If you’re looking for a dramatic, beautiful honeymoon location, look no further than New Zealand’s own Queenstown. In winter, the snowcapped Remarkables make a stunning backdrop, rising behind Lake Wakatipu. After a day skiing, you’re spoiled for choices of where to dine and enjoy a romantic glass of red in front of a roaring fire. In summer, there’s just as much fun to be had, with balmy temperatures, water sports, alfresco dining and vineyards to be explored – the Gibbston Valley Winery and Amisfield Cellar Door at Lake Hayes are not to be missed. Whatever the season, take a trip up the Skyline Gondola to the restaurant on Bob’s Peak, or try out one of the world-class eateries in town – Gantleys, The Bunker or Botswana Butchery. There are also great nearby spots for day trips, including picturesque Wanaka, or quaint Arrowtown for a journey back in time.
Star power: Many A-listers love to swoop in and out of Queenstown, doing their best to go undetected. Richard Branson and Tom Cruise are among the stars who didn’t manage to keep their visit a secret in recent years. It’s also a hugely popular honeymoon destination – Casey Green married Ali Williams here, and actress Anna Jullienne headed to Queenstown for a relaxing honeymoon getaway. “I love the way Queenstown feels so international,” she says. “It’s unlike anywhere else in New Zealand in that respect. You’re just as likely to bump into tourists as you are locals.”
Located right on our back doorstep, boasting postcard-perfect beaches and a climate that barely dips below 26ºC year-round, Fiji is the obvious honeymoon choice for many New Zealanders. While more than 300 islands belong to Fiji, only about 100 are currently inhabited. With that many potential islands to visit, deciding where to stay is the hard part. Many tourists choose Denarau, due to its short distance from the most common entry point, Nadi International Airport. Home to many international chain hotels and resorts (Hilton, Radisson, Sheraton), it’s also a popular spot for families. Further afield lies Viti Levu, the coral coast, where you’ll find more white-sand beaches. Fiji has something for every budget, from low-cost motels to privately owned island havens.
Star power: Given its close proximity to our shores, it’s no wonder Fiji is a popular honeymoon destination for Kiwi stars. But it’s not just local celebrities sunning themselves on Fiji’s shores. Most recently, Elle Macpherson married her billionaire beau Jeffrey Soffer on the luxurious private island of Laucala. Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott married and honeymooned on Wakaya.
3. Sunshine Coast
Blessed with a balmy climate, gorgeous beaches and roaring surf, the Sunshine Coast is an excellent, affordable option. Once there, you have a number of different directions you can head in. Noosa is a seaside resort town and tourists are well catered for, with many options for accommodation, dining and shopping. Slightly further south is Mooloolaba, with the same beautiful beaches, but a more laid-back vibe. Head north and you’ll find Fraser Island, and a collection of five-star resorts, white-sand beaches and jaw-dropping sunsets.
Star power: Further north are the Whitsundays, including Hayman Island, a favourite of Elton John, Billy Joel and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Aussie model Miranda Kerr has visited Hamilton Island several times with husband Orlando Bloom.
4. Cape Kidnappers
To find true luxury and seclusion, you don’t have to leave our shores. Cape Kidnappers is a perfect hideaway, with its dramatic scenery and several five-star lodges dotting the coastline. Residing at the southeastern-most point of the Hawke’s Bay, its steep cliffs fall away into the Pacific Ocean. The unique scenery provides plenty of options for stunning walks, observing gannet colonies, and it’s home to one of our country’s top golf courses. It isn’t just a playground for high-flyers, though – there are several bed and breakfast options that will give you a taste of the good life for less.
It’s a definite splurge, but it really is the stuff of fairytales. It doesn’t get much more romantic than the City of Love itself. Take a boat ride down the Seine, marvel at the Louvre, and take in all the sights from atop the Eiffel Tower. Lie in the grass of the Champs du Mars with a bottle of wine, a picnic of cheeses, meats and pastries, and watch the sun go down as the tower lights up. Join hundreds of others on the Port Saint-Bernard as they dance on summer evenings. It’s impossible not to be swept up in the romance.
Star power: Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth honeymooned here, as did Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen. Closer to home, TV star Renee Wright began her five-week European honeymoon in Paris, before visiting Italy and Switzerland.