The Definitive TASA Ten - Places To Honeymoon | Travel & Sports Australia

The Definitive TASA Ten – Places To Honeymoon

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The venue. The dress. The cake. The guest list? Granted, all are critical elements requiring rigorous debate and tough decisions in the lead up to your days of days, but let’s gain some perspective here. Personally, if I’d said ‘I do’ dressed as Bob The Builder, outside my local Bunnings in a snowstorm, it still would have been the best day of my life. Which is why all that trivial stuff pales in comparison to what’s really important – the HONEYMOON!!!

Outside of a tipsy aunt or drunk uncle coming a cropper on the dance floor, there’s not much else that can ruin a wedding day for the happy couple. But dodgy hotel plumbing (a story for another day!), inedible cuisine or the embargo your wife placed on attending too many NBA games, can really put a dampener on your first marital retreat.

Location, location, location – catch cry of any real estate agent worth their salt – also applies here. It’s important to know what you want but even more so to know where to find it. A warm climate, isolation, great food, breathtaking sights or just an immersion in luxury, we all want vastly different things from our travels.

And so, I’ve compiled The Definitive TASA Ten – Places To Honeymoon. Not all of them will float your boat but hopefully there’s a suggestion or two that will set you on the way to honeymoon happiness! They’re in no particular order……happy reading!

 

10. Maldives

If everyday life involves the hustle-bustle of inner city traffic, an crowded population and the sound of business shoes on concrete, there’s every chance your ideal getaway eradicates all of that. Welcome to the ‘last paradise on Earth’……Maldives!

With pristine white beaches, some barely blemished by human footprints and caressed by the gentle waves of a turquoise Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the apex of intimacy. Imagine laying beside your love on the soft, white sand, feeling as if you have an entire island to yourself. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. Its that sort of privacy that makes a Maldives honeymoon so unique.

Having said that, if you’re like me and can’t spend long periods lazing on the beach or by the pool, there’s still an abundance of things to do around the many islands and atolls. Take a dive at the North Ari or South Ari atolls for hammerhead and whale shark sightings, sure to take any thrill seeker’s breath away.

Whilst the centre of Maldives’ travel scene is Maafushi, 30kms south of the capital Malé, it’s the island of Kanifinolhu that is instantly recognisable. It’s here that Club Med have set up camp, Club Med Kani’s overwater bungalows a stunning feature of one of the world’s most idyllic resorts. Club Med Kani offers a wide range of activities and experiences to satisfy those looking for action or relaxation. Surfing, beach volleyball, soccer and badminton just a few of the activities complimented by couples massages, aromatherapy, foot baths and much more at the luxurious Mandara Spa. Don’t just trust us, check it out for yourself!

9. Hawaii

Continuing the island theme, we cross oceans now to the Pacific and 50th of the United States of America, Hawaii. Romance is in the air as The Aloha State’s enchanting scenery combines with a sun-kissed tropical climate, both integral ingredients for any intimate honeymoon.

Whilst the majority of visitors head for the busy, yet beautiful tourist hub of Honolulu on Oahu, there are several other more secluded options available. Molokai, Hawaii’s fifth largest island has remained true to it’s island roots. With most inhabitants being of Native Hawaiian stock, a comforting, rural lifestyle has been magnificently preserved. What honeymooners love about Molokai, there are no major resorts to speak of. Charming hotels, bed & breakfasts and cottages are available boasting sweeping, unspoilt Pacific Ocean vistas, towering sea cliffs and pristine beaches.

Hawaii’s top destination for honeymooners has, for decades, been Maui. A mixture of enchantment and adventure welcome you here, with winding roads leading to cosy cabins, hidden among palms and tropical flowers. Maui offers a blend of action for those after entertainment or seclusion for those looking to bask in newly wedded bliss more privately.

