Lo­cal Es­cape

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.

New Zealand Weddings - - TRAVEL - By PAMELA MCIN­TOSH

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.

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