14-Day Honeymoon and Couples Itinerary for the North Island
Two weeks is more than enough time to explore more of the North Island than the average traveller, making your honeymoon or romantic getaway to New Zealand’s North Island all the more special. This North Island honeymoon and romance itinerary for two weeks encapsulates glorious beaches, off-the-beaten-track destinations, geothermal oddities, mountains and volcanos, as well as some must-visit locations you probably already have on your agenda. Start planning your two-week honeymoon on the North Island with this specially curated itinerary or simply scroll to the bottom to see how to plan this itinerary the EASY way with First Light Travel.
Before we get started, be sure to bookmark The Honeymoon & Romance Guide to New Zealand for even more honeymoon tips.
14-Day North Island Honeymoon Itinerary: Overview
- Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Waitomo
- Day 2 – Waitomo to Rotorua
- Day 3 – Rotorua to Whakatane
- Day 4 – Whakatane to the East Cape
- Day 5 – The East Cape to Gisborne
- Day 6 – Explore Gisborne
- Day 7 – Gisborne to Napier
- Day 8 – Explore Napier
- Day 9 – Napier to Taupo
- Day 10 – Taupo to Ohakune
- Day 11 – Explore Ohakune
- Day 12 – Ohakune to the Ruahine Forest Park
- Day 13 – Ruahine Forest Park to Wellington
- Day 14 – Wellington to Wellington Airport (or Train Station)
How to Get Around the North Island in 2 Weeks
Follow the exact route of this North Island two-week honeymoon and romance itinerary by self-driving. We give tips on hiring a vehicle below, as well as additional (and alternative) transport methods to use for travelling for two weeks around the North Island on your honeymoon.
Rental Car or Campervan
Your second most important road trip companion (after your other half, of course), a rental vehicle gives you full freedom to explore all of the destinations mentioned in this itinerary. Use a rental company that has depots in Auckland and Wellington where this itinerary begins and ends. Start your research with The Guide to Renting a Car or The Guide Renting a Campervan in New Zealand.
Speaking of this itinerary starting in Auckland and ending in Wellington, you may need to return to Auckland to catch a flight off the North Island. A special way to do that is via the Northern Explorer train journey, which you can learn more about in the Train Network in New Zealand.
An alternative way to get between Wellington and Auckland, if needed, is by taking a flight from Wellington Airport to Auckland Airport. Find out more in our guide to Domestic Flights in New Zealand.
If you would rather not drive yourselves around the North Island, escorted bus tours provide an effortless option. However, these tours follow their own set itinerary; not the one listed below. Check out a range of tours in The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the North Island.
Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Waitomo
Travel time: 2 hours
Welcome to the North Island of New Zealand! We hope you got some rest on the plane because we’re making sure you waste no time in picking up your rental vehicle and getting out of Auckland to discover the real New Zealand. Your first destination is Waitomo.
If you’re setting off in the morning, you’ll have a little time to spice up your drive with a 20-minute detour to the Pirongia Forest Park for its excellent bush walks or a 25-minute detour to the gorgeous Hamilton Gardens. You can learn more about the latter, as well as other things to do in the city, in the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Hamilton.
Once you arrive in Waitomo, you’ll have the chance to hop on one of its exciting glowworm tours. It could be a walking tour through the candlelit caverns of the Footwhistle Cave, a private cave tour with Glowing Adventures or an epic caving adventure with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. Compare all of your options in the 8 Best Waitomo Cave Tours.
Romantic Experiences in Waitomo
- Delve into the candlelit caverns of Footwhistle Cave with Cave World Waitomo
- Embark on a private glowworm cave tour with Glowing Adventures
- Take on a caving adventure with the Black Water Rafting Co.
- Stroll hand-in-hand along Waitomo’s walking trails
- Tackle the Timber Trail together with an overnight package with Timber Trail Lodge.
Take a look at the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Waitomo for more explanation on each experience.
Romantic Accommodation in Waitomo
See the 5 Most Romantic Accommodations in Waitomo for more information on these romantic stays.
Day 2 – Waitomo to Rotorua
Travel time: 1 hr 50 mins
If your honeymoon isn’t complete without Hobbits then take a 20-minute detour to Matamata on your way to Rotorua today. Learn more about the Hobbiton Movie Set tour on Viator and Klook. Otherwise, the most direct route to Rotorua has you passing nearby the Putaruru Blue Spring/Te Waihou Walkway. You might as well take a 10-minute detour for its fairytale-like setting of clear water moving through verdant reeds. Take a picnic for a romantic touch.
Once you reach Rotorua, check-in at your accommodation and experience some of the evening activities the tourist hub has to offer, such as seeing the beautiful light displays of the Redwoods Treewalk or kayaking under glowworms of Lake Rotoiti with River Rats or Paddle Board Rotorua (more info on Viator and Klook).