We can’t forget Oahu though, with Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and historical Pearl Harbour just a few of the many drawcards to be found in the “Heart of Hawaii”. Many hotels line the famous stretch of beach with its beginner-friendly waves and free-spirited locals. Hire a car and take a day tour or stay in the North Shore and the beautiful Turtle Bay Resort (of Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame). If you’re brave, you might even try your hand at the world’s most famous surf break “Banzai Pipeline”. Not for me, thanks!!

Hawaii is beautiful, breathtaking, fun, relaxing and interesting……all rolled into one!

8. African Safari

Most picture honeymoons to be swaying palm trees, sparkling seas and holding hands on the beach, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It could be a barren landscape of sparse flora, laid back locals in khaki jeeps and dusty plains as fair as the eye can see. No, we’re not sending you to Broken Hill, we’re off to experience some wild African savannah!

Unlike a lot of other destinations, a trek to, and through Africa is not just about the buildings and landmarks. It’s about life, people, and their stories. It’s about feeling. Don’t get us wrong, Africa will be everything you expected it to be, but it will also be more. Imagine staring into a fiery Serengeti sunset, silhouettes of iconic Acacia trees and the majestic wildlife that roam the rugged terrain. Visions of lion, giraffe, elephants and zebra, among others, will leave a lasting impression.

The people? Close your eyes and imagine the tribal beat produced by the drums of the Maasai, a pounding rhythm leaving an indelible mark on your soul. Listen to the stories of days and experiences gone by, so very different to anything you’ll have heard before.

There is an array of options to experience safari in Africa, from South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, to the Kenyan Masai Mara, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Tanzania’s Serengeti and the Okavengo Delta in Botswana. There are optimal times to travel for each destination to maximise viewing opportunities, so be sure to do your research before you make your choice!

7. Croatia

Where to start with Croatia? Nature, heritage, flavour, adventure, paradise and so much more! The island-speckled coastline of this amazing country is without doubt its main attraction, the clarity of the emerald and sapphire waters as striking as they are calming. But there’s plenty more that catches the eye.

A most eclectic mix of buildings and structures are a result of a land passed between empires, kingdoms and republics over time. From Socialist Realist sculptures facing off with Viennese mansions, to Slavic churches and Napoleonic forts, there is a full gamut of European history on show across the country.

Largely hugging the coast you’ll find the imposing Dinaric Alps, stretching all the way from Albania in the southeast to Italy in the northwest. Limestone karsts bestow a veritable dreamland of caverns, river canyons, waterfalls, craggy peaks and lakes so picturesque you’d swear they’ve been photoshopped. If adventure is your thing, it’s here you’ll find opportunities for rock climbing, hiking/biking as well as rafting and ziplining.

You can do Croatia by land or choose to take one of the many Cruises that traverse the Dalmatian Coast. Most cruises offer the chance to see the popular ports of Dubrovnik, Hvar and Split.

6. Mauritius

A tiny speck in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Madagascar, Mauritius is a perennial favourite for those winding down from inevitable wedding stress. Known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs, its beauty is such that it prompted Mark Twain to suggest “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius”.

This island paradise is like a playground for adults. Luxury resorts offer all the trimmings of the highlife, guests often left with the feeling of being treated like royalty. Most resorts offer dreamlike views of a turquoise Indian Ocean, world class restaurants and a level of service that will have you questioning how you ever fended for yourself at home!

We know, like me, not everyone likes laying on a beach all day, we need to be up and about, getting amongst the local people and lifestyle. Mauritius has plenty to offer in this regard with activities for days! Kiteboarding, diving and snorkelling are popular with the shallow waters, coral reef and outstanding underwater topography lending to some of the most fascinating diving imaginable. There’s also plenty of options for hiking, horse riding and if (and that’s a big if) you can convince your better half to grant you 4-5 hours leave, championship standard golf courses. Who’d want to play golf on their honeymoon anyway 😉

Mauritius is also a haven for wildlife, having been responsible for the saving of more bird species from extinction than any country on Earth. The Pink Pigeon and Mauritian Kestral are just two of those and are the pride of the Mauritian ornithological community. You’ll also be a good chance of seeing one of the many Giant Tortoises that roam the island. Some remarkable sights and a country to remember!

