Tying the knot. Entering into matrimony. Getting hitched. Whatever you call it, marriage is a big deal. But planning a wedding is also taxing — which is why, as a newlywed, you’ll want to enjoy quality time with your new spouse.
This is where the honeymoon comes in. There’s no better way to create remarkable memories together with your partner than on a honeymoon road trip in a motorhome.
In this blog, we talk about planning a motorhome honeymoon and the best time of year in New Zealand to do so. We then highlight some original honeymoon destinations in the North and South Islands.
Planning Your New Zealand Motorhome Honeymoon
It’s a time to relax and celebrate a significant moment in your new life together with your partner. But your honeymoon still needs some planning — and weighing up which type of honeymoon works best for you both.
Accommodation is usually a significant expense and choosing between staying in a luxury lodge or a luxury motorhome for a week can be in a similar price range. To get the best deal on a motorhome, check availability and book well in advance — then you can research the breathtaking places you’re going to stay in New Zealand.
You’ll be able to change landscapes with a short drive and without the hassle of packing and unpacking each time. Set up camp in a few of the country’s most romantic locations to enjoy a unique honeymoon experience.
Heighten your anticipation by watching this video of a motorhome honeymoon trip to Rob Roy Glacier near Wanaka.
The best time of year for a New Zealand campervan honeymoon
Thinking about planning a summer of love somewhere remote in New Zealand? Take into account the high season, from December to late January, when New Zealanders have time off work to explore the outdoors with their friends and family. Idyllic locations can become temporarily crowded.
Instead, target the shoulder season when the weather is still hot and settled. The months of February, March and April (excluding Easter) can be a great time to explore the coastlines and mountains in a motorhome.
If you and your newlywed are more into winter and staying warm when it’s snowing outside, the South Island mountains and lakes can be magical in July and August. If your recreational vehicle is winterised, you’ll be able to stay warm on your New Zealand adventure.
Best North Island honeymoon destinations
For warmer temperatures and a plethora of beach experiences, consider planning a motorhome or campervan honeymoon in these relaxing locations.
The jewel in Northland’s crown is the irreplaceable Bay of Islands. It’s a place that’s hard to beat for its combination of scenery, romance and cultural heritage.
Weigh up staying at Paihia, Russell and historic Waitangi — where as a newlywed couple you’ll be able to bike the trails, hike the walks and indulge in the local wines. The sea is a constant in this unique environment and you’ll find plenty of opportunities for ocean excursions to the nearby islands.
Northland is also home to:
- Charming villages along the Hokianga Coast — like Rawene and Opononi
- Waipoua Forest — home of the lord of the forest in huge Tāne Mahuta
- Cape Reinga — the nation’s northernmost point and memorable for a breezy stroll around the base of the Cape Reinga Lighthouse
- Poor Knights Islands — a world-class diving experience with vibrant marine life, magical underwater topography and clear visibility.
Originally built on the riches of the goldrush in the 19th century, these days The Coromandel is one of pristine beaches, lush forests and wild kiwi.
Steer a course in your honeymooner’s motorhome along the western side of the peninsula, exploring the sites all the way to Coromandel Town. Stop along the way and take in the views at Manaia Road saddle and lookout. Or spend time on the eastern edge in stunning Matarangi, Pauanui and relatively isolated Kennedy Bay.
While you’re on the peninsula, relax at:
- The Lost Spring — a hot pool paradise with packages suited to newlywed couples
- New Chums Beach — one of the top rated beaches in the world, New Chums is an easy walk from Whangapoua Beach
- Driving Creek Railway — where you can spend the day alongside the tree tops
- Hot Water Beach — where you can dig out your own hot spring, even by moonlight.
With plenty of campgrounds and freedom spots to choose from, The Coromandel can be your honeymoon heaven.
Learn more about The Coromandel Peninsula following our Auckland to Coromandel campervan itinerary.
The East Cape
The Pacific Coast Highway is something of a special drive. The far reaches of it are arguably as remote as you can get in New Zealand — and the sunrises are probably the best nationwide.
Staying close to the sea from Opotiki to Gisborne will show you another part of Aotearoa. You may feel like you’re driving back in time viewing tiny Māori settlements and wild horses on the side of the road.
If you choose to spend your honeymoon in this region, be sure to:
- Park up by the beach — in a designated freedom camping location and you’ll be the first to greet New Zealand’s morning sun
- Visit Tolaga Bay — and nearby Tokomaru and Anaura bays to enjoy relaxing beach life
- Cycle as a newlywed couple — by taking a Gisborne Railbike Adventure unlike any other.
To tour this remote area of New Zealand, see our East Cape road trip itinerary for advice.
Old yet majestic
The prominent arm of the North Island’s wild west coast has dramatic ocean views and myriad bush walks in store for you and your spouse. And as a constant, almost mythical, point of reference you can look towards majestic Mount Taranaki.
In this part of New Zealand, you can take your motorhome hire to:
- New Plymouth — stay at a beachside campground and explore the city’s art galleries and dine at its eateries
- Surf Highway 45 — find isolated locations to park up near the rugged coast, like Ōakura, Ōpunake and Manaia, to spend quality time together
- Egmont National Park — you can access Mount Taranaki’s trails by driving up its lower slopes.
Taranaki offers culture, cuisine, amazing scenery and some of the most spectacular botanical attractions in the country. The region is also home to the mysterious Forgotten World Highway where you can take a journey into New Zealand’s past.
Hidden east of Wellington over the Rimutaka Ranges is the rural nature and pleasant variety of the Wairarapa. Descending from the mountains, you’ll find quaint villages, vineyards, artisan foods and a blustery coastline.
This region is paradise for history fans and nature buffs, and if you keep your eyes peeled you might spy dolphins, whales, seals and all sorts of seabirds offshore.
