10 New Zealand Honeymoon Tips for LGBT Australians

Well Aussie, it’s been a long time coming. Congratulations. We’re over the moon that your friends, colleagues and family said YES! We know many of you have come to New Zealand in the past to marry, and of course you’re still welcome to, but as a happily legally married lesbian of 9 years myself, I get it. There’s nothing better than having all your family and friends gathered around as you commit to your soulmate. Especially if you’ve been waiting a long time for this. But we hope you’ll still think of us for your honeymoon! We’d love to celebrate with you, and you’ll just love it here! To  help you create the perfect honeymoon, here’s our list of New Zealand honeymoon tips for LGBT Australians.

1. Know your lodging is LGBT friendly.

I’d like to say all lodging in New Zealand is, but unfortunately that is just not the case. However, there are many lodging providers who do want to spoil you, celebrate with you, and pamper you at this important time in your relationship. If you want to cuddle and kiss your sweetheart, then you want people around who will love seeing you do that, and support your right to do so. If you want to stay in LGBT owned lodging, then GayStay is an excellent resource!

New Zealand Gay Honeymoon
Stay with Gary and Robert in their lovely Ribbonwood Country House.

2. Connect with the LGBT Community.

This is a monumental time in your history as a country, and as a couple. There is nothing quite like sharing this enormous milestone with people who have experienced the same struggles to get the same rights and really understand how it feels. Check out some of our LGBT locals who would love to make your honeymoon extra special.

We welcome LGBT travellers
Scotty and Mal want to celebrate with you!

 3. Avoid the crowds and travel off season.

October to mid-December and then from mid-March till end of April are great times to visit. The temperatures can still be mild, accommodation rates are often less, and the crowds haven’t yet arrived, or have departed. Flights are often less too.

Uncrowded New Zealand
Escape the crowds.

4. Focus on only one or two areas to visit and stay.

I know you think we’re small, and we are compared to Aussie, but our roads are winding and slow to drive. This is your honeymoon, not the time to see all of New Zealand in 5 days! We’re so close, you can always pop back to explore other areas another time.

Winding New Zealand Road
Don’t sit behind the wheel of a car all day. (Credit: Sam Mahayni)

5. Choose an area or regions that offer a variety of experiences.

On honeymoon, you want to share different activities together, but you don’t want to spend all day, every day in the car getting there. For example, if you want a blend of gorgeous wines, fresh seafood, local art, and luxury in remote wilderness, then Marlborough with the Marlborough Sounds is a perfect choice.

New Zealand Honeymoon
Marlborough Sounds has it all. (Credit: Rob Suisted)

6. Create space and down time.

Sleep in, lie around, swing in a hammock together. Don’t feel compelled to rush around and see everything just because you’re in a new place. Make time to just be with each other.

New Zealand Lesbian Honeymoon
Alone time together

7. Set your budget.

We have a huge range of accommodations, from moderately priced, self-catering cabins to ultra-luxury lodges. If you can go 5 star all the way – do it! if you can’t, no worries. It’s quite possible to have a spectacular honeymoon in New Zealand without breaking the bank.

Luxury New Zealand LGBT Honeymoon
Soak in luxury at Bay of Many Coves, a gorgeous LGBT friendly 5 star resort

8. Do something Unique.

Sharing a once in a life time experience, or something thrilling and special, creates memories that you’ll treasure forever. So whether it’s a heli-picnic to a remote mountain setting, or sleeping in a luxury glass Purepod under the stars, find that special experience to share together.

New Zealand Honeymoon
Dare to try something different, like Little River PurePod. (Credit: Johneey Hoek)

9. Book Ahead.

Don’t think you can just rent a car, drive, and be spontaneous about accommodation. Your honeymoon is not the time to end up sleeping in the car because you thought New Zealand in February is a good time to wing it! It’s not. Things get booked up here, especially in the summer months, so plan and book ahead.

Lesbian Honeymoon
Suzie and Caroline’s Criffel Peak View B&B, is a wonderful, moderately priced choice.

10. Tailor-make YOUR OWN honeymoon.

If you’re a young millennial couple, then chances are you will want something different than an older couple who has been waiting generations for this moment. Our LGBTQ community is SO diverse! What we each want from a honeymoon differs. Don’t just buy a ‘NZ Honeymoon Itinerary’ off the shelf. Create something special that is a perfect match for who you are as a couple.

We’d be honoured to help you do that. Contact us now.

