Whether you’re single and playing the field or in a long-term relationship, you don’t want to find yourself doing the same thing, time and time again. Check out these quirky Sydney date ideas, which are sure to impress on your next day or night out.
You’ve met someone you fancy. You’re chatting online. Things are heating up fast. They’re going to ask you out soon, you just know it.
Then it comes. That magic moment. You open up the text to read… drinks? 😉
When dating these days, things can get stale, fast.
This is because pretty much everyone is tired of the mundane routine of a movie, dinner or drinks.
Why not impress a loved one, or one you want to love, with a fun or romantic date?
These Sydney-based date ideas in will inspire you to get off the path and explore parts of the city you may not have stepped foot in before.
This post is broken up into date ideas for couples, group date ideas and some that are best saved for a special occasion.
All are guaranteed to impress. And if the date ends up being a dud – at least you’ve had the chance to try something new!
Impress with these quirky Sydney date ideas
Here are some of the best date night (or date day!) ideas in Sydney.
1. Explore and/or spend the night at Cockatoo Island
There are 13 islands in Sydney Harbour.
Not all allow public access. Those that are open are worth exploring, particularly Cockatoo Island or Wareamah at it is known to the First Nations Eora People.
The island has had a varied history, from probable occupation by the Eora People (there’s no surviving evidence of this, but there is plenty of evidence of Aboriginal presence on surrounding shores), then as a convict prison after European invasion.
Later, it become a reformatory school for orphans and young women, then the official dockyard of the Royal Australian Navy.
It remained a shipbuilding yard until the early 1990s, when it was shut down. It opened to the public as a museum in 2007.
Much of the convict and shipbuilding sites remain on the island and can be explored in a day trip.
To get there, you simply tap your Opal card to hop on a ferry. Admission onto the island itself is free.
If you want to go a step further and really make a night out of it, consider staying on the island overnight.
There are camping and glamping facilities, along with studio apartments. You can explore the island, settle in for a BBQ, sit in front of a roaring bonfire if it isn’t fireban season, or watch a movie screened within one of the old tunnels.
2. Take your date to a secret garden
From the outside it may seem like an urban jungle, but Sydney is home to several “secret” gardens, littered around the city.
I find Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay to be very romantic.
Wendy was married to famed Australian artist Brett Whiteley and her green paradise has stunning views of the harbour.
Others worth checking out are Swain Gardens in Killara, Lisgar Gardens in Hornsby, Paddington Reservoir on Oxford Street and Lex and Ruby Graham Garden in Cremorne Reserve.
Go get lost in the greenery and share a romantic moment or two with your date.
3. Take a tour (or have a picnic) at the Botanic Gardens
For more greenery fun times, head to the Royal Botanic Gardens near the harbour.
This green space is great for strolling around in, or having a picnic.
If you want to take it a step further, consider hopping onto a guided tour. There are all kinds on offer, such as the Bush Tucker and Aboriginal Heritage walks.
One that sounds particularly quirky, is the Behind the Scenes: Sensory Tour.
This tour will introduce you to the plants growing in this garden that have an unusual smell, look or taste.
You can even nibble on some of the plants, yourself. Begonias may not have the same reputation as say, strawberries or oysters when it comes to aphrodisiac foods, but it may bring you and your date closer together.
It may not seem romantic, but it will certainly make for a fun day out. It’s also an excellent sober date idea in Sydney, if you and/or your date are taking a break from the booze.
You can even spend an afternoon on a mystery picnic at the Gardens.
You’ll solve clues to gather gourmet goodies through Sydney, before settling into a picturesque picnic spot to enjoy an afternoon of feasting.
4. Have a good date with bad service at Karen’s Diner
This interactive diner is deliberately designed to be bad experience, in the best way possible.
While the food is great, you’ll be waited on by rude waiters, who in return, are ‘expecting you to give it full Karen’ (which I believe means to vent endlessly about everything).
It’s definitely a first date with a difference and might take some of the heat off to impress. Plus, you can bond together while you live out all your best Karen fantasies.
As it says directly on their website, they’re ‘not looking forward to seeing you’.
Bonus – if you or your date’s name is Karen, you’ll get a drink on them.
5. Go kayaking on the harbour or river
Exploring one of the loveliest natural harbours in the world by ferry or boat is one thing… however, paddling around by kayak is utterly romantic (and a good workout, to boot).
Alternatively, take the time to kayak up Parramatta River.
All in all, it makes for a quirky Sydney date idea, one to remember for sure.
