This New Zealand honeymoon is perfect for fit and active newlyweds who love the great outdoors. You'll spend two weeks road-tripping from Christchurch to Queenstown, stopping in Akaroa, Lake Tekapo, Wanaka, and Te Anau en route. Along the way, take part in kayaking, cycling, hiking, and jet boating across the South Island. Of course, a romantic holiday should include relaxation, so you'll float in hot pools, stargaze beneath snowy peaks, and cruise across Milford Sound / Piopiotahi.


  • Ride the scenic TranzAlpine train to hike in Arthur's Pass National Park
  • Spend an evening relaxing in hot pools under the stars at Lake Tekapo
  • Soar above the snowcapped Aoraki / Mount Cook during a scenic flight
  • Jet boat and kayak in Mount Aspiring National Park near Queenstown
  • Cruise to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi while looking for fur seals and dolphins

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Christchurch, Tramway Restaurant Experience Christchurch
Day 2 Full-Day TranzAlpine Train to Arthur's Pass & Return Christchurch
Day 3 Drive to Akaroa, Dolphin Cruise Akaroa
Day 4 Kayak at Flea Bay, Blue Penguin Evening Tour Akaroa
Day 5 Drive to Lake Tekapo, Tekapo Springs StarGazing Lake Tekapo
Day 6 The Grand Traverse Scenic Flight, Cass Valley Backcountry Tour Lake Tekapo
Day 7 Drive to Wānaka, Half-Day Wine Tasting Tour Wānaka
Day 8 Self-Guided Mou Waho Island Adventure Wānaka
Day 9 Drive to Clyde / Maniototo, Otago Cycling Trail Clyde
Day 10 Drive to Te Anau, River Bike Ride & Jet Boat Experience Te Anau
Day 11 Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Cruise Te Anau
Day 12 Drive to Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Barbecue Dinner Queenstown
Day 13 Full-Day Funyak Safari & Jetboat Tour Queenstown
Day 14 Depart Queenstown  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch, Tramway Restaurant Experience

Christchurch Tramway Restaurant
Explore downtown Christchurch by day, then board a tram for a roving dinner experience

Kia ora! Welcome to New Zealand's South Island! Begin your active honeymoon in Christchurch, where a driver will greet you and transfer you to your accommodation. Here, you'll see the virtual rebirth of the city following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The urban city center is full of new secrets, from modern architecture and immense street art to cocktail bars and bustling restaurants. New Zealand's second-largest metropolis is also known for its green spaces like Hagley Park and the Botanical Gardens—it's nicknamed the "Garden City," after all—so taking a stroll in one is always a good idea.

This evening, you'll board the country's only restaurant tram for a scenic city tour while you enjoy a four-course meal. This historic, colonial-style dining tram showcases the best of New Zealand cuisine while making the rounds of central Christchurch's top attractions. Enjoy the Botanic Gardens, the Canterbury Museum, and the Avon River / Ōtākaro from your romantic window-side table as you dine on local gourmet fare.

Day 2: Full-Day TranzAlpine Train to Arthur's Pass & Return

Ride the scenic TranzAlpine train to Arthur's Pass to hike in the national park

Often considered one of the world's most spectacular train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train travels 139 miles (223 km) between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other, passing through the South Island's divide of mountains. Today, you'll ride the scenic train most of the way, soaking up the mountain views as you pass patchwork fields in the Canterbury Plains and gorges of the Waimakariri River.

You'll stop at Arthur's Pass, where you can embark on a walk within Arthur's Pass National Park, a popular destination for hiking, climbing, and wildlife viewing. Choose from a number of trails inside the park, each offering beautiful views of mountains, alpine meadows, and dense rainforests. Later in the day, board another TranzAlpine service back to Christchurch for the evening.

Day 3: Drive to Akaroa, Dolphin Cruise

Christchurch to Akaora
Take a cruise from Akaroa to see the rare and friendly Hector's dolphin

This morning, collect a rental car and make the 90-minute drive to Akaroa, New Zealand's only French settlement that sits at the end of the Banks Peninsula. When the French expedition arrived here in the early 1800s, the British had already acquired sovereignty over the island through the Treaty of Waitangi. Today, Akaroa is a charming 175-year-old harborside village where you can observe one of the smallest dolphins, go hiking, or taste local wines.

You'll board a special dolphin cruise this afternoon to admire the amazing birdlife and marine mammals up close. The highlight is seeing the world's rarest and smallest dolphin: the friendly Hector's dolphin. Your two-hour cruise departs from the Akaroa Harbour, and while on board, you can look for fur seals sunbathing on the rocks, little blue penguins, marine salmon, paua pearl farms, and many sea birds. While on board the speedy vessel, you'll learn about the area's geology, history, ecology, and Māori heritage.

Day 4: Kayak at Flea Bay, Blue Penguin Evening Tour

Blue Penguin evening Tours Akaroa
Get up close with wild penguins in Pōhatu Bay after a sea kayaking safari

Grab a paddle and embark on a 90-minute sea kayaking safari into Pōhatu Marine Reserve. A 4x4 will take you to the launch point, we'll you'll push off to encounter the endemic wildlife in a way that only a kayak will allow. Your guide will lead you along an impressive coastline that has been shaped over time into high cliffs and deep sea caves. Keep your eyes open for the local seal colony, various sea birds, and (depending on the season) penguins and Hector's dolphins.

