Sydney

14 Date Ideas In Sydney That Aren’t Dinner And a Movie

Because there's more to do.

Sydney is an adult’s playground, even during a pandemic and social-distancing rules. From the bars and restaurants to the underground scene and fancy Harbour spots, there are endless potential date nights just waiting to happen. 

Long gone are the days of dinner and a movie, or just dinner. Instead, couples, love interests, and newlyweds are opting for cooking classes, long walks through the bush, and other enriching experiences. It’s a great way to impress without being corny or predictable. 

So whether Valentine’s Day is around the corner or you want to woo your online companion with a unique night they’ll never forget, here, best date ideas in the Harbour city. 

paint and sip class
Photo Courtesy of Cork and Canvas Darlinghurst

Boozy Art Class

What could be more fun than painting while slightly intoxicated? Over the past few years, art classes have introduced booze to their repertoire, leading way to institutions like Pinot and Picasso, and Cork and Canvas. Even if you’re the worst painter in the world, a paint and sip class is a good idea and guaranteed brownie points, scorer. Not to mention an affordable date, with most classes only costing $50 per person. You will have to bring your own booze, but paints and canvas are supplied. During the class, you will follow a teacher, who will be painting the same picture you are, but of course, there is room for a creative license to make it uniquely yours.

Two people enjoying a picnic
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Picnic

Picnics aren’t exactly a new date idea, but hiring a luxe picnic designer to curate a special picnic harbourside or in a park is a recent development. Pop up picnics come in all shapes, sizes, and costs. You can organise a bohemian picnic complete with boldly patterned rugs and colourful pillows or an Amalfi Coast vibe and so much more. Everything can be customised, from the grazing table to the cutlery and glassware. There are packages you can choose from or you can create your own vibe, either way, a personalised picnic is impressive by any standards. There are businesses including Picnics With Love and She Does Picnics who can help you organise a pop-up picnic.

kayaking in the harbour
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Kayaking

Whether you’ve known someone for a few years or a few days, getting outdoors and doing something adventurous is always a good idea. One of the many perks of living in Sydney is access to rivers and the ocean, most of which are kayak friendly. Kuringai Chase National Park is a popular kayak spot as is anywhere in the arbour. If you don’t own a kayak or are a beginner, there are tours you can take your date on including ones that take you through the harbour, along a beach, or down a river. Kayak rentals are around $30 per kayak and if you’re looking for a tour, it can be as little as $60 per person. Sydney by Kayak is a good option, particularly at sunrise.

glass of champagne and cinema
Photo Courtesy of Mov’In Boat

Socially Distant Movie Night

If you’re unsure about going to the cinemas to watch a movie, why not watch a flick from a rowboat or a floating bed in the harbour. Mov’In Boat is a pop-up cinema, offering the chance for couples and families to watch the latest releases and old favourites from the comfort of a bed or boat, distanced from others. The rowboat is $119 and has been modified with back seats for extra comfort. The summer day beds are $100 for two people and include the option for food delivery because you can’t watch a movie without the essential snacks. If you have your own boat, just pull it up to the harbour and pay $50 to start watching the movie. For an uber special night, board the Aquaelit, the Star’s yacht for a private queen sized day bed, snack, drinks, and more. This experience costs $150, which is about $75 per person. Spots are limited.

cocktails on table
Photo Courtesy Of Archie Rose Distilling Co.

Gin Tasting Archie Rose Distillery Co.

You might want to check your date drinks gin before getting too attached to this fun idea. For $49 per person, you can book a gin session at Archie Rose Distilling. During the tasting, you and your date will be guided through all things gin by the resident gin enthusiast. Learn about the history, how it’s made and how to identify the tasting notes, all while trying three Archie Rose gins. At the end of class, you get to enjoy three full-sized gin and tonics and access to the bar mezzanine for two hours. Order some food and make a night of it.

harbour bridge
Photo Courtesy Of Bridge Climb

Climb the Harbour Bridge

There’s nothing more exhilarating and breathtaking than standing 134-metres above the harbour, except for maybe taking in the view at sunset. It’s a three-hour climb to the summit, by way of metal stairs and vertigo-inducing ladders. Although, it’s worth it once you get to the top to take in all of Sydney with your date beside you. How romantic. There is an express climb which takes about two and a half hours if you’re short on time or want to avoid the higher arch. Prices range from $198 to $248, depending on the time of day you want to climb. Twilight is a popular choice, as it offers both sunset and night views. 
Book it here

koala climbing tree
Photo Courtesy Of Taronga Zoo

Sleepover at Taronga Zoo

Waking up to the sounds of wildlife nearby in a luxury eco-lodge sounds pretty romantic to us. The Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Zoo offers just that and more. This Valentine’s Day they have a special package that includes cocktails on arrival, an intimate, adults-only sunset tour into the zoo to hear tales of some ‘Wild Mates’, and a heart-warming surprise to commemorate the occasion. The romantic upgrade costs $95 per room when you book the classic and ultimate retreat packages for stays from Valentine’s Day weekend (Feb,12). 
Book it here

