With a mix of activities, this New Zealand honeymoon explores the best of the North Island. Over 14 days, you'll take part in outdoor and cultural pursuits and some well-deserved relaxation. Start with a romantic dinner in Auckland, then begin your epic road trip to see the Coromandel Peninsula, geothermal Rotorua, thrilling Taupo, and Art Deco Napier. Then, visit Tongariro National Park, where you'll accomplish a famous all-day hike before wine tasting in Martinborough and sightseeing in Wellington.


  • Admire nature from a glass-bottomed boat in the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Relax in geothermal mud and sulfur mineral waters at a spa in Rotorua
  • Go whitewater rafting down the Tongariro River while visiting Lake Taupo
  • Visit the world's largest gannet colony during a safari to Cape Kidnappers
  • Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, spanning the length of Mount Tongariro

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Auckland, Dinner at Ahi Restaurant Auckland
Day 2 All Blacks Rugby Experience, Wētā Workshop, Drive to Coromandel Coromandel
Day 3 Glass Bottom Boat Tour, Free Time Coromandel
Day 4 Drive to Rotorua, Wai Ariki Spa, Te Puia Cultural Experience Rotorua
Day 5 Visit Hell's Gate, Evening Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua
Day 6 Visit Wai-O-Tapu, Orakei Korako Tour, Drive to Taupo Taupō
Day 7 Tongariro River Whitewater Rafting, Lake Taupo Cruise Taupō
Day 8 Drive to Napier, Art Deco Vintage Car Tour Napier
Day 9 Gannet Safaris, Free Time Napier
Day 10 Drive to Tongariro National Park, Two-Hour Sunset Guided Walk Tongariro National Park
Day 11 Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Tongariro National Park
Day 12 Drive to Martinborough, Half-Day Wine Tour Martinborough
Day 13 Drive to Wellington, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Wellington
Day 14 Depart Wellington  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland, Dinner at Ahi Restaurant

Panoramic view of Auckland
Take in a panoramic view of Auckland then go for a special dinner

Welcome to New Zealand! You've landed in Auckland, a city surrounded by volcanoes and situated between two harbors, the sparkling Waitemata and the brooding Manukau. More than 500,000 sailboats and yachts have nicknamed it the "City of Sails." While it's not the capital, this is New Zealand's largest city, so it's a great place to start your honeymoon. Upon arrival, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your accommodation. Drop your bags and decide how to spend your free afternoon. In Auckland, you can choose between joining the energy of city life or escaping into nature.

For supreme views of Auckland, scale the 1,075-foot (328 m) Sky Tower with its dizzying observation deck, or make your way to Mount Eden, one of the city's 48 volcanic cones. This evening, you'll taste the best of seasonal New Zealand cuisine at Ahi, a chic restaurant that honors passionate suppliers and growers from across New Zealand. Savor a handful of ever-changing dishes paired with wine, each telling an authentic food story of Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand).

Day 2: All Blacks Rugby Experience, Wētā Workshop, Drive to Coromandel

Visit an interactive rugby museum before starting your North Island road trip

This morning, you'll dive into New Zealand's beloved national sport as you see what it takes to be an All Black. This is your chance to learn stories behind some of rugby's most famous players and historical moments. Your guide will take you through state-of-the-art displays combining sound, images, interactive technology, and activities. You'll not only learn about the country's passion for rugby but will experience the All Blacks haka (ceremonial war dances) and tackle interactive zones.

From there, experience a world where the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred. Best known for their work on the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the Wētā Workshop is a five-time Academy Award-winning film effects company, and you can explore their creative process of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy filmmaking with a 90-minute tour. Then, it's time to collect a rental car and say farewell to Auckland. You'll travel south along the Seabird Coast, taking around three hours to reach the Coromandel Peninsula. You'll arrive in time to catch a sunset along the specular coastline. 

Day 3: Glass Bottom Boat Tour, Free Time

Cathedral Cove
Finish the day on the Coromandel Peninsula and visit a secluded beach called Cathedral Cove

Today, you'll explore the best of the coastline of Te Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve, including its most famous site—the secluded Cathedral Cove—starting with an aquatic tour. Explore the volcanic rock formations and sea caves in a glass-bottom boat and spot many different species of marine life, such as colorful fish, stingrays, octopuses, and more. You can either watch the marine life through the glass or get in the water for some swimming and snorkeling.

In the afternoon, you can explore the area at your pace. You could visit the creatively named Hot Water Beach, where geothermally heated water seeps through the sands. At low tide, dig a hole and create your own mineral pool. Here, you'll find cute cafés and art stores, including Moko, which has a great range of local Indigenous arts and crafts for sale. After, you could travel north to Hahei, where you can walk 30 minutes each way—through the native bush—to reach the beautiful Cathedral Cove, a romantic beach with dramatic limestone caves and arches.

