14-Day Honeymoon 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 on New Zealand’s North Island all the more special. This North Island honeymoon itinerary for two weeks encapsulates glorious beaches, off-the-beaten-track destinations, geothermal oddities, mountains, 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.
How to Get Around the North Island in Two Weeks
Follow the exact route of this two-week honeymoon itinerary by self-driving. We give tips on hiring a vehicle below, as well as additional (and alternative) transport methods to use for travelling 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 Campervan in New Zealand.
- Train – 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.
- Domestic flights – 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.
- Escorted tours – 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 Activities in Hamilton for Couples.
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 (on Viator and Tripadvisor), a private cave tour with (on Viator and Tripadvisor), or an epic caving and tubing adventure (on Viator and Tripadvisor). Compare all of your options in the 8 Best Waitomo Cave Tours.
Honeymoon Activities in Waitomo
- Delve into the candlelit caverns of the Footwhistle Cave with Cave World Waitomo (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Embark on a private glowworm cave tour with Glowing Adventures (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take on a caving adventure with the Black Water Rafting Co. (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Stroll hand-in-hand along Waitomo’s walking trails
- Cycle the Timber Trail together (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
Take a look at the 8 Romantic Activities in Waitomo for Couples for more explanation on each experience.
Honeymoon Accommodation in Waitomo
See the 5 Best Romantic Accommodation in Waitomo for more information on these romantic stays.
Day 2 – Waitomo to Rotorua
Travel time: 1h50mins
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 Tripadvisor. 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 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Honeymoon Activities in Rotorua
- Kayak or SUP through a cave of glowworms (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Enjoy the views and the ride of a guided horse trek (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Walk hand-in-hand on Rotorua’s picture-perfect walks
- Unwind in a natural mineral hot pool
- Roll down a hill in a giant hamster ball together (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For more information on each activity, check out the 10 Romantic Activities in Rotorua for Couples.
Honeymoon Accommodation in Rotorua
- VR Rotorua Lake Resort
- Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort
- Treetops Lodge & Estate
- Solitaire Lodge
- Hamurana Lodge
For more information on our top recommended accommodation, check out the 10 Best Romantic Accommodation in Rotorua.
Day 3 – Rotorua to Whakatane
Travel time: 1h10mins
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 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 catamaran with ProSail or an eco-tour with White Island Tours.
Honeymoon Activities in Whakatane for Couples
- Discover Whakatane’s most romantic beach, Otarawairere Bay
- Enjoy a long walk on Ohope Beach
- Hit the cycle trails together
- 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 8 Romantic Activities in Whakatane for Couples.
Honeymoon Accommodation in Whakatane
- Tuscany Villas
- White Island Rendezvous
- Quayside Luxury Apartments
- Ohope Beach Resort
- 37 The Landing Motel
For more information on our top picks, take a look a the 9 Best Romantic Accommodation in Whakatane.
Day 4 – Whakatane to the East Cape
Travel time: 1h35mins 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: Gisborne to Opotiki, 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, hike up Mt Hikurangi, 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.
Honeymoon Activities 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
- Hike up the culturally significant Mt Hikurangi
- Admire the East Cape’s beautiful churches like Tikitiki Church and Raukokore Church
- Enjoy a scenic walk together on the Cooks Cove Walkway
- Cycle the Dunes Trail in Opotiki
Honeymoon Accommodation on the East Cape
Day 5 – The East Cape to Gisborne
Travel time: 1h25mins to 3h50mins 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 hitting 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.
Honeymoon Accommodation in Gisborne
- Tatapouri Bay
- Cedar House
- Portside Hotel – Heritage Collection
- Whispering Sands Beachfront Motel
- Waikanae Beach Ocean View Apartments
For more information on our top recommendations, check out the 5 Best Romantic Accommodation 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 the romantic wineries, like the Millton Vineyards & Winery. Alternatively, learn something new together like surfing on Waikanae Beach.
Romantic Activities in Gisborne
- Learn to surf together
- Snuggle up in a beanbag while watching a movie at the Dome Cinema
- Visit the romantic Rere Waterfall and Eastwoodhill Arboretum
- Do some stargazing on a special astronomy tour
- 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 Activities in Gisborne for Couples.
