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Adam and I spent three weeks traveling around the South Island of New Zealand in February and March 2010. I planned the first half of the honeymoon, visiting lots of wineries, restaurants, seaside towns and luxury resorts. Adam planned the second half of our trip, which was filled with adventure activities and glacier walks. It was great that we could combine both our interests into one amazing holiday!

We were treated to lots of sunshine and beautiful warm weather. It was the perfect time for us to visit New Zealand. After a short flight from Melbourne, we arrived in Wellington to connect to a 30 minute flight to Nelson, at the top of the South Island.

After hiring our car for the next three weeks, we drove to Ruby Bay in the Nelson region, only a short drive from the Abel Tasman National Park.

Abel Tasman National Park

We stayed at Ruby Bay Vineyard www.rubybayvineyard.co.nz for three nights in their beautiful cottage. It was the perfect beginning to our trip, and one of the highlights for both of us. We had stunning views of the vineyard, Tasman Bay and beyond, and enjoyed their selection of single vineyard wines. The local town of Mapua was only 5 minutes drive, with a great choice of waterfront restaurants, cafes and boutique stores.

Ruby Bay Cottage

Ruby Bay Cottage view

Ruby Bay Cottage kitchen

From there we drove to Picton, a picturesque town in the Marlborough region. This is where the ferries arrive from Wellington, and where the Marlborough Sounds begin. We caught a water taxi out into the Sounds, and were greeted by dolphins swimming alongside us.

Picton

We arrived at The Bay of Many Coves resort www.bayofmanycoves.co.nz where we were greeted by the staff on the jetty. The resort was amazing, if only we could have stayed more than one night! Our private balcony looked out into the bay, and was so secluded and peaceful. We had the most amazing dinner in their 5 star restaurant, and took a night walk to find the glow worms.

Bay of Many Coves Resort

Deck at Bay of Many Coves Resort

Balcony view

On our return to Picton, we spent the day visiting wineries in the Marlorough region, with a special stop at Montana (Brancott Estate).

Montana Winery

We drove along the coast to Kaikoura, a seaside village surrounded by snow capped mountains.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura Beach

The drive there was amazing with stunning views along the east coast.

Lake Tekapo

After a couple of days we headed inland to Lake Tekapo, famous for its glacial turquoise lake. We took a drive to the alpine village of Aoraki Mount Cook, to see New Zealand’s highest mountain and the famous Southern Alps.

One of the highlights of our honeymoon was spending a week in Queenstown. We stayed at The Rees Hotel www.therees.co.nz which we cannot recommend enough. The staff were lovely and the rooms were beautiful, looking out onto Lake Wakatipu. The concierge at the hotel organised our helicopter flight over Queenstown, a Shotover Jet ride through the river canyons and Adam’s skydive experience with NZONE. I convinced Adam to do the 15,000ft 60 second freefall, while I relaxed in the spa and watched movies!

Queenstown

Queenstown

During our stay in Queenstown we drive down to Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park. We spent two nights in a riverside chalet at the Milford Sound Lodge www.milfordlodge.com with the heaviest rainfall we have ever seen! It created thousands of waterfalls through the Sounds, which we were able to see on a cruise Adam had planned. It was a wonderful experience to stay in such a pristine natural environment.

Helicopter at Queenstown

Milford Sound

Waterfall at Milford Sound

Back in Queenstown we enjoyed our last few days touring the region for wineries and exploring historic Arrowtown. This is a former gold mining town, and the main street and lanes are filled with galleries, shops, restaurants and a boutique cinema. It’s a beautiful area only 20 minutes from Queenstown, and it’s definitely worth a visit!

We spent the remaining of our honeymoon driving up the west coast with stops at Wanaka, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. We returned our hire car at Greymouth, where we took the TranzAlpine scenic train to Christchurch. It was a beautiful journey although we much preferred having our hire car and our own space.

Fox Glacier

With a very early flight the next morning, we stayed at a hotel close to the Christchurch airport. After 3 incredible weeks we returned home, with definite plans to one day return to New Zealand, hopefully in the not too distant future!

Ms Polka Dot says: What a beautiful place New Zealand is – and a perfect place for a honeymoon to suit all tastes, whether active and adventurous, or pampering and luxurious! Thank you Belinda and Adam for sharing your honeymoon trip with us.

You can see Belinda and Adam’s sweet purple themed wedding here

Photography by Belinda and Adam


Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

I thought I’d introduce a new column to Polka Dot Honeymoons- a style guide if you will, of the perfect outfit for your honeymoon adventures.

