The Honeymooners

Mr. Mongoose and I have a serious case of wanderlust. As I mentioned in my intro post, we LOVE to travel. We travel mostly for pleasure, but Mr. M also travels a ton for work. So when deciding on a honeymoon location, we narrowed down the numerous options by asking ourselves a few simple questions. What area of the world have we never been to? Which countries are in our top five of places we’d love to visit? Where else can you hug a koala or go on a Lord of the Rings tour? The answer to each question was without a doubt, Australia & New Zealand.

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I’ve reluctantly accepted the fact that you can’t ride a kangaroo. / Image via Down Under Views

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My favorite New Zealanders Brett, Jemaine, and Murray (from Flight of the Conchords) / Image via HBO

We made the decision on these countries last summer and were even more encouraged when in my research I came across Down Under Endeavours, a Chicago-based travel agency with expertise in the South Pacific area. Now, I’ve never used a travel agency to plan vacations and have always planned every trip myself; however, because we’re traveling so far and we both know absolutely nothing about either country, I figured it was time we relinquish vacation-planning duties to the experts. And I’m so glad we did!

The company specializes in highly customized travel itineraries, which were right up our alley. With all the intense wedding planning going on, Mr. M thankfully took the lead on planning the honeymoon and has been working closely with our travel specialist to put everything together. He told her the things we enjoy (beach, adventure, nature, and LOTS of wine & food because, seriously, Australia and New Zealand produce some of the best wines in the world), and she came back with recommended locations that best fit our interests.

Some of our itinerary stops include adventurous locations like the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Glow Worm Caves. A few of the activities we have planned include scuba diving (for the first time, yikes) at the Reef, bike tours, wine tours, a boat tour of Milford Sound (like Mrs. Wallaby!), seeing a performance at the Sydney Opera House, a Lord of the Rings tour, and possibly a cooking class or two. The custom itinerary designed for us includes hotels, private transportation, most activities, and some of the airfare since we’re going to a number of different cities.

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Great Barrier Reef Marine Life / Image via Australia.com

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Daintree Rainforest / Image via Executive Retreats

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Glow Worm Caves / Image via Glowworm.co.nz

And the best part? Mr. M is a frequent flier on Delta and he’s racked up a TON of miles over the past few years. Because of this, we were able to exchange miles to 1) get free round-trip airfare to Sydney and 2) get upgraded to business class both ways…for free. I nearly pooped my pants when Mr. M booked this sweet deal—and he still has a ton of miles left over. (I also have a good amount of miles which we’re saving for a future trip.)

This will be one of the most epic journeys of our lifetime (and hopefully not the last)—we are going for three and a half weeks since we saved a TON of money on airfare. Since we’re having a destination wedding in May, we’ve decided to wait until September to honeymoon, giving us something fun to look forward to (other than our marriage, of course!) once all the wedding hoopla is over. September is also our dating-anniversary month, and the day we leave will be our eight-year anniversary. I am SO pumped!!!

If going on a honeymoon, will you plan it yourself or use a travel agency? Are you going right after the wedding or are you putting it off for a few weeks/months?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mongoose

Location:
New Haven, CT
Wedding Date:
May 2013

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  1. Member
    MrsPadlock2B 488 posts, Helper bee @ 3:02 pm

    As an Aussie bride I love hearing the trips organised in aus they sound like such a good representation of the amaziness that is Australia

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Sugar_and_Spice, Guest @ 3:03 pm

    I put my FI in charge of the honeymoon. He’s been off-continent before and travelled fairly extensively, whereas I’m a veteran of the US road trip brigade. ;) I’m super excited to see what he has planned for us. We are having a winter wedding though, so my top destination (St. Petersburg) probably wouldn’t be a wise choice. December and Russia don’t quite mix. ;)

  3. Member
    mrsjjc 246 posts, Helper bee @ 3:12 pm

    I’ve flown to Australia on both coach and business class… and let me tell you, you will be SO FLIPPING HAPPY you flew business! It’s a crazy long flight, and being able to lie down (or mostly down) makes all the difference in the world!

