The catchy driving playlist, the rolling landscapes, the spontaneous pit stops en route… a road trip’s hard to beat when it comes to a romantic honeymoon for two. We asked the boutique-hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith to pick five of the best Australia and New Zealand stays that make a first-class base.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains, Australia
With a wealth of accolades to its name – including the Best for Families title at the 2014 Smith Hotel Awards – Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley takes luxury lodging to the next level. A three-hour drive from Sydney, the hotel’s at the heart of 7,000 acres of rolling wilderness. With a world-class spa and private villas where in-room swimming pools come as standard, this is one special playground. Gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner and two on-site nature activities each day are included in room rates (and you’d be very unlucky not to spot kangaroos in the wild).
Smith Extra: A bottle of local wine on arrival; GoldSmith members also get a nine-course tasting dinner matched with local wines.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
This is another retreat with room to roam: 6,000-acres of working sheep and cattle farm with jaw-dropping Pacific Ocean views, in fact. As well as having a glam golf course and soothing spa, this place is seriously serenity-boosting, perched on the North Island’s dramatic Hawke’s Bay. With jaw-dropping ocean views, fine dining and fine wine, it’s worth the four-hour drive from Wellington.
Smith Extra: A gourmet picnic hamper for two.
QT Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
QT has the heat turned up and the tropical tone set just right. Juicy citrus hues, quirky design and staff dressed in a retro Hamptons style add to the fun. The restaurant is a top concept brilliantly executed – a buffet-style affair where you can also get dishes cooked to order. Neither on the beach nor in the town, but within each reach of both, QT Port Douglas is the place to be for a Queensland break.
Smith Extra: A bottle of sparkling wine, plus late checkout
Huka Lodge, Lake Taupo, New Zealand
Whether you’re into fishing, food or the great outdoors, this luxurious lodge is one of the world’s best retreats. Four hours from Auckland, Taupo’s home to New Zealand’s largest lake and, in the 1920s, saw the debut of this simple fishing lodge that would eventually become a first-class boutique stay. Book a bedroom overlooking the Waikato River for maximum romance.
Smith Extra: Lunch for two, including a bottle of local house wine
Kingsford Homestead, Barossa Valley, Australia
A short but picturesque drive from Adelaide, Kingsford Homestead is an historic estate with lush styling, sweeping vistas and a suitably impressive wine cellar. The sandstone home dates back to the mid-1800s and its original features offer a glimpse into traditional Australian country life. It’s luxury far from the big city, and on the doorstep of the renowned Barossa Valley wine region.
Smith Extra: A picnic hamper