled out by Lonely Planet as an unmissable experience, this store contributed to the region's status of number two in the world to visit in 2017. ADVENTURES ON LAND, AND IN THE SKY New to the region, Back 2 The Wild is opening up central Taranaki for outdoor enthusiasts. You will be transported to Dawson Falls, then walk through the Goblin Forest before picking up mountain bikes for an exhilarating but smooth downhill ride while you soak up the fresh mountain air. End your journey at the horticultural oasis that is Hollard Gardens. A trip to Taranaki is not complete without experiencing this beautiful region from the air. From sunrise to sunset, Precision Helicopters will give you a memorable experience that will be sure to take your breath away. Eat Table at Nice Treat yourselves at the highly regarded Table restaurant at Nice Hotel, while sipping on delicious concoctions from their newly- opened cocktail lounge.
Far left Leisurely horse-riding at the majestic Lake Wakatipu. Left It’s all action on the Shotover Jet. Below
left Take it easy as you kayak through Mount Aspiring National Park.