My good friends Becky and Niall had a legendary wedding in Ireland in 2013, and they went on an equally amazing honeymoon in New Zealand the following year. It was well worth the wait! Read all about their incredible trip below, and remember that it’s never too late to honeymoon.
When and where did you honeymoon?
New Zealand, Oct-Nov 2014.
- 1 night in Auckland. Visited the SkyTower, took ferry to Devonport (Lorde’s hometown), and watched the Giants in the World Series!
- Flight from Auckland to Wellington, then Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton.
- 2 nights in Blenheim (Marlborough Wine Country). Stayed at the Marlborough Vintners Hotel (highly recommended). Did bike tour to visit three wineries: Hans Herzog, Cloudy Bay, and Wairau River Wines.
- 2 nights in Abel Tasman area at an amazing Airbnb (cottages on an organic farm). Highly recommend the guided day kayak + hike trip in Abel Tasman National Park with Marahau Sea Kayaks.
- 2 nights in Hokitika. Visited the Hokitika Gorge and the Glow Worm Dell.
- 1 night at Frank Josef Glacier. Did the Glacier Valley trail walk and visited the hot pools. Stayed at the Rainforest Retreat.
- 1 night in Wanaka. Hiked Mount Iron and visited lots of local watering holes.
- 1 night in Te Anau. Hiked the Rainbow Reach trail (park of the Kepler Track).
- 1 night in Milford Sound on an overnight cruise. One of the best nights of the entire trip! Can’t recommend it enough.
- 3 nights in Queenstown at the Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel. Love love loved it! Did the 5+ hour hike up Ben Lomond from the top of the gondola (tough but worth it!). Food highlights were Fergburger, Fishbones, and brunch at Vudu Cafe.
How long was your trip?
How did you decide on your honeymoon destination?
So as background, I’m from the SF Bay Area and we live here now, but my husband Niall is Irish. We met in Ireland and I lived there for 3 years. When we got engaged in San Francisco, we both knew right away we wanted to have the wedding in Ireland, both to accommodate elderly family on Niall’s side and because, well, it’s just an amazing place that is dear to our hearts. Given the wedding was a destination from our home in California, we were a bit maxed out on wedding planning to even think about a honeymoon. We ended up spending one week in the West of Ireland (Galway) after our wedding, but we considered that a somewhat faux or ‘group’ honeymoon because it included friends and family.
So… it was always in the back of our minds that we needed to take a proper honeymoon just the two of us. We considered all the regions & places in the world that neither of us had been to, and New Zealand kept rising to the top of our list. Given we are both light-skinned and get sunrash after 10 minutes of being at the beach, New Zealand’s fall climate was a big pro too. And last but not least, we love hiking, walking, animals, and wine, so New Zealand offered all those things in spades. Basically, it ticked all the boxes so we bit the bullet and booked the trip!
The best part about our honeymoon was…
We both loved the day trip we did kayaking + hiking in Abel Tasman National Park. It was out of our comfort zone because neither of us had ever done sea kayaking before, but wow it was just spectacular. First of all we got super lucky with the weather that day because the days leading up to it were a bit ‘changeable’ with periods of torrential rain and wind and then sunny moments. But on the kayak trip day there wasn’t any rain at all. And it was truly magical to be in a remote corner of the world, and even remote by New Zealand standards, out in a kayak just chilling with nearby sea lions swimming around.
Another reason we loved Abel Tasman area was where we stayed… 2 nights at a lovely AirBnb called Matahua cottages. We stayed in a private cottage on an organic farm overlooking a quiet inlet bay. It was only 5 mins drive to a little village area called Mapua with delicious seafood restaurants.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
I would try to go for an extra week if possible. Two weeks was a good chunk of time, but we really were pushing ourselves to see and do a lot. In the 2 weeks there we stayed in 9 different places, which is kind of crazy in retrospect. I love that we saw so much and really journeyed our way from Auckland to Milford Sound with stops along the way… but it also became exhausting at one point after we had 4 nights in 4 different places. By the time we got to Queenstown where we stayed our last 3 nights we were so glad to just stay in one town for a few days.