First up – an Autumn day of sight seeing in New York City. A walk through Central Park, an elevator ride up the Empire State Building, a ferry over to the Statue Of Liberty.  Today’s outfit is classic New York black with a twist- your favourite jeans with layers of warm knits. A funky scarf for a splash of colour with comfortable but stylish ballet flats. Accessorise with a stylish handbag that isn’t easy to undo but can hold your guidebooks, phone and tourist trinkets! For a nod to the home of Tiffany & Co we can’t go past a Return To Tiffany necklace with a sweet double Alice band to keep windswept hair looking neat.

Riders By Lee Bumster Skinny Alpha Wash Jean from Just Jeans, Tiffany & Co Return To Tiffany Heart Tag Pendant, Trenery Soft Diamond Scarf, Saba Mimi Knit Top, Christian Dior Sunglasses from ESunnies, Draped crossover knit from Country Road, Mimco Turnlock Ziptop Handbag, Witchery Double Alice Strand Headband, Trenery Ella Ballet Flat, Tiffany & Co Silver Hoops

When trying to conjure up images of the best place for sun, relaxation and romance it’s hard to go past Thailand. With that in mind, the decision for Peter and myself to go to Phuket for our 10 day honeymoon was a relatively easy one. Deciding which resort to stay in however, was a little more difficult. There were so many choices of beautiful romantic looking resorts with breathtaking views, incredible looking restaurants and rooms ranging from cosy to decadent that it took us a little while to finally settle on our resort destination, The Mövenpick Resort and Spa at Karon Beach.

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We hoped we’d chosen the right resort and the night we turned up, we knew we had. Despite our long day traveling from Hobart (Tasmania) to Phuket we were so excited to arrive and were greeted at the resort by the beautiful Thai staff who gave us warm tea and flower bracelets and showed us to our ‘plunge pool villa’ room.

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We walked in to see the bed decorated with rose petals in the shape of a heart and a tropical fruit platter placed delicately next to the bed. The deep spa bath was also dusted with rose petals and there were robes laid out for us in the bathroom. So many lovely touches made us feel we were truly on our honeymoon.

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The next day we got up to explore the resort and its surroundings. The beach is located within a five minute walking distance, although you have to get there early to reserve a spot, and there’s a fee to use the deck chairs.

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Although the beach was beautiful and we enjoyed taking a dip in the turquoise water, it was extremely crowded and we found the pool at the resort to be a more relaxing and chilled atmosphere. We were particularly happy when we saw a swim up bar! We spent the first couple of days of our honeymoon relaxing, reading, swimming and chatting and it was an amazing feeling to unwind after what was a very busy time leading up to the wedding.

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We decided that although tempting to not leave the resort, we had to get out there to see some more of this amazing country so we booked in a few day trips, including seeing the wonderful rescue gibbons at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, with the concierge at the resort.

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The most romantic of these day trips was a snorkeling trip out to Phi Phi Islands. We met up with the group early in the morning and after some safety chats and some ‘don’t worry there are no sharks around there’ pep talks (addressed mainly to me…) we took off by speed boat to the first of the islands. We stopped at a bay with water so clear it was sparkling and dove into the salty sea for a quick dip.

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Peter and I were clearly the honeymooners as we clung to each other and blissfully bobbed around the beautiful waters. We were then taken to Maya Beach where ‘The Beach’ was filmed and we swam and snorkelled our way around the island. The fish were of course beautiful and in abundance so it took a while to get used to them swimming and brushing up around our legs. We visited a total of four islands that day, each more gorgeous than the next.

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We were lucky enough to have Valentines Day on our honeymoon, and the resort put on a very special night. There were around 20 tables situated around a large open area, and every table was decorated beautifully. On arrival we were given a glass of Moët, and I was given a long stemmed red rose and a red heart balloon – sitting outside on a warm evening listening to the live band, it really was the epitome of romance for us honeymooners. We were served a decadent seven course meal including sorbet served in ice sculptures. It was one of the most memorable moments of our honeymoon.

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We fit in a lot during our time at Mövenpick, including visiting the resort’s spa where we were treated to a wonderful couple’s massage including a body scrub and spa bath soak.

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In terms of honeymoon romance, Phuket is a pretty perfect destination with a mix of beauty, relaxation and plenty of fun day trips. We plan on heading back there for an anniversary to relive all our wonderful memories….

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Ms Polka Dot says: What a beautiful place Phuket is – yes, we always knew it – but to swim in that beautiful water and watch that gorgeous sunset – pure bliss! Thank you Claudia and Peter for sharing your honeymoon story with us.

Photography by Claudia and Peter