Help: The Honeymoon.

Yep. Asking for your help again (because I’m always touched & thrilled by the results!). One of the current/most-pressing items on our wedding to-do list? BOOKING THE HONEYMOON.

We have about 2 weeks and would love a mix of activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, zip lining, etc) and relaxation (e.g. beach, book, wine, all-inclusive). And, with a December honeymoon, places that are actually warm at this time are a little more scarce (Europe, which would normally be our first choice, has pretty much been crossed off the list).

At the top of our list? New Zealand (um, Lord of the Rings tour, anyone?!). Runner-up is currently Hawaii.

So…any suggestions? If you’ve been to New Zealand or Hawaii, any/all information would be very much appreciated. Especially if you loved certain hotels, islands, experiences, travel agents. etc. But if you have any other ideas, those would be very welcome, too! Time to get serious and book this trip! 🙂

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~ by Elena Marie on June 30, 2011.

18 Responses to “Help: The Honeymoon.”

  1. ohhh girl you HAVE to do NZ!!!! i mean this in the nicest way….Hawaii sounds boring. its such a stereotypical honeymoon destination. you only get one honeymoon, so do it up right!!! (and i might be a little biased b/c ive always wanted to hit up NZ!)

  2. Costa Rica. Not as far as New Zealand (if a long flight and/ or cost are a consideration), but still leaving your own country. I also found Costa Rica very easy to travel in: it’s pretty developed (you can drink the tap water!) and has very good infrastructure, so it’s a good place to go if you are not a hardcore backpacker. It also fits your description of what you want to do pretty well (hiking, zip-lining, beaches, hot springs and beautiful nature).
    That said, I really loved the island of Kauai, so check that out if you’re looking into going to Hawaii!

  3. My husband and I took our honeymoon (about 3 weeks ago!) on a Baltic cruise. It was absolutely amazing–we got to go to six countries (Denmark, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Russia, and Sweden) and we didn’t have to worry about booking hotel rooms/paying for food in each country. Even if you don’t do the cruise we did, I HIGHLY recommend doing a cruise. (Hawaii cruises seem super amazing, as well.)

    Best wishes and good luck looking for your honeymoon destination! I look forward to finding out what you guys decide!! 🙂

  4. I’d say that if New Zealand is an attainable option, I’d go for it now instead of later. When else in life will you be able to be in NZ for two weeks guilt-free?

  5. I’ve been to both Hawaii and New Zealand and can highly recommend both…BUT, I reaalllyyy would suggest New Zealand! It is most certainly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been…there’s so much diversity in the land. The people (who call themselves Kiwis, after the birds) are incredibly kind and friendly. Oh, there’s so much I could talk about, but I’ll try to just give a broad summary.

    I went about six years ago, during the month of March. Even though their seasons are opposites of ours, I think you’ll find that, in general, the weather is pretty mild…no extremes of hot or cold, which is lovely.

    I went all over both the north and south islands (flew between the islands and then drove once there, but I think you can take a ferry from Wellington to the south island too).

    On the south island, I did what’s called a “farm stay.” Apparently it’s a pretty typical New Zealand thing to do. It’s just as it sounds…a family hosts you at their farm. I only stayed for one night, but I highly recommend it. My hosts were gracious (and cooked us lovely meals too)! If you want to do something like that, I would suggest contacting a travel agent…you know, for security reasons and all.

    I also did many, many Lord of the Rings Tours throughout the trip. Hobbiton was fun, especially for taking photos! The great thing about some of the tours is that they incorporate tours of the gorgeous natural beauty New Zealand has to offer. Oh! I also saw Peter Jackson’s house!

    Milford Sound is a CAN’T miss spot on the south island. Take a day “cruise” and you’ll be stunned by the natural beauty…photo opportunities ga-lore (and throughout New Zealand in general!).

    I stayed in pretty cheap, no frills, places so as to keep the cost of the trip down. Therefore, the hotels were nothing to write home about, but they worked well as bases for exploring the land…what you’ll really want to do.

    I’ve heard that hiking on Franz Joseph Glacier on the south island is an absolutely incredible, never-forget type of experience…while I didn’t do that myself (I hadn’t heard of it before I went), I would say to check it out for sure!

