After living in Melbourne for close to two years, I have concluded that there are many unique and unconventional things to do here. If you are running out of ideas, I have compiled a list of what I believe are the most fun and interesting things to do as a couple (or with friends).
Before you say that picnic is not an unusual date idea, I am going to say that you are right. I have included it anyway given the rising popularity of “Netflix and chill”.
Botanical Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and other parks across Melbourne have some great picnic spots to enjoy the sun. (Hang on a minute…Melbourne? Sun? Is there even such a thing as sun in Melbourne?). Look…even if it rains out of nowhere (quite typical of Melbourne), at least you get to enjoy homemade food in the company of your loved one.
2. Musical/theatre/ballet/comedy show
It is not news that Melbourne is the “capital” of arts, music and comedy. You can always find something that suits your taste and satisfies your needs to get cultured. These make for great memories. Bonus tip, enjoy the views of Southbank at night.
3. Mini golf
Mini golf is probably one of my favourite activities, possibly because I am terrible at it and have no hope of ever being close to winning. I have a blast every time I play! My favourite is probably the outdoors mini golf, but if you are into design and Instagram then Holey Moley is a mini golf place that you will love!
4. 3D art gallery
This is like those artworks that you see in the streets, which when looking from a certain angle give an illusion of a 3D artwork. Now imagine 100s of artworks like this in one place. When I first saw artworks in Artvo, I couldn’t believe the amount of hard work and talent that went into creating something as extraordinary as that. If you are creative, then options are unlimited, and if you are not, they will help you by roaming and giving you ideas of how to pose. So, pack your camera and off you go!
5. Live music at a small bar
Whether you have just started dating or you have been with your partner for a long time, this is a great setting to fall in love with your date all over again. Imagine a dim light, great music, drinks and your loved one. My absolute favourite is Paris Cat, which is a little bar, offering the best live jazz/soul/blues music in Melbourne. You will enjoy it without a doubt.
6. Punting on the lake
This is unique to Melbourne. It is like a gondola but with a flat bottom part. You sit in it and get a tour of the botanical garden’s lake. Absolutely peaceful and relaxing. A good tip I should give is to aim to go either at a cooler time or at nights. My favourite is being able to get close to parts of the lake that are not visible from anywhere else.
I recently mentioned this as a date idea to my friend and she was pleasantly surprised. That is when I realised that Zoo is a little unconventional thing to do. I would like to reassure though, that sun, animals and walks are strong ingredients for an amazing date. I love Zoos that have the most freedom for animals, in which you can pat and feed them.
8. Tramcar restaurant
Melbournians not only take pride in the tram network but can also be quite creative with it. Trams are far from being modes of transport. They are an iconic part of Melbourne. They make Melbourne unique.
Now imagine dining at an intimate restaurant built inside a colonial tramcar which travels around Melbourne at dusk, offering the best of views. This is a memorable experience for the years to come.
9. Explore Melbourne laneways and markets
Melbourne is known for its laneways and small, boutique shops. Even if you don’t intend buying anything, it is quite fun to explore the laneways and find interesting things. This may also come in handy if you are ever stuck with a gift idea. As for the markets, no Sunday passes by without art and craft or a vintage/retro market on. What is a better way than to stroll through them and find out each other’s likes and dislikes!
10. Horse riding
There is a good reason that horses are involved in romantic scenes of Hollywood movies – horse riding is an amazing experience. When I was trying horse riding for the first time, the man who trained the horses said “Remember, you may not have done this, but she [the horse…I forgot her name] has done it a thousand times”. That put my worries aside and made me enjoy the experience as we went through the bushes and even saw some wild kangaroos!
11. Ice skating
To be honest, although I have included ice skating on this list, I am not entirely sure if it is a good idea to go on an icy date with your special one. You will see each other in most ridiculous poses and be doing the weirdest of movements (at least myself). This is assuming you are both learning it as a new skill. In saying that, if you are up for a challenge and are not bothered with showing your innermost Mr Bean, then go for it!
12. Explore Great Ocean Road (if you get lucky and explore it while it’s not raining)
Saying Great Ocean Road is beautiful is an understatement. If a long road trip along a picturesque view is your kind of thing, then you will love this experience. For me there were two memorable moments – one was seeing a full rainbow arc right along the ocean, and the second was looking at and photographing our galaxy. The latter is probably the only time I would give up a warm home and stand in a freezing cold – it is that magical.
In this list, I hope, you found something you would like to try out. If you have done any of these, I would love to hear your stories in the comments below! xxx
*Photography credits D.F.