6. Visit a living museum
Sydney is home to a collection of living museums, spread around the city.
Visiting one of these can make for a really interesting day date in Sydney, particularly if you and yours are into history.
There are 12 museums and houses on the list, such as The Mint, the Rose Seidler House and Eizabeth Farm in Parramatta.
Most are fairly inexpensive to enter, so they make for a cheaper day out, a rarity in this notoriously expensive city!
7. Stargaze at the observatory
I find this to be the ultimate in romantic date ideas in Sydney – gazing at the night sky, together.
Sydney Observatory offer night tours, where you get a viewing inside the Planetarium, gaze up at the skies through a telescope (if the weather is good) and end things with a dome tour.
Visiting the Observatory is one of my favourite things to do in Sydney – your date will love it too.
8. Learn something new together
Go on a truly unusual date to learn some new skills, together.
The Workshop holds classes in everything from watercolour painting, to welding and even unlocking the female orgasm. Helpful, I’m sure.
Check out their offerings and surprise your date with a truly unique night out.
9. Visit the Museum of Human Disease
There are a handful of unusual museums in Sydney and one topping the bill is certainly the Museum of Human Disease.
Located at the University of NSW in Randwick, it contains over 2,500 disease human tissue specimens.
Yeah, that means there is jar upon jar of human body parts and organs to see. Not one for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure.
However, if your date is a lover of all things macabre and you yourself have a strong stomach, this might be the perfect (week)day out for you both.
A rather toned down, but just as fun option is a visit to the Museum of Magical Arts in Darlinghurst.
Created by an Australian magician, it contains a library of magic, collections of magical paraphernalia and a cabaret theatre.
Certainly a very unusual Sydney date idea, a visit to this museum might just trigger some magic between the two of you.
Looking for something a little different? Check out these quirky tours in Sydney that’ll definitely impress your date.
Get the blood pumping on a spooky tour through Sydney’s slums and haunted sites.
Wander through and dine in one of Sydney’s most famous landmarks.
Take in the view from Sydney’s tallest building.
10. Take an urban architecture walk
See another side of this city on a Sydney Architecture Walk, led by architecture experts that have a passion for this magnificent city.
If you or your date is a lover of urban tours, you’ll enjoy exploring modern Sydney.
Particularly popular is their tour of the Sydney Opera House, where they dive into the background of Jorn Utzon, the Danish architect who designed this iconic and beautiful building, but left the country before his vision was completed.
Explore more ideas for unusual Sydney tours here.
11. Embrace Kawaii culture in Haymarket
Head to the top of an old shopping centre in Haymarket to explore Purikura Photoland.
Here you’ll find a bunch of coin-operated games, such as claw machines, arcade games and best of all, photo booths.
A bit different from Western photo booths, you can edit these photos to add stickers, glitters or turn the two of you into anime versions of yourselves.
You’ll get a take home souvenir in a strip of photos – something to pop on the fridge to remind you of your fabulous and fun date together in Sydney!
12. Drive out to Blacktown to drive in for a flick
Jump in your car and head out to Blacktown in the Western suburbs, to spend an evening at one of the last drive-ins in NSW.
Pull up in front of a giant screen, grab a steaming bag of popcorn from the candybar, wrap your arm around your date and take in a movie, from the comfort of your car.
A fun night out, this is one of the truly more retro options for date ideas in Sydney.
13. Try out an 80s dance class
Here’s one keeping in with the old school theme.
If you live in the inner west and you and your date both have a passion for 80’s dance music and lycra (don’t we all?), book in for a dance class at Retrosweat.
You’ll spend 60 minutes dancing up a storm, bringing out your inner Jane Fonda.
What a feeling.
So pull on your high-cut leotard, sweat bands and leg warmers, head to Surry Hills or Waterloo and get those hips gyrating. Your date won’t know what hit them.
14. Admire art after-hours
Keen to check out an exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery, but can’t make it around work hours?
Fortunately, the gallery keeps its doors open late on Wednesdays.
You can enter for free, or pay to see a special exhibition.
Head off for dinner and drinks after art, to complete your night.
15. Take a tree top walk
This one’s located south of the CBD, making it an ideal day trip from Sydney for you and your date.
You’ll find yourself high in the sky, walking 30 metres above the ground, along a 500 metre long Treetop walk.
It’s a truly romantic setting, as you’ll be surrounded by rainforest canopy, with the Pacific Ocean as your view.
For an even more daring option, consider going zip-lining through the rainforest.
