20 great date ideas

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Everyone loves dinner and a movie. But … yawn. As we enter a new year, it’s time to mix up your game plan and suggest something your date won’t be expecting. These memory-making ideas are big on fun (and selfie-opportunities). Enjoy!

  1. A hike and a swim. If you’re in Sydney, and your date is up for an adventure, the figure 8 pools in the Royal National Park are worth the drive, walk and scramble over the rocks. Or if you’re in Brisbane, the romantic heart-shaped basin in Killarney Glen, Beechmont pretty much takes the cake. Check out this list for the best places to swim around the country to see if any are near you.
  1. Secret rooftop bar. The more unknown, the better! In Sydney, try The Rook in the CBD or The Intercontinental in Double Bay. In Melbourne, you can’t go past Rooftop Cinema, or Naked In The Sky in Fitzroy. And newcomer Eagles Nest in Brisbane is also a winner.
  1. A shark dive. Whether you go for a cage dive or an aquarium-based experience, this is definitely a great way to bond with someone. Possibly for life.
  1. Drive in cinema. Think popcorn, your bare feet on the dash and maybe a few stolen kisses during the boring bits. Check here for drive-in movies near you.
  1. Open air cinema. Much more romantic than the boring old Cineplex! Cosy up on a blankie with vino, gourmet snacks and your date while you catch a flick under the stars. Moonlight Cinema operates in most major Australian cities.
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  1. Karaoke bar. Go on a quiet night and you and your date may score a private room to belt out those golden oldies. If he/she digs your shower rendition of Billie Jean, you know you’re onto a good thing.
  1. Comedy night. Whether it’s a famous funny guy or gal or a bunch of wannabes on an open mic night, you and your date are sure to have a laugh.
  1. The ‘in thing’ in food. The cronut. The nutella doughnut ball milkshake. Bacon festival. In your city there’s sure to be a food trend people are going nuts over. Show your hip and thoughtful side by asking your date to share it with you.
  1. Burlesque show. Saucy and sexy and … need we say more?
  1. Nude drawing. You might learn to laugh about your bad stick drawings or discover a hidden talent. Again, it’s an out-of-the-box way to spend an evening!
  1. Walking tour. Ghosts, gangster history, pub-hopping… in big cities there’s a tour to suit every taste – and they give your date a fun structure if you’re worried there might be some awkward silences.
  1. Pub trivia. While it may be daunting for some, trivia can be a great date because it gives you something to do AND it’s a great way to talk about stuff that might not otherwise come up (“Hey, how the hell do you know a pregnant goldfish is called a twit?”).
  1. A picnic. I’ve written before about my love of picnics but someone organising a gourmet picnic from whoa to go? Swoon. Great date idea if you nail the right picnic spot. Try Pop Up Picnic in Sydney and Brisbane, Gas Eatery in Melbourne, Personalised Picnics in Perth and Pretty Picnics in Adelaide for help putting a gourmet basket together.
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  1. A tapas-style dinner. Nibble on an entrée at a bar, order mains at a restaurant, grab dessert from a gelato place and take a stroll. Makes a change from sitting in the one spot for hours!
  1. A little arcade action. Kid’s play? Not so fast. When you’re actually there smashing the high score on Pacman or missing the steps on Dance Dance Revolution, you and your date may actually have a ridiculous amount of fun.
  1. Afternoon at a rooftop pool. Usually the most exclusive pools at hotels are for guests only, but Sydney’s The Clare Hotel has recently opened its pool to anyone. Pool, sunloungers, cocktails – hello lazy afternoon! For Melburnians, The Olsen’s glass-bottomed rooftop pool is also worth a visit, and as is the skyhigh swimming pool in WA’s Mercure Perth.
  1. Street fair. The buzz, the stalls, the food – there’s always lots to see and lots to eat. Plan ahead by checking the listings around Australia here.
  1. Indoor rock climbing. It’s one way to figure out if you can trust your date!
  1. Wet’n’Wild! Giant water slides. So much fun you’re hoarse from screaming. And if you hate your date, you can always nick off to the Half Pipe to escape.
  1. Go tandem. Hire a pedal car at a place like Sydney’s Centennial Park or a take a self-guided tandem bike tour along Melbourne’s Yarra River (experience via Red Balloon).

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