Your next adventure falls closer to dusk when you'll board a 4WD for a scenic drive over the extinct Akaroa volcano to Pōhatu Bay, home of the largest Australasian little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Learn about the life of penguins, check nesting sites, and watch penguins socializing on the water from hidden observation spots at sunset. While these penguins are easily frightened by people and lights, you'll get up close with the creatures in a safe and responsible way.

Day 5: Drive to Lake Tekapo, Tekapo Springs StarGazing

Drive from Akaroa to Lake Tekapo
Take a walk around the Church of The Good Shepherd and snap pics

Hit the road after breakfast on the four-hour drive south to Lake Tekapo. Cross the vast Canterbury Plains, pass through the rich farmlands of Geraldine, and drive through Burkes Pass until you reach the beautiful town with its turquoise blue lake, snow-capped mountains, and green hills. Drop by the famous lakeside Church of The Good Shepherd, built in 1935 in memory of the pioneers who settled in the Mackenzie region, to snap a photo, then check into your accommodation.

Use the afternoon to enjoy free time ahead of this evening's special experience. Tonight, you'll combine stargazing and relaxation at Tekapo Springs, the only guided hot pool and stargazing experience in New Zealand. Learn about the constellations in Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve from a guide as you float on a hammock beneath the stars. Explore the wonder of night skies while soaking in a 99°F (37.5°C) hot pool.

Day 6: The Grand Traverse Scenic Flight, Cass Valley Backcountry Tour

Scenic Flight over Mount Cook from Lake Tekapo
Take a scenic flight high above New Zealand's highest mountains and biggest glaciers

This morning, after breakfast, you'll strap into a small plane for a spectacular 50-minute scenic flight, known as the Grand Traverse. You'll fly high above pristine lakes, golden landscapes, remote sheep stations, and glacial valleys. See New Zealand's highest mountains and largest glaciers, including the snowcapped Aoraki / Mount Cook, the Haupapa / Tasman Glacier, the Franz Josef / Waiau, and Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Admire a world of ice and snow, and see where the glaciers meet the rainforest of the island's west coast from above.

Journey through the high country wilderness of Mackenzie Country with a scenic 4WD tour this morning. This backcountry tour rolls across breathtaking landscapes, traveling through Glenmore Station, one of New Zealand's finest Merino wool providers, and incredible high country stations. You'll gain private access to the remote and remarkable scenery of the Cass Valley. Take in views of mountains, glaciers, and river crossings, while learning about the geology, ecology, and history that formed this part of New Zealand's South Island.

Day 7: Drive to Wānaka, Half-Day Wine Tasting Tour

Drive from Lake Tekapo to Wanaka
Wānaka is famous for its beautiful lake, a favorite location for photographers

Today's two-hour drive from Lake Tekapo to Wānaka takes in more awe-inspiring scenery. You'll first pass Lake Pukaki, where you can often see New Zealand's highest mountain, the Aoraki / Mount Cook, at 12,300 feet (3,754 m). Pause to explore hiking trails on foot or keep driving toward Twizel, the location of many film scenes from "The Lord of the Rings." Wind through beautiful Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest roads with a summit of 3,185 feet (971 m), before reaching Wānaka, New Zealand's premier ski destination.

A local driver and guide will collect you for a relaxed half-day wine tour this afternoon. Visit a handful of Wānaka's local vineyards, bouncing between cellar doors while sharing local history and geography. The tour focuses on boutique wineries that are not generally open to the public, and you'll even speak to the winemaker or vineyard owner themselves.

Plan your trip to New Zealand
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 8: Self-Guided Mou Waho Island Adventure

Mou Waho Island self guided
Spend a few hours exploring Mou Waho Island while looking for a rare flightless bird

Today's outdoor adventure takes you on a short boat ride to the remote and mystical Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve. Learn about the fascinating geology of this area and the glaciers that created the lake as you glide along its sparkling waters. This predator-free scientific reserve is home to the buff weka, a rare flightless bird that has been extinct on the mainland since the early 20th century. You'll have nearly two hours on the small island to explore at your own pace.

While on Mou Waho, you should visit the famous Arethusa Pool, a small lake in the middle of the island. You can also climb to the top of Tyrwhitt Peak for panoramic views of Lake Wānaka and the surrounding mountains and valleys. After that, return to Wānaka and enjoy free time.

Day 9: Drive to Clyde / Maniototo, Otago Cycling Trail

Get ready to cycle around the landscapes of Clyde / Maniototo as you make your way to Alexandra

After breakfast, jump behind the wheel and make the one-hour drive south to Clyde / Maniototo. This area is the historic heart of the discovery of gold, and the place that caused a wave of European and Chinese immigration. Unlike its modernized neighbor, Queenstown, Clyde has kept the authenticity of its heritage and architecture intact. Here, the village locals enjoy a slower pace of life, so swap your car keys for a bike helmet and set off to explore.

