Isle of Love
Popping the question, getting hitched, or simply after a romantic trip for two? These tropical islands are made for love.
The eight volcanic islands that make up this US outpost combine energetic resort towns with wild interiors and deserted surf coasts.
The action centre of the main island of Oahu, home to the capital city Honolulu, is Waikiki – a sun-drenched strip of beach backed by shops, eateries and bars. Iconic hotels such as the pink The Royal Hawaiian and trendy Surfjack Hotel are perfect for a wedding with retro flair. Leave the crowds behind on your honeymoon by renting a convertible and exploring the North Shore, Windward Coast or Leeward Coast.
On Maui, Hawaii’s secondlargest island, you can cruise the Hana Highway, soak up volcanic vistas atop Haleakala and relax at full-service resorts overlooking long beaches.
Visit Kauai, the Garden Isle, for its epic vistas and wild scenery. The Napali Coast, a dramatic spectacle of lush valleys and verdant cliffs dropping to deserted beaches, can best be appreciated by sea or air. Visit the South Shore or the Coconut Coast for lush tropical beaches, chilled-out beach towns and hidden wonders inland.
For more natural wonders, head to the natural hot springs along Hawaii Island’s Puna Coast, see the world’s highest sea cliffs in Molokai or explore the thriving marine reserve in Lanai’s Hulopoe Bay.
Pop the question here: Atop Maui’s Haleakala volcano at sunrise
Dinner for two: Orchids at the luxe Halekulani resort in Waikiki
Wedding venues made for you: Haiku Mill, a former sugar mill on Maui reborn as a function space filled with greenery
Dream honeymoon: The beachfront suites at Hanalei Colony Resort on lush Kauai
With more than 300 islands, only around a third of which are populated, Fiji is one of the Pacific’s favourite playgrounds.
Most fly into Viti Levu, where you’ll find capital Suva, airportadjacent Nadi and gated island Denarau. Viti Levu is home to a roll call of five-star resorts such as Hilton, Radisson Blu, Outrigger, Shangri-La and more, all well equipped for weddings or fly-and-flop honeymoons.
Venture to Fiji’s biggest island, Vanua Levu, for a glimpse into Fijian life beyond the resorts, and explore rugged farmland, forest and coastlines. Fiji’s Garden Isle, Taveuni, is ideal for adventure-seeking couples, with one third covered by national parks.
For vistas straight from a postcard, head for Fiji’s outlying islands. The 20 Mamanucas islands are reached by boat from Nadi – with party islands, upscale resorts and deserted shores. The Yasawa Islands are becoming more accessible, with exclusive resorts such as Turtle Island offering the perfect desert-island honeymoon.
Pop the question here: On a yacht as you island-hop
Dinner for two: A seafood feast at Viti Levu’s Wicked Walu
Wedding venues made for you: The two-storey pontoon Cloud 9
Dream honeymoon: Tokoriki Island Resort in the Mamanucas
This chain of 15 islands strung out over nearly two million square kilometres is all white sand, turquoise seas and swaying palms. With a political and cultural connection to Aotearoa – Cook Islands Māori is a primary language and New Zealand dollar the currency – this picturesque destination has long been popular for Kiwi weddings and honeymoons.
On the most populous isle, Rarotonga, no structure is taller than the highest palm by decree and the single main road is devoid of traffic lights. There is plenty of accommodation to put up your nearest and dearest for a destination wedding and adults-only resorts suited to honeymooners, especially around scenic Muri Lagoon.
For even greater seclusion, the Cook Islands’ second-most visited isle Aitutaki is paradise brought to vivid life – a palmdusted landmass hugging one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful lagoons. With a permanent population of around 2000, most visitors find themselves at the handful of low-key resorts and private holiday rentals. If your dream honeymoon is days spent snorkelling before sunset cocktails, Aitutaki is the place to realise it.
Pop the question here: Arrange a private boat trip to one of the postcard-perfect motus (islets) in Aitutaki lagoon
Dinner for two: On the deck at Tamarind House, the closest Rarotonga comes to fine dining
Wedding venues made for you: on the patio beside Nautilus Resort’s infinity pool, overlooking Rarotonga’s calm Muri Lagoon
Dream honeymoon: Pacific Resort’s Heavenly Honeymoon package lets you choose from three stunning resorts – Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Pacific Resort Rarotonga or Little Polynesian Resort
The Island of the Gods has long been one of Australia’s favourite tropical escapes, and the setting for many destination weddings and laid-back honeymoons.
In the southern suburbs of Seminyak or Canggu, exciting local talent and expats have created a dining and drinking scene to rival most cities. Your guests can choose from family-friendly resorts, exclusive private villas and everything in between. Gather your bridal party and spend a few days poolside at beach clubs such as Ku De Ta or Potato Head.
In Bali’s verdant cultural hub Ubud, you’ll uncover fine diners such as Locavore and Sardine, boutique hotels and a thriving wellness scene. Make time to explore nearby temples, rice paddies and lush farmland.
Or venture south to the rugged Bukit Peninsula, frequented by surfers and wellheeled types lounging in resorts such as Alila or at day clubs Karma Kandara or El Kabron.
For solitude, the east coast with its black-sand beaches is one of Bali’s hidden secrets. But hop to it; people are catching on.
Pop the question here: In a private cave at leafy Jungle Fish
Dinner for two: A candlelit dinner on a bale in the Hanging Garden’s iconic infinity pool
Wedding venues made for you: Stunning Sundays Beach Club on the Bukit Peninsula
Dream honeymoon: Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort on an east-coast black-sand beach
Australians don’t need a passport to enjoy a slice of tropical-island paradise. The 74 islands of the Whitsundays are wedged between Queensland’s idyllic north coast and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.
Airlie Beach is the mainland hub for the region, a thriving resort town with a year-round holiday vibe. From caravan parks to luxury waterfront apartments, and rum bars to degustation diners, there is an option to suit everyone.
The Whitsundays are a string of largely uninhabited tropicalisland jewels in the Coral Sea. Accommodation ranges from kayak-in campsites for intrepid couples, to unparalleled luxury at five-star resorts. Hamilton Island is ideal for a destination wedding, a car-free island with a wide range of hotels, restaurants and bars to keep everyone happy.
Palm Bay Resort on Long Island delivers the privateisland experience without breaking the bank, with selfcatering suites mere steps from the idyllic coastline, perfect for a laid-back wedding. One&Only Resort, Hayman Island and Daydream Island are working hard to remedy the damage of Cyclone Debbie last year and return to business this year.
Pop the question here: High above Heart Reef during a scenic flight for a private picnic at Whitehaven beach
Dinner for two: A mod-Oz feast with Coral-Sea views at Bommie in the Hamilton Island Yacht Club
Wedding venues made for you: The quaint All Saints Chapel overlooking Catseye Bay on Hamilton Island for a beach and church wedding in one
Dream honeymoon: The adults-only Beach Club on the water’s edge on Hamilton Island