Honeymoons were traditionally about romance and connection, about stunning sunsets and long lie-ins, but today’s newlyweds are increasingly in search of adventure, from close encounters with nature to the daredevil activities of the adrenalin set.
It’s funny how things change. Once upon a time, couples spent almost all their time thinking about their big day – the church, the flowers, the family – but today the actual ‘big day’ is often playing second fiddle to a well-earned break and the chance to create some lasting memories together. And those memories won’t necessarily be spent soaking up the sun beside a pool somewhere; couples are using honeymoons as an excuse to get out of their comfort zone, to try something daring and exhilarating, and to visit a destination that they will likely never return to. Here are some of our favourite adventure honeymoon escape ideas.
In the far north of Australia, an hour’s drive outside Darwin, Bamurru Plains has proven a popular spot for the romantically-inclined looking to get close to some of Australia’s famous, and often ferocious creatures, including water buffalo, wild brumby horses, magpie geese and of course, saltwater crocodiles. The luxury wildlife lodge is located on the cusp of one of the region’s largest floodplains, best encountered aboard the Lodge’s fleet of airboats, which skim across the flooded landscape, allowing an up-close and personal Aussie experience.
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a cowboy (or girl), and to work on a ranch, ride horses, and bring in the cattle from a graze? Creative Western Adventures in Canada offers a unique range of cowboy adventures, including their cattle drive experience, which has city slickers cattle tending, fence mending, pasture checking, and of course, enjoying plenty of romantic sing-alongs under the starry sky. They’ll even swap the camp hooch for champagne.
Queenstown, in Southern New Zealand, is one of the world’s best-known adventure capitals, and one that’s no stranger to honeymooners looking for thrills and spills. Helicopter company Over the Top offers a truly stunning day out that includes a flight over the Southern Alps, a walk through ancient rainforests, and finally a glacier landing, complete with a private champagne luncheon in a hidden gold miner’s cottage. Just radio the chopper when you’re done.
Get Wild in Kenya
If an African safari was always near the top of the honeymoon wish list, make for Mahali Mzuri, Sir Richard Branson’s 12-tented luxury safari camp, located in the northern region of Kenya’s Maasai Mara ecosystem, making it the perfectly placed to witness the annual Great Migration. Besides enjoying the abundant wildlife on twice-daily game drive experiences, couples can cool off in the 12-metre outdoor infinity pool, indulge in a spa treatment, or take a special community tour to meet members of the Maasai tribe.
The camp has 12 unique tented (and sublimely private) suites perched on a ridge looking over the valley with a distinctive design adapted to the local climate and terrain. Three-night packages include accommodation, all food and beverages, including champagne, game drives, arrival gifts, a Nasaro spa treatment per person, a lover’s picnic lunch, a private dinner served by your personal butler, a sweetheart turn down service, and airstrip transfers.
Kingdom of the Fire Gods
Iceland’s volcano may have caused plenty of trouble for frequent flyers in the past but they’re still popular spots for the adventurous. The Vatnajokull Voyager is an adventure-packed day trip to Kaftafell and Vatnajokull National Parks offered by Extreme Iceland. Well suited to couples that may not climb often but are looking to mark their nuptials in style, the day trip takes in the largest glacier in Europe, guided ice hikes, and a zodiac cruise through the massive icebergs of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.
Land of Kings
Mongolia remains one of the world’s untouched locales and one increasingly popular with adventure travellers, who love its unique culture and colourful festivals, including the ancient Naadam festival, an annual celebration of wrestling, archery and horse racing. Cox & Kings Travel take private groups to see the best that Mongolia has to offer, from the Gobi Desert to the snow-capped mountains and endless grassy steppes, with visits to local villages, nights in traditional yurt tents (they might even have a Honeymoon Yurt) and front row seats at the most important festival events.
If you’re looking for something a little more urban, how about touring one of Asia’s most dynamic – and busiest – cities by vintage Chinese military motorbike sidecar? Shanghai Sideways specialises in fast-paced, adrenalin-pumping guided motorbike tours of the Paris of the East. From the frenzy of Nanjing Road to the bustle of the Bund, see this amazing city from a whole new perspective, and with room for just two guests, it’s perfectly suited for couples looking to break up the romance with some adventure.
Take the Leap in Antarctica
If you’re looking for that one adventure that combines a mesmerizing landscape with a shot of adrenalin, you can finally cross skydiving over Antarctica off your bucket list. The activity is now on offer from polar junkies Swoop Antarctica, which will whisk would-be daredevils off to the White Continent on a seven-day summer-time adventure that includes exciting dives over the spectacular Ellsworth Mountain range.
The adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, from which you’ll depart on a four and a half-hour turboprop flight to Antarctica’s Union Glacier, landing on a natural blue ice runway. You’ll check-in at the Union Glacier Camp, a clutch of double-walled tents designed to withstand the region’s punishing climate, and consult with a resident team of skydive masters, guides, and meteorologists as to the best days to jump. In between dives, you’ll have the chance to ice climb, cross-country ski, snowboard, and even try your hand at fat tyre biking.
Vino & Helicopters
If you’re a fan of the wines of Western Australia, Como The Treasury in Perth has launched a new wine-laced experience that combines accommodation with an exhilarating helicopter experience to the region’s acclaimed Margaret River. Designed in partnership with Millbrook Winery for true oenophiles, the experience starts in the early morning, with a helicopter tour over Perth that takes in the iconic vistas of the Swan River and Cottesloe Beach.
