My husband Ryan and I had been dreaming about a European adventure for years, but when it came to deciding where to go on our honeymoon, we chose a different destination. Such a big trip would require a lot of planning time, leave and money that is hard to come by while also planning a wedding. Instead we chose somewhere closer to home where we could relax and enjoy each other’s company while still seeing the sights. That place was New Zealand.
Unlike a lot of places, I hadn’t seen a thousand postcard pictures, plus Ryan organised the whole thing, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I woke up every day without knowing what to expect and every day I was blown away by something new. We started our trip in Auckland:
It was pretty and had lovely architecture but I was itching to get out of the city and see the natural wonders. We picked up our hire car and zoomed down to the Paeroa area, where we stayed in cabin-style accommodation at a cute winery.
The highlight of this area was visiting the stunning Waitomo Caves (where unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures). You are guided through the amazing limestone caves until you reach a pitch black underground lake and are taken out on a rowboat to see what looks like a blanket of stars but is actually the ceiling completely covered in glowworms. It was a breathtaking sight I’ll never forget.
New Zealand is known as the adventure destination of the world, but hell would freeze over before you’d ever get me to fling myself out of a plane or head-first off a bridge. Now, Zorbing on the other hand, was my kind of ‘extreme’ sport because it reminds me more of fun than of, say, suicide.
The thermal park at Rotorua was very smelly, of course, but incredible and eerie.
As a big fan of early 20th century design, the art deco city of Napier was a definite highlight for me.
We dined at a gorgeous church converted into a restaurant.
It has to be said that we don’t mind the odd drop, so it was off to the wine region of Hawke’s Bay.
Apart from wine, there’s also plenty of delicious icecream and cheese to be sampled.
We finished our first of two weeks in a pretty little seaside town called Akaroa, which still retains the influence of its original French settlers.
What a gorgeous view to wake up to!
A highlight was swimming with dolphins.
The landscape changes from rolling green hills to jagged snowy mountains as we head south to beautiful Lake Tekapo.
All rugged up for some late-night star gazing.
Luging down the mountain was quite possibly the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.
Enjoying a cocktail in a bar made entirely of ice.
Just outside Queenstown is a quaint little former goldmining town called Arrowtown, chock-a-block with charming cafes and shops.
We definitely kept the best ’til last. The Fjordlands are an incredible area with a striking combination of tropical rainforests, snow-capped mountains and island-dotted bays. Most tourists go to the more popular Milford Sound but, after soliciting advice from numerous locals, we opted for the quieter Doubtful Sound. Originally named Doubtful Harbour, it got its unusual name when cartographers misunderstood Captain Cook’s handwriting on a map to mean that’s what he had named the harbour, rather than noting his concerns about its suitability for use as a port of anchor.
Christchurch is a very English looking city, with lots of gorgeous Tudor and Gothic architecture. We didn’t get to spend much time there, which saddens me as many of its most beautiful historic buildings have since been destroyed during the subsequent earthquake.
Our honeymoon was Ryan’s first overseas trip and our first trip together that was longer than a weekend, so it was really special. New Zealand provided the perfect combination of relaxation and activities. We had the best time and I’d recommend it to anyone.
Ms Gingham says: I love seeing photos of New Zealand. It’s a country with so much natural beauty. Thanks to Alicia for sharing her beautiful honeymoon with us.
Hi, my name is Alicia and I am a paper addict. I love designing quirky invitations through my business Akimbo. I’m also the Atypical Type A, my blog where I share projects and inspiration for home, parties and weddings.