Cooking Class

If you’re looking for something new to do, why not take a cooking class. You get to learn a new skill, which will come in handy for years to come and you have the satisfaction of creating something together. Sydney offers a range of cooking classes from kneading your own Italian dough to learning the right way to chop a crab. Through RedBalloon you will find a variety of options including a dumpling class, chocolate making tutorial, and a French classics class. Depending on the duration and type of class, costs range from $60 per person to $300 per person. If you have a favourite cuisine or favourite dish, there’s bound to be a class on it. 

couple sitting on beach
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Secluded Beach Day

Sometimes all you need is a towel, blue waters, and sand between your toes. Sydney is bountiful with beaches, alcoves, and bays, from the famous Bondi Beach to the secret beaches only locals really know about. These are the ones that offer a bit more privacy and a romantic setting for a date. Head to Chinamans beach in Mosman in the afternoon or stroll down to Milk Beach in Vaucluse for crystal clear calm waters. There is also Nielsen Park, Little Bay Beach, Congwong Beach, and Atholl, near Taronga Zoo Wharf.

national park
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Hike Royal National Park

The Royal National Park is one of the best hikes in Sydney, partly due to its views and environment, other partly because it caters to all walk types from easy to difficult. Here, you will find waterfalls, swimming holes, beaches, sheer cliffs, and more. There are plenty of tracks to follow, but here are some great spots for a romantic stroll. The Jibbon Beach loop track offers beach views and a modern boardwalk with a viewing platform. The loop is two hours total. The scenic coastal walk to Eagle Rock reveals an overhanging rock, which also makes for a great picnic spot. There are also the figure eight pools, which can be accessed depending on the tide. It’s not exactly easy to get there but it’s pretty spectacular once you do.

yacht on harbour
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Harbour Dinner Cruise

Night dinner cruises are a great way to shake up the usual dinner date night. Sydney has several of them, boasting different cuisines and forms of entertainment. The Clearview Dinner Cruise takes place in a glass-boat and includes a five-course meal over three hours. There are smaller cruises like the one from Magistic, which offers a three-hour banquet dinner cruise aboard a catamaran. There are dinner cruises with live shows and others that focus on degustation.

bubble tent on hill
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Escape to the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is an idyllic escape for couples looking for romantic lodgings and views. The Love Cabins offers couples the chance to stay in a treehouse and a cave, complete with a hot tub, forest views, and privacy. There are also several hikes, from the Three Sisters to Wentworth Falls where you can find waterfalls down low and a vast canyon from up high. The region is also home to acclaimed restaurants and farms, where you can taste apple cider or visit a farmer’s market. The Blue Mountains is a great romantic weekend escape when you want to leave the city life behind in search of green pastures and slow living. 

hot air balloon in valley
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Hunter Valley Wine Tour

Spend your days sipping wine and munching fine cheese until your heart’s content in Sydney’s most popular wine region, the Hunter Valley. The two-hour scenic drive is a date in itself, but once you get the Hunter, the real fun begins. There are over 150 wineries here, all with cellar doors, offering tastings, views, and local produce. Opt-in for a fancy dinner or pick up a few of the essentials for a romantic picnic on an open pasture. If you’re unsure of where to start there are plenty of food and wine tours to book. You can take part in a cheesemaking class, have a picnic in the vines, and grape stomping is always a fun idea. For a truly romantic idea, book a hot air balloon experience and take to the skies. 

people eating food
Photo Courtesy Of Destination NSW

Sydney Food Tour

If you don’t want to wander too far from home, try a Sydney food tour. You will be surprised by what you might find. Sydney’s culinary scene is diverse which makes it a smorgasbord of exciting things to try. Tour Chinatown to find the best dumplings and yum cha or get a taste of Sydney treasures. There are even tours mixed with street art and lunches on the beach. Some tours will take you to local restaurants, others will take you to the markets from which restaurants source produce. Either way, you and your date will be enlightened to the culinary scene of Sydney. 
Book it here

Sydney

Seven New Restaurants And Bars Coming To Sydney In 2021

A no-waste bar, world-famous female chef, and Kylie Kwong are just a taste of what’s to come

mini cocktails
Photo Courtesy Of Maybe Sammy

Despite last year’s best efforts, Sydney’s hospitality scene continues to thrive—as do Sydneysiders. We mourned the casualties of lockdown and while we hoped for new beginnings this year, it hasn’t turned out quite as we expected. Nevertheless, we march on and this list of new restaurants and bars opening is the bright light we inch toward as we approach to exit this tunnel someday. 

So, what’s on the horizon for Sydney’s dining scene? Kylie Kwong is set to launch her latest concept, everyone’s favourite 50’s bartenders will don a new suit at a new establishment,  Neil Perry ventures to Double Bay for a restaurant that is all his own, and a zero-waste bar is to make its debut soon. 

