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

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


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


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