The Perfect Itinerary For New Zealand’s North Island—Even For Couples Who Are Polar Opposites
New Zealand is the ideal place for honeymooning couples with diverse interests. Idyllic island life is never far away, even if you are in a city as bustling as Auckland. In the same day, you can attempt an adrenaline-pumping bungee jump or walk 192m up in The Sky Tower, then go soaring above islands and a volcanic crater with Auckland Seaplanes, en route to Waiheke Island, a favourite with seafood- and wine-lovers. Relax with local wines, freshly-shucked oysters and tasty mains at The Oyster Inn, whose outdoor seating is perfect for savouring sparkling sea views.
For more magical nature moments, Taupo is only a 50-minute flight away from Auckland. Take the evening flight to descend into the city in a glorious sunset that cloaks the emerald fields with a golden sheen. Taupo is a trout-fishing and adventure-activity haven, including skydiving, river-rafting and hiking. Outdoor experience operator Chris Jolly Outdoors offers guided walks, fly fishing excursions and scenic cruises where you can spend a lazy day sailing in the picturesque 616sqkm Lake Taupo and visiting the famous 14m-high Maori Rock Carvings at Whakamoenga Point, all from the comfort of boats equipped with full bar facilities, flush toilets and lounge-style cabins. For a romantic soak, visit the adults-only natural thermal springs at Wairakei Terraces then pick up some unique glass sculpture souvenirs at the Lava Glass Studio on the way home.
Golf enthusiasts will love The Lodge at Kinloch, which has the only Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in the country. The interiors of the lodge’s villas and common spaces is a design dream that artistically blends leather and velvet elements with sculptural accessories to create cosy corners. There are plenty of options to fill your days: get a traditional Maori massage, tee off with PGA professionals on a “Work the Ball” familiarisation course or have a taste of the wilderness at nearby sister lodge Treetops Lodge & Estate.
In the same area is Huka Lodge draped in contemporary hunting lodge chic, where couples can step out from their suites to stroll along the Waikato River together with ducks and birds ambling on the grassy banks. Inflite Charters Taupo has helicopter flights from the lodge’s front lawn that will take you on a breathtaking journey over the Huka Falls and Lake Taupo town.
From Taupo, take a scenic two-hour drive to Hawke’s Bay with views of rugged hills, beautiful valleys and gentle plains. Stop by the Waiarua Falls look-out to take a picture with the twin waterfalls and walk to the hot springs from Tarawera. On the weekend, head to Napier’s open-air Urban Farmers’ Market to mingle with the locals and pick up artisanal products, and have fun learning about the city’s history in an Art Deco Vintage Car tour.
Cheese expert Juliet Harbutt’s Hunter-Gatherer tour is a must-try as she takes you to her favourite artisanal producers of olive oil, cheese and figs, shows you the secret spot for foraging wild spinach, and prepares a meal at her home with herbs and vegetables from her garden, complete with playful Winston, her Jack Russell, bringing gnawed pine cones to your feet. Instead of driving, try the eco way of visiting vineyards such as Elephant Hill and Clearview Estate Winery by renting a bicycle from Coastal Wine Cycles.
The lodges in this region will blow your mind away. The Owner’s Lodge at Craggy Range is a stunning four-bedroom classic country lodge set among the Giants Winery grape vines and flanked on one side by the majestic Te Mata hill range. At the 6,000-acre The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, it may be difficult to tear away from the cosy modern farmhouse villa interiors, but you must make time for walks and picnics among roaming sheep and nesting gannet colonies. End your stay with a private stargazing session, where the two of you will definitely wish upon a star to return for more fun-filled memories.