Incredible views from Altitude at the Shangri-La Hotel (Courtesy Altitude)
Whether spending time in Sydney for just a day or a whole week, make the most of your time with that special someone. Here are seven picks for a romantic Sydney stay, from hot air ballooning to picnicking to dining with a view; get set to swoon!
Hot Air Ballooning Over Camden Valley
Watch the sun rise over the paddocks and treetops of Camden Valley, 65 kilometres southwest of the city, with a loved one while floating up to 600 metres on a scenic hot air balloon flight. Balloon Aloft, which conducted Australia’s first commercial balloon ride in the area in 1980, offers flights every weekend. Guests meet at Rydges Campbelltown before being transported to one of a dozen launch sites—which change depending on the wind direction on the day—for the one-hour trip, returning afterwards for a buffet breakfast and Champagne with the pilot and other passengers.
Dining at Berowra Waters Inn
A table for two on the deck at Berowra Waters Inn, overlooking the Hawkesbury River surrounded by natural bushland and sandstone cliffs, is the ideal spot for romance. There are no roads to the restaurant, which opened in 1926. You can only get there by seaplane, boat or get picked up from the nearby wharf by the restaurant’s private ferry. You can even organise a limousine to take you to the wharf if you really want to splash out.
Irish-born chef Brian Geraghty serves up a six-course tasting menu, with the option to match wine to each dish. They include scallops, wakame and carid prawns; goats’ cheese, beetroot and liquorice; and a chocolate and stout dessert.
Gourmet Picnic at Bundeena
Order a gourmet hamper from Sydney Picnic Co., pack a rug and catch the vintage ferry from Cronulla, in Sydney’s south, to the quiet village of Bundeena. After a 20-minute ride across Port Hacking, find a spot near the wharf at Bundeena Reserve before taking a swim at Gunyah Beach or the nearby crescent-shaped Jibbon Beach, which backs onto bushland in the Royal National Park. Ferries leave every half an hour from the public wharf at Gunnamatta Bay, a five-minute walk from Cronulla train station.
Stay in a Love Cabin in the Blue Mountains
Lie back in bed with a glass of Champagne in hand looking out at
the view over the wilderness during a stay in a Love Cabin in the
Blue Mountains. There are several types of accommodations to choose from, including a rustic pine cabin, love cave, teepee and treehouse. The Love Cabin has a spa bath and glass doors that open onto an outdoor area on two sides, while the Enchanted Love Cave has a seat for two carved out of stone, a queen bed partially built into the bedrock, a spa and an outdoor shower. Book the romance package and have a box of chocolates, half a dozen red roses, candles and a bottle of Champagne waiting on arrival.
Picnic in Paradise at Store Beach, Manly
Paddle a kayak from Manly Wharf across a shimmering Sydney Harbour to the secluded, boat-access only Store Beach, where you will find a table and chairs under an umbrella surrounded by fresh rose petals and a cooler filled with food and a bottle of Moet
waiting. Manly Kayak Centre has a range of romantic picnic packages for couples. The Romantic Deluxe package includes a personalized message in the sand and chocolates, strawberries and Champagne on arrival. Choose from a seafood platter, deli sandwich platter, antipasto platter or sushi platter.
Dine at Altitude Restaurant
With floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking Sydney Harbour, Altitude Restaurant, on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La Hotel, offers one of the best views in the city. Start the evening with a cocktail at the New York-inspired lounge bar, Blu Bar on 36, before migrating to a table by the window looking towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Choose from a menu of contemporary Australian cuisine with European influences, including tempura soft shell crab, heirloom beetroot salad, Macleay Valley suckling pig terrine, creamy risotto and coconut panna cotta.
Cosy Up at the Drive In
For a fun night out with a retro twist, head to the Skyline Drive In at Blacktown to catch a flick. Grab a choc top, burger and milkshake from the "Happy Days"-style diner before cuddling up in the car. If you don’t have a vehicle, sit on one of the deck chairs instead. The drive-in is one of only a handful left in Australia and plays both new release Hollywood blockbusters and past hits. Make a night of it and book a room next door at the uber-cool Atura Hotel.