Day 4: Drive to Rotorua, Wai Ariki Spa, Te Puia Cultural Experience

Experience the wild geothermal landscapes of Rotorua

Jump behind the wheel and cruise three hours south to Rotorua. Set within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is an otherworldly area of geothermal activity, complete with boiling mud pools, steaming geysers, and natural hot springs that are ideal for relaxing. Rotorua is also a great spot to experience New Zealand's fascinating Māori culture, hospitality, and food. Start with an indulgent session at Wai Ariki Spa. Under the guidance of the local iwi (tribe), you'll move from hot to cold, mud to water, and air to steam to maximize the benefits of your two-hour restorative journey.

Later, immerse yourself in Māori culture, starting with a guided tour of the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute. Enjoy Te Puia's world-famous hāngī buffet dinner, cooked underground using thermal heat. Finally, a cultural performance will take place in a beautiful house, Te Aronui a Rua. After a traditional welcome, you'll be treated to a waiata (song) and mōteatea (traditional chant). Finish the experience with hot chocolate and steamed pudding surrounded by the natural elements.

Day 5: Visit Hell's Gate, Evening Redwoods Treewalk

Take a romantic walk beneath Rotorua's redwood trees after dark

Today, you'll visit more geothermal sites, such as Hell's Gate to soak in mud and acidic sulfur waters. Take part in the guided or self-guided interactive geothermal walk, then dip into the mud baths. Feel the healing properties that local Māori have used for over 800 years as warm mud opens your pores. After, exfoliate your skin and cleanse with a soak in the sulfur mineral spa.

This evening, after sundown, you'll explore Rotorua's majestic Redwood Forest. Experience a captivating and romantic setting with dozens of lanterns, color spots, and feature lights illuminating the 115-year-old redwood trees, forest ferns, and pungas. It's an immersive and unique way to appreciate the beauty of these natural giants—and an excuse to hold hands with your beloved as you stroll along uplit pathways.

Day 6: Visit Wai-O-Tapu, Orakei Korako Tour, Drive to Taupo

Orakei-Korako Geyserland
Explore the hidden valley of Orakei-Korako Geyserland

After breakfast, set out to explore even more of Rotorua's famous geysers, bubbling mud holes, steaming vents, and sulfurous pools at Wai-O-Tapu, a place sculptured by thousands of years of volcanic activity. Choose between a range of short walks showcasing the distinctive landscapes and volcanic activity, including the famous Mud Pool. Learn about the Lady Knox Geyser with a guide, then watch it erupt to heights of 33 to 65 feet (10 to 20 m). Next, you'll explore the hidden valley of Orakei-Korako Geyserland & Thermal Park

You'll see up to 23 active natural geysers, boiling hot springs, and mud pools here. You can also take a bush walk through native flora and fauna and see the Silica Terraces. Afterward, drive to Taupō through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau. Taupō sits at the edge of Lake Taupō, New Zealand's largest lake, and a volcanic caldera formed by a massive eruption 25,600 years ago. This is the North Island's capital of outdoor activities—you can go bungee jumping, jet boating, take helicopter flights, or skydive. 

Day 7: Tongariro River Whitewater Rafting, Lake Taupo Cruise

Whitewater rafting Tongariro River grade 3
Chase thrills in the morning, then relax with a lake cruise in the afternoon

Start your day with a hearty breakfast before taking a half-day whitewater rafting expedition down the Tongariro River. This is one of the best rafting adventures in New Zealand, ideal for both experts and first-time rafters. With an expert guide at the helm, you'll navigate through several rollercoaster rapids in the unspoiled wilderness. After, catch your breath and stop for lunch nearby.

Later, relax aboard a luxury yacht as you enjoy a scenic sail across Lake Taupō to see 33-foot-high (10 m) Māori rock art, only accessible by boat. Glide across the calm lake as you sit back and relax or take a refreshing dip before partaking in complimentary refreshments at the rock carvings, where there are plenty of photo opportunities. If you're looking for a little more activity, you can help hoist the sails or take a turn at the wheel.

Day 8: Drive to Napier, Art Deco Vintage Car Tour

Drive from Taupo to Napier
Tour past Napier's famous T&G Art Deco building in a classic car
Plan your trip to New Zealand
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Today, you'll make the two-hour drive from Taupō to Napier. Napier and its neighbor Hastings are known for their rich farming lands known for fruit orchards, vineyards, and sheep farming. In 1931, a severe earthquake and subsequent fires destroyed most of Napier's commercial heart, and 988 acres (4,000 ha) of new land was formed. The people of Napier rebuilt their city with an Art Deco flare.

On arrival, discover the city's distinctive architectural heritage in a 1930s vintage car during a private tour. Take an entertaining loop around Napier's Art Deco Quarter and a charming Art Deco residential suburb as your driver shares stories of the city's past. This adventure also includes a complimentary viewing of the "Our Day That Changed the Bay" earthquake movie.

Day 9: Gannet Safaris, Free Time

Gannet Safaris
Join an adventure at Cape Kidnappers to see gannets

After breakfast, take a scenic drive from Napier to Te Awanga to see the world's largest gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Here, a private guide will take you on a special bird-watching safari, traveling by 4WD across riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, native bush, and steep gullies. Along the way, you'll pause at a spectacular clifftop to look across Hawke's Bay and all the way across to the Mahia Peninsula.

