Romancing in Australia
The price of long stem roses gets pricklier in February, French champagne could be harder to come by and having to get a rapid test before an intimate evening for two doesn’t sound very romantic. But don’t let that stop you finding a way to spend the most romantic day of the year with your special someone.
This Valentine’s Day, it’s time to think outside the box of heart-shaped chocolates. Our Travelzoo team have drawn their cupid bows to find some lovey-dovey Aussie locations where you can celebrate safely and still make it a special occasion.
New South Wales
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a thrilling way to bring a couple together and there’s even a special twilight climb. Or keep your feet on terra firma with a stroll along Wulugul Walk on the Barangaroo foreshore. Opening in 2021, this path enables access to bay walks that were once off-limits. Now you can walk the picturesque sections, or the full 11-kilometre trail from Woolloomooloo to the Anzac Bridge.
At the start (or end) of the foreshore walk is Ovolo Woolloomooloo. Rated as Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best in 2021, this chic and funky 5-star hotel has taken a 1915 wharf wool store and combined it with ultra-mod designs and pop-art features. Room rates include everything, from breakfast to a free mini bar, and for the 14th of February Ovolo restaurant has a tantalising menu that comes with a free “I want to hold your hand” cocktail.
You can also opt to get out of the city and head for beautiful Hunter Valley. Make a 2-night trip of it and stay in the heart of wine country at Chateau Elan at the Vintage, with indulgent perks like a picnic amongst the vines and pairing the local wines with the perfect cheese or chocolate combination.
Australian Capital Territory
There’s overnight zoo stays around the world, and then there’s all-inclusive Jamala Wildlife Lodge. If your partner loves animals and being totally spoilt, then imagine a luxurious safari-themed room with a glass wall between you and a lion or where you can feed a giraffe from your balcony. Located within Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium, there are a range of packages available and you can even swap rooms during your stay to experience the different animal encounters.
An easy 75-minute cruise from Brisbane lands you on Moreton Island. The white sandy beaches and snorkelling or diving around reef-covered shipwrecks are amazing, but sharing a special sunset with the wild dolphins makes everyone love it even more. Each evening you can hand-feed the cheeky marine mammals in the wild with the Eco Rangers at Tangalooma Island Resort.
If you want to take your relationship to the next level in Queensland, Q1 Resort & Spa is located in Australia’s tallest residential tower. Wait until you see the panoramic views from the most exclusive apartments on the Gold Coast.
In the Queensland capital, the clear way to impress is at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Brisbane, right on Queen Street Mall and you can splurge on a room with a river view or enjoy the stunning outlook from the infinity pool.
Watching little penguins waddle back to their homes in the dunes can be a romantic way to enjoy sunset on the beach. Did you know these cuties often choose their partner for life? At Phillip Island Nature Park there’s a range of penguin viewing experiences available. The Ultimate Adventure eco tour is our favourite, because you get to be on a secluded beach when the lovebirds come ashore.
A 30-minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD is a uniquely historic luxury hotel. Lancemore Mansion Hotel Werribee Park is set on a grand 10-acre estate that dates back to the 1870s. From the Heritage rooms with period features, to the multi award-winning Suites and Superior rooms, the boutique accommodation is lavishly appointed. Joseph’s Dining is a feast for the senses, whether it’s breakfast, an indulgent dinner tasting menu or decadent high tea served overlooking the formal gardens.
What about seeing a different side of the city, with a Melbourne River Cruise? Cruising down river to Docklands or up the Yarra to the picturesque gardens and parklands is a great way to get a new perspective of Melbourne. It’s stress-free and you get to do something fun together, win-win.
Adelaide’s bayside suburb of Glenelg is a great place to enjoy the long sandy beach, comparable to Sydney’s Bondi but without the crowds. It has top restaurants and hotels, you can take a sunset stroll on the jetty, twilight catamaran cruises leave from here and it’s only a 20-minute tram ride from the city.
A romantic escape in the Barossa Valley is a no-brainer. Home to over 100 wineries, a rich culinary heritage and stunning natural surrounds all make it ideal. There are also some of the best boutique hotels and our pick of the bunch is The Louise. The vineyard retreat is not only acclaimed for its luxury accommodation, but Appellation restaurant famously provides a real taste of the Barossa, with 85% of its fresh produce being sourced locally.
Planning a picnic is always a cute Valentine’s Day winner, but in Perth you could go one better and get a luxury transfer. Ready to enjoy at one of Perth’s best beaches will be a gourmet hamper and sparkling wine, which you can both savour because you’ll be driven home.
If you’re the type of couple who like to get out and about together, you could have loads of fun on a Rottnest Island cycling date. Make a day of it on the virtually car-free island with Pedal & Flipper bike hire. There’s over 22km of cycle trails to explore and you can always upgrade to an electric bike if you want to save your strength for swimming at the 63 beautiful beaches.
If the way to a man, or woman’s, heart is through their stomach, then that puts Bruny Island at the top of the list for romantic destinations in Tassie. Artisan cheeses, fresh seafood, breweries and pick-your-own berries; the island is one delicious experience after another. Hotel Bruny is a top place to try all the local delights and seafood lovers should order their famous Fish Platter, loaded with Tasmanian oysters, salmon and scallops.
MONA has been named the best modern art gallery in the world by Lonely Planet and although some of the evocative displays might not be for everyone, it has become one of Tasmania’s biggest attractions. The artistic journey continues at MONA Pavilions, where the super stylish accommodation is adorned with artworks from the museum’s collection and the pavilions are an indulgent architectural experience.
In the Top End, a Darwin Harbour Cruise with a gourmet grazing platter for two sets the scene nicely and nothing says I love you like locally-made mango ice cream.
Venture to the Red Centre, where Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is simply spectacular and Longitude 131° offers guests a luxury outback experience from its unparalleled site at the gates to the World Heritage-listed wilderness. Connect with the world’s oldest living culture, bed down under a sparkling desert sky and wake to the colours of daylight dancing across Uluru from your glam safari-style tent at the intimate 5-star eco-camp.
Not the romantic type? No worries. Anyone can love treating themselves to great travel experiences. But there’s no reason to limit it to just one day of the year.