Featured image: Rockpools? Yes please! Photo: @saltyaura
Channel your inner Cupid with a dreamy just-for-two adventure. Here are 14 starry-eyed ideas: some to enjoy now, some for the shortlist.
FOR NOW …
Slip into a secluded rockpool, South Australia
We’re all about the Eyre Peninsula for incredible seafood (Coffin Bay oysters anyone?) and sand-to-yourself beaches but South Australia’s wild west is also home to hidden treasure — rockpools. These natural swimming holes have been making a splash on socials lately, enticing adventure-ready couples in search of a scenic float. Eyre’s pool party can be a little off-grid (it’s part of the charm) but grab a permit at the Port Lincoln Visitor Centre and you’ll discover a couple of beauties at Whalers Way to kick things off.
Catch sunrise from a balloon, Byron Bay
Want first dibs on sunrise? Try Balloon Aloft’s dreamy drift over Byron Bay (Australia’s most easterly point) for the first glimpse of daybreak from a cosy hot-air balloon basket. Then come down to earth with a delicious Celebration Breakfast at Byron Bay’s beloved Three Blue Ducks Restaurant. And if ballooning’s on your bucket list, see our 8 romantic Australian options here
Set sail with your sweetheart, The Whitsundays
Just you and your love, adrift on the turquoise waters of The Whitsundays as the sun dips into the horizon. It’s cinematic stuff … and it’s called bareboating. This skipper-yourself option makes for a stellar short break around the fabled waterways of The Whitsundays (try the local crew at Cumberland Charter Yachts for a stress-free experience) with no licence required! Drop anchor and stop by one of the swanky islands, snorkel off the boat, or just kick back with an ice bucket of Champagne and roll with the tides.
Get lost in the wilderness, Tasmania
For an off-grid adventure à deux, take a deep dive into the World Heritage wilds of Tasmania. Try the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park where you can hike the glorious nature trails by day and snuggle up in luxury digs by night (the excellent Cradle Mountain Lodge and lakeside gem Pumphouse Point come to mind). Or if you’re really keen to nix that phone reception, head to the pristine forests of the north-east where The Keep awaits your discovery. Don’t worry, there’s only room for two.
Enjoy a moonlight tryst, Norfolk Island
One for the stargazers. Thanks to a distinct lack of light pollution (you won’t even find a traffic light here), the tiny South Pacific paradise of Norfolk Island has some of the darkest skies on earth. Meaning it’s a top spot to linger over the constellations with your love. Positioned between New Zealand and New Caledonia, this history-rich escape is also an Aussie territory, making it a unique ‘overseas holiday’ option. And with visitor numbers capped at 400 a night, you’ll always find a satellite-spotting vantage point to call your own.
Live large in outback Australia
Remote romance on your wish list? See Australia’s new generation of outback lodges where rugged landscapes and wild luxury converge. Lose yourselves in 700,000 acres of majestic ancient landscapes at El Questro, East Kimberley or connect with Australia’s heartland at Longitude 131˚ which offers pinch-me views across to Uluru. North Queensland’s acclaimed Mt Mulligan Lodge and gorgeous Gilberton (both set on working cattle stations) are ideal for couples who want to balance a day of Aussie outback adventures with a decadent soak in their alfresco bathtub.
Pop the question, Sydney
Something you need to ask? Set the scene and book the Marry Me Suite at Pier One Sydney. You’ll have a private balcony, MARRY ME lights, Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, event coordination, and your own photographer to capture every happy tear. Oh, and the backdrop’s not too shabby either.
FOR THE FUTURE …
Chase the northern lights, Sweden/Finland
Standing together in the snow as the elusive lights of the aurora borealis (aka Northern Lights) dance above. It doesn’t get more magical! While Tromsø Norway is a good bet for seeing this otherworldly show, the awesome Tree Hotel, art-meets-ice Icehotel (both Swedish Lapland) or Insta-ready glass igloos of Finland’s Kaksaluttanen Arctic Resort will take your chase into true bucket-list territory.
Try island-hopping for two, Koh Samui
Charter your own island-hopping odyssey around the sapphire sea of Koh Samui with Banyan Tree Samui’s private rental speedboat, Sense of the Sea. Anchor at nearby islands and pause for swims, snorkels, Champagne, and siestas at leisure. The recent lack of crowds has meant an amazing resurgence in the region with turtles, dugongs, sharks, and numerous fish species replenishing, and colourful corals regenerating. Meaning nature-lovers lucky enough to venture into the Gulf of Thailand are in for a very special marine adventure.
Picnic on a mountain peak, New Zealand
Add an exhilarating edge to your next New Zealand holiday with a private heli-adventure — gliding over remote fiords, touching down on pristine glaciers, or even putting your way around an ‘extreme’ golf green 4,500 feet up! Over the Top Helicopters offers a range of one-of-a-kind picnic experiences around Queenstown and beyond, including Pavlova on a Peak: a scenic flight across Lake Wakatipu followed by locally made pavlova and mulled wine or craft beer served amid the alpine splendour of Cecil Peak.
Book a table for two, Bali
Looking for a romantic setting? This intimate private dinner at Bali’s gorgeous Tanah Gajah is a pearler. Floating amongst the lush rice fields and cocooned by candlelight, the magical scene is synonymous with the island’s spiritual heartland of Ubud. Slip away to your private deck and enjoy a five-course dinner crafted by Chef Dean, a talented Singaporean chef who has been redefining what it means to eat local (most food served is grown within 100 metres of your table) for almost a decade.
Retreat to a private island, Fiji
Nothing says holiday heaven quite like a private island. And you can say bula! to your dreams of barefoot luxury and endless coconut cocktails in Fiji because this South Pacific paradise is sprinkled with isles where the neighbours are few and far between (or non-existent). Fiji’s call sheet of exclusive luxury resorts is tantalisingly vast – from celeb-fave Laucala Island Resort and the beachfront villas of Kokomo Private Island Fiji to the overwater bungalows of LikuLiku Lagoon Resort and private pool villas of Royal Davui. But like so many good things in life, why stop at one?
Take a sunset cruise, Vietnam
Calling all luxury-lovers. Step aboard The Reverie Saigon’s stunning 60-foot private yacht and escape the hubbub of Ho Chi Minh City on a private Saigon Intermezzo tour. This non-stop, 2.5-hour sunset cruise features a five-course champagne picnic, served by a dedicated butler as dusk settles on the city and the spectacular lights of its landmarks begin to paint the skies. Round-trip transfers in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or a BMW 7 series are included. Now that’s fancy.
Share a five-star beach feast, Koh Samui
Elevate your beach picnic game with Meliá Koh Samui’s private candlelit dinner, served on the secluded sands of Choeng Mon Beach. The oceanfront resort’s acclaimed executive chef, Azizskandar Awang, has crafted a six-course feast featuring a fresh haul of prawns, scallops, and salmon as well as mouth-watering Wagyu beef. Each course is expertly paired with wine chosen by the resort’s in-house sommelier. Cheers!