June 22, 2020
This is the ultimate guide to how to elope in New Zealand, along with the best places to elope in New Zealand.
As a New Zealand elopement photographer, I totally appreciate how you may these amazing dreams of eloping in New Zealand but aren’t sure where to start.
In this guide I’ll start with how you can elope in New Zealand, so that you know how to get started with planning your elopement. I’ll then go over all of the most exciting places to elope in New Zealand. These are my personal favourites from all across New Zealand.
After this you’ll find a list of my favourite elopement locations by state.
I have previously written an article about how to elope from start to finish.
In this article I will detail the specific legal proceedings in order to elope in New Zealand, as well as any customs to observe.
To elope abroad, you need to make sure that the paperwork is done for both countries that you are in. I have previously talked about how to elope in Australia, but it is best to check with your own countries’ requirements first.
Here is an example of where you can find information for your country:
There are two ways you can get married in New Zealand:
Regardless of which you do it, you will need a marriage licence. I talk about what these are and how you can easily get one in the next section.
Personalised ceremonies are where you’d have a more curated ceremony for yourselves. In New Zealand, to have a personalised ceremony, you require the following:
Registry ceremonies are where you both attend a registry office to get the paperwork legally signed. In New Zealand, to have a registry ceremony, you require the following:
New Zeland law states that you must have a Marriage Licence to be wed. To complete your Marriage Licence, you must do the following:
You can apply for your marriage licence here.
The climate differs greatly between the two islands.
The North Island has a sub-tropical climate. Auckland is the capital of the North Island, and has the following temperatures:
|Months||November – February||March – May||June – August||September – October|
|Perfect for:||Tropical elopement||Tropical elopement||Tropical elopement||Tropical elopement|
The South Island has a more alpine climate, leading it to fall to -10°C in winter. Queenstown is the capital of the South Island, and has the following temperatures:
|Months||November – February||March – May||June – August||September – October|
|Perfect for:||Alpine elopement||Alpine elopement||Snow elopement||Snow elopement|
January and February are the warmest months, and July is the coldest month of the year.
As New Zealand has two different islands, and different seasons, it really depends on what sort of experience you’d like to have with your elopement. As a New Zealand elopement photographer, I know that many couples have a lot of different tastes, so I like to make sure that I create an adventure that is perfected suited for both of you.
If you want to go and see the gigantic landscapes of New Zealand, and aren’t fussed on whether there is snow or not, then any point of the year would work for you. Typically the North island is a little bit more tropical, with the South island being a bit more alpine.
For snow elopements, snow typically appears during the months of June through to October, although you will find that there are cold snaps throughout these times. Whilst you may get some frost in the North Island, the snow action is definitely in the Southern Alps in the South Islands, and falls heavily in Caterbury and Otago.
The most significant difference is the climate, which leads to a number of differences in the landscapes.
I recommend a North island elopement if you’re looking for:
I recommend a South island elopement if you’re looking for:
At the time of writing this article in June 2020, the current exchange rate for New Zealand Dollar is:
|Rate||Rate to NZ$|
|1 AUD||1.07 NZD|
|1 USD||1.56 NZD|
|1 GBP||1.94 NZD|
|1 EUR||1.75 NZD|
For reference, here are the average costs of popular items in New Zealand:
|1 Pint Beer (500ml)||$9.05 NZD|
|1 Night’s stay at a hotel||$150 NZD|
|Mid range restaurant meal for two||$65 NZD|
|1 Coffee||$5.10 NZD|
When you’re eloping in New Zealand, you’re not just going for your wedding (as amazing as that will be)! This means that you can spend the rest of your time enjoying the activities, sights and sounds that New Zealand has to offer. There is plenty of it.
My personal favourites include the ski resorts, and of course who doesn’t want to explore the Lord Of The Rings movie set.
Activities on the North Island include:
Activities on the South Island include:
One of the most enticing activities that New Zealand has to offer for couples who like to indulge, is countless spas and retreats across the country.