5. Jamaica

Every little thing gonna be all right. Iconic Jamaican Bob Marley promised it and a visit to his homeland validates it. You’ll be besotted with this Carribbean nation from the break of day until the late afternoon sun is devoured by the Caribbean Sea at night. It’s a land of warm and welcoming people, helping to provide unique experiences amongst breathtaking landscapes.

The beating heart of Jamaica is cosmopolitan Kingston. Part exotic jungle, part thriving business hub and always bursting with sunshine, the capital is one-of-a-kind. Kingston offers a range of ideal honeymoon hotel options, perfectly placed to experience the uniquely Jamaican nightlife, incredible colonial architecture and vibrant street culture.

Jamaican music is unmistakable. And whilst its Reggae beats are iconic, there’s so much more that will have you tapping your toes and swinging your hips. The island’s traditional folk music, with more than a hint of African rhythm. Over the years, the infusion of calypso, samba and tango has helped to produce the peaceful and world-changing sound paradise Jamaica is today.

The country is a haven for lovers, with romantic catamaran cruises, tranquil river rafting or a moonlit dinner on a white sand beach. The natural beauty and allure of Jamaica will ensure your honeymoon feels like the beginning of something wonderful. It’s my belief that a great holiday destination is not so much about what you see, it’s about how it makes you feel. And Jamaica will make you feel fantastic.

4. Queenstown

Set on the shores of a crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by some of the most majestic mountains you’ll ever encounter, Queenstown is thrilling, serene, energising and calming in equal parts. The time of year you visit will dictate some of what you’re able, or choose, to do.

Widely considered as one of the world’s finest snow skiing destinations, there are 4 ski fields to choose from that cater for all ability levels and all locations offer unrivalled alpine scenery, world class infrastructure and their own unique character. The fun doesn’t stop once the skis are off, with indulgent spas and bustling bars awaiting the skier fresh from a session on the slopes.

If skiing or snowboarding aren’t your thing, no problem. Paragliding, jetboating, bungy jumping, ice skating and snowmobiling are all available too. It’s fair to say it’s an adrenaline junkie heaven! For the slower pace there also happens to be a number of championship-calibre golf courses around town, with Jack’s Point, Millbrook, Arrowtown and The Hills among the best.

Our favourite part though, selecting one of Queenstown’s cosy bars and nestling in for the daily debrief, beside a crackling fire with one of New Zealand’s finest red wines in hand!

3. Spain & Portugal

A trip through Spain & Portugal is an experience in architectural triumph, centuries-old culture and incredible cuisine. From Barcelona in Spain’s northeast, Faro and Lisbon in the southwest of Portugal, and everywhere in between, an Iberian adventure must surely be a candidate for any newlywed couples honeymoon.

Barcelona is an architectural masterpiece, illustrated perfectly by its most recognisable landmark, Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia. It’s full of quirky character and delicious Catalan cuisine, with tapas the specialty. You’ll find that most places around the city, but we suggest the El Born neighbourhood for some of the best. Busy La Ramblas is a hotbed for talented buskers, mimes and living statues, as well as a thriving market place. A trip to FC Barcelona’s imposing home, Camp Nou, is worth the trip if the home team are in town, even empty this gargantuan stadium is a sight to behold.

In Portugal, the southern seaside city of Faro is an Algarve treasure. It’s an oft-overlooked in favour of the more well-known cities of Lisbon and Porto, Faro is filled with Portuguese charm. Ancient city walls, a delightful and historic city centre along with a relaxed, friendly ambience making any traveller feel at ease. Local elders play dominos in the plazas during the day, replaced in the evening by socialites looking to taste the buzzing Faro nightlife.

I’ve picked just one city from each country but of course, there are countless more offering their own unique cultures, inhabitants and entertainment. Jump aboard the Iberian train!

