How to Plan a Couples’ Getaway to New Zealand
Embark on your new adventure together in the most adventurous country in the world! New Zealand’s natural wonders and active spirit is infectious, enabling you to enjoy exciting adrenaline, foodie and cultural experiences together. Additionally, with a diverse array of snow-capped mountains, golden-sand beaches, lush forests and reflective lakes, New Zealand can’t help but create a stunning backdrop to a honeymoon or romantic getaway. Plan yours with this complete honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to New Zealand.
How to Plan a Honeymoon or Romantic Getaway to New Zealand: Listen to the Article
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A Quick Intro About New Zealand
Location: New Zealand is a country in the continent of Oceania. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is approximately 1,500km (930 miles) east of Australia and around 1,000km (620 miles) south of the South Pacific Islands. Head to our article, Where is New Zealand? for more information.
Size: 268,021km2 (103483 mi2). New Zealand is long and narrow, approximately 1,600km (990mi) long and around 400km (250mi) at its widest point.
Climate: New Zealand has a diverse climate determined by the ocean, mountains and prevailing winds. The mean average temperatures are 10°C (50°F) in the South Island to 16°C (61°F) in the North Island. See The Guide to The New Zealand Climate or check out the “When to Visit New Zealand” section below.
Time zone: UTC/GMT+12
Population: 5 million. Learn more about New Zealand’s population in our article, Who are the New Zealand People?
Languages: English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language. Yes, we have an article on that too: What is the New Zealand Language?
Getting to New Zealand
First things first, you’ll need to see if you are able to travel to New Zealand due to restrictions put in place at the borders after the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit covid19.govt.nz for the latest travel information.
Next, how do you get to New Zealand? The best way is via the skies. Direct flights to New Zealand can be found in the US, Canada, South America, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific Islands. Coming further afield from destinations such as in Europe and you’ll need to catch at least one connecting flight. See our complete guide on how to get to New Zealand to dive deeper into the subject. Otherwise, here’s a quick rundown…
Flight Times to New Zealand
That’s right, New Zealand is far from pretty much everywhere. With that, flight times are long, as shown below with timings based on the most direct routes.
Argentina – 12h30min, Brazil – 15h30min, Canada – 16h30min, China – 13h30min, Denmark – 22h, Finland – 20h, France – 23h30min, Germany – 22h30min, Hong Kong – 11h, Israel – 32h, Italy – 22h30min, Japan – 11h, Korea – 12h, Malaysia – 11h, Netherlands – 22h30min, Philippines – 10h30min, Singapore – 10h30min, Sweden – 21h, Taiwan – 11h, United Kingdom – 22h30min, USA – 12h, Vietnam – 12h30min
Arriving in New Zealand: Where to Fly to and Airport Formalities
Most international travellers arrive in New Zealand at Auckland Airport (AKL) on the North Island. For starting your travels on the South Island, there are many connections to Christchurch Airport (CHC) and from Australia to Queenstown Airport (ZQN).
Note that limited flights also arrive from overseas at Wellington Airport (WLG) and Dunedin (DUD). Find out which airport makes the most sense for your honeymoon using our guide, Which Airport to Arrive in New Zealand.
On arrival at a New Zealand airport, you will experience strict biosecurity measures at the border. This involves declaring “risk items” that you have packed in your luggage, including common items like food and sports gear. Failing to declare such items can incur an instant NZ$400 fine, which wouldn’t be the best start to your honeymoon. Be prepared by following our advice in Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in a New Zealand Airport.
When to Visit New Zealand
When is the best time for a honeymoon or a romantic getaway to New Zealand? New Zealand is a year-round destination with each season offering its own charms. Even in summer, New Zealand experiences what locals like to call “four seasons in a day” meaning that the weather can change with little notice. For this reason, we do not recommend planning your honeymoon or couples’ getaway too much around the weather. Nevertheless, here’s an idea of New Zealand’s seasons.
Summer is the warmest time of year reaching highs of 25°C (77°F). Expect finer days than during the rest of the year. Summer is also the busy tourist season. Be prepared using our Packing List for Summer in New Zealand.
Autumn has milder temperatures anywhere between 6°C (43°F) and 20°C (68°F). Weather patterns start to become more interchangeable with a few more rainy days than summer. Check out our Packing List for Autumn in New Zealand to pack for the weather.
Temperatures can be anywhere between -3°C (27°F) and 15°C (59°F) depending on which parts of the country you are in. Snow falls in alpine regions. Winter is also the low season for tourism where you’ll find prices at their lowest. Again, we have a handy Packing List for Winter in New Zealand.
