50 summer date ideas

by Alice Harbourne / 28 January, 2016

Where to go on a date in Auckland in summer

It's easy to get stuck in an Auckland date rut - you've established a favourite takeaway joint, realised it's easier to go to the nearest bar for a drink than get a taxi across town and have worked hard on moulding the sofa into an ergonomic slope via months of TV-watching. But for days when you're feeling more adventurous, here are 50 glorious date ideas. Many of these suggestions would make great first date activities too, though it's always wise to read the room.

Read: 50 things to do in Auckland for under $20 
Read more: How to find a partner in Auckland

    1. Walk a dog. A great first-date option because it has a specific time frame, involves minimal eye contact and provides useful conversation material should topics dry-up. If you don't have a dog, give an event like The Big Dog Walk with Lots of Dogs a go, or if you're single, Dog Walk Dating.


    1. See Shakespeare as it was intended to be seen. From Friday 19th February Auckland will have its own replica Globe Theatre. Take your love interest to see Romeo and Juliet under the stars.


    1. Go fruit-picking. Make like an Enid Blyton character and get stained with blueberries. Pick-your-own orchards are increasingly rare these days, but strawberries can be picked in Kumeu until Waitangi day, and if you're happy to go further afield (sorry) Ngatea Orchard is good for blueberries.


    1. Take a day trip to Tiritiri Matangi. The ferry leaves from downtown Auckland daily in the summer months. A gentle stroll around the bird sanctuary can take as long as four hours, but there are shorter tracks too. Bring a picnic, binoculars, and someone who likes birds and natural beauty.


    1. Sunday Jazz at Golden Dawn can be a fairly noisy affair, so better to go before the band starts (5pm) if you're in the early stages of dating so you can get a word and a drink in before having a dance.


    1. Stop and smell the roses at Parnell Rose Gardens, which are in bloom until April. Follow it with brunch/afternoon tea/a cocktail at Rosie.


    1. A visit to a Waiheke winery was voted Best Date Activity in our 2015 readers' poll, just don't go there if your date is David Farrier.


    1. Mission Bay on wheels. Rollerblades and skateboards can be hired from Fergs Kayaks at Orakei, bikes can be hired at Mission Bay and the Ferry Building. If you're no good, you can console yourself with a gelato from The Store or St Heliers Bay Bistro.


    1. Go tree planting. Motouihe Island Restoration Trust organise day trips to the nature reserve with a basic lunch, tools and plants provided.


    1. Make grocery shopping romantic with a date at one of the many high-quality weekend farmers' markets Auckland has to offer: La Cigale, Matakana, Clevedon, Oratia, Britomart, Grey Lynn...you'll likely know your local. Have breakfast and a coffee before stocking up.


    1. Fly a kite at Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park (next to Bastion Point). Sea-views with great wind speeds.


    1. Get drunk and steal the mic at Harryoke, the monthly karaoke night held on the first Sunday of the month at Ponsonby Rd "bar for creatives", Harry.


    1. Watch a gig at Auckland Zoo. The dulcet tones of Bic Runga and Tiny Ruins must be good for the animals, right?


    1. Sketch a view. A hit with anyone slightly arty, hilarious with someone who is not. Head anywhere high (there are, obviously, many volcanoes to choose from) bring pencils and paper and draw what you see.


    1. Take a tour of the solar system at The Stardome. Swiftly come back to earth with a picnic in Cornwall Park.


    1. Cool party. Flamingo Pier, Anno Domini, Laneway, Auckland City Limits: there's a rooftop party/island club night/music festival to take your boo to practically every weekend in summer.


    1. Pool party. Probably not advisable for a first date, but if you're comfortable enough to be in togs a trip to Parnell Baths is a fun time.


    1. Doughnut shakes and sunshine at The Street Food Collective. Play that "don't lick your lips" game if you run out of conversation topics.


    1. Bowling and arcade games at Newmarket TenPin Bowling makes for a kitsch date. Head to nearby Selera for a giant bowl of laksa afterwards.


    1. Get lost in a hall of mirrors at the Odyssey Sensory Maze, that wonderfully strange attraction in the basement of the Metro Centre.