Romantic Experiences in Rotorua
- Kayak or SUP through a cave of glowworms with River Rats or Paddle Board Rotorua (more info on Viator and Klook)
- Enjoy the views and the ride of a guided horse trek with Adventure Playground Rotorua
- Walk hand-in-hand on Rotorua’s picture-perfect walks
- Unwind in a natural mineral hot pool at the Polynesian Spa (on Klook and KKday)
- Roll down a hill in a giant hamster ball together at Zorb.
For more information on each activity, check out the 10 Romantic Things in Rotorua.
Romantic Accommodation in Rotorua
- Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel
- Geyser Lookout BnB
- City Lights Boutique Lodge
- Ngamihi Lodge
- Regent of Rotorua
For more information on our top recommended accommodation, check out the 15 Most Romantic Accommodations in Rotorua.
Day 3 – Rotorua to Whakatane
Travel time: 1 hr 10 mins
Today, you make your way to Whakatane and the Bay of Plenty to start your road trip with beautiful beaches and stunning coastline.
While a worthy thing to do in Whakatane is to seek out the spectacular Otarawairere Bay and Ohope Beach, a must-do is a trip to the island sanctuary of Moutohora Eco Sanctuary. You can get there by sailing with ProSail or an eco-tour with Moutohora Island Tours.
Romantic Experiences in Whakatane
- Discover Whakatane’s most romantic beach, Otarawairere Bay
- Enjoy a long walk on Ohope Beach
- Hit the cycle trails together like the Ohope Harbourside Trail
- Have a picnic and enjoy the views from the Kohi Point Lookout
- Sail over to Moutohora Island (Whale Island).
For more information on each experience, check out the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Whakatane.
Romantic Accommodation in Whakatane
For more information on our top picks, take a look a the 10 Most Romantic Accommodations in Whakatane.
Day 4 – Whakatane to the East Cape
Travel time: 1 hr 35 mins to 4 hours depending on East Cape accommodation
Your East Cape road trip begins today, where you can follow a more detailed itinerary in our Eastland Road Trip Itinerary, following it in reverse.
In short, stop by beaches in Torere, enjoy some breathtaking coastal scenery between Opotiki and Maraehako Bay, climb the steps to the East Cape Lighthouse, take a snap of the Maori church at Tikitiki, visit Tolaga Bay Wharf, walk the Cooks Cove Walkway and more. Of course, you may do some of these activities tomorrow, depending on where you choose to stay, as accommodation is scattered across the Pacific Coast Highway.
Romantic Experiences on the East Cape
- Watch the first coastal place in New Zealand to see the new day with the sunrise at the East Cape Lighthouse
- Admire the East Cape’s beautiful churches like Tikitiki Church and Raukokore Church
- Enjoy a scenic walk together on the Cooks Cove Walkway
- Walk the longest pier in New Zealand at Tolaga Bay
- Cycle the Dunes Trail in Opotiki.
Romantic Accommodation on the East Cape
Day 5 – The East Cape to Gisborne
Travel time: 1 hr 25 mins to 3 hrs 50 mins depending on East Cape accommodation
You’ll notice that the East Cape has a more relaxing pace of life, so embrace it by spending some time revelling in the tranquillity of your coastal accommodation this morning.
It’s also likely that you still have some of the East Cape activities ahead of you so take your time today to hit some of the highlights before arriving in Gisborne.
Once you arrive in the main hub of the region, you can spend it watching the stars on a special tour with Gisborne Astro Tours or snuggling up in the cutest darn cinema you ever did see at the Dome Cinema. You have more time to experience Gisborne’s more extravagant activities tomorrow.
Romantic Accommodation in Gisborne
- Matawhero Wines
- Tatapouri Bay
- Cedar House
- Whispering Sands Beachfront Motel
- Portside Hotel – Heritage Collection
For more information on our top recommendations, check out the 10 Most Romantic Accommodations in Gisborne.
Day 6 – Explore Gisborne
Perhaps after watching the sunrise from Waikanae Beach (or shamelessly enjoying a lie-in), you can go on a mini road trip together to the Rere Waterfall, Rere Rockslide and Eastwoodhill Arboretum. On your way back, stop by romantic wineries, like the Millton Vineyards & Winery. Alternatively, learn something new together like surfing on Waikanae Beach.
Romantic Experiences in Gisborne
- Learn to surf together with Surfing with Sarah or Salt Shack Surf School
- Snuggle up in a beanbag while watching a movie at the Dome Cinema
- Visit the romantic Rere Waterfall and Eastwoodhill Arboretum
- Do some stargazing with Gisborne Astro Tours
- Taste Gisborne’s wines, craft beers and ciders
- Smell the flowers at the Botanical Garden.
