Yes, buddymoons. It’s a thing. The latest moon-related travel trend (after babymoons, minimoons and maximoons), where newlyweds take their family and friends along for a group getaway, instead of a traditional honeymoon. Here we reveal the best post-wedding holiday destinations, to share with your nearest and dearest. By Georgina Meredith
Blanket Bay, New Zealand
New Zealand’s South Island is ultimate buddymoon territory for couples (and friends) with a penchant for the outdoors and outgoing.
And one of the best places to experience the South Island’s spoils en masse is Blanket Bay – less than 50 kilometres from skiing and snowboarding hotspot, Queenstown.
By day, splurge on a private helicopter to pick up you and your posse from the lawns of Blanket Bay for an aerial tour of the awe-inspiring Milford Sound. Or experience the world-class slopes with a day of heli-skiing around the surrounding slopes.
If heights aren’t your thing, take in the handiwork of some of New Zealand’s finest artists and winemakers on Blanket Bay’s Wine and Arts Trail, featuring some of the country’s greatest culinary delights. Or try your hand at horse riding with a privately guided ride, or golfing at Jack’s Point Golf Course, overlooking the aptly named The Remarkables mountain range.
Then retreat back to Blanket Bay Lodge, set on Lake Wakatipu, where everyone can stay in elegant guest rooms side by side, indulge in the onsite spa, and just enjoy the breathtaking views.
From $1000 per night; blanketbay.com
Port Antonio, Jamaica
While Jamaica is the Caribbean’s crowning jewel for honeymooners, it’s also ideal for buddymooners and group getaways alike.
The island country isn’t short of unspoiled coastline and tropical delights, but it’s Port Antonio in the far northeast that wins out in this case.
Home to Frenchman’s Cove (voted by Conde Nast as one of the world’s top five beaches) and the equally enchanting Blue Lagoon, guests can also explore the Errol Flynn marina plus the thriving hub of local culture and varied nightlife, including reggae sound-systems and ska bars.
Further afield (a two-hour drive away) you can scale Jamaica’s famous Dunn’s River Falls, or pay a visit to the historic Appleton Estate where your group can indulge in a rum tour (not before scaling though!).
Then after a day of fun in the sun return to the environmentally-conscious Geejam Hotel, located on six acres of lush forest, 10 minutes from Port Antonio. Made up of iridescent cabins and that sleep up to six, it’s an equally stylish and secluded hideaway fit for a king and queen…plus their whole family!
From US$425 per night; geejamhotel.com
Napa Valley, USA
The rolling hills and vineyards of northern California marks what is undoubtedly an internationally-renowned foodie heaven, boasting some of the world’s freshest produce and delectable wine.
A crowd-pleasing destination for any wine-loving social circle, Napa Valley feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of California’s west coast, despite being just a one-hour drive from the heart of vibrant San Francisco.
Experiencing it with your nearest and dearest though means much more than local winery tours, indulgent restaurants and sampling local fare (not that that’s a bad way to spend a buddymoon!).
Float above the vineyards and orchards in a sunrise hot-air balloon ride or take a scenic drive with your gang to the majestic Muir Woods. Rev heads can get their kicks with an Audi racecar experience at the nearby Infenion Raceway, or cycle a portion of the 47-mile Napa Valley Vine Trail.
Then digest it all at Napa’s award-winning Carneros Inn – an idyllic hideaway inspired by country California, made up of handsome tin-roofed cottages and beautiful home stays that sleep up to six, along with hot tubs, infinity pools and a spa.
Better still, it’s great for buddymooners with kids with a baby-sitting service for when Mum and Dad are out celebrating with friends.
From $651 per night; thecarnerosinn.com
Addo National Park, South Africa
Striking scenery, handsome wildlife and an abundance of exciting outdoor activities make South Africa’s Addo National Park one heck of a buddymoon destination.
Situated about 800 kilometres east of Cape Town on the southern coastline, the park is a sanctuary for lions, buffalos, black rhinos, spotted hyena, leopards, antelope and zebras, while in the centre of Addo National Park is the densest population of elephants on the earth.
For front-row seats to this precious part of the world, buddymooners should stay at Gorah Elephant Camp, set on a 5000-hectare private concession deep in the heart of the park.
Here you can relax on the veranda of the camp’s gracious colonial manor, sipping bubbly and overlooking a nearby waterhole while big-five wildlife stroll by.
Taking glamping to a new level of luxury, each guest tent is sheltered under a thatched canopy and is equipped with a private ensuite, deck and plush king-size bed. Tents are situated side by side and are perfect for a group getaway.
Contact Gorah directly for prices; gorah.hunterhotels.com
With its poetic scenery, unrivalled art scene and delectable cuisine, Tuscany truly is the most idyllic buddymoon destination for those who enjoy the finer things in life at a slower pace.
Spend your holiday wandering through sun-kissed vineyards, sampling local vino and exploring one of the many handsome local castles for a suitably relaxing buddymoon experience.
There’s also plenty of nearby townships to explore like Siena, with its towering cathedrals and rustic buildings housing art by Lorenzo Lotto, making its historic town centre one of Italy’s most visited destinations.
Then sleep like a royal at Borgo Santo Pietro – a 13th Century villa 30 minutes from the heart of Siena. Rooms are decorated with charming murals and vases of fragrant flowers.
The entire estate is available to rent, or up to four separate rooms at a time, with a complimentary basket of local fruits and a chilled bottle of Prosecco on arrival.
There’s also a full menu of hotel activities to choose from including truffle hunting in the countryside, trampolining and archery to spa treatments and children’s pizza making lessons.
From EU$540 per night; borgosantopietro.com