 

Marriage Equality: Our Story

This Saturday, July 22, 2017, is Bride Pride Provincetown 2017. Come and join in the celebration of 100 couples (we hope) trying to get into the Guinness book of records. As Karen and I are preparing to renew our vows, I wanted to share our marriage history, and why this Saturday will be an equally important day in the story of our life together.

celebrating our mock gay wedding at the Millenium march in 2000.
The first of our weddings!

April 29, 2000: Surrounded by thousands of other gay and lesbian couples participating in a mock marriage ceremony on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the Millennium March on Washington, and four years into our relationship, we realized we needed to say our vows for real! The ceremony was extremely emotional for all the couples present, we hugged and shared tears at the reality that we couldn’t marry the loves of our lives. However, we were so lucky to be living in Vermont at the time, and civil unions was about to come into effect on July 1st.  We were leaving to live in London in August, so we had to move quickly.

We got home from Washington, and with bags hardly unpacked, we started planning our civil union ceremony and wedding.

gay wedding invitation to our civil union in Vermont 2000
How do you write a marriage invitation when it’s not a marriage?

 

There was much ugly debate leading up to the passage of the bill, of course, but the strong voices of straight friends and allies helped to buffer the hate.

article written about our 2000 civil union in Vermont and marriage equality
Opinion column in local paper by one of our guests

We were delighted to learn that we were the first same-sex couple to apply for (and get) a civil union licence in our town, Chester, Vermont.

July 22, 2000: 21 days after the Vermont Civil Unions law went into effect, Karen and I got married. Well, ‘civilly unionised’… that is. We committed our lives and love to each other in front of friends and family who had flown in from all over the world (we’d both lived international lives and had friends from all over) – pretty impressive considering we only gave them 7 weeks notice!

our fabulous lesbian wedding down by the river
Riverside ceremony – in true lesbian style!

We’ll never forget the love that was showered on us that day. We know many others are not so lucky and we value this day and our loved ones deeply.

gay wedding guest album
Notes of love and best wishes from our friends and family
our gay rainbow wedding cake
Rainbow cake!

 

May 17, 2004: Marriage Equality in Massachusetts, finally! We had planned to participate in a group wedding with 7 other couples from our U.U. church in Northboro, MA on May 29, 2004, just days after the law came into effect, but it wasn’t to be. I was living in the U.S. on an H1B work visa, and my immigration attorney advised that if my green card application was not successful, and I was trying to enter the U.S at some future time on a tourist visa and didn’t have any legal right to stay, but was married to a U.S. citizen, I would be perceived as a threat to overstay and may be denied entry. Convoluted, but true. This was all thanks to DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)! Pretty messed up when you think about it! The group wedding was such a joyous day.  However it was also completely heartbreaking for us not to be wedding with our friends on such a special occasion.

July 11, 2008: After a lengthy immigration process, and with green card securely in hand, we legally married in a small ceremony in our garden in Massachusetts. Gaining the legal rights and protections not afforded by our civil union was our main motivation for getting married, as we considered our civil union our true wedding – a huge lovefest that we celebrate every year.

our legal gay wedding in Massachusetts
Finally legally married! Yahoo!

 

And so that brings us to this Saturday… it seems we are fortunate enough to always be in the right place at the right time!

July 22, 2017: Bride Pride! When we learned that Bride Pride fell on our anniversary, we knew we had to participate. To be surrounded by countless other lesbian couples expressing their commitment to each other for the first time, or renewing their vows as we will be doing, will not only be an incredibly emotional and moving experience, but it’s still a political statement as it was 17 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

As Bride Pride organisers Ilene Mitnick and Alli Baldwin have expressed, now more than ever it’s time we all come together, to stand up, and to keep moving LGBTQ rights forward. While both New Zealand and the U.S. have marriage equality, it’s still a basic civil right not afforded in many other countries. To think that our Australian brothers and sisters still don’t have marriage equality, and have to fly across to NZ to tie the knot, it is antiquated and unjust! While we celebrate the rights we now enjoy, and thank those who paved the way before us, we must also stay vigilant and continue to fight for those who do not share these rights.

So thank you Ilene and Alli. This lesbian couple is so excited be part of Bride Pride 2017, to renew our vows, and to celebrate that no matter what, love is love. And with Kate Clinton officiating! Does it get any better?

Best wishes to all the other brides who will be saying their vows on Saturday, whether it be the first time, or the third. May your lives be filled with happiness and love, and may you appreciate each other every day.

We’d love to hear your story, so please, share in the comments section below.

Stay tuned for Bride Pride pics!  It’s going to be a blast.