Pair the two together for a memorable date in Sydney’s south.
16. Go canyoning in the Blue Mountains
Get your date’s blood rushing with a abseiling and canyoning experience in the Blue Mountains, around two hours from Sydney.
You spend the first half of the day abseiling before a delicious lunch.
The day ends with a waterfall abseil out of a canyon – definitely a date to remember.
17. Pick up a new skill with a surf lesson in Bondi
Hang ten with your hot date on Sydney’s iconic beach.
Book into 2-hour beginner lessons with a local surf school.
Even if you don’t end up catching waves, you’re sure to have a barrel of laughs.
The couple who surfs together, stays together, right?
Sydney date ideas for special occasions
Here are a few Sydney date ideas to consider when celebrating birthdays or anniversaries.
Or maybe you just really want to spoil or impress your date… good on you!
18. Relax at the Japanese Bath house
Sparadise in the Blue Mountains is a bit of a hike, but at least you’ll be able to relax at the end of the drive.
It’s a Japanese Bath House, found on the outskirts of Sydney. Immerse yourself in the healing waters of the bathhouse, tucked in the serene mountains.
Head to the tea house after your soak for a Japanese meal, or spoil your date with a massage, as well.
Best of all, it’s only $70 to enter, which is a pretty reasonable price for the experience.
19. Take a sunrise balloon flight
Head west to Camden for a memorable morning, taking in the sights of the city from a hot air balloon.
You’ll see the sunrise over the countryside and can upgrade with a champagne breakfast at Rydges Campbelltown.
If you’re looking for romantic things to do for couples in Sydney, I would certainly say a hot air balloon ride fits the bill.
20. Or see Sydney from a seaplane
Sydney’s pretty cityscape is best seen from a bird’s eye view.
Hope on a seaplane at Rose Bay and tour over the city, taking in sights such as the harbour, and Bondi Beach, along with other lesser known landmarks.
21. Take a progressive long lunch at Sydney Opera House
Want a taste of what the Opera House restaurants have to offer?
Hope onto a long lunch, which will see you winning and dining while you soak up THOSE harbourside views. How romantic!
You can also experience a cocktail-making class and master the art of creating a poke bowl (not of the Pokémon variety, unfortunately).
22. Take your date whale-watching (May-Nov)
Here’s one for the animal lover in your life.
Did you know it’s possible to see whales from May to November, as they pass the city on their annual migration?
Book onto a two-three hour cruise, where if you’re lucky, you’ll get up close to one of the world’s most marvellous marine creatures.
This is a Sydney date idea that’s sure to impress.
23. Explore the ocean with an Underwater Scooter Tour
Experience Sydney from a different perspective as you deep dive into an amazing underwater world.
Departing from Clovelly Beach, these tours will take you up close to Sydney’s marine life.
The tours cater for all sorts of experience levels, from beginner to expert.
A strong contender for the best date ever.
Couples activities in Sydney
Here are some fun ideas for group dates in Sydney. You can still attend these as a pair of course, but it’ll be much more fun in greater numbers!
24. Enter an axe-throwing tournament
Maniax offer a fun night out, with a twist.
Operating in small sessions or group settings, you’re given a target, you’re given an axe and you’re expected to give it your all.
Hurl the axes at the target and see who comes out on top.
Similarly, Kiss My Axe also offer a date night experience, where you can battle it out in a competition with other couples.
A next level date night for sure.
25. Get into a boozy art class
If your date is a lover of art and an equal lover of wine, consider combining the two at a boozy art class.
Cork and Canvas offer participants the chance to sit and sip at their Darlinghurst studio.
Classes are usually themed, where you can paint your mate Picasso style, or try recreate Monet’s water lillies or Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
BYO booze and nibbles, to help bring out your inner artist.
26. Street art tour in Newtown
Newtown is one of the most colourful suburbs in the inner-west.
Gather your date or some mates and get set to whirl your way around the neighbourhoods vibrant streets and learn the history behind some of its best known and well-loved murals.
27. Break things at a smash room
Not the most traditional of date ideas in Sydney is taking your beloved to a break room for a smashing good time.
The general premise is you don protective gear, pick up a sledgehammer/bat/weapon of choice and began smashing your way through a crate of breakables.
Perhaps a good way to work through some issues after a lover’s tiff?
Sydney’s Smash Room City is located in Homebush West.
I’ve visited a Melbourne-based break room and had a great time smashing things up.
What do you think of these Sydney date ideas? Are there any you’d want to try – or have done yourself?