Top 10 Most Romantic Cities In New Zealand
|Top 10 Cities in New Zealand For Romantic Honeymoon|
New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi).
The country's varied topography and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps, owe much to tectonic uplift and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.
New Zealand, with its beautiful landscapes and cities, is the ideal couple’s retreat. Whether you end up on the North or the South Island, you can be sure you’ll have a wonderfully memorable experience.
List of Top 10 Most Romantic Cities in New Zealand
What are the 10 Most Romantic Cities in New Zealand?
|Photo: New Zealand|
The city of Hamilton is nestled on the banks of the mighty Waikato River and is known for its walks, gardens, cafes and nightlife.
The city of Hamilton is located on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, which is best appreciated from one of the scenic riverside walks or boat cruise. The visually stunning Hamilton Gardens are webbed by paths that journey through a gallery of themed gardens from grand Italy to tranquil Asia. Other city highlights include the Waikato Museum(opens in new window) which provides an insight into the areas rich history and the Hamilton Zoo(opens in new window), which provides native birds with enormous freedom in a walk-through free flight aviary. The Zoo also offers visitors 'Face2Face' encounters with exotic animals.
Hamilton's central precinct is easy to walk and packed with cafes, restaurants, a casino and bars where you can wine, dine and dance the night away. The city is also well known as a destination for national and international events from sporting matches such as rugby, cricket, netball, rowing and boxing to concerts and festivals. Annual events such as the National Agricultural Fieldays and Balloons over Waikato festival draw crowds from far and wide.
Hamilton sets the scene for many romantic outdoor adventures, from flowering gardens to tranquil lakes. Before we get started on those, make sure to add some glowworm experiences to the itinerary. Team up with your partner in a double kayak and embark on a kayaking tour with The Boatshed Kayaks. You’ll delve into a seemingly magical canyon lit up by glowworms on this evening tour. Alternatively, the Waitomo Caves are less than an hour’s drive away, famous for its array of glowworm walking and caving tours. A must-do in Hamilton is visiting some of the stunning gardens, which incidentally, provides beautiful surroundings for a romantic day out. Some of your options include the Hamilton Gardens made up of around 21 different cultural and historical themed gardens. The attraction is free but guided tours are available to make the most out of the experience. Additionally, Clandon Daffodils offers affordable tours of their farm, best seen in August, September and October. If you have more time to spare, take a trip to the Lavender Backyard Farm which offers pick-your-own lavender and blueberries in the summer months.
Finally, take a picnic to the Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum just outside the city. This former quarry has been transformed into a stunning display of more than 100 sculptures, trees and more. There is a small entry fee.
A sizeable (for New Zealand) lakeside town punctured in places by steaming vents, Rotorua is the focal point of the North Island’s celebrated thermal plateau. But, aside from all the belching mud pools and frothing geysers, it’s also a town ringed by crystal-clear freshwater lakes, green mountains, and thriving native bushland.
The geothermal city of Rotorua is a magnet for travellers, who come to discover volcanic phenomena and learn about New Zealand's Māori culture.
Gazing out across the southern shoreline of Lake Rotorua, the central town is, in places, workaday and functional, but it has several more characterful points. There’s the Tudor-style layout and lily ponds of the Government Gardens. Next to it, the adjacent Blue Baths, heated pools housed in a Spanish Mission-style building ― a relic of a time when Rotorua aspired to become a spa hub of the British Empire. Their modern-day equivalent, the Polynesian Spa, lies a little south, just around an inlet of the lake.
Walk the lakefront jetty in the opposite direction and you come to Saint Faith’s Church. A Maori-cloaked Jesus bestrides the waters of Lake Rotorua in one of its striking stained-glass windows. Opposite sits a squat, ornately carved Maori meeting house. You’ll notice hydrogen gas emitting from fissures in the ground around this area: you quickly get accustomed to its somewhat pungent smell.