Your full-day cycling adventure, starting in Auripo, will take you through one of the most spectacular gorges on the famous Otago Central Rail Trail. This car-free route has an easy gradient, and you'll pass amazing scenery while riding over viaducts, bridges, and tunnels. Ride through the secluded and rocky Poolburn Gorge and pause at the Omakau Commercial Hotel for a late lunch. After, pedal to Chatto Creek and then onto Alexandra. Finish back in Clyde where you'll stretch your legs and take yourself for a well-earned celebratory drink in town.

Day 10: Drive to Te Anau, River Bike Ride & Jet Boat Experience

Drive from Clyde to Te Anau
Set off the shore at Te Anau for a high-speed jetboat adventure this afternoon

You'll hit the road for Te Anau this morning, which is about three hours southwest. The scenic drive will take you through stunning landscapes with towering mountains, lush green valleys, and crystal-clear lakes, including the famous Lake Wakatipu, Fiordland National Park, and the majestic Southern Alps. On arrival, grab a quick lunch in town, then get ready for an afternoon of serious thrills.

You'll travel down to Lake Manapouri by high-speed jet boat, carving up the Upper Waiau River with plenty of 360-degree spins, high-speed turns, and scenic stops. Spot trout in the crystal-clear water, listen for native birds and emerge at Lake Manapouri to a view that will leave you speechless. Disembark into Fiordland National Park for a short nature stroll to discover local flora and fauna, then switch to mountain bikes. Follow a trail along the river's edge and savor the beauty of Fiordland. Along the way, pause for a rest, picnic, or refreshing dip.

Day 11: Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Cruise

The world-famous Milford Sound
Spend a day admiring the epic views and marine life of Milford Sound / Piopiotahi

Today, you'll make a day trip to the awe-inspiring Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, with its towering granite peaks, tumbling waterfalls, pristine blue waters, and incredible wildlife. The dramatic fjord landscapes create a sense of grandeur and tranquility, and the road trip from Te Anau offers plenty of natural beauty to get you in the mood. Take your time and stop as often as you wish along Milford Road, the most iconic in New Zealand.

Finally, you'll reach Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, the most popular fjord in Fiordland National Park and the only one accessible by road. Board your cruise on the fjord and look for dramatic waterfalls cascading down sheer cliffs, mountains jutting out the sea, fur seals, and dolphins. After a magnificent and calming cruise, you could stop and walk the stunning Key Summit track on the return journey to Te Anau.

Day 12: Drive to Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Barbecue Dinner

crosses Lake Wakatipu in style aboard the TSS Earnslaw
Sail across Lake Wakatipu in style aboard the TSS Earnslaw

This morning, you'll make the 3.5-hour drive from Te Anau to Queenstown, passing through Mossburn and Southland countryside to where the Remarkables mountain range towers above. Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Alps, Queenstown is the world capital of adrenaline and outdoor activities, so you can expect plenty of big thrills! Once you get settled at your hotel, take an afternoon ride on the Skyline Gondola over 1,400 feet (450 m) to Bob's Peak for panoramic views. From here, you can ride the downhill luge track back to town. 

You'll then be rewarded with a leisurely dinner cruise across the breathtakingly beautiful Lake Wakatipu aboard "The Lady of the Lake." The historic TSS Earnslaw steamship will take you to the lakeside gardens of Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet dinner by the water. Soak up the alpine scenery and watch as chefs prepare a seasonal bounty of succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Enjoy desserts and New Zealand cheese before the return cruise, complete with a singalong from the ship's pianist.

Day 13: Full-Day Funyak Safari & Jetboat Tour

Funyak and Jetboat Tour in Queenstown
Float down the Dart River in an inflatable canoe

Get ready for a truly unique outdoor adventure—the kind you can only do in New Zealand. Start with a drive north into the wilds of Mount Aspiring National Park where you'll hop in a jet boat for an adrenaline-pumping ride down the glacier-fed Dart River. Feel the excitement as you zip along this shallow waterway at high speeds while your daredevil captain performs exhilarating spins. After the thrills, stop on the riverbank for a stroll and appreciate the unspoiled wilderness, with its snowcapped peaks, glaciers, and alpine lakes, at a slower pace.

Return to the water at a more leisurely pace in an inflatable canoe. Paddle along a beautiful downstream route as your local guide reveals insight into the geology and history of the Dart River's sparkling channels. Pause at an ancient beech forest for a delicious picnic lunch, then you can venture into the wilderness and hike to hidden streams, rock pools, and granite river gorges like the dramatic Rockburn Chasm. Back in the canoe, continue downstream to the settlement of Paradise. From here you'll take scenic roads back to Queenstown.

Day 14: Depart Queenstown 

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand and the world
Wave goodbye to beautiful Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand

Your epic two-week honeymoon exploring New Zealand's South Island comes to an end today. If you have time before your flight, take a walk around the lake or shop for souvenirs in town. When the time is right, drive to Queenstown's airport with enough time to return the rental car ahead of your departing flight. 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 South Island Active Honeymoon - 14 Days
Map of New Zealand's South Island Active Honeymoon - 14 Days