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Where do you honeymoon when both people in the relationship are whitewater kayakers? New Zealand! My husband and I have had New Zealand on our travel bucket list for quite some time, and our honeymoon seemed like the perfect time to take advantage of it
A year and a half after our wedding, we finally had a time window where we could take 2 weeks of vacation together. This ended up being New Years week and the week after. Since my husband also gets a week of vacation for Christmas, he decided to fly separately a week early to the North Island, then the plan was for him to take the ferry to the South Island where I would be flying in to join him for the remainder of the trip.

While my husband started off the honeymoon without me, I worked hard at the hospital during Christmas week, knowing that 2 glorious weeks of kayaking was fast approaching. My flight left on New Years Eve, which meant with the time change, I actually skipped New Years Day altogether and landed in New Zealand on January 2nd.

My husband picked me up from the airport in Christchurch and we were off! My flight landed in the morning, so we immediately drove to the West Coast, and to the lower Toaroha put-in. Daniel had chosen this run because it was a hike-up so we didn’t need a shuttle, and it was short, so he thought I could manage it sleep deprived and jet-lagged. We geared up and started off.

Unfortunately, our hiking directions were not great and we soon found ourselves following a little trail upstream as the woods became more and more dense around us. We were not too discouraged by the small trail as our directions specifically said to follow a small trail up away from the river into the bush. However, as we continued to pull further and further away from the river we started to get concerned. Several times we scouted ahead without our kayaks and we finally decided we had taken the wrong trail. After a long, 2 hour hike through dense New Zealand bush, we finally reached the river. While we were gearing up to finally run the river, another group hiked up. Their walk had only taken 30 minutes… Our New Zealand adventure had begun!

Despite our rocky start, our New Zealand honeymoon ended up being a fantastic trip. We boated all over the South Island from Hokitika to Milford Sound. In total, we paddled 17 different stretches of river in 13 days. I highly recommend New Zealand as a gorgeous and fun paddling destination! Hot tip is to ask locals for tips on hike-in directions!

~Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)