2. Cape Town

Cape Town, with it’s glamourous beaches, big-city buzz, insane landscapes and close proximity to the Stellenbosch wine region, has something for everyone. With a very much Melbourne/Sydney feel (my description) it feels like home yet so different at the same time. With the imposing Table Mountain as a backdrop, it takes your breath away before you even begin your Cape Town experience.

The Mother City has been described as a paradise for lovers, with endless opportunities to share with your new spouse. Whether it’s a chopper ride around Cape Peninsula or a sunset boat cruise to Clifton or Table Bay, there’s plenty of opportunity for romance.

Down at Green Point’s V&A Waterfront, there’s an assortment of quality restaurants and bars to suit all tastes, particularly seafood connoisseurs with Quay Four being my preferred choice, with live bands every day and local beers on tap to wash down the delightful oceanic smorgasbord on offer.

Enhance your honeymoon with a tour along the Stellenbosh Wine Route, Waterford Estate and Warwick Wine Estate being our pick of the crop. World class wine tastings along with a gourmet tasting boards of the freshest local fare.

And finally, if your heads weren’t already in the clouds after tying the knot, get there literally with a cable car to the top of Table Mountain. It’s iconic, its inspiring and its right there in the heart of Cape Town. It’s one experience I won’t forget in a hurry, you’d be mad not to see it for yourself!

1. United States of America

Added for selfish reasons, the USA is where I spent my own honeymoon. The reason we loved it (apart from the plethora of sports action) was for its extraordinary diversity across one vast land. Huge cities, amazing monuments, breathtaking landscapes and terrain, delicious food, bright lights, diverse population and so much more. The obvious ports of New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas were covered but we also threw in a couple of left-field choices like Philadelphia and Chicago, and we’re so happy we did.

Chicago, the Windy City, is every bit as imposing and exciting as New York but with less of a tourist feel. Described (by me) as real America, it boasts a vibrant Jazz/Blues scene with world famous venues like Blue Chicago, Buddy Guy’s Legends and Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, a popular hangout of mob boss, Al Capone. Cheese lovers, there’s Deep Dish pizza, Giordano’s on W Jackson Boulevard serves up some of Chicago’s best. On a clear day, Willis Tower’s 103rd floor offers views of 4 different states and is where the daring might take a walk on The Ledge, fully glassed cubes protruding from the building, 1353ft above Wacker Drive. And then there’s Garrett’s popcorn, no words, just try it! Finally, reflect on a memorable adventure over a ‘Skyscraper’ on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building, that’s one lofty cocktail!

Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love and we reckon you’ll fall for the place as well. What Philly lacks in size, it makes up for with a rich American historical story and landmarks. Follow the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson et al, as you visit Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed or check out the Liberty Bell that now resides just across the way at Liberty Bell Center.

From a culinary angle, you can’t say you’ve really been to Philadelphia if you haven’t tasted a Philly Cheese Steak. We suggest Jim’s Steaks, its been around nearly 80 years and for good reason. Simple yet scrumptious! We found most restaurants and bars to be extremely quaint and friendly with outstanding service, our favourite being Alma de Cuba on Walnut. And for the film buffs, take a jog in Rocky Balboa’s shoes, scaling the famous steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

And depending on the seasons, Philadelphia have the 76ers, Eagles, Flyers and Phillies covering the 4 major American sports. It’s a diminutive city but it truly has something for everyone.

The beauty about the east coast of America is that it’s easy to get from one wonderful city to the next, with just a few hours bus/train journey separating cities like Boston, New York, Washington and Philadelphia, just to name a few. You’ve ready a million things about the big cities but we recommend the United States for the lesser travelled, yet magnificent places in between. Believe me, I could write all day but you’ll just have to take my word and see the rest for yourself!

If you are about to get married and are looking for the best place for your honeymoon, we will be happy to give you a hand.

With Love, always.