Tasked with planning an epic date night in Dunedin? Don’t despair, this city is packed with countless restaurants, bars, hotels and art galleries—all worthy options for the best and most romantic date ever. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, a special birthday or just need an excuse to treat your loved one, we’ve come up with the most romantic date ideas that will impress both you and bae. From casual day dates to the more formal evening affairs, read on for the most romantic things to do in Dunedin.
Go For A Romantic Stroll
Did you know that Tunnel Beach is New Zealand’s most romantic beach? If you’re hoping to impress that special someone, it’s a wonderful (and free) activity that you both will love. Explore sea-carved sandstone cliffs, rock arches and caves while looking out for fossils. Otherwise, take your date on a romantic stroll through the lush Dunedin Botanic Garden. Here you’ll find playgrounds, herb gardens, duck ponds, aviaries filled with parrots from New Zealand and Australia, woodlands and glasshouses. For something a bit further afield, walk along the Otago Peninsula and Hoopers inlet, which is one of the best locations for wildlife spotting.
There’s something so incredibly romantic about heading to the market for a Saturday morning date and you and your love will be in foodie heaven at The Otago Farmers Market. Spend a few hours sampling handcrafted local chocolate at OCHO (aka Otago Chocolate Company) and sipping on freshly roasted coffee. Treat your date to a delicious breakfast or brunch while shopping for all the items you need for dinner while checking out these other two markets.
Art Is For Lovers
If your date loves a bit of culture, spend an afternoon exploring the Dunedin Public Art Gallery together. You’ll both be impressed by the architecturally stunning gallery, which showcases local, national and international work. There’s also a constantly changing programme of exhibitions, a quality shop and excellent cafe, just in case you get peckish after taking in all that art. Otherwise, contemporary art lovers should definitely check out the Blue Oyster Art Project, which is the largest contemporary art project in Otago and Southland. Even if your date’s been before, there’s a new exhibition on every month and the gallery is dedicated to supporting art produced in New Zealand.
Dinner For Two
A classic dinner for two will never disappoint whatever the occasion. One of the most romantic options is located upstairs in the Octagon at Bacchus. Here you’ll find one of Dunedin’s best fine dining establishments with wines from all over the South Island. Housed in one of the city’s oldest and most stunning buildings, date nights don’t get much better than this. There’s no place more romantic (and secluded) than Port Chalmers at sunset. Heading to Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel for alfresco dining and drinks at sundown is a definite way to win someone’s affection. Or for beachfront dining (always romantic), head to The Esplanade for pizza. It’s a taste of Italy along St. Clair Beach that serves swoon-worthy wood-fired pizza and exceptional homemade pasta.
Sip On Cocktails Together
Enjoying a cocktail or two with your loved one is pretty much as good as it gets. Imagine yourselves unwinding with a few deliciously crafted drinks at the stylish, Pequeño Lounge Bar. Another romantic spot is Vault 21, where you’ll find some of the best drinks and coolest atmosphere in town. If you two are more into beer, Ombrellos Kitchen and Bar needs to be on your radar.
Take Your Date To A Castle
How about a date in a castle? Located on the picturesque Otago Peninsula, a visit to Larnarch Castle is a romantic gesture like no other. After all, it’s Dunedin’s only castle built by William Larnach in 1871 for his first wife. Get lost in the extensive gardens and steal a few kisses while you take in all the somewhat random Alice in Wonderland themes throughout.
Need more inspiration? Check out the best things to do in Dunedin.
Image credit: Chris Stephenson