For elaboration on each experience, take a look at the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Gisborne.
Day 7 – Gisborne to Napier
Travel time: 3 hours
You have an exciting road trip ahead today, so get started early! On your way out of Gisborne, consider stopping by Gisborne Railbike Adventure for their unique way to see the stunning coastline.
The next worthy stop is Morere with its off-the-beaten-track hot pools hidden among New Zealand’s very own native palm trees called nikau. There are also some short walks to enjoy between delving into caves and walking among verdant coastal forest. Check out the walks on the Department of Conservation website.
Finally, you’ll reach Napier where you can be forgiven for wanting to just collapse on the bed of our hotel or lodge suite. No worries, as you have plenty of time to explore tomorrow. If you need dinner recommendations, check out The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Napier and The Food Guide to Napier.
Romantic Accommodation in Napier
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 10 Most Romantic Accommodations in Napier.
Day 8 – Explore Napier
A romantic day in Napier can go either one of two ways; both are amazing for couples. One way, you could cycle between the wineries of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s oldest wine region. Bikes, transport and everything you need can be provided by City Bike Hire & Tours or Tākaro Trails Cycle Tours. Another way is an adventure to see majestic seabirds nesting at the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony. Either get there on a free day walk at low tide or with Gannet Safaris Overland.
Romantic Experiences in Napier
- Explore Napier and its wineries by bike with City Bike Hire & Tours or Tākaro Trails Cycle Tours
- Enjoy a guided tasting at the Church Road Winery
- See the love birds of the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony with Gannet Safaris Overland
- Enjoy a romantic hike through Hawke’s Bay’s lush landscapes
- Explore Napier in style on a private vintage VW Combi tour with Avantogo Tours.
For more information on each experience, as well as locations, see the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Napier.
Day 9 – Napier to Taupo
Travel time: 1 hr 50 mins
Head over the hill today to Taupo, a town on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake. There are plenty of ways to spend your time here together, whether it’s paddling in a double kayak on Lake Taupo with Canoe and Kayak Taupo or doing something insane like a tandem bungy jump. The list of activities is extensive, so take a look at the 20 Amazing Things to Do in Taupo, as well as the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Taupo for inspiration.
Romantic Experiences in Taupo
- Cruise Lake Taupo at sunset with Sail Barbary (more info on Viator and Klook)
- Team up in a double kayak and paddle to the Maori Rock Carvings with Canoe and Kayak Taupo
- Sooth the senses with a soak at Taupo DeBretts Resort
- Conquer the fear together at Taupo Bungy
- Explore the steaming and colourful landscapes of the geothermal park, Orakei Korako.
For elaboration on each experience, see the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Taupo.
Romantic Accommodation in Taupo
- Phoenix Resort
- The Cove
- Hilton Lake Taupo
- Flying Trout Boutique Lodge
- The Reef Resort – Heritage Collection
Get more inspiration on places to stay in the 10 Most Romantic Accommodations in Taupo.
Day 10 – Taupo to Ohakune
Travel time: 1 hr 45 mins
Crossing the centre of the North Island is quite the journey, so let’s get into it by starting with a super scenic drive alongside New Zealand’s largest lake.
As you reach the Tongariro National Park, keep your fingers crossed for a clear day to soak in the magnificent views of three dramatic volcanoes. Take a 15-minute detour to Whakapapa Village where you’ll find short walks like that to Tawhai Falls, as well as the 2-hour Taranaki Falls Track.
Finally, you’ll reach Ohakune which is your base for exploring the volcanic landscape of the Tongariro National Park. Get yourselves a bite to eat using the recommendations in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Ohakune.
Romantic Accommodation in Ohakune
For elaboration on each accommodation, check out the 10 Most Romantic Accommodations in Ohakune.
Day 11 – Explore Ohakune
If the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is on your honeymoon/romantic getaway must-do list, today is your chance to do it with shuttles providing access to the Crossing from Ohakune. Check out the Tongariro Crossing Accommodation and Transport: A Practical Guide to plan your hike.
Other highlights of the area include the awesome cycle trail of the Ohakune Old Coach Road, as well as the multi-day canoe trip known as the Whanganui Journey. If you don’t have the time for a multi-day trip, however, day trips on the Whanganui River to the Bridge to Nowhere are worth it.
Romantic Activities in Ohakune
- Tackle the Tongariro Crossing together
- Test your teamwork in a canoe on the Whanganui Journey
- Experience the Ruapehu scenery with Ruapehu Homestead Horsetrekking
- Cycle the Ohakune Old Coach Road
- Learn to ski together on Mt Ruapehu.
