New Zealand is love’s young dream; a land of empty beaches, breath-taking vistas, and some of the world’s finest food and wine. If you’re traveling there as a couple or happen to meet someone special on the road there are plenty of ways to get the romance flowing during your trip. We’ve pulled together the top romantic activities in New Zealand for adventurous couples.
Camp on a wild island
New Zealand is split into two major islands, the North and South. But around these larger land masses lie many small, undeveloped and beautiful hideaways that are perfect for a romantic getaway. Somes Island, a short ferry ride from Wellington, is a world away from the lively capital but offers stellar views of the distant city skyline. Somes has an interesting history as a quarantine station for both people and animals. Nowadays, it is home to many of New Zealand’s native wildlife, including blue penguins, kakariki or red-crowned parakeet, weta and tuatara. Great Barrier Island, found off the coast north of Auckland, provides the opportunity to really get back to nature. The spectacular ridges and bluffs found in the centre of this wilderness island are a key nesting area for black petrels. The east coast is where you’ll find deserted and Instagram-able white-sand beaches; it’s a great spot for coastal camping. Pack a two-man tent and enjoy a tranquil, nature-filled escape on one of New Zealand’s wild islands.
Get tipsy on a wine-tasting tour
There’s nothing like an afternoon tasting delicious wine to put you in an amorous frame of mind. New Zealand has no shortage of wine regions to explore; the surroundings are often as beautiful as the wine that’s made there. Hire bicycles and cycle together around smaller regions such as Martinborough or Marlborough. Alternatively, join an organised tour so that no one has to be the sober driver. Buy a bottle or two of your favourites so that you can revisit your time together in New Zealand through the sensations of smell and taste long after your travels are over.
Cuddle up in the glow of a spectacular sunset
Is there anything more romantic than sitting on a beach together with a bottle of wine and one of nature’s finest light shows for entertainment? New Zealand boasts some of the cleanest air in the world and with clean air comes skies the colour of the rainbow. The small town of Punakaiki on the South Island’s northwest coast is a perfect spot for sunset watching. Grab a blanket and head to Punakaiki beach. Add to the romance by taking a late afternoon horseback trek on the beach or a star-gazing tour after dark. Paraparaumu Beach on the North Island’s Kapiti coastline is another great spot to watch the sun go down behind Kapiti Island. Or head to Port Waikato’s aptly named Sunset Beach, one and a half hour’s drive from Hamilton.
Spend some quality time tramping one of the Great Walks
New Zealand is famous for its nine Great Walks: tramping tracks that encompass the best of the wilderness and natural beauty in the country. Strap on your walking boots and take one on with your significant other. The walks are well-maintained with huts provided along the route for sleeping and cooking. Popular tracks do get busy during the warmer months so booking huts in advance is a must. If you are after a quieter experience, try one of the more remote walks during the shoulder or low-season. For example, the Tongariro circuit route is flooded with up to 1,000 walkers a day in summer whereas during winter months the snow-covered track sees as few as 40-50 people attempting the challenge. Always research thoroughly before attempting any of the walks, ensure you are properly equipped and check the weather forecast.
Take a leap of faith together
For the ultimate test of your relationship, book a tandem bungy jump or swing. You can help each other through the pre-jump jitters, hold each other’s hands on the way down and create a memory together that you’ll never forget. The Kawarau bungy near Queenstown offers tandem bungee jumps with the option of a river entry at the bottom. Or try the world’s biggest swing, AJ Hackett’s Nevis. Strap in with your partner and opt for an upside-down, forwards, backwards, back to back or 69 swing together.
Find your own way to get romantic in New Zealand
In a country where the emphasis is on outdoor activities it’s important to find your vibe as a traveling couple. Whether you prefer to take on a challenge together such as a Great Walk or an extreme sport, relax and have fun wine tasting, or take some alone time over a sunset and a night camping under the stars, there’s an activity for every kind of couple. Make your time in New Zealand extra special by making time for romance in your itinerary!
By Helen Scarr