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10 things for couples to do in Melbourne

Great Breaks

By Kathryn Wills

Renowned as one of Australia’s biggest melting pots of culture, nightlife, dining and so much more, Melbourne offers an abundance of things to see and do, both in town and around. Why not escape the busy schedules for a romantic getaway to Melbourne, the perfect place to reconnect and spend time doing more of what you love…together.

Whether it be a long weekend or a five-day stay, Melbourne offers couples the chance to experience natural wonders, buzzing nightlife and everything in between.

From romantic rooftop dining to some of the country’s most breath-taking scenery – here are 10 of the best things for couples to do in Melbourne.

  1. Laneway date

    While many city’s laneways are best avoided, Melbourne’s are some of its biggest draw cards, thriving with life and colour. The city has a reputation as one of the best in the world for street art, with a number of laneways in the CBD lit up with vibrant murals bound to inspire.

    Explore these outdoor galleries together, or take a tour with the street artists responsible for these works to learn more about the underground art scene. If you’re looking for intimate date spot followed by a little retail therapy try the tucked-away Degraves Street or Centre Place. Each street, on either side of Flinders lane, is home to many tiny cafes, restaurants and bars, perfectly epitomising the chic cafe culture of Melbourne. We recommend Hell’s Kitchen, above the street in Centre Place. It’s the perfect little bar to spend some intimate time with your significant above other.

    Properly recharged, spend the afternoon exploring the boutique clothing and jewellery stores speckled across these thriving backstreets before taking a well deserved fine dining experience at Movida on Hosier Lane (also one of the best known street art hotspots). Chef Frank Camorra’s tapas menu is positively infatuating!

  2. High Culture in and around Royal Botanic Gardens

    Ah, the Arts, forever shaped by and inspiring romance. It doesn’t matter which way your tastes run – in Melbourne you can find your Botticelli, Brahms or Besson within walking distance of each other.

    Begin the day with your partner with a stroll through the National Gallery of Victoria, located just across the Yarra River from the famous Flinders Street Station. The NGV boasts an impressive permanent collection of over 68,000 works, as well as playing host to major international exhibitions, meaning there’s something for everyone.

    In the afternoon you can walk across the road to Royal Botanic Gardens and explore the lush greenery or wile away the daylight hours on a picnic rug with resident harpist Michael Johnson. By evening you’re spoilt for choice – sit hand in hand with your partner at the RBG’s Moonlight Cinema, or stroll over to the Sidney Myer Music bowl to take in an evening show by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. With the stars twinkling above and the city skyline peeking over the treeline, either choice is as intimate as it is spectacular.

  3. Great Ocean Road Drive

    The Great Ocean Road is one of those must-do drives. Winding 664 kilometres along Western Victorian’s rugged-cliffed coastline it offers some of the best scenery in the country.

    But there’s so much more to do than just drive. A journey along the Great Ocean Road is about experiencing all the things that come along the way, at your own pace. Stop at any one of dozens of scenic lookouts to take in the vastness of Bass Strait and the beautiful golds and tans of the cliffs that reach the sea. Spend an afternoon in one of the quaint coastal communities for a spot of lunch, a bit of light shopping and refreshing dip in the ocean. Taste your way through the local flavours, from cheeses to berries, olives to oysters, and pick up some of the fine wines produced in the Henty and Geelong regions (although you best save these until the drive is complete!). Take a detour inland to experience the lush Otway forest, but save some wonder for the moment you come back through the trees to the ocean – it’s truly awe inspiring.

    There’s so much to do the best advice we have is to make sure you share it with someone special.

  4. Romantic getaway to Yarra Valley

    Only 90 kilometres from the CBD, the Yarra Valley is a little slice of paradise just beyond the city’s edge. The valley is the source of Melbourne’s Yarra River and is home to a thriving wine industry as the cool climate is perfect for growing grapes for high-end chardonnays, pinot noirs and sparkling wines. You and your partner will definitely want to try some of the region’s famous produce, and luckily many of the wineries offer guided tours (with tasting opportunities, of course!).

    For sparkling fanatics, try Domaine Chandon, established by French Champagne House Möet & Chandon in 1986. It runs tours three times a day, seven days a week, with no need to book should you decide to visit on a whim. If you’d like to sit with a glass of wine and a board of cheese while admiring the scenery together look no further than Coldstream Hills. Perched on the side of the valley, the decking offers stunning views of the valley, with a range of Single Vineyard and Reserve wines to delight the senses. For the truly adventurous there are hot air balloon rides over the valley at dawn. Watch the mists peel away in the morning sun as the breeze gently carries you to your destination, where you’ll be treated to a champagne breakfast. What could be more romantic?

  5. Rooftop roaming

    If you’ve seen the city from the backstreets why not try experiencing it from above them? Melbourne boasts a number of rooftop bars and restaurants that provide such fabulous views you’ll never want to leave.