For more details on each experience, check out the 7 Romantic Things to Do in Ohakune.
Day 12 – Ohakune to the Ruahine Forest Park
Travel time: 1 hr 10 mins to 1 hr 45 mins depending on Ruahine accommodation
Today you escape to your own piece of North Island wilderness in/on the edge of the Ruahine Forest Park. The journey there takes you through towns with themes not quite associated with honeymoon romance; Waiouru is the base of the New Zealand Army and home to the National Army Museum while Taihape is the “Gumboot Capital of New Zealand”… Fun to check out nonetheless!
Romantic Things to Do in the Ruahine Forest Park
- Do grade 5 white water rafting on the Rangitikei River with River Valley Lodge
- Horse trek together at River Valley Lodge or Makoura Lodge
- Explore the Limestone Creek glowworm caves
- Walk to a hut with some exceptional North Island views in the Ruahine Forest Park
- Do a road trip down the Pohangina Valley.
Romantic Accommodation in the Ruahine Forest Park
Day 13 – Ruahine Forest Park to Wellington
Travel time: 2 hrs 50 mins to 3 hrs 40 mins depending on Ruahine accommodation
Set your sights on the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington. But first, you have a long drive ahead, which you can break up by stopping by a few charming rural towns like Mangaweka with its charming cafe and gallery, Bulls with its many “bull” puns, Feilding with its must-visit farmers market, and more. Stop for a stroll along the beaches of Queen Elizabeth Park in Paraparaumu before finally reaching Wellington.
You might have time to enjoy some of the free stuff like wandering around the romantic Botanic Garden or visiting the national museum of New Zealand, Te Papa. Check-in at your hotel and treat yourselves to dinner following the recommendations in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Wellington.
Romantic Accommodation in Wellington
- Naumi Studio Hotel Wellington
- Thorndon Heritage Listed Villa
- Pacific View Bed and Breakfast
- Quest on Johnston
- Mövenpick Hotel Wellington
For more information on each accommodation, see our 10 Most Romantic Accommodations in Wellington.
Day 14 – Wellington to Wellington Airport (or Train Station)
It’s your last day on the North Island and your final chance to explore Wellington. Of course, what you are able to do depends on what time you need to leave, but we’ve listed a few ideas below.
Romantic Experiences in Wellington
- Walk hand-in-hand through the Botanic Garden
- Join the love birds in the Zealandia Ecosanctuary
- Learn something new together in the city’s museums
- Be whisked away in the romantic helicopter tour with champagne by Wellington Helicopters
- Join a foodie tour, whether it’s a chocolate factory tour or cocktail tasting.
For more information on each activity, see 10 Romantic Things to Do in Wellington.
One option is to fly back up to Auckland if you’re leaving the North Island via Auckland International Airport. Alternatively, spend the whole day getting back up to Auckland on a romantic train journey on the Northern Explorer.
Plan This Honeymoon Itinerary with First Light Travel
If you like this North Island honeymoon and romance itinerary for two weeks but don’t like the hassle of planning everything yourself, then there’s a way to lighten the load. First Light Travel is an online travel agent specialising in honeymoon itineraries in New Zealand. Plus, using their service is super simple:
- First, send First Light Travel an enquiry by completing their online form
- Then, you’ll receive your customised honeymoon itinerary
- Review your itinerary and work with your First Light Travel agent on perfecting it
- Finally, First Light Travel will organise the rest including the bookings.
First Light Travel has access to more than 20,000 travel products, including almost all the tours and accommodations featured on this list (and more). With that and their local expertise here in New Zealand, they will create a well-catered honeymoon itinerary to meet your needs while also suggesting some dream travel experiences that you may have never heard of. They only work with companies where their past clients have had positive experiences, so you know you’re in good hands.
What’s more, all of the bookings are arranged by First Light Travel, so instead of having to contact each individual accommodation and operator should your travel plans change, any amendments can be done through your FLT agent – easy! Did we mention the service is at no extra cost to you?!
For more information on planning your own New Zealand itinerary, see How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary. Or better yet, jump on firstlighttravel.com and start making your own itinerary there.
More About a North Island Honeymoon and Romance Itinerary for 2 Weeks / 14 Days
That’s it for our North Island honeymoon and romance itinerary for 14 days. If that wasn’t the itinerary you were looking for, check out these alternative 14-day itineraries:
- North Island in 2 Weeks: New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand Honeymoon Itinerary: 2 Weeks
- South Island Honeymoon Itinerary: 2 Weeks
- North Island Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 2 Weeks
- North Island Luxury Itinerary: 2 Weeks
- North Island Food Itinerary: 2 Weeks
- How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary
Finally, get more advice on planning more of your couples’ trip to New Zealand with The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to New Zealand.