Rotorua is all about romantic adventures, whether it’s wandering the Redwood Forest with the picturesque light displays at night or working as a team in a double kayaking mission. Combine kayaking with glowworms and you have a winner! Join River Rats Rafts & Kayak for a sunset paddle on Lake Rotoiti where you’ll drift through glowworm caves, soak in natural hot springs and conclude with a picnic barbecue dinner.
The weather might not always play ball in Rotorua but that doesn’t have to put a damper on your honeymoon. It will hardly matter what the weather is doing when you’re together rolling down a hill in an oversized inflatable hamster ball with Zorb. The Zorb ball is lined with shallow water so you’ll keep (almost) upright as you roll down one of the downhill tracks together in the same ball. Warm-up between runs in the spa pool while you watch others take a turn.
And a must-do in Rotorua is unwinding in some of its glorious hot pools. There are a ton of amazing hot pools complexes to discover in Rotorua, from the luxurious lakeview private pools of the Polynesian Spa to the mud pools of Hell’s Gate. Experience some of the off-the-beaten-track hot pools with Real Rotorua, who offer small-group tours to see hidden gems like Rainbow Mountain, the Waiotapu Boardwalk with mud pools and ending at the less-visited Waikite Valley Thermal Pools.
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The City of Sails is New Zealand's largest and most cosmopolitan urban center. With towering skyscrapers, volcanic islands and picturesque beaches, Auckland seamlessly blends majestic scenery with the hustle and bustle of city living. For adventure junkies, there's everything from zip lining on Waiheke Island to bungee jumping from the Sky Tower. Sports lovers will enjoy the city's local rugby and cricket unions, as well as the national All Blacks rugby team. Foodies will appreciate Auckland's array of dining options, which range from casual pubs to celebrity chef-owned fine dining establishments. And for culture enthusiasts, the city offers the perfect mashup of Maori, European and Asian influences at sights like the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
The best times to visit Auckland are from March to May and between September and November. These shoulder months offer pleasant temperatures, mostly sunny days (excluding May) and thin tourist crowds. During peak season (December through February), you'll contend with swells of visitors and high airfare and room rates, but you'll also find warmer temperatures and fewer rain showers. Between June and August, both temperatures and tourism drop off. Before you pick your travel dates, you should note that the seasons are reversed here: Winter in New Zealand coincides with summer in the U.S., and vice versa.
If you’re looking for a getaway not too far away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland city, Waiheke Island is the place to visit. Simply catch the ferry to explore the island’s most stunning features. White sand beaches, luscious vineyards, walking and cycling trails as well as epic zip lining spots are some of the highlights on this must-visit destination. You can either spend the day exploring the island’s finest features, or check into a boutique hotel to spend a little longer delving into all the local attractions.
Book the lighthouse room at The Boatshed—it’s the perfect place to feel like a princess at the top of your three-story lighthouse-esque, tower. Watch the tides change and boats coming and going from your perch above Little Oneroa beach. And, when night falls, order a meal to be delivered through a private service lift to your door.
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Queenstown is as much a verb as a noun, a place of doing that likes to spruik itself as the 'adventure capital of the world'. It's famously the birthplace of bungy jumping, and the list of adventures you can throw yourself into here is encyclopedic – from alpine heliskiing to zip-lining. It's rare that a visitor leaves without having tried something that ups their heart rate, but to pigeonhole Queenstown as just a playground is to overlook its cosmopolitan dining and arts scene, its fine vineyards, and the diverse range of bars that can make evenings as fun-filled as the days.
Leap, lunge or luge here, but also find time to simply sit at the lakeside and watch the ever-dynamic play of light on the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu, creating one of the most beautiful and dramatic natural scenes in NZ.
Expect big crowds, especially in summer and winter, but also big experiences.
From Maori pounamu hunters to European gold prospectors, Queenstown has always been attractive for those in pursuit of bounty. Now this beautiful outdoor playground appeals to people seeking adventure and excitement, with a wealth of activities including mountain biking, bungy jumping, skydiving, hang-gliding, jet boating — the opportunities are endless.