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.
After a quick pitstop in Wairoa for brunch or lunch, adventurous couples can take a mesmerising and adrenaline-fuelled journey down the Mohaka River with Mohaka Rafting. Check out Viator and Tripadvisor for more information on this white water rafting trip.
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 Guide to Napier and The Foodie Guide to Napier.
Honeymoon Accommodation in Napier
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 10 Best Romantic Accommodation in Napier.
Day 8 – Explore Napier
A honeymoon 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 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Tākaro Trails Cycle Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor). 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 (on Viator or Tripadvisor).
Honeymoon Activities in Napier
- Explore Napier and its wineries by bike (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take a guided winery tour of the Church Road Winery (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- See the love birds of the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony (on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Enjoy a romantic hike through Hawke’s Bay’s lush landscapes
- Explore Napier in style on a private vintage car tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
For more information on each experience, as well as locations, see the 10 Romantic Activities in Napier for Couples.
Day 9 – Napier to Taupo
Travel time: 1h50mins
Head over the hill today to Taupo, a town on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake. There’s plenty of ways to spend your time here as newly-weds, whether it’s paddling in a double kayak on Lake Taupo (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or doing something insane like a tandem bungy jump. The list of activities is extensive, so take a look at the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Taupo, as well as the 10 Romantic Activities in Taupo for Couples for inspiration.
Honeymoon Activities in Taupo
- Cruise Lake Taupo at sunset (more info on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Team up in a double kayak and paddle to the Maori Rock Carvings (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Sooth the senses with a soak in the hot pools (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Conquer the fear together in a tandem bungy jump
- Explore the steaming and colourful landscapes of a geothermal park (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
For elaboration on each experience, see the 10 Romantic Activities in Taupo for Couples.
Day 10 – Taupo to Ohakune
Travel time: 1h45mins
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.
After the town of Turangi, stop by Lake Rotopounamu for its lush native forest and gorgeous lake views. Take a picnic to have on one of the lake’s three beaches.
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 Guide to Ohakune.
Honeymoon Accommodation in Ohakune
For elaboration on each accommodation, check out the 10 Best Romantic Accommodation in Ohakune.
Day 11 – Explore Ohakune
If the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is on your honeymoon 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.
Honeymoon Activities in Ohakune
- Tackle the Tongariro Crossing together
- Test your teamwork in a canoe on the Whanganui Journey
- Experience the Ruapehu scenery on a horse trek
- Cycle the Ohakune Old Coach Road
- Learn to ski together on Mt Ruapehu
For more details on each experience, check out the 7 Romantic Activities in Ohakune for Couples.
Day 12 – Ohakune to the Ruahine Forest Park
Travel time: 1h10mins to 1h45mins 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 in the “Gumboot Capital of New Zealand”… Fun to check out nonetheless!
The Ruahine Forest Park has a wealth of attractions, including white water rafting (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), horse trekking (on Viator and Tripadvisor), the Limestone Creek Reserve Glow Worm Caves and walks in the Ruahine Ranges.
Honeymoon Activities in the Ruahine Forest Park
- Do grade 5 white water rafting on the Rangitikei River (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Horse trek together at River Valley Lodge (on Viator and Tripadvisor) 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
Honeymoon Accommodation in the Ruahine Forest Park
Day 13 – Ruahine Forest Park to Wellington
Travel time: 2h50mins to 3h40mins 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 aeroplane cafe, 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 Guide to Wellington.
Honeymoon Accommodation in Wellington
For more information on each accommodation, see our 10 Best Romantic Accommodation 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.
Honeymoon Activities in Wellington
- Walk hand-in-hand through the Botanic Garden
- Join the love birds in the Zealandia eco-sanctuary (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Learn something new together in the city’s museums
- Be whisked away in the romantic helicopter tour with champagne (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Join a foodie tour, whether it’s a chocolate factory tour or cocktail tasting
For more information on each activity, see 10 Romantic Activities in Wellington for Couples.
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. Find out more on Viator or Tripadvisor.