    Try Naked in the Sky, the rooftop bar and restaurant above funky Brunswick Street’s Naked for Satan tapas bar. In keeping with tapas bar below, Naked in the Sky offers a menu inspired by the flavours of Spain’s Basque country as well as some of the best views in the city of Melbourne’s skyline. If you’re after something a little more central, Rooftop Bar, as the name implies, is the rooftop bar for you. Enjoy a cool beverage with 360 degree views of the city and surrounding suburbs, and if you’re visiting in the summer months you can even check out a flick at their rooftop cinema. For a year round treat, try the Emerson rooftop in South Yarra. The elegant and sophisticated space features generous heating to keep you warm in the winter months and a fully retractable roof to make the most of the summer – the perfect environment to enjoy a cocktail and Emerson’s take on modern Australian cuisine on a special occasion.

  6. Sunset at St Kilda

    The cool beachside suburb of St Kilda is a must see for any visitor to Melbourne. Accessible by multiple tram lines, it offers all you could ask for a romantic evening for you and your partner: fine restaurants, hip bars, and, of course, the beautiful bay views. The main strip down Acland Street offers a taste of the suburb’s enduring qualities and character, but it’s worth exploring along the foreshore to get the full experience – the sounds of buskers and joyful screams from Luna Park, the smell of sizzling food and ocean spray, and the views, oh, the views.

    As the evening sun sets you might like to sit on the foreshore with some fish and chips and enjoy the shimmering light dance over the bay, or visit one of the +250 restaurants in the suburb. We recommend Donovan’s – it’s right on the beach so those amazing views are yours to enjoy over a plate of fresh seafood. After the sun sets St Kilda comes alive.

    If you’re in the mood for dancing the short stroll to Fitzroy Street puts you in the nightlife capital of St Kilda or if you’re after something more low key try Milk the Cow for some delicious cheese and wine.

  7. Williamstown romance

    A stroll through the peaceful and fashionable maritime village of Williamstown, just nine kilometres south of the CBD, is a great way to spend a day with that someone special. Surrounded on three sides by water, Williamstown is dotted by public parkland and piers that offer stunning views of the Melbourne skyline and Port Phillip. For an elegant souvenir of your time in Melbourne, visit boutique perfumery Fleurage where perfumer Emma Leah will guide you through the process of creating your own scent for you or your partner.

    For something with a little more oomph, try Garage Classics of Williamstown, an automotive museum hosting a number of European, British and American cars from the 1920s to the 1970s.

    With its maritime history such a large element of any visit to Williamstown, it’s worth capping off the day with some fresh seafood. Anchorage is Williamstown’s award-winning, number one seafood restaurant, and with its location on the marina it has great views of Hobson’s Bay. If you’re keen for a bit of entertainment the Titanic Theatre Restaurant could be for you. It bills itself as “the only place in the world where your night is guaranteed to be a disaster”, but don’t worry, they also promise that you’ll only get wet if you spill a drink!

  8. Dinner date for two

    Melbourne has long prided itself on its multicultural identity and this rich heritage has ensured a wide choice of fantastic cuisine – the only limit is time! In this case, make sure to visit Cumulus Inc – home to Chef of the Year winner and Melbourne restaurant prodigy Andrew McConnell. Set in Melbourne’s famous art and fashion precinct, Flinders Lane, Cumulus Inc delivers delicious dishes that smack a taste punch. Pick from six oysters for starters or slice your way through slow-cooked pork backstrap.

    But if you’re not in Melbourne for long, why not combine your sightseeing and dining with The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, four-time winner of the National Tourism Award? With its velvet seats and brass fittings it’s a window into the opulent past that loops the modern city. Book for lunch, early dinner or late dinner and let the friendly staff bring you course after course of fine dining as you soak up the sights.

  9. The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island

    Phillip Island, just 140 kilometres south east of Melbourne, is one of those rare places that has retained its natural beauty and wildlife despite its popularity. It’s these features that are the island’s main draws; enclosed swimming beaches and consistently good surf beaches; whale and bird watching; and perhaps most popular of all, the nightly penguin parade.

    Visitors from all over the world flock to the island to catch a glimpse of these little creatures returning from the sea to their nests for the evening. In fact, the species is known as the Little Penguin and Phillip Island is one of the few places in the world they can be easily seen in their natural environment. With tiered seating and 180 degree elevated platforms, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of these little wonders without issue, for you or the penguins. In fact, such care has been taken to preserve the penguins’ natural way of life that the penguin parade has won the Golden Banksia Award for Environmental Excellence, as well as being a fully accredited ecotourism organisation and tourism hall of fame member.

  10. See a footy game at the ‘G

    No sport-fanatic’s trip to Melbourne is complete without a visit to the MCG, the palace of Australia’s sporting capital. Throughout the year the ‘G plays host to fantastic sporting events from Aussie Rules Football to State of Origin, test and one day cricket to international soccer exhibition matches. The passion you find within its stands is paramount and certainly infectious – especially when the Australian Cricket Team is playing the Poms. If the bleachers aren’t your thing, the ‘G is also home to a variety of bars and cafes where you can comfortably take in the atmosphere. Grab a beverage and enjoy the beer garden with your partner at the Ponsford Stand’s The Outer Bar, or unwind with cafe fare to rival the best of Melbourne at the Ron Barassi cafe in the historic Great Southern Stand. If you happen to be in town during one of the rare periods where the ‘G isn’t hosting an event, why not take in some of the 152-year-old stadium’s history with a tour of the MCG’s National Sporting Museum, home to Australia’s finest sporting collection?