Temperatures rise again during this shoulder season, where lows are 2°C (36°F) and highs are 17°C (63°F). Expect a balance of fine and rainy days. See our Packing List for Autumn in New Zealand to pack right.
For more information on the climate, check out What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?
The Best Time for a Honeymoon or Romantic Getaway in New Zealand
Summer (December to February) is the most popular time to travel New Zealand when the weather is warm and fine to do just about any activity. With that, however, flights, tours and rentals are at their most expensive. A bit more forward-planning is also required to get your first choice of accommodation, rentals, etc. as many places book up quickly.
The off-season, i.e. winter, is the quietest and the cheapest time to travel with the exception of some of the ski resort towns, such as Queenstown, Wanaka and Ohakune. Of course, what some see as a negative is that the temperatures can get pretty cold, especially on the South Island.
Visiting in any of the shoulder seasons, i.e. from March to May and from September to November, brings warmer weather than winter along with more affordable travel deals. That’s typically the sweet spot for planning a romantic getaway or honeymoon to New Zealand.
You can dive much deeper into the subject in our guide, The Best Time to Visit New Zealand.
What to Pack for New Zealand
Just a large backpack or suitcase with a day pack each is all you need for New Zealand. By not overpacking, you’ll find it easier to move between accommodations or not make your rental campervan feel too cramped. New Zealand has plenty of shops and services should you need anything while you’re travelling.
Honeymoon Packing List
The key to packing lightly for New Zealand is versatile outfits. We recommend packing enough clothing for a week and using your accommodations’ laundry facilities. Some handy items to remember include:
- Leggings/sweatpants/hiking pants
- Shorts (summer)
- Hiking shoes
- Thermal underlayer (top and/or bottoms)
- Waterproof and windproof jacket
- Woollen socks
- A warm jacket (winter/spring/autumn)
- A selection of light tops
- Toiletries including a mini first aid kit, sunscreen and insect repellent
- New Zealand travel adapter
- Electronic device chargers (extra batteries are a good idea)
- If you plan on camping, pack a lightweight tent and sleeping mat, and/or for staying in huts, a 4-season sleeping bag and a torch/flashlight – see the Camping Essentials Checklist for New Zealand.
Get the full list in the New Zealand Packing List: What to Pack for New Zealand.
Visas, NZeTA and IVL
A tourist/visitor visa for New Zealand activates automatically upon entry to New Zealand for most passports, usually allowing visitors to stay for up to three months. You also may need to pay for an NZeTA and IVL before arrival.
New Zealand Travel Insurance
New Zealand has strict laws about having the appropriate ID to prove your age, for instance, when buying alcohol. Your passport is obviously coming with you to New Zealand, which is an accepted form of ID. For driving, bring your driving license – if your driving license is not written in English then it will need to be accompanied by an International Driving Permit.
The currency of New Zealand is New Zealand Dollars (NZD). There are plenty of ATMs in towns and cities where you’ll be able to withdraw cash. Credit cards, locally known as “EFTPOS“, are also widely accepted. However, there is a small fee with each overseas credit card transaction, so we recommend minimum withdrawals and paying for most things with cash. Get more tips on how to save money in our article, The Best Way to Pay in New Zealand.
How Long to Spend in New Zealand on Your Honeymoon or Couples’ Getaway
New Zealand is not your romantic weekend getaway destination. We’d even say that it’s barely worth coming for just a week!
Considering New Zealand requires lengthy flights and expensive airfares to get to, as well as so much to see and do along the winding roads, you are better off spending as much time in New Zealand as possible.
Nevertheless, we have an array of New Zealand honeymoon itineraries spanning from one week to one month, giving you an idea of what you can achieve in various timeframes.
1-2 Weeks in New Zealand
Within this time, you should explore just one of the main islands. Take a look at the itineraries:
- North Island Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: One Week
- South Island Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: One Week
- North Island Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: Two Weeks
- South Island Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: Two Weeks
If you really want to squeeze both islands into one trip, see how in our New Zealand Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: Two Weeks.
3-4 Weeks in New Zealand
Three to four weeks is the recommended timeframe for visiting New Zealand on a honeymoon. That way, you’ll have enough time to explore both the North Island and South Island comfortably. Get an idea of what you will have time to see in the itineraries:
The Best Ways to Get Around New Zealand on Your Honeymoon or Romantic Getaway
A big part of the New Zealand honeymoon or couples’ experience is the journey. That’s why your choice of transport is perhaps the most important decision you’ll make when planning. While everyone has an opinion, there’s no “best” way to travel around New Zealand; it depends on your tastes and budget. Dive into our guide, What is the Best Way to Get Around New Zealand? or get a quick overview below.