At the Millbrook estate, you and your lover will experience a wine blending session — with your own blended wine to take home — as well as a tour of the grounds, discovering what it takes to run one of the largest vineyards in Western Australia. At the Millbrook restaurant, you’ll enjoy a lunch prepared by head chef Guy Jeffreys, named 2017 Chef of the Year by the West Australian Good Food Guide. Jeffreys’ innovative menu changes seasonally, with much of the cuisine sourced from the winery’s own garden. The food is always designed to complement Millbrook’s award-winning vintages, which are expertly paired with the meal.
Via Ferrata Adventure in Tahoe
If you love views to die for and a spot of mountaineering, ascend an 800-foot vertical cliff on the Tahoe Via Ferrata, which has four incredible routes to choose from and provides unparalleled vistas of one of the US’s most beautiful locales. Climbers don’t need any previous experience and world-famous guides are there to help. This assisted climbing activity transforms once complex and impassible terrain into a fun and accessible course equipped with ladder rungs, steel steps, and suspension bridges that allow climbers to move through challenging terrain. Each route also has a steel cable anchored into the rock which runs up the entire route from start to finish. Special harnesses that attach to the cable ensure safe climbing for all skill levels.
Snorkel and Dive with Sharks in the Bahamas
If you’re looking to get your heart thumping a little faster than usual, make for the stunning blue waters of The Bahamas, which has become famous for being the best place on earth to get close to more varieties of shark than anywhere else in the world. The tiger sharks on Tiger Beach are just one of up to five species you’ll find on the same dive off Grand Bahama. Great hammerheads and bull sharks are spectacular experiences off Bimini, while Caribbean reef sharks abound and love to jostle for divers’ attention.
The Shark Shooter program at Stuart Cove’s is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with sharks and learn to film these apex predators like a professional filmmaker. If sharks do not appeal, a wealth of shallow, clear water sites for beginners, as well as wreck and reef dives, an incredible range of blue hole caverns and precipitous sponge encrusted sea walls, all easily accessed.
Rainforest Adventures in British Columbia
If you’re looking for luxury and adventure, you can’t go past Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. This beautiful lodge offers couples a host of exciting adventures ranging from helicopter flights to pristine lakes and hot springs; rafting on isolated rainforest rivers; fishing excursions for sockeye salmon and rainbow trout; whale watching trips; and kayaking past 10,000-year-old glaciers.
After your days of adventure, return to the lodge where a fire is lit on the floating dock around which guests can relax and swap stories of the day’s experiences over cocktails, or take a pre-dinner evening boat cruise to soak in the property’s stunning surrounds before converging for a three-course dinner served within the resort’s cosy dining room.
A Tiger Safari in India
It doesn’t get much wilder than the tigers that populate the forests surrounding Amanbagh in India. Once used by the Maharajah of Alwar as his base for tiger-hunting expeditions, today Amanbagh’s lush compound shelters guests in a modern-day Mughal palace, carved out of local pink marble and sandstone, with scalloped arches and cupolas paying homage to India’s golden age. A sanctuary in the arid Aravalli hills, 90 minutes from frenetic Jaipur, the property is surrounded by mature palm, fruit and eucalyptus trees, which shade the emerald-green pool.
Beyond the palatial Suites, spa and gardens, guests will discover welcoming villages, majestic forts and ruins, and the jungle of Sariska National Park, where tigers still roam free. Couples can go on a ‘Cow Dust Tour’, during which they follow local cows, goats, sheep, and buffalo in a Jeep as they’re herded home by local villagers. Alternatively, take an early morning or late afternoon safari into Sariska National Park in search of wild tigers.
Gateway to Channel Islands National Park
Oxnard, California, is the gateway to Channel Islands National Park, nicknamed “North America’s Galapagos” for its diversity of wildlife found nowhere else on planet earth. It’s also home to “The Painted Cave,” one of the largest and deepest sea caves in the world and the largest pinniped rookery in the world with more than 70,000 seals congregating on the beaches of San Miguel Island.
Board an excursion with authorized concessionaire Island Packers and experience outdoor adventure activities including overnight camping, hiking, snorkeling, diving, ocean kayaking, and more. Looking for less rugged accommodations? Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort, the only all-suite beachfront resort in California, offers sweeping views of the Channel Islands and is soon to join the ranks of posh luxury hotels in Hilton’s Curio Collection. The hotel is perfect for a honeymoon escape before your next adrenaline rush.
Ballooning Over Dubai
While you may not think of Dubai as a particularly adventurous destination, Platinum Heritage’s two-day trip takes things to a new level, combining a vintage Land Rover safari and overnight camping experience with the chance to greet dawn over the desert by hot air balloon. You’ll explore the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve by open-roof Land Rover, mode of transport used extensively in 1950’s desert expeditions, watch the UAE’s national bird – the falcon – during a fascinating hunting display, and then watch the sun go down beyond the dunes from an authentic Bedouin camp, where you’ll enjoy traditional dancing and Emirati music before a four-course dinner.
Early the next morning you’ll take to the skies with Balloon Adventures Dubai during a one-hour guided flight high above the desert landscape that concludes with a breakfast of hand-cut smoked salmon and caviar.
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