    1. Go out for dessert. Great for couples on a budget, or for a low-stakes first date. Miann dessert bar on Fort St is open late every night of the week.


    1. Cycle from Devonport to Takapuna. Hire bikes or bring your own, this "green route" weaves through parks, mangroves and heritage streets. See Auckland Transport for route details.


    1. Learn to surf at Muriwai. Only a 35-minute drive from the central city.


    1. Go night canyoning at Piha.


    1. Attend a free talk at Auckland Art Gallery. Follow it up with cocktails and sweet pie from Fed Deli.


    1. Go on a Dominion Rd dumpling crawl. Ideal for summer rainstorms.


    1. JUMP on trampolines. If it's good enough for The Bachelor it's good enough for us.


    1. Talk to the animals at Ambury Farm. See sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits and a peacock on a walk around this pretty regional park.


    1. Snort at The BasementNothing boosts endorphin levels like belly-aching laughs at this cult improv night. Book ahead as it always sells out.


    1. Watch a live sport game. Netball, rugby and cricket matches all make great spectator sport dates.


    1. Go for cocktails at Ponsonby's Mea Culpa. One of the best dive bars in Auckland with a seasonal menu that changes weekly.


    1. See an art-house film at boutique cinema The Bridgeway, then go for supper at The Engine Room.


    1. Roam through a fire garden. Between 4-6 March the Domain is being transformed into a fiery wonderland by French fire artists Carabosse.


    1. Visit the love birds at Muriwai Gannet Colony. Okay so they're not strictly love birds, but gannets co-parent, and greet each other at the end of each day with little head rubs, it's ridiculously cute to witness. The gannets are in residence between August and March.


    1. Walk Takapuna's "Golden Mile". After a coastal walk reward yourself with gelato from Takapuna Beach Cafe.


    1. Take in the sea air from the heights of Duder Regional Park. There's a pretty coastal walk when the tide is out (wear good shoes) and a 2-hour farm track offering some of the best sea views in Auckland.


    1. Slip 'n slide on the World's Biggest Waterslide, the annual fundraiser for mental health charity Live More Awesome. It's taking place on 12-14 Feb at Jonkers Farm near Bethells Beach.


    1. Speaking of Bethells Beach, the Te Henga Walkway is another great date walk, offering more stunning coastal views, this time of the rugged, dramatic west coast variety.


    1. Get schooled at one of the many public lectures offered by the various universities of Auckland. AUT & Auckland University's programmes are good places to start, but a quick Google will provide you with up-and-coming events near you. Plan the date around drinks/food afterwards and be guaranteed a conversation-starter.


    1. Live comedy at The Classic. Probably the most active comedy club in Auckland, you've a high chance of seeing the city's best and worst comedians; it's all subjective, of course.


    1. Swim in a waterfall. Karekare Falls is our favourite.


    1. Go beer tasting. Do it officially by booking an Auckland Beer Tour , a walking tour that includes 14 tastings. Alternatively, the folk at Brothers Beer are always happy to guide you through their selection of beers informally. 


    1. Garden. Places like Kelmarna Organic Community Garden in Grey Lynn are always on the look out for volunteers, even on a one-off basis.


    1. Go for dinner up the Sky Tower. Cheesy, romantic, very Auckland; Peter Gordon's The Sugar Club offers an excellent wine list in addition to 100 emoji-worthy views. 


    1. Night markets. There's one for every day of the week in Auckland, and they're full of excellent cheap eats.  


    1. Oyster tasting in Clevedon. The drive there is beautiful, and you can combine a visit to an oyster farm with a trip to Duder Regional Park (no.36). 


    1. In a similar direction, the Auckland Botanic Gardens are a romantic spot. Check out their events programme, botanical workshops could make a great anniversary date. 


    1. Fright night. Pretend to be terrified/actually be terrified at Spookers


    1. White NightAuckland Arts Festival are blessing the city with late night art events throughout the city on the 12th March. 


    1. Watch a movie outdoors. There are now multiple outdoor cinemas across the city, mostly operating on a pop-up basis. Silo Cinema is one of the best thanks to the excellent range of accompanying cheap eats, but there are also drive-in movies at Smales Farm, Auckland Council's free Movies in Parks series and Ben and Jerry's ticketed version


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