Sydney is truly one of the great cities of the world. With its magnificent harbour, iconic buildings, temperate climate and a huge range of attractions it offers something for everyone and especially couples. Here’s how to ensure you make truly magical memories and have wonderful romantic getaways in Sydney with your loved one.
Romantic Things to do in Sydney
If you’re into architecture and city views, you are your partner should attempt the BridgeClimb Sydney to spend a few hours climbing the city’s iconic bridge on an adventure you won’t forget.
Climbing the bridge can be done from dawn until night, so you could even embark on a romantic climb under the stars with the city laid out below. It’s so charming that there have been more than 4,000 marriage proposals at the top of the bridge – some people even choose to get married up there.
There’s the choice of different types of climbs to choose from, depending on how much time you have to spare. The classic climb, taking three hours, takes you to the top of the bridge and over the arch and back; there’s also a route that takes two hours to explore the interior of the bridge before going to the top. If you’re a little worried about heights, there’s the option of a shorter tour that takes you to an inner arch viewpoint instead.
For a romantic island getaway right in the heart of the city, look no further than Cockatoo Island. Nestled in Sydney Harbour, a quick ferry ride from the CBD, the UNESCO-recognised island is an interesting place to spend some time.
Once home to a dockyard for over a century, remains of historic shipping structures can still be seen as evidence of its industrial heritage. Today, the island is a hub for cultural activities, including art installations, festivals, and even comedy shows.
There’s the option of making your trip to Cockatoo Island even more special by spending the night under the stars at the very popular glampsite (highly recommended). Old houses have also been renovated for charming accommodation, often boasting views out across the harbour.
Sydney Harbour Cruise
There is no better way to soak up the Sydney skyline than on a harbour cruise – it’s one of the most romantic things to do in Sydney.
A selection of boats sail throughout the day, providing a choice of cruises. Some boats run whale-watching cruises, others provide a stylish high-tea for passengers, and some are focused on cultural sights. There’s even an afternoon cruise onboard an authentic 1850’s style Tall Ship!
For the ultimate romantic cruise, make sure to set sail in time for sunset. From the water, you’ll be able to soak up sweeping views of the Sydney Opera house and the city skyline as it sparkles along the shore under the night sky.
Note: If you would rather explore the Harbour under your own steam be sure to get a 48hr Hop on Hop off Ferry pass – a good saving over individual tickets!
Royal Botanic Gardens
What better way to spend an afternoon with your other half than by strolling among the flowers at the Royal Botanic Gardens? Opening its doors more than 200 years ago in 1816, the gardens are the oldest scientific institution in Australia and a heritage-listed institution. Encompassing 74-acres of land that fringes the harbour on the edge of the city’s CBD, you’ll find people meeting up with friends and family to enjoy a break among nature here.
Inside, the lush oasis charms with its winding pathways and an abundance of plant types and landscaping to admire. It’s no surprise that the gardens are one of the most popular attractions in the city, enticing people with wide-open spaces and the chance to enjoy the beautiful harbour views.
Lunch at The Grounds of Alexandria
A fantastic spot for a romantic date in Sydney, if lunching and brunching sounds like your sort of date, you should book a table at The Grounds. A genuinely chic spot for enjoying a leisurely meal together, The Grounds has it all, from a bar and bakery to a florist, a café, and even a market to peruse.
You could enjoy a delicious breakfast at The Cafe or perhaps a laid back lunch of pizza in The Garden. For something a little stronger, cocktails are served at The Potting Shed.
An all-round stylish city hot-spot, The Grounds is situated inside a former industrial precinct building dating back to 1920 and retains some of the heritage once found on the site. Today, the urban sanctuary is a space to take a break from the busy city and slip into a world of elegance and nature.
Walk from Manly to Spit
One of the best things to do in Sydney for couples who love to get outdoors is a stroll from Manly to Spit. A short wander around the Botanic Garden this is not: the Manly to Spit walk runs a course of ten kilometres. But if you and your partner are more than used to coastal walks, this is one route you shouldn’t miss out.
On the walk, you’ll be taking in the bays and inlets of Sydney, trekking through bushland crisscrossed with various trails to make a detour or two along, and generally marvelling at the sea views. If you’re in town for Boxing Day, make sure to swing by the cliffs at Arabanoo or Crater Cove; these are great vantage points for spying the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race.
Your walk will end at Spit Bridge – a historic lift bridge still working to this day. Take a picnic (and plenty of water, of course) and enjoy your day. You can even tackle this coastal walk from the other end by riding a bus to Spit Bridge first.
Seeing one of the worlds most beautiful harbours from the air is a truly unforgettable experience.
Departing from the iconic terminal in Rose Bay, once home to Australia’s first international airport with the flying Catalinas, the Seaplane flight will take you out around Bondi Beach and loop back over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Once back you can feast on a magnificent seafood & champagne spread in the Empire Lounge overlooking Rose Bay.
Romantic Hotels Sydney
Nestled in Sydney’s skyscraper-clad CBD, QT Hotel is housed across two of the district’s most iconic structures – the State Theatre and Gowings building. Both of these architectural gems date back to 1929, something reflected in QT Hotel’s timeless yet modern Art Deco style interiors. It’s a luxurious place to stroll through, with added history.