Finally, you'll reach the world's largest mainland gannet colony, where you'll be able to get within a few feet of these remarkable birds. Stretch your legs and enjoy the views from your perch on the cliff's edge at 330 feet (100 m) above the ocean! The rest of the day is yours to relax and enjoy this beautiful and wild area of New Zealand.

Day 10: Drive to Tongariro National Park, Two-Hour Guided Sunset Walk

From Napier to Tongariro
Start with a one-hour warm-up hike around Tongariro National Park

After driving all the way to the North Island's east coast, today you'll turn around and head three hours west toward Tongariro National Park, south of Taupō. New Zealand's first national park was created after the three sleeping volcanic peaks were gifted by Te Heuheu Tukino IV, paramount chief of the Tuwharetoa people, to the people of New Zealand in 1887. Tomorrow, you'll tackle the national park's most famous day hike, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a challenging full-day hike that explores distinct landscapes and geothermal phenomena.

Today, you'll enjoy a much shorter, more relaxed guided hike at sunset. Sport your hiking gear and set out with a local hiking guide to explore the dramatic terrain that falls around the Tongariro volcanoes. You'll hike for just over an hour, learning about the local geography, geology, and cultural history, before stopping for a glass of New Zealand bubbly as you watch the sunset. The route will depend on the group's ability, but you'll likely walk the Taranaki Falls loop track or start on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track and return via Sunset Ridge or Meads Wall.

Day 11: Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Shuttle from Ketetahi Carpak to Mangatepopo
Spend the day tackling a world-renowned trail in the Tongariro National Park

Lace up your hiking boots this morning for a full-day hike on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The crossing spans the length of Mount Tongariro at 12 miles (19.4 km) and takes you through a stunning and diverse alpine landscape showcasing dramatic volcanic features. Park your car at the end of the trail at Ketetahi and board a shuttle bus that will drop you at the trailhead in the Mangatepopo Valley, located at 3,640 feet (1,100 m).

You can expect the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to take 7-8 hours and the landscape to change constantly, with towering volcanic peaks and pristine crater lakes. You'll encounter vibrant emerald lakes, ancient lava flows, and steam vents that create a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere. The hike's highlight is the challenging but rewarding climb up to the Red Crater at 6,187 feet (1,886 m), where you can soak in panoramic vistas of the surrounding volcanic terrain. Be sure to bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and proper hiking boots for this trek.

Day 12: Drive to Martinborough, Half-Day Wine Tour

Toast your trip with a tasting tour through the famous Martinborough wine country

After a luxurious breakfast at the lodge, jump back in the car for a four-hour journey south to Martinborough. This pretty little village in the Wairarapa Region is made for wine lovers, with almost 35 wineries dotted around the city center. It's famous for its pinot noir, but its crisp whites are just as excellent. Check into your accommodation to drop your bags and refresh, then meet your private guide for a wine-filled afternoon.

Together, you'll drive to renowned vineyards such as Te Kairangi Wines, Tirohana Estate, Cabbage Tree Vineyard, and Martinborough Vineyard. Taste plenty of delicious pinot noir and other wines, and learn about the development of the region, its people, and its characters with the help of your knowledgeable local guide. Afterward, you'll return to your lodge, where you can spend the evening with the in-house sommelier, enjoy a game of tennis or croquet on the sweeping lawns, and sit down to a gourmet farm-to-table dinner.

Day 13: Drive to Wellington, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary

Take a detour to Cape Palliser lighthouse before finishing in Wellington

On the penultimate day of your North Island honeymoon, squeeze in an adventure on the journey south to Wellington. New Zealand's capital. It'll double the drive time to 2.5 hours, but you'll take a scenic detour to Cape Palliser, a dramatic headland with sweeping views of the sea. The grand old lighthouse has stood on these cliffs since 1897, and you can climb the 253 steps for some of the area's best vistas. Say hello to the local fur seal colony (keep a respectful distance), then go see the Putangirua Pinnacles, a series of otherworldly rock formations formed by erosion.

After exploring this filming location from "The Lord of the Rings," continue to Wellington and enjoy some free time. After dark, venture to Zealandia, a wildlife eco-sanctuary and forest just 10 minutes from the city. Kiwi birds, Tuatara reptiles, and Maud Island frogs come alive at night. With a guide and a flashlight, come eye-to-eye with more than 100 nocturnal species exploring the more than 500-acre (225 ha) area.

Day 14: Depart Wellington

If you have time, ride the cable car to the Wellington Botanic Garden 

Your epic two-week honeymoon exploring New Zealand's North Island comes to an end today. If you have time before your flight, ride the cable car to the Wellington Botanic Garden and the Carter Observatory for a vantage point with excellent views of the city and harbor, or visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to learn more about the country's natural history.

Then, make the short drive to the airport with enough time to return your rental car before your departing flight home or onward. Safe travels!

More Great New Zealand Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to New Zealand? Check out these other New Zealand itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in New Zealand on your honeymoon, or discover the best time to visit New Zealand.


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Map of New Zealand's North Island Honeymoon Highlights - 14 days
Map of New Zealand's North Island Honeymoon Highlights - 14 days