Cape South Country Escape & Wellness Retreat – Napier (North Island)
Ocean Spa – Napier (North Island)
Polynesian Spa – Rotorua (North Island)
Wai Ora Lakeside Resort and Spa – Rotorua (North Island)
East Day Spa – Auckland (North Island)
The Lost Spring – Whitianga (North Island)
Hells Gate and Wai Ora Spa – Rotorua (North Island)
Debretts Thermal Spa Resort – Taupo (North Island)
Chuan Spa at Cordis – Auckland (North Island)
Mana Retreat – Coromandel (North Island)
Te Wahi Ora – Auckland (North Island)
Lake Tekapo Springs – Tekapo (South Island)
Earth Energies Sanctuary – Mangatarata (North Island)
Ridge Country Retreat – Waitao (North Island)
Te Hine Ruru Retreat – Russell (North Island)
Solscape – Raglan (North Island)
Anahata Retreat – Takaka (South Island)
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa – Christchurch (South Island)
Split Apple Retreat – Nelson (South Island)
Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses – Hapuku (South Island)
Aro Hā Wellness Retreat – Queenstown (South Island)
Shunyata Retreat and Day Spa – Christchurch (South Island)
The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge – Nelson (South Island)
The Glacier Hot Pools – Franz Josef (South Island)
Matakauri Lodge and Spa – Queenstown (South Island)
The great news is that eloping doesn’t cost as much as a traditional wedding, and every dollar is going towards you having an authentic adventure. When working out how to elope in New Zealand, you really can make the whole experience your own.
I’m going to give you an example snowy mountain elopement to give you a breakdown of how you could elope on only roughly $13,000AUD, which is about a quarter of the price for the average Australian wedding.
In this elopement, the plan is:
|Item||Cost (in AUD)||Link|
|Return flights to Queenstown from Sydney for 2 people||$1200 (2ppl x $600)||https://bit.ly/311N8AE|
|7 Nights Accommodation||$868 ($124 x 7 nights)||https://bit.ly/2V5Moqd|
|Car Hire for 7 Days||$200||https://bit.ly/2YVmQxp|
|Food and drink||$1400 ($200 x 7 days)|
|Helicopter Flight to top of a mountain||$2210 (3pp x $770)||https://bit.ly/3fMzXrn|
|Elopement Photographer and Guide, for 6 hours||$5000||New Zealand Elopement Packages|
|Makeup and hair artist||$175||https://bit.ly/3fMAg5v|
|Wedding Rings||$640 ($320 x 2ppl)||https://bit.ly/3hQ36DW|
New Zealand elopement photographer and guide pricing:
6 hour Elopement Packages and Full-day coverage available:
If you’d like a more tailored quote, please reach out and let me help design your perfect New Zealand elopement adventure.
Below is a list of my top 3 places to elope in New Zealand, broken up between different location types. New Zealand is home to some of the most stunning mountains in the world, and suit a variety of couples who are looking for different elopement ideas.
When working out how to elope in New Zealand, your elopement photographer and guide will be able to help you work out which spots and locations would suit you best, depending on the sort of adventure you want to have.
At the bottom of this article I list all of the other amazing places that you can elope in New Zealand, although the following are my best places to elope in New Zealand.
One of New Zealand’s most notable mountain locations, the area is dotted with emerald lakes, and it’s iconic red crater. If you’re looking for a great mountain New Zealand elopement, look no further, especially with the splashes of colour from the lakes. It can take a while to get there, but it is worth it.
A Roys Peak elopement is perfect for couples who want to have a ceremony spot with a gigantic view over the New Zealand ranges. Roughly a 5 hour trek, but once you get to top, you’ll be treated with views unlike any other.
Ben Lomond may be the perfect elopement spot for you both if you love the idea of an adventurous hike. Another demanding hike, which can last around 8 hours, but one which is incredibly rewarding, treating you with incredible panoramic views.
With lakeside views and plenty of lush green vegetation, the Tarawera Trail provides the perfect New Zealand forest elopement spot, for green thumbs. A decent 5-6 hour hike, you’ll be treated with breathtaking views of lake Tarawera, and have plenty of spots for forest based spots.
A fantastic short walking trail that provides great valley views, dotted with lots of lush green vegetation, and an eye catching bridge. With a roughly 3 hour return, this is an easy and accessible trek that is the perfect elopement spot for couples who want to enjoy some epic scenery in their elopement.
The Whanganui National Park is one of the North Island’s most lush spots, and has a whole host of different tracks and areas to explore. From winding water ways to deep forests, it is the perfect spot for couples who want a much greener elopement. It’s iconic Bridge To Nowhere is also the perfect backdrop for adventurous couples who want to mix a bit of wooden architecture with their forest elopement.
Cathedral Cove is another iconic spot from New Zealand, with it’s aptly named arch by the ocean. The Marine Reserve is home to many important marine animals, and provides a stunning backdrop for couples who love the idea of a coastal elopement in New Zealand.
A sweeping bay that runs for 1.5km, New Chums Beach has many vantage points for the perfect lookout. The main beach provides the perfect sheltered spot for you to enjoy a beach elopement, filled with great views of the turquoise waters of the ocean.
Renown for it’s black sands, Piha Beach is the perfect New Zealand elopement location for couples who want a coastal elopement with a twist. A wide beach surrounded by a large rock outcrop on the left, and massive cliffs on the right, it provides a really cinematic view of the ocean.