    Have fun! If you’re going to the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef, I assume you are staying in or at least going through Port Douglas — amazing, amazing place! :)

  4. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 3:13 pm

    We couldn’t get away for more than a week because of my FI’s work schedule so we are going to staying at the Hilton at downtown disney and doing disney the week after our wedding. This is our “honeymoon” but we are planning to do a super awesome trip in June after my FI finished the school year (hes a teacher) and I graduate (with my masters degree). Its going to be kind of a second honeymoon and celebration trip for me graduating. Not sure where we are going yet. It really depends on when/where I find a job but we want something tropical. Australia sounds AWESOME but I doubt we have the vacation time for a few years to take that kind of time of work. But our goal is to go one day! Maybe on our 5 or 10 year wedding anniversary!

  5. Member
    mswallaby 2061 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:27 pm

    GIRL. Free round trip to Sydney? Upgrade to business class? You are going to have so.much.fun. And your itinerary sounds just like ours haha. I think I said this before, but PM me if you want a copy of our honeymoon spreadsheet – since we boomed our trip ourselves, I watched every expense like a hawk and planned every little detail down to a T. So jealous, I’m already dying to go back – y’all are gonna love it!

  6. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 3:28 pm

    Ahh three & a half weeks?! That’s awesome! And you’ll get to enjoy it even more without the exhaustion of planning the wedding :) That’s one of the reasons we picked a more low-key honeymoon… but trust me I told Mr. Lemur we’ll be taking an awesome one-year anniversary trip ;)

  7. Member
    earrings 2611 posts, Sugar bee @ 3:29 pm

    Yay, Im glad you are coming to New Zealand! Let me know if you need any more tips or advice about coming here, though it sounds like you have things pretty well sorted :) September can still be pretty cold here so make sure you bring some warmer layers!

  8. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 3:43 pm

    @MrsPadlock2B: Ooh I’m glad to hear that they get the stamp of approval from a real Aussie!
    @Sugar_and_Spice: You guys can always delay the trip by a few months if that’s where you really want to go :)

    @MrsJJC: YES! Delta has recently outfitted their international biz class planes with full lay-flat beds–I might be more excited about the plane ride than the honeymoon itself ;) LOL, KIDDING. Oh and yes to Port Douglas–we will be there for 3 days then staying at Daintree for 2 days.

  9. Member
    sinfoniaxid 62 posts, Worker bee @ 3:47 pm

    AHH LOTR tour, awesome!!!!!!

    Also, don’t hug koalas, they’re vicious little buggers with very sharp claws. Deceptively cute, though.

    I’m jealous of this entire post. Three and a half weeks of honeymoon?!?!? you guys are gonna have the time of your lives!! Have fun!!!

  10. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 3:47 pm

    @Brooklyn55: Disney sounds awesome– congrats on your upcoming graduation as well!

    @Mrs. Wallaby: That would be AMAZINGGGGG. I’ll hit you up :)

    @Miss Lemur: And you should totally put Mr. L in charge of planning your 1st year anniversary trip :)

    @Mrs. Earrings: I will PM you–we’d love some restaurant recommendations!

  11. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:32 pm

    This sounds like a dream!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Morgan, Guest @ 5:53 pm

    What perfect honeymoon destinations! Heard MANY great things about Australia and NZ including their world famous wine production….oh, any my husband travels a good amount for work as well so I completely understand the euphoria of free flights and hotels!!! Relax, take lots of pics and truly enjoy your time there!

  13. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 6:11 pm

    @SinfoniAXiD: Ahh so I will not be hugging a koala–dangit! Thanks for the heads up though :)

  14. Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 7:14 pm

    Man that is going to be awesome. I was already drooling over Mrs. Wallaby’s honeymoon recaps. You are going to have a REALLY amazing time!!

  15. Member
    farinw 38 posts, Newbee @ 10:34 pm

    Oh My Gosh Yes! Love Flight of The Concords!