Take your campervan (and newlywed) to the Wairarapa and enjoy:
- Wineries — lots of them, and all fairly close together in Martinborough so walking or cycling between them is a popular option
- Sealife — drive to the picturesque Castlepoint Lighthouse and park up near the coastline at Castlepoint Carpark
- Artisan food — the area is well known for olive oils and cheeses, and has a number of farmers’ markets to enjoy.
Check out this New Zealand foodie tour which passed through the Wairarapa.
Best South Island honeymoon destinations
For an intimate and unforgettable escape, plan your motorhome rental adventure in the South Island at some of these remote and relaxing honeymoon destinations.
At the top of the South Island, the sun normally shines — and it arguably shines brightest in Golden Bay. Shaped like the beak of a kiwi, Golden Bay’s most obvious natural feature is Farewell Spit. It’s also where you’re likely to find an abundance of birdlife.
Planning a honeymoon to Golden Bay in the Nelson Tasman region is well worth it — particularly over the warmer months. You’ll be able to explore:
- Wharariki Beach — stroll the short Wharariki Beach Walk to this secluded beach where, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to admire baby seal pups
- Farewell Spit — one of the world’s longest sandspit reserves and occasional home to migrating whales
- Te Waikoropupu Springs — where the water is sacred and crystal clear
- The Abel Tasman Coast Track — drive over to Tōtaranui and spend a few hours wandering this popular Great Walk.
You may find your very own slice of paradise in the Golden Bay area as it’s a honeymooner’s dream. Consider visiting Tōtaranui Beach which is one of our top five New Zealand beaches for a motorhome holiday.
New Zealand's deepest vertical shaft is located in Golden Bay. Head to Harwoods Hole where you can take a short walk to a safe observation point. Here you’ll see where an enlarged sinkhole drops to an underground river of raw power and beauty.
The stretch of State Highway 6 located between Greymouth and Westport is often rated as one of the world’s best drives. Right in the middle of that drive is the small semi-touristy town of Punakaiki.
With an attraction featuring blowholes and so-called pancake rocks, it certainly stops traffic. But it’s also a relaxing and refreshing place to linger for a few nights. As a honeymoon destination, it can offer:
- Caving — there are a few free caves to explore if you have your own torch
- Kayaking — with canoes and stand up paddle boards (SUPs) available for hire
- Walking — it’s not hard to find hiking trails in the area, with the Paparoa Track a favourite.
To stay in the heart of this natural wonderland, check into the Punakaiki Beach Camp with your campervan rental.
For more information on Punakaiki, download our Christchurch to Milford Sound road trip itinerary.
The Pancake Rocks
Most people visit this part of the coast to witness this popular natural attraction. However, not many will be aware that the name Punakaiki most likely refers to the Pancake Rocks.
Punakaiki comes from puna, meaning spring — or ocean blowhole in this context. Kaiki means in a heap which probably references the heavily-layered rock shapes.
The Lewis Pass
One of three alpine crossings between the east and west coasts, the Lewis Pass has something special going for it — easy access to hot springs.
What could be more relaxing than a honeymoon that soothes all the pre-wedding stress out of your body. If you choose to target this part of the country, take your time in:
- Maruia Hot Springs — the jewel in the crown for relaxation, with a campsite on the premises and 24 hour access to their natural geothermal mineral waters
- Hanmer Springs — more commercial and accessible than Maruia, the couples packages at Hanmer are ideal for honeymooners
- Lake Daniell Track — a relatively flat trek to the lake, and back to your campervan hire, is easily possible in a day if you’re fit.
Have a look at our ten reasons to tour New Zealand in winter blog featuring Maruia Hot Springs.
Wherever across the country you decide to enjoy your honeymoon vacation, take time to find the right motorhome for you and your new spouse. That could be a premium motorhome offering, such as The Suite — a popular luxury choice for many couples wanting some special time away.
To devote your honeymoon to the outdoors, especially hiking, rafting, fishing or kayaking, think about spending some time in beautiful Glenorchy.
At the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, just 45km by road from Queenstown, lies this charming little town with a big reputation for stunning scenery. Make sure to stop at Bennett’s Bluff Lookout on the way to take in the views. Right on the doorway of both Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, Glenorchy is the ultimate motorhome destination for hiking day trips.
Travel by motorhome to Glenorchy with plenty of time available and together you’ll be able to walk the:
- Routeburn Track — if you’re a fast walker, you could reach Harris Saddle and return to your RV at the Routeburn Shelter in a day
- Greenstone and Caples tracks — choosing one of the valleys to walk in for a few hours before backtracking
- Rees-Dart Track — with two uniquely different start points, why not hike both in and out on different days.
Make your honeymoon a little different by parking up at Mrs Woolly’s Campground and getting to meet some of the locals.
If you plan to travel with bikes or you’re open to hiring them, our ten best day bike rides blog highlights Moke Lake near Glenorchy.
Famous for waterfalls, beaches, forests and bush, The Catlins are located halfway between Dunedin and Invercargill towards the eastern coastline.
Home to quirky cafes and art studios, some highlights for honeymooners planning to venture to this corner of New Zealand include:
- Cathedral Caves Walk — a tidal walk to some impressive beach caves
- McLean Falls Walk — a wander through native bush to one of the best waterfalls in The Catlins
- Florence Hill Lookout — a great spot to stop and soak up the panoramic views of the coast.
If you’re celebrating tying the knot between December and April, you may strike some luck and experience the Southern Lights — also known as the Aurora Australis.
Read our Catlins section in this best campervan spots to park up in New Zealand blog.
Check out our top tips for a campervan honeymoon in New Zealand and create your own unique motorhome adventure.