An epic waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation, Bridal Veil Falls is a fantastic elopement spot for couples who are obsessed with waterfalls, and want an elopement without too much trekking. You can easily access to the top and bottom of the waterfall, which provides some great views.
Passing through lush, dark forests, The Devils Punchbowl Walking track leads you to another one of New Zealand’s incredible waterfalls. With an easy walk of around 1 hour, The Devils Punchbowl Waterfall is perfect for couples who love the idea of finding a great waterfall with easy access, and some added lush greenery to spice up their elopement.
With an easy 10 minute walk to reach the waterfalls, this is the perfect New Zealand elopement location for couples who want to have an accessible elopement spot, but still retain some epic landscapes. Don’t forget to have some awesome couples photos across the bridge, providing an incredible view for you both!
Snow falls on the South Island from around June to October. Please bear this in mind for the below locations, which will be much better for a New Zealand elopement in the snow.
If you’re looking for epic scenery for your New Zealand elopement, and want to have some snow involved, Mount Fyffe provides the perfect place for you both. With tracks which go as long as 3 days, it may seem like a long trek, but you can access as much of the mountain as you feel comfortable with. You won’t find many better snowy elopement locations in New Zealand!
Another one of New Zealand’s iconic mountains, Mount Cook is covered in snow pretty much all year around, because of how high it is, providing an excellent location for any couple who love the idea of eloping on snow encrusted mountains. It is also the highest mountain in all of New Zeland! There are a tonne of different walks around Mount Cook, which can suit all different levels of hikers, so when it comes to designing your elopement, chat with your elopement photographer and guide as to which would suit you guys best!
Lake Tekapo also is noteworthy, with the whole of the area laying in a blanket of white snow, with Mount Cook in the background. The piercing blue lake really stands out against the white of the snow, and will catch your eye if you want a bit of colour in your New Zealand elopement!
If you’re wanting to elope in the snow but don’t want to climb a mountain, then Central Otago is a region that would suit you both best. Central Otage is a stunning wine region in the South Island of New Zealand and provides gently sloped lands, which epic views and incredible sunsets to boost!
I’ve written before about the many amazing reasons there are to eloping.
Briefly, the main reasons for eloping are:
When it comes to planning one of the biggest and most exciting journeys of your life, you want someone to capture the experience for you so that you can live in the moment, instead of taking your phone out every two minutes.
An experienced elopement photographer will:
If you want to learn more about the elopement packages I can create for you, please click here to have a chat with me about your dream New Zealand elopement!
This is a list of my best places to elope in New Zealand. It is broken up by island, and then by the environment. This list is always being updated for the new years and after I’ve done more scouting for the best places to elope.
Bridal Veil Falls
Tawhai Falls (Gollums Pool)
Mount Damper Falls
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Motutere / Castle Rock
Wairere Boulders Nature Reserve and Campsite
Mount Te Aroha Summit & Broadcast Tower
Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve
Karioi Summit Track
Kai Iwi Lakes
East Cape Lighthouse
Cape Egmont Lighthouse
Pencarrow Head Lighthouse
Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings
Hamurana Springs Nature Reserve
Waikawau Tunnel Beach
Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve
Hole in the Rock
Poor Knights Islands
Blue Spring Putaruru
Te Whara Track
Medlands Beach Camping Area
Hot Water Beach
Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park
Bridge to Nowhere
New Chums Beach
Kauri Walk, Puketi Forest
Trounson Kauri Park
Hakarimata Scenic Reserve
Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest
Maungakawa Scenic Reserve Loop Walk
Remutaka Forest Park Catchpool Valley
Mount Stewart Reserve
Friends of Le Roys Bush
Whanganui National Park
Devils Punchbowl Falls
Purakaunui Falls Walk
Thunder Creek Falls
McLean Falls walkway
Aoraki Mount Cook Village
Franz Josef Glacier
Routeburn Falls Hut
Bealey Spur Track
Isthmus Peak Track Parking
Rocky Mountain Lake Wanaka viewpoint
Ari / Mount Alfred
Mueller Hut Route
Rob Roy Glacier Track
Lake Te Anau
Waipapa Point Lighthouse
Nugget Point Lighthouse
Cape Palliser Lighthouse
Split Apple Rock
Moeraki Boulders Beach
Te Waikoropupu Springs
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Dead Man Beach
Oparara Basin Arches
Pororari River Track
Robert’s point track
Start Alex Knob Trail
Lake Matheson Walk
Mt Crichton Loop Track
Hooker Valley track
The Riwaka Resurgence
Governors Bush Walk