Sipping a fruity cocktail on a Bora Bora beach or strolling hand-in-hand in Paris isn't everyone’s idea of a dream honeymoon.
If that's you, you're in for a treat: the rise of the unconventional honeymoon is on the up. That doesn't mean not having one at all or towing all your family and besties along (unless, of course, you want to), an unconventional honeymoon is simply something that's a little bit different - and a bucketload of awesome. The beauty of these kinds of 'moons is that you can totally tailor them for what suits you, whether that's joining a few ideas up to make one big unconventional trip, or picking one from the list and swapping it out for a more traditional honeymoon after a week.
It’s been dubbed a ‘honeyteer’, but we’re doing away with weird-sounding compounds and calling it as we see it: a feel-good honeymoon that’s sure to have a heap of awesome karma coming your way. With a volunteer honeymoon, you can choose from a range of projects to get involved in, from helping out with educational programs in far-flung communities, getting your hands dirty with environmental conservation or working with endangered animals. There are opportunities to do a karmic solid close to home, like at Western Australia’s Eco Beach Turtle Conversation on Kimberley Coast, where you can take an active role in monitoring the Flatback Turtle population, go on patrol walks and record nest data. But if you have your heart set on an exotic destination, there are volunteer opportunities across the globe from Zimbabwe, South Africa and India to Nepal, Belize and Fiji – all you have to do is pick one. For those sold on volunteering, start your ‘moon planning by checking out sites like Hands Up Holidays, Honeymoon Volunteers and Kaya Responsible Travel.
Hit the open road
When all you need is your main squeeze, and you have a hankering to explore new places, consider hiring a caravan or campervan. Jumping in a caravan and heading wherever your sense of direction (or GPS) takes you is a cute way to spend a whole lotta time together – and perhaps even save some dollars. Rather than forking out for luxury resorts and five-star hotels, your budget will be spent on camp grounds and, obviously, petrol. Having a campervan is also the perfect way to discover off-the-beaten-track destinations that, if you were restricted to using public transport, you may never have had the chance to see. The age for car hire differs from country to country, with most hovering around the 21 to 25 category. Our fave part of this style of honeymoon? Coming up with a catchy name for your van.
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Pitch a tent
If the thought of roughing it – going without a hairdryer and washing in a cold lake – sounds like the last thing you’d want to do on your ‘moon, try glamping (that’s glamorous and camping, don’t you know). With a glamping honeymoon, Bollinger replaces the boiling billy and the cavernous tents are decked out with silky linens, plush robes, cushiony beds… pretty much all the kit you’d expect from a luxury hotel. St Jerome’s – The Hotel has introduced Melbourne’s CBD to glamping, with a stretch of outdoor tents popping up on the rooftop of Melbourne Central. For something a bit more bush, Paperbark Camp in Jervis Bay, NSW, is a peaceful retreat with canvas accommodation and a sensational restaurant.
Sail away, sail away
How does starting off married life sailing azure-blue oceans sound? Pretty good, right? Of course it does, because sailing into the sunset with your beau has all the makings of a romantic Hollywood flick. And because not everyone has a sailing boat or catamaran sitting in their backyard, charter yachts could be the way for you to go – whether it’s overnight, a few days or even a week. There are a handful of companies that offer charters in Australia – try Charter Yachts Australia or Sunsail – or you could test out the waters in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean… or just about anywhere else you’ve seen on a postcard. A sailing honeymoon can sit at the top-end of the ‘moon budget, so make sure to do your research and see where any savings can be had.
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Okay, so this one means different things depending on who you ask. For adrenalin junkies, an adventurous honeymoon could be all about chasing the next thrill with bungee-jumping, sky-diving and paragliding. These types of getaways can be had anywhere from Venezuela to Vietnam, and your only limit is how far you want to push yourself. For a slower paced, but just as thrilling, honeymoon, outdoorsy couples can try their hands at a trip that will have your heart racing (and not just in the bedroom). Think a husky safari in Finland or a more humid camel safari across sand dunes in Morocco; a trek up to Macchu Picchu or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Retreat up high or down low
Alright, so holing up in a hotel isn’t exactly revolutionary when it comes to honeymoons, but there are boltholes out there that definitely don’t fit the usual mold. And those stays are perfect for couples who want a honeymoon that’s the talking point of dinner parties and family get-togethers. Those with a head for heights will love staying in a treehouse – you know, like you had when you were little – perched high above the ground. Try out Seattle’s TreeHouse Point, Brazil’s Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel or Tranquil Resort in India. If nights spent canoodling and cuddling sounds tempting there’s no place more fitting than Sweden’s Ice Hotel or Québec’s Hôtel de Glace. Unsurprisingly, these icy dens are only around for a set period each year, before they melt and are redesigned for the next snowy season. Sweden’s also home to the Mine Suite, the world’s deepest hotel room, which is 155 metres below ground.
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