Queenstown hosts a wealth of sporting events and festivals, of note the New Zealand Open golf championships and a selection of international skiing competitions. For those who prefer a more sedate pace there is still plenty of choice, from golfing and fishing to hiking and riding.
Regardless of how you choose to spend it, every day closes the same way, with the sight of the sun setting over the lake, casting a tincture of red across the Remarkables.
Queenstown gives you time away from the real world to connect with each other on your first adventure as a married couple. Challenge your bond with an adrenaline-pumping skydive, bungy jump or jet boat ride. And if you get a taste for the extreme, there’s plenty more activities where they came from.
For the ultimate in romance why not helicopter into the mountains for a picnic on a peak, or have a truly special escape onto a high country farm, complete with mid-19th Century stone cottage, or enjoy a dawn hot air balloon ride and champagne breakfast over the Wakatipu Basin?
For a more relaxed day, indulge in a spa treatment for two, soak in a hot pool surrounded by candles or venture to Gibbston on an exploration of the region’s top notch wineries, either on a guided tour or by pedal power.
Queenstown’s award-winning Pinot Noir is a treat, and taking the time to do tastings at beautiful cellar doors is a must-do on your honeymoon. Here, the focus is on the surrounds as well as the vintage swilling in your glass, with architecturally designed cellar doors and bistros complementing the rolling hills of vines and the rugged mountain surrounds.
Or, hit the road for the day and head to Glenorchy and Paradise, stopping for a picnic along the way and exploring the walking tracks of Glenorchy, or find the scene of many blockbuster movies filmed in Paradise.
On the water, there’s more romantic adventure awaiting, or a leisurely lake cruise on a vintage steamship, or a state of the art catamaran.
|Photo: LaidBack Trip|
Street after street of stunning and beautifully-restored Art Deco buildings have made Napier famous as one of the most complete collections of Art Deco buildings in the world. In 1931 a massive earthquake rocked Hawke's Bay for more than three minutes, killing nearly 260 and destroying the commercial centre of Napier.
Rebuilding began almost immediately, and new buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Napier is often referred to as a 1930s film set, and one of the best ways to enjoy the streetscape is on a self-guided walk - ask for a map at the information centre or at the Art Deco Trust. Guided walks around the city are also available every day rain or shine (except Christmas Day!). Every February, Napier celebrates its heritage with the Art Deco Festival - a stylish celebration of all things 1930s, including vintage cars, fashion and music.
Napier is home to many fine wineries, fabulous restaurants, bars and cafes. The boutique shops are a must-visit, as is the Sea Walls collection of magnificent murals painted on more than 50 walls around the city. Grab a map and walk or ride around the city to see them up close.
The beautifully restored Marine Parade serves as a scenic and popular bridge between the city and the Pacific Ocean, with a wealth of family-friendly activities sure to keep the kids entertained for hours. Napier’s iconic Norfolk Pines, Deco Soundshell, Tom Parker Fountain and ‘Pania of the Reef’ statue are a visual reminder of the city’s past. Drive just outside the city centre to the historic fishing village of Ahuriri to check out the growing list of cafes, bars, restaurants, galleries and boutique stores.
Active couples, Napier is a spectacular city to adventure together thanks to its network of bike trails between wineries and its surrounding natural wonders like the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony and the Mohaka River. An unmissable adventure is seeing majestic seabirds nesting at the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony. While getting to the plateau gannet colony is free on a day walk at low tide, Gannet Safaris Overland can get you there with ease on either their small-group bus tour or private 4WD tour. At the gannet colony, watch gannets presenting seaweed to their mates, as well as chicks taking flight for the first time.