    Know you have me wondering which song is suitable for the playlist……

  16. Member
    josief 12 posts, Newbee @ 10:42 pm

    You are going to have a REALLY amazing time!!This sounds like a dream!

  17. Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:25 am

    Freeeeeeeeeeeeee business class to Sydney?! Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

    This sounds like an incredible trip. Australia/NZ are one of the few places that I wouldn’t even know where to start when planning a trip… the travel agent sounds like a good idea.

    I’ve planned our honeymoon (post coming soon) but I am going to use a travel agent for the last bits – I’m sure I’ll definitely need all the help I can get in the last months running up to it!

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    estella, Guest @ 5:14 am

    Australia is without a doubt the most amazing place I’ve ever been. You are are going to have so much fun!

  19. Member
    AstoriaK 1561 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:48 am

    You are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE Australia! It was the best decision that we ever made to go there on our honeymoon. We did 8 days in Sydney and 6 days in Port Douglas in November and it was awesome! Feel free to PM me if you want any recommendations for restaurants, bars, or excursions to do. One thing that I loved and highly recommend: Surfing lessons. One of the most fun things we did together!

  20. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 6:53 am

    @Mrs. Pony: @Morgan: @Miss Camel:
    @josief: @estella: I’m really looking forward to it!

    @farinw: haha I do love me some “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymnoceros”

    @Miss Jackrabbit: Excited to hear about your plans :)

    @AstoriaK: You ladies are all so helpful! I will definitely be PM’ing you–we’re spending 3 days in Port Douglas and 5 days in Sydney.

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Dommiebatsch, Guest @ 3:13 pm

    Ooooh, As an Aussie bride YAY! I love to see honneymooners coming down under! (and yes, i’m considering heading to the states for our honneymoon). You are going to be SOOOO glad you booked business, Coach with Delta LAX to SYD is the pits, they don’t even have TVs on the back of the chairs (yes, never flying delta international again, QANTAS or Virgin all the way).
    Are you coming to Melbourne?
    If you need any Aussie advice or just want some cool not so touristy ideas just hollar! (or DM me anyway)

  22. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 3:36 pm

    @Dommiebatsch: Whoa that’s crazy that Delta doesn’t have TVs in coach!! I heard they renovated a bunch of international flights so hopefully they’ve changed that. And yes we’re spending 3 days in Melbourne so I may definitely need some restaurant recos :)

  23. Member
    dommiebatsch 52 posts, Worker bee @ 4:58 pm

    ooooh, we have some awesome restaurants! Can DEFINATLEY recommend MoVida (or MoVida next door) for some yummy alleyway tapas :) You cant book so getting there early is the best bet!

    Another fun one is Donnovan’s a seafood restuarnt on the beach in St Kilda. and LaCammera in southbank has a lovely view of the river and yummy italian!

  24. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:16 pm

    Australia was our dream before we looked at pricing! Mr. Sword lived in Melbourne for a year and he wants to show me Down Under so badly! I’ll have to wait a bit longer! How do you both have 3.5 weeks off from work?!?! Jealous!

  25. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 8:08 am

    @dommiebatsch: Awesome, thank you so much for the recos! @Miss Sword: Haha Mr. M geta a good amount of vacation days each year and I’ve just been saving up mine.

  26. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 10:56 am

    Three and a half weeks?! That’s SO awesome! I think it’s great how you and Mr. Mongoose approached the planning by asking yourselves the questions. Although I wouldn’t say Australia/NZ is ‘alternative’, per se, it’s not a typical beachy resort type honeymoon (like ours! hehe) either. Like you said, definitely adventurous. . .which means I can’t wait to read about it!

  27. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 11:23 am

    @StephK527: I normally gravitate towards beachy vacations (nothing makes me happier than sipping a pina colada and listening to the waves crashing). So even I was surprised at how much more this trip is leaning towards the adventurous side, however I can’t imagine two better places to get my adventure on!

  28. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 4:11 pm

    This should be amazing for you both! I’ve always wanted to head that way—hopefully soon enough.

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