    Other things…visit Mt. Cook (NZ’s highest mountain). Oh! See a traditional Maori show of sorts (Maori=NZ’s indigenous people). This next suggestion may sound weird, but do it: go to a sheep show. It’s a fun, totally unique to NZ thing to do!

    I went to a place with geysers too…highly recommend it, but can’t remember which island it was on! 😦 Sorry!

    NZ’s lemonade is also something I’ve been craving ever since I left…it’s not quite like American lemonade. Instead, it’s carbonated and sort of like a mix between 7-Up, lemonade, and Ginger Ale. Anyways, try it and have it throughout the trip!

    I was in Wellington on Easter…just a word of warning: nearly everything shut down. The only place I could find for dinner was at a hotel, which was fine, but probably not ideal. (I stayed in an apartment-type hotel there).

    You can definitely go to grocery stores to cut down on food costs too…breakfast, especially. And I highly recommend having little picnics of your own creations too!

    I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Christchurch (south island) has had a lot of earthquakes lately…the city is still showing those effects, from what I’ve heard. So you might not want to plan a ton of time there…

    Queenstown, in the south island, is a very tourist-y place. I did a cool gondola ride up (can’t remember name of it) to this place that had a restaurant and the facilities to do adventurous sports. While in NZ, of course there’s bungee jumping (which I didn’t do)! But anyway, Queenstown: I would recommend going, but to get a more authentic feel for NZ, don’t spend a ton of time there.

    The flight over: I flew from Los Angeles to Auckland on Air New Zealand. The flight on the way over was about 13.5 hours, but on the way back it was about 11 hours. It IS long, but they show movies the whole flight, and serve you pretty good food (non-American airline, after all!). It also is nice in that it makes all future flights/road trips feel like a piece of cake!

    So that was a bunch of random tidbits…I really DO recommend going. Again, the natural beauty is absolutely stunning.

    If you have any questions, let me know…I’ll do my best in answering them! 🙂

    • …I just read the other comments so far…

      I’ve been to Costa Rica too. It was a great trip, so if you decide to go that route, I can give you some ideas about that. However, I really would suggest NZ over Costa Rica if you can do it (sorry Theresa – who recommended it!).

  6. I was going to say Costa Rica too — as soon as you started talking about a mix of action and relaxation, that’s what popped into my head. Haven’t been there myself (it’s on my list!) but I know a few people who went there and LOVED it.

  7. Hi Elena, when I saw your post I had to comment as I am a New Zealander who has been following your blog for a while. I live in Wellington, which is the capital, in the North Island. I grew up in a small town in the central North Island. It is certainly beautiful – there is incredible variety in the scenery. I can’t describe it really. Have a look at this website and play around with the map: http://www.newzealand.com/int/

    Other people have mentioned that it is a long flight which is true, so make sure that you arrange to sleep one night after you fly in before hiring a rental car and driving around – we drive on the left here and it could take some adjustment. Not something you want to do when you are really tired! Air New Zealand is great – the food is surprisingly good and they are so friendly and nice.

    theanthropologieconnoisseur covered off lots of the main attractions quite nicely. I would add to that list the Coromandel peninsula in the North Island, and I would also suggest that you check out some of the wine growing regions, they are beautiful and have lots of fun stuff to do, such as bicycle tours of vineyards and concerts/festivals. I live about 1 hour train ride from the Martinborough wine region which is lovely, and I also recommend Marlborough – you can take the ferry from Wellington to this region as theanthropologieconnoisseur mentioned. It’s famous for it’s sauvignon. Something I have always wanted to do but haven’t yet is the Otago rail trail, which has been turned into a cycle trail: http://www.otagorailtrail.co.nz/

    I think there are lots of LOTR tours – it seems as though they filmed in every part of the country! Wellington is where Peter Jackson’s studios are based so there are a few tours here I think.

    @theanthropologieconnoisseur – I think the place with the geysers that you went to is probably Rotorua. I haven’t been there since I was a kid but I remember loving it. Good call on the sheep show, they are awesome.

