The debate between Sydney and Melbourne is like the one between LA and New York—but there are so many other parts of this great island nation, too. In the former stay at the QT Bondi to work on your golden tan, or the newish Old Clare Hotel for an urban adventure. After checking out foodie mecca Melbourne’s divine restaurant scene and mural-filled laneways, hit the artsy Jackalope Hotel for wine-country immersion on the Mornington Peninsula. Western Australia has a lot to offer, with buzzy Perth giving honeymooners bang for their buck, Rottnest Island offering up adorable quokkas and Chris Hemsworth–approved glamping at Discovery Rottnest Island, and outback and ocean adventures in the Kimberley and Ningaloo Reef. And it’s hard to find more idyllic beaches than those in the Whitsundays, of course.
A honeymoon in Bali is pure magic. The Indonesian island—the only one in the huge country that’s Hindu—is a perfect place for passion. With a bit more of an exotic feel than the tropical islands closer to the US, Bali doesn’t only offer unspoiled beaches, surfing, snorkeling and massages, it’s full of culture, art, music, rice terraces and temples, many, many temples. Nature is celebrated here, and it’s easy to get into the spirit at unbelievably lush properties such as Four Seasons Bali at Sayan and Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve for jungle vibes, and Uluwatu Surf Villas or Mulia Villas for coastal bliss.
If off-the-beaten-path is your couple style, this South Asian gem is the way to go. Sandwiched between India and China, it’s a magical country with its own identity and topography, although anyone who’s been to one of those spots knows natural beauty is a sure thing. The miniature kingdom in the Himalayas is epic for trekking and has retained quite a sense of culture thanks to its remoteness and subtle Western influence. Explore Buddhist monasteries, jaw-dropping panoramas, and fortresses as you make your way from one valley to the next.
Is there a more classic exotic island honeymoon than Fiji? It’s hard to imagine something better than hopping between five-star resorts on the South Pacific’s 300-plus islands, filled with white sand, palm trees, mountains and blue lagoons. For a dose of heaven on earth, visit Laucala, a private-island destination blending tropical rainforests and volcanos with deserted beaches, sustainable locally grown cuisine and activities ranging from diving and golf to horseback riding and game fishing. Kokomo Private Island Resort and Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection, are two more options for postcard-perfect getaways.
Natural beauty, sake, sushi, history, culture—Japan balances rich ancient heritage with the modern in its awe-inspiring cities and maintains a vast network of hikes and walks for those more inclined to nature. There’s skiing and shrines, cat cafes and stunning coastline. Tokyo is a city that lights up all the senses (consider the deluxe ryokan-style Hoshinoya Tokyo), while Kyoto boasts more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites (plus the brand-new and breathtaking Aman Kyoto). The country boasts a trending chain of tropical coral isles, too—Okinawa, where Hoshinoya Taketomi Island gives a peek into traditional Japanese island life, and the new resort Halekulani Okinawa celebrates authentic culture and nature immersions.
Hear Maldives and you instantly think honeymoon. The tropical South Asian nation is made up of 26 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, which means unlimited beaches, turquoise waters for miles, extensive reefs and plenty of fresh fish and seafood. You’re pretty secluded at whichever of the luxurious resorts you choose—such as the Four Seasons' dream collection and pioneering, super-private Soneva Fushi—so expect a vacation filled with intimate meals, spa treatments, underwater adventures and just plain relaxation.
North Island, New Zealand
New Zealand’s adventure hub of Queenstown is beloved in the south, but its massive North Island has equal if lesser known opportunities to discover jaw-dropping scenes and sights. Waiheke Island, close to Auckland, is one charming option. Another is Northland, with lush green landscapes and cliffs over the Pacific and Tasmanian Sea. There, try foraging and scuba diving at super private Helena Bay Lodge, or go for 6,000 acres of farmland in the Bay of Islands with award-winning golf, ancient kauri forests and private beaches at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers further down the island in Hawke’s Bay puts you smack in the middle of primo wine country, not to mention natural beauty.
Give credit to Crazy Rich Asians, or don’t, but Singapore’s steady rise does seem tied to everybody’s favorite romantic comedy of 2018. Still, what’s crazy about the land of insanely good eats is the hospitality boom, the number of amazing new hotels that have opened recently. There’s the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, designed by Philippe Starck, a Hotel Indigo, a Sofitel on the beachy island of Sentosa, an Andaz near Chinatown, and M Social, also conceived by Starck. Four Seasons just renovated their rooms, and increased flights mean ever easier access from America.
Rainforests, beaches, Buddhist ruins, wildlife, cities and citadels—for such a tiny country, Sri Lanka offers an incredible amount of diversity to visitors. The exotic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is rugged but also polished, with cuisine that represents a melting pot of cultures. Honeymooners can visit temples, go backpacking or on safari in national parks and surf. Settle into the lush, LEED-certified solar farm-slash-boutique hotel Ulagalla or stay at the newest chic spot on the coast, the wellness-minded Tri Lanka, in Galle.
Taha’a, French Polynesia
Bora Bora, just in the distance, tends to get all the attention, but there’s something special about Taha’a, too. The French Polynesian isle is known for not only vanilla—that seductive spice that also scents the air in the most amazing way—but also produces rum and black pearls, all of which are attractive propositions. Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa, a Relais & Chateaux property, is the top choice for either a dreamy and expansive overwater bungalow or beach perch, and has the best access to the ultimate drift snorkeling destination of Coral Garden.
Vietnam has it all: beaches, culture, Buddhist pagodas, rivers, and sophisticated cities. And the food. There are also French colonial remnants of Vietnam's French colonization. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi are major metropolises while Hoi An, Mui Ne, and Hue offer more rural charm along with art and sandy coastlines that are as pristine as any island. Try the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay for a secluded coastal hideaway, and Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai for a bit more accessibility. The Southeast Asian country is fairly large, so you might want to consider road trips to experience the most varied markets, treks, cuisine, and temples.