You can’t buy love, but you can certainly purchase a plane ticket to Romance-ville.
Here are ten of the best Australian destinations for romantics. Tick off all of them with the love of your life at least once.
There are few places on earth more romantic than the New South Wales capital. It’s an intoxicating mix of the shimmering waters of Sydney Harbour, the golden sands of beaches like Bondi and Manly, the whimsy of the Opera House, and the quaint old world charm of The Rocks precinct. With all of that as a backdrop, Sydney offers many a memorable opportunity to gaze into each other’s eyes. Say ‘I love you’ at the top of the ‘Coat Hanger’ with BridgeClimb Sydney, sip bubbles and sup on oysters at the iconic Opera Bar, or hold each other oh-so-tight on the Big Dipper at Luna Park (reopening with nine new rides in late 2021).
Need a place to stay? Browse Sydney accommodation options
Paris is known as the city of love, and while it’s off the agenda for Aussie travellers at present, you can recreate the magic in Melbs. Take a stroll down the Paris end of Collins Street, get flaky over croissants from Lune, watch the world go by from a sidewalk café in Hardware Lane, and feast on escargot and French onion soup dripping with melted gruyere at The French Brasserie in Malthouse Lane. Top off your evening with a nightcap in the atmospheric basement Bar Margaux.
Need a place to stay? Browse Melbourne accommodation options
3. Great Ocean Road
Looking for a location for the perfect couple selfie? You can’t beat the 12 Apostles at sunset on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Logistically that can’t be done on a day trip from Melbourne (unless you’re up for a three hour drive home in the dark) but who needs an excuse to spend a couple of days in this sublime part of the country? Take long strolls on the beach, bliss out with an Ultimate Couples Retreat Package at Saltair Spa, and dine on the finest organic fare at celebrated Brae.
Need a place to stay? Comfort Inn The International is located in beautiful Apollo Bay, around an hour’s drive from the 12 Apostles.
The city of churches does sound promising as a destination for lovers, but there’s more to Adelaide than bells and flying bouquets. For a start it’s the gateway to some of the finest wine regions in the country. Enlist the services of Barossa Unique Tours and explore the Barossa in a classic Mustang convertible. Cruise along country roads, stop in at quaint stone cellar doors to taste-test their wares, and graze at fine-produce-providores like Maggie Beer’s Farmshop and the Barossa Valley Chocolate Company.
Need a place to stay? Browse Adelaide accommodation options
You might loath the politics, but you’ll love the nation’s capital as a couples’ retreat. Drift high above the gentle stillness of Lake Burley Griffin at dawn on a hot air balloon flight, pack a picnic basket and head for Commonwealth Park, soak up the gravitas of Australia’s finest museums, galleries and monuments, and take in the epic views of the region from Mount Ainslie at sunset. Canberra’s dining scene won’t fail to impress, and Pialligo Estate, Monster Kitchen and Bar, Aubergine and Rebel Rebel are all perfect for celebrating something special.
Need a place to stay? Quality Hotel Dickson Canberra offers comfortable and contemporary accommodation and onsite club facilities, including a restaurant, café, wine bar and lounge.
6. Sunshine Coast
While it’s one of the most popular travel destinations in the country, you can often feel like you have the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland all to yourself, particularly if you avoid peak seasons. But even then, there are always opportunities to grab some alone time. Try the secluded beaches along the Noosa North Shore, soak up the natural splendour on the variety of hikes that crisscross Noosa National Park, explore less-visited Hinterland towns like Cooroy and Pomona, and enjoy winding country drives through the Mary Valley.
Need a place to stay? Enjoy a dash of contemporary luxury at Breeze Mooloolaba, Ascend Hotel Collection. It’s right opposite the beach and close to a plethora of dining options.
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Those looking to feed their passion should head for Wangaratta in north-east Victoria. This is one of the finest food and wine destinations in the country. The neighbouring Milawa Gourmet Region is delicious enough, but the delights of the King Valley are also within easy reach. Sample Italian-style wines at Sam Miranda and Pizzini, and match your finds with delectable morsels from the likes of the Milawa Cheese Company, Gamze Smokehouse and EV Olives. What’s more, there’s always an open fire within easy reach to cosy up in front of when temperatures drop. This list would not be complete without the mention of Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway’s award winning Atrium Restaurant which offers a modern a la carte menu, featuring the best of regional and seasonal produce.
Need a place to stay? Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway features a range of stylish and sophisticated room types, including the newly refurbished Studio Spa Apartments with plush bathrooms.
Two’s company; anyone else is a crowd, and that’s rarely a problem in Esperance – one of the country’s most remote romantic destinations. What’s more, Esperance is home to some of the best beaches in the country – and if you’re really lucky, you might just get one all to yourself. Highlights include Cape Le Grand National Park’s Lucky Bay (with its much-photographed beach-loving ‘roos), neighbouring Hellfire Bay, and the sweeping expanse of Wharton Beach (roughly an hour’s drive east of Esperance). Closer to town, try Blue Haven with its made-for-a-selfie staircase down to the sand.
Need a place to stay? Comfort Inn Bay of Isles sits right on the Esperance Esplanade and offers deluxe accommodation, an outdoor pool and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Whisking your partner away to a tropical paradise is all in a day’s work in Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. There are several quintessential patches of paradise that can be done as day trips from the city, including stunning Palm Cove (30 minutes’ drive north of Cairns), the holiday enclave of Port Douglas (which sits at the end of one of the most divine coastal drives on the planet) and fabulous Fitzroy Island – a 45-minute cruise from Cairns on board the Fitzroy Flyer. Spend your day on the island relaxing on secluded palm-fringed coral beaches or hiking through the island’s rainforested interior.
Need a place to stay? Comfort Inn Cairns City offers affordable accommodation on the edge of the CBD, just a short walk from the Esplanade, Cairns Aquarium, and cafes and restaurants.
10. Blue Mountains
They say love conquers all, but you’ll both need to dig deep to take on some of the epic bushwalks within the Blue Mountains National Park west of Sydney (the seven kilometre, Grade 4 trek to the Ruined Castle springs to mind). That said, there are plenty of less strenuous options and few places as romantic as you gaze across soaring sandstone escarpments, deep ravines and plunging waterfalls from the region’s many lookouts.
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Need a place to stay? Quality Inn Penrith is located at the foot of the Blue Mountains range and offers contemporary accommodation in a tranquil bushland setting.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.