Amp up the adventure to adrenaline adventure on a white water rafting tour on the Mohaka River. With no minimum numbers, couples can enjoy an epic experience rafting the Mohaka River, even if they’re the only rafters in the boat (including the guide, of course). The grade three trip with Mohaka Rafting is a scenic journey with stunning waterfalls tumbling over river canyons awash in fossils, as well as some exciting rapids but nothing too hairy. Alternatively, the grade four and five trip is one for real adventure seekers.
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New Zealand’s southernmost city was founded in the 1850’s and with a population in excess of approximately 60,000, Invercargill is the capital of Southland.
From a visitor’s point of view, Invercargill is well-equipped with an excellent range of shops and a selection of lively bars and restaurants. Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco heritage buildings give the city a charming old-world character.
And just minutes from the city centre there is a great array of coastal landscapes for visitors to explore from the long coastal highway of Oreti Beach, to the native wonders of Waituna Wetlands and Omaui, or the boardwalk on the estuary and heritage wharfs.
It may appear Invercargill is obsessed with anything that has wheels. You too can experience ‘wheel-mania’. Watch cyclists, or take a ride at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome or discover the world class vintage truck collection atBill Richardson Transport World. Alternatively, celebrate Invercargill’s motorcycle history at Classic Motorcycle Mecca and learn about the legend of speed - Burt Munro at E Hayes Motorworks.
If your idea of romance is escaping the tourist crowds and exploring remoter areas, then Invercargill is an excellent destination. The southernmost city of New Zealand offers a completely different charm to other New Zealand cities, with friendly locals proudly showing “southern hospitality” and their own unique cuisine and attractions. While Invercargill might not have the array of activities that towns like Queenstown and Te Anau have, what they offer is certainly more exclusive and provides the luxury of often feeling like you have a whole place to yourselves. What’s more, some of New Zealand’s most glorious landscapes, like Stewart Island and the Catlins, are easily accessible from here.
Go smell the roses in Queens Park. Queens Park is Invercargill’s sparkling jewel in the centre of the city decorated with plenty to see for wandering couples. Walk hand-in-hand discovering the vibrant flower displays, the various sculptures, animals and birds in the aviary, tropical displays in the winter garden, and much more. Queens Park is certainly one of the must-see free attractions for couples.
Even in the southernmost reaches of New Zealand, there are some romantic beaches. Invercargill’s nearest beach is Oreti Beach, just a few minutes drive from the city centre. It’s one of the very few beaches in New Zealand used as a road, where it’s common to see the locals parked right on the sand. The sandy beach forms part of the Te Araroa Trail, which, while you don’t have to walk the 160 days it takes to complete the trail from the top of New Zealand to the bottom, Oreti Beach makes for a wonderful romantic stroll on the beach. What’s more, you can watch some brilliant sunsets here, especially in summer.
|Photo: New Zealand|
Jutting into the Pacific Ocean just south of Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula has two coastlines with forested, volcanic-formed valleys lying in between. It feels a world away from the busyness of the city, despite being within a three-hour drive.
Heading north from Thames, the gateway town to the peninsula, you enter a self-contained region of quiet seaside townships, hidden bays, and alternative lifestylers who fled here in the sixties to create small artisan communities. Historically, the area was a hive of gold-mining activity, and although it’s not quite the untouched Arcadia it once was, its coastline and green hinterland still provide a sense of retreat.
Historically only visited by loggers and gum-diggers, a gold rush in the late 1800s brought miners thronging to the peninsula, and many of its townships display evidence of this lucrative period.
Thames is a prime example of a once-grand gold rush town (reflected in its restored 19th-century architecture) that now simply serves the local farming community.
Today, the peninsula’s main industries are small-scale farming, fishing, and tourism, but it also does a fine line in arts and crafts. The small townships here and the general laid-back lifestyle the peninsula seems to foster have drawn artists and craftspeople from across the country.
You’ll find furniture workers, textile artists, painters, glassworkers, potters, and even Maori greenstone workers and bone carvers. Many will welcome you into their homes or small galleries, where you can admire works inspired by the peninsula’s pastoral and coastal scenery. You can also follow a ready-made Coromandel Craft Trail.
