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.
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.
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
On our return to Picton, we spent the day visiting wineries in the Marlorough region, with a special stop at Montana (Brancott Estate).
We drove along the coast to Kaikoura, a seaside village surrounded by snow capped mountains.
The drive there was amazing with stunning views along the east coast.
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!
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
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.
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