Experience ultimate freedom, privacy, easy driving and money-saving (compared to campervans) by renting a car. There is a huge range of car rentals available in New Zealand, from budget to lavish. Check them out in The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand, while getting some road trip tips in our Travel By Car in New Zealand Guide.
Driving a home-on-wheels is an extremely popular way to get around New Zealand, which is an experience in itself. With camping restrictions and camping vehicle maintenance, however, there are more costs and hassles than meets the eye. While campervan travel is fun, know what you’re getting yourselves into by reading: How to Travel by Campervan in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide. Plus, choose from the best in The Best Campervan Rental Companies in New Zealand.
National Buses (Public Transport)
If you don’t (or don’t want to) drive, plus save a ton of money on transport, national coach services offer the cheapest way of getting from A to B. Find out more about planning a trip by bus in our guide to the New Zealand bus passes.
Remove the hassle from your honeymoon by taking one of the structured tours around New Zealand. Some food and accommodation are included. There are numerous small-group bus tours available to share the experience with like-minded travellers.
Domestic Flights, Ferries and Trains
While you won’t be travelling extensively on planes, ferries and trains, these transport methods help you make connections when travelling between the North Island and South Island. Find out more in our New Zealand Train, Plane and Ferry category.
Still don’t know where to start? Start with the 10 Best Ways to Travel Around New Zealand.
Where to Go: The Most Romantic Places in New Zealand
Unless you’re lucky enough to visit New Zealand for more than a couple of weeks, you’ll have to make the tough choice between the North Island and South Island. How can we sum it up? Well, the North Island has your culture, beaches and volcanoes, while the South Island has your wilderness, wildlife and wonderful scenery. If you need more, see our North Island Vs. South Island guide.
Once you know which island, you’ll then need to handpick the destinations across New Zealand that speak to you. Below are links to our various honeymoon destination guides.
- Bay of Islands Honeymoon Guide – islands and beaches
- Auckland Honeymoon Guide – big city life
- Coromandel Honeymoon Guide – coastal heaven
- Taupo Honeymoon Guide – the largest lake
- Taranaki Honeymoon Guide – volcanoes and surf
- Wellington Honeymoon Guide – capital city vibes
- Picton Honeymoon Guide – water and wineries
- Nelson Honeymoon Guide – beaches and forest
- Kaikoura Honeymoon Guide – marine wildlife
- Franz Josef Glacier Honeymoon Guide – glaciers
- Queenstown Honeymoon Guide – adrenaline activities
- Stewart Island Honeymoon Guide – remote wilderness and wildlife.
Romantic Things to Do in New Zealand
New Zealand has so much to do that we could barely fit it all in our 101 Things to Do in New Zealand. Regardless, we recommend giving that article a browse to get an idea of the activities, attractions and tours available.
Of course, what you should do on your honeymoon or romantic getaway really depends on your tastes and interests. But we have to admit that there are certain experiences that can’t help but be utterly romantic, such as:
- Hot pools
- Wine tasting
- Helicopter excursions
- Bird sanctuaries
- Glowworm caves
- Horse trekking
… and much more! Don’t forget to browse our New Zealand Activities category listing everything Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand) has to offer.
Romantic Accommodation in New Zealand
Whether you’re on a budget or looking to seriously treat yourselves, there’s accommodation to suit in New Zealand. Although browsing our New Zealand Accommodation category will show you just about every place to stay in the country, here’s just a quick overview to give you an idea of places to stay with your boo.
New Zealand has a number of boutique lodges scattered across the country in both small towns and pristine wilderness. Get the cosy B&B experience to set the right tone for your honeymoon. Discover our recommendations in our New Zealand boutique lodges category.
Hotels are found in New Zealand’s larger cities and top tourist destinations, following the usual international standard with star ratings. See hotel listings in our New Zealand Hotels category.
Enjoy entire holiday homes, locally known as “baches” all to yourselves with plenty listed on booking websites like Booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb. See our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Airbnb in New Zealand, as well as listings in our New Zealand Holiday Homes category.
Stay in motel units, private cabins, glamping tents, tent sites or powered sites for campervans at this popular type of New Zealand accommodation. Get tips in our Accommodation Guide to Holiday Parks in New Zealand and check out listings in our New Zealand Holiday Parks category.
Campsites are where you can pitch a tent or park a campervan overnight, essential if you are travelling in a campervan! Find out more in our guide to Camping in New Zealand and check out listings in our New Zealand Camping category.
