Sydney is famous for many reasons: it’s beautiful beaches at Bondi, its iconic Opera House, its impressive CBD architecture and it’s striking harbor bridge, to name a few. But did you know that Sydney is also one of the most romantic cities across the globe?
Paris may have the official title as being the love capital of the world, but Sydney has plenty going for it in the romance department. From secret city gardens to private picnic getaways, to idyllic camping grounds stationed in the middle of Sydney harbor, it offers getaways to suit all travelers and budgets.
So, just where can the most romantic Sydney spots be found? Well, who better to share the city’s best heart-fuelled hotspots than professional wedding photographer Vicki Fletcher, co-founder of Snowflake Creations Photography? Together with her partner Jacques, Vicki photographs weddings around Australia, which means Vicki spends many of her days scouting out the most beautiful, most scenic and most romantic nooks and crannies of Sydney—all in the name of research, of course.
“Sydney is one of the most romantic cities in the world, thanks to her sparkling harbor, tropical native gardens and blissful weather year-round,” Vicki says. “Whether you’re heading down under on your honeymoon, a couples holiday or happen to meet someone special in the city, it’s one of the best places to impress with a romantic open-air date.”
There are loads of opportunities to splash out on romantic meals at five-star restaurants, but with its beautiful weather, Sydney is the perfect destination to take advantage of the outdoors.
Here are Vicki’s five top things to do to create a romantic adventure in Sydney, Australia.
Go Deluxe Camping on Cockatoo Island
Sydney’s most famous harbor island, Cockatoo Island, provides the perfect combination of culture and history with romantic evening activities. The island actually has a very unromantic history: it was originally a convict penal establishment when Australia was first colonized, then become one of Australia’s largest shipbuilding yards.
Today, Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO world heritage site, and what a beautiful sight it is.
“When you’ve finished wandering around the remaining shipyards and homes, there’s a harbor-side bar with an excellent view back to the city and Harbour Bridge to kick back at,” Vicky says.
“You can take your own camping gear for a DIY camp trip in the heart of the city, or for those wanting to make a completely romantic weekend of it, glamping is available. This really is the most luxurious couples retreat in the heart of the most spectacular harbor in the world.”
Visit Wendy's Secret Garden
If camping isn’t quite your style, or you have a simple afternoon or evening date in mind, then head to the north side of the bridge to this incredible hidden garden, tucked away near Lavender Bay.
“The awesome creation of Wendy Whitely, artist, and wife of the late, great Australian artist Brett Whitely, this garden was once a disused railway dump outside Wendy’s home,” Vicky says.
“Over the last 20-plus years, Wendy and her two gardeners have transformed the space into a labyrinth of winding paths, overgrown with beautiful flowers and offering glimpses of the blue harbor below. At the bottom of the garden is Lavender Bay, which is the perfect spot for a romantic picnic, so pack the picnic rug, some snacks and a bottle of wine.”
It’s a beautiful spot to while the afternoon away, before watching the sunset south straight over the Harbor Bridge with the city in the background.
Take in the Sunrise Overlooking Iconic Bondi Beach
“This iconic stretch of sand has surely seen her fair share of engagements, romantic dinners, and first dates, and there is a good reason for it!” Vicki says.
Bondi Beach is a typically beautiful Australian beach, with white sand and rolling blue barrels dotted with surfers all day long. It’s a paradise for surfers and beach-goers, with a strip of restaurants, cafés, shops, and boutiques lining the shore.
“The best time for a romantic date here is, of course, sunrise. The sun rises directly over the ocean past North Bondi, so grab a takeaway coffee and perch yourselves on the hill at the south end above the beach. Sit back and enjoy the pink sky turn golden and the water change color as the Bondi locals come to life,” Vicki suggests.
Conveniently, Bondi happens to be right in the heart of Sydney, although it’s not on the train line; you’ll have to wind your way to your romantic destination via bus or taxi.
Walk the West Head Lookout Track
Located around 45 minutes north of the city center, West Head is a truly peaceful place, nestled amongst the Australian bush with crystal clear waters meeting white sand in tiny cliffside coves. Here, you’re away from the hordes of tourists and busy crowds while you soak in Sydney’s beautiful natural attractions.
“You can drive to the lookout and take a picnic lunch, or hit the walking track for a day of adventure with your loved one,” Vicky says of this ultimate ‘choose your own adventure’ destination.
“Finish it off with a dip at a secluded bay – and we’re not kidding when we say you have an excellent chance of having the place to yourselves.”
Kayak and Picnic in Middle Harbor
Just before the famous Spit Bridge in Mosman, around 8km northwest of Sydney city, there is a small shop that hires out kayaks for the day. Head to this spot to kick-start a romantic, cozy and affordable day out.
“For a fun, romantic day in the sun, head to the Sydney fish markets first for some fresh seafood, then grab a bottle of champagne and paddle off around middle harbor to find yourselves a quiet stretch of beach for a picnic and a dip,” Vicki suggests.
“Castle Rock, Lexi Beach, and Rosherville Reserve are good spots and they’re a nice, short distance from the kayak rentals.”
It’s the ultimate combination of exercise and indulgence. First, you work up an appetite, then you satiate your desires with a delicious and decadent lunch. What a perfect way to soak in Sydney’s sights and sounds with your date.