For most people, New Zealand is a once-in-a-lifetime destination. Just getting here from the United States or Europe is such an ordeal that most people want to make the most of their trip and will go out of their way to make it an adventure to remember.
Romance features heavily into any perfect vacation, and in this arena New Zealand does not disappoint. Whether you are looking to make the most of a spontaneous fling you met on the North Island, or you are reigniting a spark with your long-time spouse, there is no better time for romance than vacation, and no better place than Kaikoura, NZ.
The perfect distance for a weekend trip from Christchurch or Wellington, Kaikoura is ideal for a romantic escape. Here are five ultra-romantic sights and activities that will most certainly win over anyone’s heart.
You can’t see it, but just off the coast of Kaikoura is Kaikoura Canyon, a deep, underwater gorge where two strong sea currents converge. This particular geography results in massive amounts of plants nutrients being pushed toward the surface. These plants attract fish and crustaceans, which, in turn, draw larger marine mammals. Sperm whales are easily found here year-round, and whale watching has become a major regional attraction.
Whale watching is the perfect date activity: unusual, creative, scenic and misty. Boats are always symbols of romance, and viewing a pod of gentle humpback whales off the bow will impress even the most cynical among us.
Kaikoura is located on a small rugged peninsula, full of coves and rock outcroppings. Explore the area from the vantage of a kayak—a totally personal and private way to see the secluded side of the peninsula. You’re likely to a few of the marine animals that live in the area. What could be more magical than two people, alone on the open ocean, making contact with a pod of dusky dolphins?
For an extremely romantic adventure, take a kayak out at night (just let someone know where you’re going first!) and admire the southern sky, unpolluted by big city lights.
Wine tasting is the quintessential romantic adventure. Kaikoura’s not exactly bursting at the seams with wineries (if you’re really keen, check out the nearby Marlborough region or Waipara Valley), but they do have one solid contribution to New Zealand’s wine scene: the Kaikoura Winery.
Fortunately, the site is charming enough to make up for the fact that it’s the only one in Kaikoura. Make the most of your one-stop wine tour by checking out the production process and the underground cellar. The vineyard overlooks the Pacific Ocean, so after you’ve learned the ins and outs of wine making, you and your significant other can enjoy a glass or two on the patio.
You’ve seen it on television and in movies (and so has your partner) so you know that a chartered plane or helicopter ride is the ultimate in romance. Kaikoura is ideal for scenic flights, given the unique terrain (mountains that loom over a perfectly blue ocean) plus there’s a good chance of seeing pods of whales swimming off the coast.
And before you write this off as something only millionaires do, consider that a fifteen minute helicopter tour costs about $150 NZ per person (about $113 US or 83 Euros): expensive but definitely achievable.
Picnic at the lookout
If you’re looking for a view of the area, but without the price tag of chartering a private helicopter, climb up the Kaikoura Lookout. From the lookout, you’ll have a panoramic view of the town of Kaikoura, the jagged mountain range behind it and the deep blue Pacific Ocean to the east.
Make a romantic event out of a trip to the lookout by packing a picnic. Grab a bottle of pinot noir from the Kaikoura Winery, a blanket, a parcel of Kaikoura’s famous fish and chips and head to the lookout for an evening meal with a view. Sunsets are stunning, so stick around for a while.
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