If you’re bored of doing date night at your local restaurant, here are some atypical, conversation-inspiring options.

THE AFFORDABLE

Picnic in a secret garden
Explore one of Sydney’s secluded gardens with a basket in hand and a rug in tow. Meander through park trails, over sandstone bridges and lakes filled with koi before setting up at the perfect picnic spot.

112 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
(02) 9380 5155
govindas.com.au

Dine on a dollar
Eat oysters, dumplings, chicken wings and hot dogs for a dollar (or less) via Sydney’s best one-dollar deals. Otherwise, head to China Town with nothing but a $10 note.

THE LUXURIOUS

Berowra Waters Inn
Sail along the Hawksbury River before mooring at Berowra Waters Inn for lunch. Set in bushland by the river, this modern-Australian restaurant is only accessible by boat or seaplane. That means it’s just you, your partner, a rushing river, undisturbed bushland and sandstone cliffs.

Public Wharves, Bay Road, Berowra Waters
(02) 9456 1027
berowrawatersinn.com

For a more classic option, Sydney is awash with fine-dining institutions. Restaurants such as Ester, Icebergs, Quay, Pendolino, LuMi Bar & Dining, Tetsuya’s and Mr. Wong combine top service, beautiful interiors and exceptional dishes for a romantic evening.

THE CULTURED

Visit an art gallery
See the Archibald Prize at The Art Gallery of New South Wales before meandering past the Opera House to the Museum of Contemporary Art. If it’s the last Friday of the month visit ARTBAR. If you want to skip the crowds, head to White Rabbit Gallery, aMBUSH Gallery in Chippendale or visit some of Sydney’s more intimate art spaces.

Play with clay at The Pottery Shed
The Pottery Shed is the perfect place to get your hands dirty with your special friend. Classes are designed in single units. First learn how to throw (shape bowl-like pieces) on the wheel. Next, students will trim pieces and prepare them for firing. The final stage is painting, glazing and the rest. These steps allow you to pop in for single-skill courses or make pottery an ongoing hobby.

7 Nickson Street, Surry Hills
thepotteryshed.com.au

See a play

Whether it’s a reimagined classic at The Sydney Theatre Company, a musical at The Capitol Theatre or an innovative, slightly bizarre play at Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney’s theatre scene always has something on offer. Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company performs Horses In the Sky at the Sydney Opera House August 31 to September 3.

THE ADVENTUROUS

No Lights, No Lycra
It’s like Dating in the Dark, but with dancing added. Far from the short-lived, awkward reality show, this fun, heart-pumping dance party will be a memorable date.

73 Pitt Street, Redfern
nolightsnolycra/location/Sydney

Retreat to nature

Unwind and get away from the city at one of Australia’s best secluded natural accommodation spots.

THE FRIEND DATE

Interact at Hayden Orpheum’s The Room
Screening on the first Friday of every month, this monthly tradition is for fans of bad cinema only. Lovingly mocked for its cringe-worthy self-indulgence and technical flaws, The Room is an international phenomenon. Join the many fans around the globe and hurl spoons around the auditorium whenever an artwork appears in the film that features a spoon (there’s a lot).

380 Military Road, Cremorne
(02) 9908 4344
oprheum.com.au/special events

Hip Hop Yoga at Yoga 213
One way to get to know one another is via yoga. Bond while getting fit with vinyasa yoga practiced to the sound of booming hip-hop.

Shop 4/360 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
yoga213.com.au

THE ALCOHOL FREE

Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole and discover a cafe dedicated to tea. Select from a wide range of white, green, oolong, black and herbal teas. There are also tea lattes such as the Summer Fling, which is inspired by the Pine Lime Splice and has hints of coconut. Sparkling teas are poured from beer taps, as are fermented, vinegary "shrubs" and "steampunk" specialty brews.

146 Abercrombie Street, Redfern
(02) 9502 2668
therabbithole.com.au

Sip on a creative mocktail
Mocktails are getting a makeover thanks to a growing movement in Sydney’s bars and restaurants. Enjoy a creative, complex and delicious virgin cocktail such as a bitter citrus Virgin Negroni and spicy Ginger Smash at Bloodwood or the vibrantly coloured Yetti at Lentil as Anything.

THE ATHLETIC

Take a hike
Go bush. Whether you’re after a trail that starts in the city, or a more rugged route further afield, hiking is a great way to spend time together.

Canoe to a secret beach
In a canoe or kayak you’re free to go where others can’t, and with more than 300 kilometres of foreshore to explore in Sydney Harbour, there’s plenty of opportunity. Whether you want to go past the Opera House, float under the Harbour Bridge or prefer gliding through the quieter waters of the Lane Cove River, paddling together is the way to go.

Cycle around Sydney
Pedal around and discover the city by bike. Cycling is romantic as well as rewarding, plus, nothing beats that first drink after a cross-town bike adventure at one of Sydney’s best new bars.

THE CULINARY

Learn butchery skills at Victor Churchill
What better place to learn the art of la boucherie than the lavish, meaty wonderland that is Victor Churchill? The much-loved Woollahra butcher offers courses in everything from handmade gourmet-sausage making, to Let's Cook Meat, which teaches the art of cooking the perfect Wagyu, pork crackling and more.

132 Queen Street, Woollahra
(02) 9328 0402
victorchurchill.com.au

Cheese-making at Cornersmith

The busy picklers from the Cornersmith cafe in Marrickville now offer cheese-making classes. Whip up a labneh, ricotta and even yoghurt, chat with cheese buff Kristen Allan and enjoy a glass of matched wine.

314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
(02) 8065 0844
www.cornersmith.com.au/collections/workshops/cheese

Honorable mention:
Stay at one of NSW’s best boutique hotels.