If you’re on a budget, it’s worth considering staying in a few hostels. Don’t worry, they have private rooms. They also have communal facilities, such as a kitchen, laundry and bathrooms. See What is a Hostel? to get an idea of how New Zealand does these backpacker accommodations. Plus, Check out listings for every town in New Zealand in our New Zealand Hostel category.
Dining and Self-Catering on Your Romantic Getaway to New Zealand
To wrap up your honeymoon or getaway into a perfect little bow, be sure to stop by plenty of New Zealand’s eateries. The country is brimming with cute cafes, while most restaurants offer a laidback atmosphere and dining. You’ll find fine dining establishments in the largest towns and cities, like Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown, but kicking back at the beach with a “fish and chips” is a more authentic Kiwi experience.
For dining recommendations, check out our New Zealand Foodie Guides. Plus, to learn more about the staples, like hangi, hokey pokey ice cream and pies, check out these traditional foods to try in New Zealand.
Self-Catering in New Zealand
Many accommodations have cooking facilities, so there’s no excuse to not enjoy some romantic nights in. Plus, buying groceries is much cheaper than eating out, so it’s highly recommended for couples on a budget.
Supermarkets are available in all towns, while villages are more likely to have a convenience store, locally known as a “dairy”. Farmers’ markets, which occur on weekend mornings, are a good place to sample and buy local ingredients. Get more advice for grocery shopping in our guide to Food Shopping in New Zealand.
How Much Does a New Zealand Honeymoon or a Romantic Getaway Cost?
This is where things get tricky. Every couple is different when it comes to how much they spend in New Zealand. Some may set a budget, while others splurge. It’s possible to enjoy a honeymoon in New Zealand for as little as NZ$70 a day each but most aim for a comfortable NZ$200 a day. Of course, adding some luxury to your getaway will increase your daily budget further.
For working out your honeymoon budget, we recommend compiling from the below prices that apply to you. Alternatively, dive into How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand? for more prices and budget estimations.
Couples’ Transport Budget
- Car hire/ day: NZ$30-$150
- 2-person campervan hire/ day: NZ$60-$260
- Petrol/ litre (0.3 gallons): NZ$1.90-$2.50 (Check out weekly fuel price data on the MBIE website)
- National coach bus/ 4-hour trip pp: NZ$30-$80
- Domestic flights/ one-way pp: NZ$50-$240
- Train/ one-way pp: NZ$100-$260
Couples’ Accommodation Budget
- Double room in a hostel, motel or holiday park/ night: NZ$80-$90
- Double room in a hotel or lodge/ night: NZ$150-$300
- Campervan powered site/ two people per night: NZ$22-$40
- Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite/ night pp: NZ$15 (see DOC campsite passes here)
- Motel self-contained unit/ two people per night: NZ$140
Activities Budget per Person
- Hiking trails: Free
- Skydive from 15,000ft: NZ$339-$439
- Bungy Jump: NZ$150-$290
- White Water Rafting: NZ$100-$140
- Jetboat: NZ$80-$130
- Dolphin swimming: NZ$110-$160
- Whale watching: NZ$120-$160
- Glacier Hiking: NZ$390-$470
- Cruise in Milford Sound: NZ$60-$100
- Rotorua geothermal park: NZ$30-$70
- Horse Trekking: NZ$50-$150
- Canyoning: NZ$150-$300
- Hobbiton: NZ$80-$100
- Glowworm caving: NZ$125-$280
- Great Walk hut/night: NZ$32-$44
Couples’ Food Budget
- Main meal: NZ$30
- Pint of beer: NZ$8
- Small coffee: NZ$4.50
- Fastfood pizza or burger: NZ$5
- 1 litre (35fl oz) of milk: NZ$2.40
- A dozen eggs: NZ$5.40
- 1kg (2.2lbs) of rice: NZ$2
- 500g (1.1lbs) pasta: NZ$1.20
- A loaf of sliced bread: NZ$1.20
- 1kg (2.2lbs) cheese: NZ$11
- 100g (3.5oz) dry freeze coffee: NZ$7
- 1kg (2.2lbs) of apples: NZ$5
- 1kg (2.2lbs) of bananas: NZ$3
- 1kg (2.2lbs) of tomatoes: NZ$10
- 1kg (2.2lbs) of onions: NZ$2
- 1kg (2.2lbs) of chicken: NZ$13
- 1kg (2.2lbs) of beef mince: NZ$13.
That’s all from this honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to New Zealand. Well done for making it all the way to the end! If you found this FREE couples’ guide to New Zealand useful, how about supporting what we do on Patreon? We’ll leave you with some final travel wisdom, our 31 Tips for Travelling in New Zealand.
– Happy Honeymoon!