What’s so great about New Zealand is that you don’t even need to leave the country to have a paradisiacal weekend away. Depending on where you’re based, a short drive could mean the difference between ho-hum reality and reaching a sublime setting that’s perfect for the romantic weekend you’ve been hankering after all year. So, what you are waiting for?
Visit Queenstown in the winter
Queenstown is both romantic and excitement-filled, boasting not only New Zealand’s best adventure attractions – bungee-jumping, jet boating, and skiing, to name a few – but some of the most beautiful vistas that the South Island has to offer. A simple walk along Lake Wakatipu in the snow is enough to set the romantic scene, but better still, Queenstown is stock-full of ambient places to eat and drink, with sites like the Bunker Restaurant & Bar fostering a low-light, cosy atmosphere for its diners. Pick up a rental car from Queenstown airport for an easy way to see what the region has on offer for your romantic getaway.
Experience a summer weekend in New Plymouth
New Zealand’s equivalent of the Gold Coast, New Plymouth in summer is scorching, laid-back, and full of romantic places to stay as a duo. The King and Queen Hotel Suites are particularly luxurious, offering sleek indulgence and privacy in the middle of the city. With art galleries to visit, the famous lights festival to wander through, and the 13-kilometre-long Coastal Walkway to traverse as the sun sets, there’s sure to be no shortage of romance for your weekend getaway.
Make a beeline for the top of the South Island in autumn
Challenged only by Central Otago for the title of most gorgeous region when the leaves turn red, the Nelson-Tasman is distinctively alluring in the autumn months. Crisp air, blue skies, and quieter roads help to make towns like Takaka, Blenheim, and Motueka prime spots for a bit of everyday romance. Once you’ve gotten your fill of the local hippie markets and tasty fare (Toad Hall in Motueka is a must-visit for real fruit ice-cream), make your way out to one of the pristine beaches that the region has to offer.
Escape to the Coromandel
You won’t find a better setting for your romantic getaway than the Coromandel Peninsula. Though Cathedral Cove is the best-known site in the area, the coast extends over 85 kilometres, with comfortable and private little cottages dotted along the length of the peninsula. Aim to reach Hot Water Beach for the unique experience of having a warm natural spa in the sand, perhaps with a local Whitianga wine or craft beer in hand for peak romance.
Ferry over to Waiheke Island
Despite its popularity with tourists, Waiheke is still a pleasingly isolated island, its sandy beaches and Pohutukawa trees speaking of nature unadorned. These days, a bevy of romantic baches and apartments are available for couples to stay in, with many combining all of the ingredients you could possibly need for a weekend of secluded bliss: complementary wine, beach views, even a spa bath if you’re lucky. When you run out of the wine, take a leisurely stroll to a local vineyard like the Mudbrick – there are few things more romantic than talking the day and night away over a bottle of wine.
Travel to the rugged West Coast for a spell
There’s something about the West Coast of the South Island that is inherently transporting, and experiencing the area with your partner is sure to only enhance the wild romance of the place. With multiple gold-mining towns still peppering the coast, it won’t be difficult to find a historic lodge to call home for the weekend (we recommend Omau Settlers’ Lodge, or perhaps the Awatuna Homestead). If you’re wanting to take the “Wild West” idea further and camp – or glamp – the nights away, then the West Coast should be top on your list of romantic destinations for couples. To experience some of New Zealand’s best scenery, hire a rental car at Christchurch Airport and take State Highway 73 over Arthurs Pass.