New Zealand’s South Island is home to some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes, and with a population of only one million people, choosing where to honeymoon can be an overwhelming task. After all, in this storybook land of rugged glaciers, forgotten fjords, white sand beaches and famous vineyards, there really isn’t a bad place on the island to spend one of the most momentous holidays of your life.
After an event-filled wedding, one thing that honeymooners never really want to be a part of is crowds. Luckily for those looking to honeymoon on New Zealand’s South Island, however, finding a quaint corner to skirt the crowds is never really much of an issue.
Two such places, Nelson and Marlborough, are situated at “the top of the South” in an area which receives the most sunshine hours of anywhere in the country. Both are home to South Island wine-tasting tours, rural bed and breakfasts, and in the Marlborough Sounds you can find a secluded cove in which you can sip wine and pass the day watching the tide. Or, for those looking for a touch more adventure that’s still away from the crowds, drive from the vineyards of Nelson to the nearby shores of Golden Bay, where it’s still possible to standup paddle with seals and stingrays, off-road to empty dunes, or trek through pastures to a long stretch of sand where the only footprints in the sand are your own.
While the northern areas are easy for those taking the ferry from Wellington, most international visitors will arrive into bustling Christchurch. Despite being the urban center of the South Island, honeymoon retreats such as the French colonial outpost of Akaroa or the rural vineyards of Waipara are both under an hour away. Or, if honeymooning during the winter months, consider soaking in the thermal pools around Hanmer Springs before hitting the slopes of the Southern Alps.
Further south, young honeymooners seeking outdoor thrills and adventures will want to head to the adrenaline-packed slopes and shores of Queenstown, the adventure travel capital of New Zealand. While the adventure options around Queenstown are an undoubted draw, a more secluded option is to head just 90 minutes north to Wanaka, a lakeside retreat at the base of Mt. Aspiring National Park where you can hike, boat, bike and explore with a fraction of the crowds.
Finally, no honeymoon trip to the South Island of New Zealand is complete without a trip to the deep South and Fiordland. A mystical landscape glacially carved over thousands of years , the cascading waterfalls and deeply-gouged fjords make venturing into Fiordland one of the most iconic voyages found anywhere on the South Island. While trekking, kayaking, and touring Milford Sound is the most popular option, the lakeside town of Manapouri and Doubtful Sound offer just as stunning scenery in a more secluded and private setting.