Coromandel’s coastlines are distinct. Along the Firth of Thames, the coast is open and rocky. It feels much wilder than the tranquil, protected beaches of the eastern coast.
The beauty of its golden-sand beaches, rolling farmland and lush native forests make the Coromandel Peninsula a must for any couple seeking a romantic escape. Make your base one of the quaint B&Bs or even a luxury lodge on a hilltop with commanding views, there’s plenty to treat couples to. In between spending some precious time together in your honeymoon retreat, enjoy a good balance of outdoor adventures with kayaking to Cathedral Cove and ziplining through the trees, as well as unwinding in mineral hot pools and exploring beautiful gardens. Whatever you choose, you’re bound to have a trip to remember on the glorious Coromandel Peninsula.
There are plenty of ways to adventure together in the Coromandel and experience the great outdoors. A must is teaming up in the double kayak to paddle to Cathedral Cove! Join Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours for their classic Cathedral Cove small-group tour, where you’ll explore around off-shore islands, paddle into caves and enjoy a barista-style coffee on Cathedral Cove beach.
On a sunny, windless day, Wellington is up there with the best of them. For starters it’s lovely to look at, sitting on a hook-shaped harbour ringed with ranges that wear a cloak of snow in winter. Victorian timber architecture laces the bushy hillsides above the harbour, which resonate with native birdsong.
As cities go, it's really rather small but the compact nature of the downtown area gives it a bigger-city buzz and, being the capital, it's endowed with museums, theatres, galleries and arts organisations completely disproportionate to its size. Wellingtonians are rightly proud of their kickin' caffeine and craft-beer scene, and there's no shortage of beard-wearing, skateboard-lugging, artsy types doing interesting things in old warehouses across town.
Sadly, windless days are not the norm for Wellington. In New Zealand the city is infamous for two things: its frequent tremors and its umbrella-shredding, hairstyle-destroying gales that barrel through regularly.
The big city lights, glistening waters and exciting ambience, Wellington makes an excellent romantic city escape, as well as an obligatory inclusion in your New Zealand honeymoon itinerary. The capital city offers a huge range of experiences for couples, from exciting outdoor adventures to relaxing indoor activities should the weather turn.
If your budget knows no bounds, or you simply want to wow your loved one, take her on the Romantic Helicopter Tour with Wellington Helicopters. This 30-minute tour takes you a heli-excursion over Wellington city with a glass of sparkling wine in hand. Your guide will tell you about Wellington’s history and geology as you fly before landing at a remote location with breathtaking views of the Marlborough Sounds.
Because you’re probably feeling like a couple of love birds, join the others in the bird eco-sanctuary of Zealandia. This bird sanctuary is one of the best places to learn about the New Zealand eco-system and provides tons of opportunity to watch beautiful native birds up-close. Learn about New Zealand’s extinct birds in The Exhibition and enjoy a day walking around the sanctuary along the many walking trails.
|Photo: New Zealand|
Two words immediately spring to mind when Kiwis think of their seventh-largest city: 'Scotland' and 'students'. The 'Edinburgh of the South' is immensely proud of its Scottish heritage, never missing an opportunity to break out the haggis and bagpipes on civic occasions. In fact the very name Dunedin is derived from the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh – Dùn Èideann – and the city even has its own tartan.
Just like the Scots, Dunedin locals love a drink, and none more so than the students that dominate Dunedin in term time. The country’s oldest university provides plenty of student energy to sustain the local bars.
Dunedin is an easy place in which to while away a few days. Weatherboard houses ranging from stately to ramshackle pepper its hilly suburbs, and bluestone Victorian buildings punctuate the compact city centre. It's a great base for exploring the wildlife-rich Otago Peninsula, which officially lies within the city limits.