This is just the beginning. We hope to see many more exciting venues opening over the year. For now, here are the city’s most anticipated openings for 2021. 

Kylie Kwong at South Eveleigh

Kylie Kwong is no stranger to Sydney with the better part of two decades on the dining scene. Her Potts Point establishment, Billy Kwong was a favourite but when it closed in 2019, people have been waiting for the powerhouse chefs next steps. We’re happy to tell you, she is coming back on the scene with her biggest project yet, South Eveleigh. Formerly known as Australian Technology Park, South Eveleigh is an emerging dining destination of which Kwong is the ambassador. Expect a relaxed daytime venue featuring local indigenous produce with her signature Cantonese culinary style. It’s a world away from Billy Kwong, but it is set to bring new meaning to the word ‘casual eatery’. She will also focus on sustainability, with the South Eveleigh Native Rooftop Garden and seafood from Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery. 

Core at Crown Sydney

English Chef, Clare Smyth, is the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars, Core in Notting Hill. She even catered for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s private wedding reception. It seems fitting to bring her talent’s to Sydney’s new rising star, Crown Sydney. In February, Smyth plans to introduce another Core to the tower, which focuses on local produce, and sustainability. The wines will be local as are the ingredients. This isn’t Smyth’s first introduction to Australia. She’s travelled around the country, which inspired the menu, offering the best Australia has to offer. 

Sammy Junior

It’s almost here, our favourite Ratpack bartenders are opening Sammy Junior, a suave cafe on the ground level of 66 King Street in the CBD. The espresso coffee bar will be the highlight of the morning trade, offering a bespoke Sammy coffee blend crafted by coffee connoisseur Martin Hudak (2017 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion and Mr Black Ambassador) alongside a short selection of classic breakfast bites from consultant chef Rob Lechowicz (Blackwood Pantry).In the afternoon, the focus will be mini cocktails which will be on tap alongside a beer and a few wines. The cheeky small doses of cocktails will be best enjoyed alongside an afternoon business meeting or as an after-work tipple but don’t expect to settle in for the night. Sammy Junior will shut from about 6 pm so head down to Maybe Sammy in The Rocks to continue the evening. Architect George Livissianis (Chin Chin Sydney, The Apollo, Cho Cho San, The Dolphin Hotel) will bring to life the interiors. Expect some visual similarities to Maybe Sammy.

Neil Perry in Double Bay

A household name, Neil perry is opening is first solo project mid-year after a 40-year career. Don’t expect to draw similarities to Rock Pool, this restaurant in Double Bay is all his own. The 170-seat venue will focus on plant-based dishes and salads during the day, with a selection of grilled options. Expect an approachable restaurant, with interiors by ACME (Mimi’s, the Grounds) and designer David Caon. The unnamed restaurant is highly anticipated with locals and diners who have followed Perry throughout his career. The new venue is Perry’s way of breathing life back into Double Bay, an area he spent many years dining in. 

Aria Wine Bar

Aria is a Sydney institution, serving fine dining to locals and visitors for several years. This year it’s transforming part of the restaurant into a relaxed wine bar. Yes, it will be serving food, so if you don’t want to splash out on the full menu, you can head to the bar for wine and snacks. The wine list will be the highlight, which includes over 80 wines by the glass and 1700 bottles. Anna Solomon (co-owner and Solotel’s creative director), Matt Moran, Joel Bickford (Aria head chef), and Alex Kirkwood (head sommelier) are the creative minds behind the fresh, laid back experience. The bar will celebrate the pillars of Aria’s 20-year success, at the same time offering locals a new side of Aria. One of which doesn’t require a reservation to enjoy cocktails, and snacks from Bickford.

Re

Re is perhaps the most exciting addition to our diverse restaurant and bar landscape. The boundary-pushing bar will be the world’s first permanent no-waste bar opening up an entirely new category, one we can get behind. Matt Whiley of Scout and Maurice Terzini from Icebergs and CicciaBella are the masterminds behind this new concept swinging its doors open sometime in February. The bar puts sustainability at the forefront, which includes the interior. Set in a heritage list- 19th Century railway engineering workshop the fit-out is comprised of recycled and repurposed building materials. The bar and tabletops are designed from recycled plastic bottles and Tupperware containers. Food that would otherwise go to waste will be given new life in cocktails, with spirit-heavy options. There is to be a food menu from Chefs Alex Prichard (Icebergs) and Nic Wong (Cicciabella). 

Ploos

There’s a new Greek restaurant coming to town from Greek-Australian Chef, Peter Conistis. Ploos, will find it’s home in Campbell’s Stores, the dining precinct in Circular Quay. Conistis is known for his restaurants, Alpha, Omega, and Cosmos, so Ploos is rumoured to be a fresh venue. Expect South Mediterranian dishes you would find in Crete or Cypriot, an oversized eat-at-bar, and harbour views. Ploos is slated to open in March 2021.

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