Honeymooning in New Zealand , Luxury Link Style!
Planning a honeymoon halfway across the world can be either totally daunting or totally exhilarating. For us, finding the perfect honeymoon spots in New Zealand and Australia was by far the most exciting part of planning our November 2011 wedding.Lake Okareka Lodge is one of those places we’ve always dreamed about: as we drove down the jetty, through the private cul-de-sac, past the gated driveway, we were greeted by sweeping views of sparkling Lake Okareka. Just 15 minutes outside of Rotorua, the lodge is just far enough off the beaten path to be secluded and romantic without sacrificing convenience.
The lodge manager, Mon, was there to greet us with a smile and quickly gave us a tour of the private-mansion-turned-three-suite-lodge. Since we were the only guests for the week, he upgraded us to the full top-floor Lake Okareka Suite complete with a state-of-the-art sound system, massive whirlpool tub, office with Internet (we were NOT checking work email!) and wraparound balconies with unobstructed views of the pristine lake and surrounding hills. With a complimentary bottle of bubbly popped, our honeymoon was off to a fantastic start!
The level of service and privacy at the lodge was unparalled: from top-notch massages to a lake-side lunch on the dock, the staff at Lake Okareka Lodge took care of our every desire. We ventured a few hours away each day, driving through jaw-dropping rolling hills and green pastures, to experience black water rafting in the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and white water rafting on the Kaituna River. Each time we returned, we were greeted with big smiles, a cold pitcher of ice water and our favorite question of the day: “What time would you like to have pre-dinner drinks and canapés?” The food and wine quality exponentially added to the Okareka Lodge’s service and surroundings. Pre-dinner drinks each night were accompanied with gourmet canapés prepared by Hiro, our personal chef during our stay. Each night we’d try a new cocktail or local New Zealand wine and chat with our server, David. He was able to offer some real insight into the Kiwi culture and make us feel like we were in our own living room – all while shaking the perfect cocktail! The real treat each day, however, was the gourmet five-course meal enjoyed next to the roaring fireplace. Each night’s menu consisted of delicacies like melt-in-your-mouth seared salmon with ponzu soy sauce, roasted rack of local New Zealand lamb…are you drooling yet? Each morning followed with another wave of culinary excellence, where we’d be treated to an alfresco “brekkie” complete with fresh fruit, cereal and yogurts. But don’t be fooled, this was just the first course. From there, we had our choice of hot breakfast, including the freshest eggs, smoked salmon and scrumptious pastries. It’s impossible to leave the Lake Okareka Lodge unsatisfied or hungry! As the three-night stay came to an end, we vowed we would one day find our way back to the Lake Okareka Lodge. Our stay was absolutely incredible; we could not have asked for a better start to our honeymoon or our marriage. Thank you Luxury Link for making what would have otherwise been an unobtainable experience possible for passionate travelers like us. Keep finding these hidden gems!