With gorgeous heritage buildings and a breeding ground for South Seas wildlife, no wonder many associate romance with Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. The city evokes charm around every corner, from its thought-provoking art galleries to its gorgeous gardens. Couples can spend days here walking to aptly-named attractions like “Lovers Leap” or perhaps avoiding the weather in intriguing museums.
Although Dunedin is a city, many of its top activities are in the great outdoors! Here are a few ways you can experience Dunedin’s outdoor attractions together.
Jump on board The Inlander, formerly the Taieri Gorge Railway, and pretend you’re lovers from the colonial times! This historic railway experience takes you on a scenic journey through dramatic river gorge scenery, stopping by historical village remnants, travelling over numerous viaducts and through tunnels. There’s plenty of photo opportunities along the way to enjoy from the open-air carriages, as well as food and beverages to have together from the on-board cafe. What’s more, the train departs and returns from the picturesque Dunedin Railway Station, which is worth getting there early to admire.
For a fun free thing to do in Dunedin, explore the beautiful Botanic Garden. Walk hand-in-hand on the numerous walkways, stopping by the bird aviary or the winter gardens glasshouse. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a one-hour walk to the top of an ancient volcano or simply enjoy a romantic picnic by one of the sculptures or flower gardens.
Christchurch is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity.
Christchurch is the city of exploration, where urban regeneration and heritage thrive. The city is constantly evolving, always giving locals and visitors something new to explore. Expect street art and innovative projects, a bustling hospitality scene and established green spaces. Christchurch is the newest city in the world, and it’s time the world rediscovered its secrets.
The central city is filled with cutting-edge architecture alongside some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand. The Avon River intersects the city, bringing a natural landscape to the urban environment. Christchurch is the basecamp for South Island exploration, with the Banks Peninsula within reach, as well as the stunning Southern Alps and famed Canterbury Plains.
The surrounding Canterbury region offers visitors unforgettable journeys and picturesque towns, zen-like retreats and thrill-seeking opportunities. Escape to Hanmer Springs for a thermal soak, or north to Kaikōura to encounter the local wildlife. Everything New Zealand has to offer can be found here.
In a city dubbed “The Garden City”, adding a touch of romance to your visit to Christchurch is pretty effortless. From wandering around vibrant gardens to visiting the nearby wineries, there are plenty of romantic experiences for couples on their honeymoon, anniversary or simply a romantic getaway. The grand New Zealand landscapes are never too far away either, with the iconic TranzAlpine train taking you into the heart of the Southern Alps or even stunning hikes available in the nearby Port Hills. Wrap up a day in this South Island city with a romantic meal on “The Terrace” or enjoy a night-in at your boutique lodge or lavish inner-city hotel.
Better described as “city adventures” than what you can experience in the rest of New Zealand, nevertheless, Christchurch’s romantic activities are sure to amp up the romance. Arguably, the most romantic thing to do in Christchurch is punting on the Avon River. Join Christchurch Attractions for a gentle 30-minute ride on a flat-bottom boat as you pass willows lining the riverbank and ducks on the water. If you’re new to punting, it’s where your punter dressed in traditional costume uses a long pole to propel a flat-bottomed boat along the river. What’s more, this experience exists nowhere else in New Zealand.
Your punting experience passes through the Botanic Gardens, which, whether you do the boating activity or not, is well worth exploring. The picturesque themed gardens is a fine example of Christchurch’s beautiful gardens that have given the city the nickname of the “Garden City”. Smell the roses in the rose garden, observe beautiful water features, or even take a picnic using the services of Christchurch Luxury Picnics who curate irresistible hampers and picnic displays in your chosen Christchurch location.
If you’re more of an active couple, head to the Port Hills for tremendous scenery. Hike to the top of the Port Hills on the Bridle Path, which is a steep two-hour return walk but offers breathtaking vistas of Christchurch, the Lyttelton Harbour, the Banks Peninsula and all the way to the Southern Alps.
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