Dating is a tough business – we’re all out there looking for our perfect match. It’s important to keep things fresh in a relationship but romance can often get lost in our busy routines.
When it comes to keeping the romance alive, or in some cases, bringing it back, you need to go out of your way to let each other know you care and love one another.
August is Romance Awareness Month so eHarmony asked me to put together 15 fun date ideas that will get your heart racing and give you butterflies – and not just because you’re in close proximity to someone you fancy!
Wander through a winery
Wineries always hold a certain romance and Sirromet Winery at Mt Cotton offers breathtaking scenery with Moreton Bay and the sand ridges of Stradbroke Island visible from the award-winning restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Wander through the vineyards to work up an appetite before sharing a bottle (or two) of their finest wines over a lunch of modern Australian cuisine at Restaurant Lurleen’s.
Dance with me
Take a cue from Grease, Dirty Dancing, Shall We Dance and Strictly Ballroom (here’s a hint, the guy always gets the girl) and get ready to step out of your comfort zone, literally, by attending a dance class. Each Thursday night, Cloudland offers free salsa lessons, so grab yourself a margarita or mojito and let your actions speak more than words!
Visit an outdoor cinema
Each Wednesday night, Limes Hotel’s Rooftop Bar shows new and old movies in the open air (or you can nab a seat in one of their plunge pools), and The Wickham in Fortitude Valley turn their courtyard into an open air cinema, with free popcorn!
Bowl them over
Ten pin bowling is always a great date idea because you can talk while you play, have a drink and engage in a bit of friendly competition. Head to Strike Wintergarden for a couple of friendly games before grabbing a burger at Grill’d. Top off your night with a wander and spot of people-watching in the Queen Street Mall and an ice cream from Gelatissimo.
Take a mini break
With so many beautiful locations within an hour’s drive of Brisbane city, it is easy to slip away for a weekend to truly relax. Take your pick from farm stays like Fordsdale Farmstay near Gatton or Lillydale Farmstay at Boonah, go glamping at Alure Stanthorpe or book a romantic stay at Branell Homestead in the Lockyer Valley or Spicers Hidden Vale in Grandchester.
Spice things up in the kitchen
Bring out your date or partner’s competitive side at a cooking class. For something light, take a gelato workshop at La Macelleria in Teneriffe, because anything that involves eating ice-cream is a sure-fire way to win anyone’s heart … unless they’re lactose intolerant. Or turn up the heat with a class at James St Cooking School (Fortitude Valley) or The Golden Pig (Newstead).
Head for an old-school date night the Yatala Drive-In Theatre (near Beenleigh), complete with choc tops and popcorn. If it’s a warm night, pack a picnic rug so you can spread out under the stars, otherwise fill the car with blankets and pillows and snuggle down. There’s even a 50s-style American diner where you can grab a hotdog or burger or fill a picnic basket with delicious snacks and drinks.
Go on a road trip
The Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Darling Downs are all close enough for a day trip so create an awesome playlist of songs you both love (and can sing along to) and hit the open road, stopping along the way for coffees, baked goods, roadside fruit and vegetable stands and anything else that takes your fancy.
Watch the sun rise
There are plenty of health benefits to getting a good dose of sunshine so be the early bird and head north or south to watch the sun rise over the ocean. Grab some fresh juices and acai bowls and enjoy the salty air and sound of crashing waves. Plus the fresh ocean breeze will give you a great excuse to snuggle closer.
Have your cake and eat it too
Looking for a sweet way to say ‘I really fancy you’? Seduce your significant other with a decadent dessert for two. Think soufflé, French toast, chocolate brownies or even a simple bowl of ice cream. If you’re nervous enough without adding cooking into the mix, surprise them with a trip to Cowch (South Bank), Chester Street Bakery (Fortitude Valley), Mister Fitz (Fortitude Valley) or even cruise through Maccas for a late night sundae.
Share a staycation
In this busy world every couple needs a little time away from day-to-day life, so spice things up with a night in a local hotel where you can bunker down in fluffy robes with room service and in-house movies. Check into the ultra sleek Emporium Hotel, the bright and vibrant Ibis Styles in the city with it’s uninterrupted views of Brisbane River and the South Bank cultural precinct, graffiti-covered Tryp Hotel in Fortitude Valley (hello, rooftop bar!) or indulge in river views and a mouth-watering seafood buffet at Marriott Brisbane.
Plan a picnic
There are few things quite as romantic as a picnic; all you need is some sunshine, a picnic blanket and a few snacks. Keep it simple with the weekend papers, a couple of croissants and a picnic blanket; or fill a bag with a bread board, knife, cheese, crackers, prosciutto, stuffed olives, dip, two glasses and a bottle of wine or bubbly or even a couple of beers or ciders and head to New Farm Park or River Quay Green at South Bank (tip: Popolo Italian Kitchen and Bar at River Quay now make picnic baskets). If you want to go all out, Romantic Picnics on the Sunshine Coast can help you create a one-of-a-kind moment that you and your partner won’t forget!
Go strawberry picking
In ancient Rome, the heart shaped strawberry was considered a symbol of Venus – goddess of love and beauty. Strawberry season runs until October so hit the road and head out to your local strawberry farm to pick your own berries. Keep the romance alive once you get home by serving up a simple dessert of strawberries and whipped cream.
Hot air ballooning
Close your eyes and imagine soaring through the skies, sipping champagne and holding your date close as the sun rises over the ocean, mountains or Brisbane’s CBD. Take your love to new heights with a hot air balloon ride or scenic helicopter ride. Check out Hot Air for flights over Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Find a feast at Eat Street Markets
Tucked down along the river at Hamilton, Eat Street Markets is made up of shipping containers filled with mini eateries, bars, stores, galleries and produce stores. There’s a range of international cuisine to choose from including dishes from Thailand, Hungary, Italy, Greece and China and lots of live music. On Friday and Saturday nights, there’s also a retro drive-in and outdoor cinema!
Take it from me, most women (and men) appreciate any gesture of romance that shows you’ve thought about them.
Do you have a favourite date idea? You can add them in the comments below.