    One final thing I wanted to mention is that NZ kind of shuts down a bit over Christmas/New Year, as pretty much everyone leaves the bigger centres and heads to the beach. Things like supermarkets and stuff will still be open, but sometimes restaurants are closed for up to 2 weeks.

    Let us know what you decide!

    • Thanks so much for the insider’s perspective, Evealyn! I know reading your comment makes me want to go even more 😀 And, luckily, the fiance’ takes some odd pleasure in challenging himself and driving on the other side of the road (has done it each time we’ve gone to the UK without incident, though I’m way too scared to try ha). I was definitely thinking we’d love to check out wine country–thanks for the recommendation! I wouldn’t have thought of restaurants, etc, closing down so will have to check that out.

      • That’s good to hear, I’m sure you will be fine. The countryside is really pretty, so just driving around should be quite fun. Keep us posted on what you decide!

    • Yes, Evealyn…I think you’re right! The geysers were in Rotorua! Thanks for catching that!

  8. There are sooo many activities you can do in COsta Rica. It is affordable and very beautiful. Also, have you consider Puerto Rico? It is absolutely beautiful, gorgeous beaches, great weather and lots to do! Just saying 🙂

  9. So. Since you awesomely and bravely picked a very unstereotypic month to get married, then of course anything below the Equator sounds supergreat. NZ would be super for you tu LOTR nerds 🙂

    But if you would wish to wait until march, then a tour of Italy would be perfect. YOu obviously love it, know the language and the wine 🙂 You could perhaps do some wine tasting and great food in Piedmont, which is as picturesque as Tuscany, but much less obvious. Turin is a beautiful city which hosts a huge chocolate fair each march, plus you have barolo wine, truffles and the best hazelnuts on the planet in the Langa (south of Turin), which is absolute heaven for foodies. Cinque Terre is nearby and it is blissfully deserted and even more fairytale-like in spring than in summer. And, to soak up the sun and the beach, Sicily can be great in march. And you can stop in Florence/Rome/Perugia/Pompei for a few days on your way to the southern sun.

    As of Hawaii, never been there myself, but it’s such an obvious honeymoon choice that it almos sounds boring (although I bet it isn’t).

    Good luck with your picks!

  10. I did Hawaii for my hm and strangely enough it seems that I will be in NZ in December! I had nothing to do with picking Hawaii and was not super excited to go. That being said, it was beautiful and we had an amazing time-but I would never go back. It was extremely expensive and everything felt fake. My husband is attending a conference in NZ in dec, so I am just hoping that my schedule allows me to tag along. Happy deciding!!

  11. If you do go to Hawaii consider going to the Big Island. It’s much less touristy than the other typical Hawaii islands and is absolutely gorgeous. One part of the Island is tropical rainforest, the other is dry lava rock (with active volcanoes), another part is grasslands. There is a beautiful observatory on top of one of the inactive volcanoes, and there are lot of hiking trails and amazing snorkeling.

    That being said, I would probably go to NZ! When else are you going to have that much time off, where you can really relax and enjoy yourself? Go for it! 2 weeks is the perfect amount of time to travel to the other side of the world!

  12. I confess, I’ve been to neither. But both are super appealing to me- mountains, rivers, oceans, cool creatures, all in both places! I think I’d go w NZ, if I were you. I mean, there’s not LotR in Hawaii…

    Also worth considering (as others have suggested): Costa Rica. It’s quite cheap, easy enough to get around, and has an incredible range of ecology. I stayed in a great place right on the border to Panama and wish I could spend every holiday there. And it was SO cheap! And there are howler monkeys and sloths and…yeah, it awesome.

  13. I am of absolutely no help because I haven’t been to either place. I’m really excited to see what you guys decide to do, though!

  14. How exciting!!! We are planning our honeymoon as well, and NZ is on our list of possibilities, so reading through the comments was great.

    We went to Costa Rica last year, and it was amazing! We stayed on the caribean side, so it was a little bit more adventurous. It was a perfect mixture of adventure and pure relaxation. If you decide to look into Costa Rica, definitely let me know and I can give you more info, and recommend a wonderful private bungalow.

    Good luck! Travel planning is so much fun:)

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