What are your feelings towards dating? Do you love it? Do you get a buzz from going on a date, swirling cocktails and engaging in conversation with new people?
Or do you wince at the thought of dating, as if it’s some unpleasant chore that perhaps isn’t necessary at all and you’d rather stay in, thank you very much. For me, I am somewhere in the middle; my thoughts on this subject swing back and forth like a pendulum.
With online dating becoming so widespread in this fast-paced digital world, it feels more daunting than ever to actively meet your date. The move from chatting in a ‘safe’ online space (i.e. on a dating app) to meeting someone off-line in their very much 3D, corporeal self is not for the faint-hearted.
Saying this, over the past few years I feel I have really conquered my dating nerves and have learnt how to seek the joy in it. And I think that this is due to choosing the right date spot…
Move away from dinner. I dare you. In my experience these scenarios are too rigid. And who wants to be trapped opposite a stranger at dinner table if things aren’t going well? I think it’s better to think outside the box.
I have compiled my 10 favourite Sydney date spots that aren’t dinner or a drink, and are a little bit more interesting…
1. Have an ice cream date at Gelato Messina
There’s something very innocuous about ice cream; sweet in taste and in nature. I think ice cream is a great premise upon which a date should be set.
In Sydney there are Messinas (the best gelato joint in the world, in my very popular opinion) all over the city. Most Messinas are open from midday until 10:30 – 11pm, which provides a very large scope for a Messina date. You can suggest a mid-afternoon ice cream-and-stroll date, or go on an ice cream date late at night…
It’s not glamorous, per se, but it’s cute. And if you and your date are new to each other are, a pressure-less date setting like Messina is a strong option (and leaves plenty of room for spontaneity).
2. Take a stroll around Wendy’s Secret Garden
Secret Art and nature. Peaceful and romantic. Wendy's secret garden is one of the gems in Sydney. A must to explore. Bring a snack and enjoy the nature around you. 📸@diariodalmondo #secret #spottedinsydney #secretgarden #gem #garden #australia #sydney #bridge #harbour #view #igers_sydney #igers #exploreaustralia #me #travel #picoftheday #instaday #instadaily #wendysgarden #art #nature #sydneylocal
If someone asked me what my ideal first date is, I would say a walk around a pretty park in mid-morning, coffee in-hand and probably a puppy in tow. Wendy’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay (on the lower North Shore of Sydney) is the perfect setting for this; a oasis in the heart of Sydney, with stunning views of the Harbour Bridge.
And don’t forget to bring your dog! A pooch is a great conversation starter and will help to alleviate any awkward silences…
3. Dinner on the ferris wheel at Luna Park
Did you know you can have dinner atop the ferris wheel in Luna Park? Neither did I until a friend of mine did it, but I think it’s a totally adorable thing to do. A departure from the standard dinner setting, I defy anyone to not feel smitten under the lights of Luna Park with views over the harbour, the bridge and Sydney Opera House.
4. Hire bikes around Centennial Park
Hiring a bike and cycling around a park isn’t exclusive to under 10’s – it’s also a great date activity. Centennial Park is one of the best inner-city parks in my opinion, and you can hire bikes 7 days a week.
Better yet, take a picnic in your bag so you can cycle, stop, snack, repeat!
5. Visit Carriageworks farmer’s market
CARRIAGEWORKS FARMERS MARKET has kicked off for another week, and we will be here until 1pm with fantastic fresh produce, food, coffee, tea, flowers, drinks, plants, gifts, entertainment and more. See you soon at the market, cheers Mike @MikeMcEnearney. #CarriageworksFarmersMarket 📷 by @foodwinedine
Do you and your date share a common interest of fine food and drink? A morning spent at Carriageworks Farmers Market would be perfect for you!
The Farmers Market is open on Saturday mornings from 8am – 1pm and is completely free. Wander around the market and marvel at the stalls selling fresh produce, flowers, plants, coffee, tea and gifts.
6. Go on a tall ship cruise around Sydney Harbour
Set sail on the three-masted Southern Swan ship at twilight for a truly unforgettable evening. These Sydney Harbour cruises are breathtakingly elegant and offer spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
So, get your glad rags on and step aboard for the mid-afternoon or evening cruise!
7. Take a hike
Hiking is an incredibly popular pastime in Sydney; whatever the weather or time of year. There are so many beautiful hiking trails dotted along the Sydney’s coast, such as the famous Bondi to Coogee walk and the Manly to Spit walk.
I think the Rose Bay to Watson’s Bay coastal walk is particularly perfect for dates. Aside from its stunning scenery, it features some of the nicest bars Watson’s Bay has to offer. Take your time doing the 1-hour walk, dipping into bars for cocktails along the way!
8. Visit a secluded beach
Sydney has numerous ‘secret’ beaches that are secluded and quiet. These include Washaway Beach on the Manly to Spit walk; Ghosties Beach near Moone; Maitland Bay near Bouddi National Park; Little Marly and Big Marly in the Royal National Park; and Chinaman’s Beach in Mosman, to name a few.
Escape the crowds and head to one of these secluded beaches. Don’t forget to pack your swimmers!
9. Stay overnight in the Blue Mountains
Camping is definitely not a suitable first date scenario, but if you and your (prospective) partner have been dating for a while, it sure makes a difference from going to dinner!
You can camp in the Euroka campground in the Blue Mountains National Park, where there are facilities such as toilets, picnic tables and barbecue facilities.
Pack up your camping gear, bring a warm doona and head on an adventure!
10. Watch a Sydney sunset – picnic with a view
Sydney is home to some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. And oh, are sunsets romantic!
If you’re lost for something to do with your date, a simple sunset walk around Sydney Harbour is more than enough. What’s more, it’s free and you and your date will look prettier than ever in the golden light!
If you liked this post, you’ll love my list of 10 fun things you can do to beat the Sydney winter blues!
Also, check out my favourite brunch spots in Surry Hills and Paddington!