The rooms here are no exception to the sense of glamour that permeates the hotel’s public spaces, with seemingly no expense spared. If you and your partner can tear yourself away from your room, Italian food awaits at Parlour Cucina; or maybe treat yourselves to a treatment (or two) at spaQ Sydney.
Equal parts fun and sophisticated, Ovolo Woolloomooloo is a contemporary hotel that provides a wonderful base for your romantic getaway in Sydney. Its large modernist interiors feel exciting – from its chic lounge bar to its indoor pool, making it a one-stop-shop for taking a break from it all with your partner.
If you’re looking to chill in cool interiors, this is the hotel for you. The rooms here are decidedly cool, with minimalist furnishings and pastel colour pops that make it feel like you’re in your very own magazine shoot. Spend your days strolling the Botanic Garden (a stone’s throw away), or simply relax in-room.
One of the best things about Pier One Sydney Harbour is its location. You’ll find this place in the middle of Sydney’s theatre district, which means you and your other half can enjoy a sparkling night on the town before strolling back to the hotel arm-in-arm for a nightcap at Bar One (complete with Harbour Bridge views).
The decor at this hotel provides an opportunity for couples to unwind in sumptuous settings. Modern luxury and heritage combine in rooms that feel minimalist but eminently warm and comfortable. This is definitely the sort of place that’s hard to leave.
Pier One also have pet-friendly rooms and are one of the best 5 star choices for a Sydney stay with your pooch.
Further reading : Pet friendly accommodation NSW
For couples looking for out and out style and sophistication – but with a cool boutique touch – Little Albion is a great choice. This romantic Sydney hotel is situated in a former convent, but don’t let that fool you: the interiors here are modern, with rooms featuring chic design and furnishings.
The decor certainly gives this hotel a luxe feel for couples wanting to treat themselves to a stunning setting. Rooms are individually decorated and boast Gothic windows, oak flooring, and Moroccan tiles, along with their more modern features. The 24-hour bar means there’s no time limit on your late-night cocktails, either.
Little Albion is part of the Crystalbrook Collection, one of the most exciting hotel brands in Australia right now and with an incredible back story too!
True luxury awaits at Sydney’s own branch of The Park Hyatt. This is the place to come for couples who really don’t want to lift a finger, thanks to the 24-hour butler service on offer and specialist two-hour couples’ spa package. Needless to say, this is an upscale experience.
The rooms at The Park Hyatt Sydney are naturally sleek, with the option to stay with garden or sea views as the backdrop to your romantic getaway. If you really want a taste of luxury, you could even opt for a suite.
For a truly boutique romantic getaway in Sydney, you and your partner should make a note of The Old Clare Hotel. A combination of heritage features and classy design, the rooms are well-appointed and strewn with mid-century modern furnishings. The historic setting – a former 19th-century pub, now expanded – adds charm to any weekend break.
Thanks to its location in Chippendale, The Old Clare Hotel makes for the perfect base for any couple that loves to wander: art galleries, cool cafes and restaurants are just on the doorstep in this exciting area. That’s if you can bring yourselves to leave the comfort of the hotel and its rooftop pool, chic restaurant and lobby bar.
Another of Sydney’s historic buildings-turned-hotel, the beautiful Spicers Potts Point is a dreamy place for a couple’s getaway in Sydney. You’ll find it nestled among charming Victorian houses, with all the touches of the past you might expect, including decorative balconies and high ceilings.
Rooms here are stylish: some boast original fireplaces and balconies where you and your other half can enjoy an aperitif ahead of stepping out to find somewhere for dinner. The location in Potts Point puts you in the perfect position to enjoy many a romantic meal together.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel may not have the same central location as other romantic hotels in Sydney, but that’s part of the allure. Situated on Watsons Bay Beach, the views from here of the Sydney skyline in the distance make the city seem like a far-off fairytale. Come sunset, those views just get even better.
The sea-themed rooms are laid-back yet stylish, with choice boutique touches and neutral colours that allow the bay views to do the talking. This place is upscale beachside luxury at its best. When you’re hungry, nothing quite beats the romance of a long dinner at its Beach Club.
Situated in Darling Harbour, Ovolo1888 Hotel is set in a 19th-century building (a former wool factory, to be exact). The well preserved – and well used – historical credentials and period features of the hotel easily make it one of the most charming places to stay in Sydney.
All the heritage has been carefully updated with modern art and contemporary furnishings, placing the 1888 Hotel in the here and now. Rooms are industrial chic in flavour, while the onsite bar, called Lo Lounge, is a hip, lively place to be. Any fun-loving couples who have an eye for design should note this place down.
Establishment Hotel is the sort of place where you can pretend you’re royalty for a few nights. Situated in a historic building that was once (back in the 1930s) a grand house, today, it’s been lovingly renovated into a charming hotel – complete with period features that keep things feeling classic.
Situated in Bridge Lane, this romantic Sydney hotel is the perfect place to take a couples’ break in the city. Not only do you have the fantastic eateries and nightlife of Bridge Lane to enjoy in the evening, but top attractions such as The Rocks, Opera House and Botanic Gardens are within strolling distance.