Fresh date ideas: break out of your rut with a partner or pal


daterTired of the same old routine? Make a date with your spouse or a friend, and try something new. But be warned – once you start having fresh experiences and lots of fun, you won’t want to stop!

Here are some date ideas you may not have tried – or even knew were possible:

Be a local tourist

Take a guided tour of your own city or town – it’s a great way to spend time, and you just might learn something you didn’t know – a bit of history, geography or even an ancient crime or scandal. What a date!

If you’re over 65, it’s time to get out your SuperGold Card and travel locally – free. Go on trains, ferries and buses, to places and sights you’ve never seen before – right in your own back yard!

If you live in the Auckland area, use your Gold AT Hop card for a bus or train to the ferry terminal and day trip to Waiheke Island. Wellington has all the usual bus and train services, and you can visit historic Matiu/Somes Island on a ferry – all with your SuperGold Card. In Otago, you’ll need to show your SuperGold Card to get a GoCard for free off-peak travel. It most places, you can travel free on weekdays between 9 am and 3 pm, and after 6:30 pm. Weekends are free any time.

Try a Paintvine date

What? Paint on a date? Now you can, in most of the main centres of New Zealand. Book in for a Paintvine session at a local bar (or in a park this summer) and while you drink great wine you’ll learn the basics of acrylic painting from an expert. Who knew?

Minigolf and bowling

You don’t have to be competitive to have fun at minigolf or ten-pin bowling – but it helps! You don’t have to be super athletic, either – minigolf takes a lot less walking and a lot more finesse than regular golf, while most bowling alleys have bowling balls in a range of weights. Hot tip: take earplugs to the bowling alley – the noise can be deafening.

Check out local art

Most larger towns have art galleries, where locals can see what other locals have been creating. Lots of cafés double as art galleries, so you can look at the paintings or sculptures and have a nice meal, too.

Take in some nature

Walking is the best regular exercise you can do – it improves your circulation and lifts your mood, among other benefits. Find out the best nature walks in your area, and take a stroll. Even if you have to drive to get there, the walk and the scenery will do you good.


Another activity that’s good for you is singing – really! According to studies, singing boosts your immune system, gives your lungs a workout, stimulates your circulation and lifts your mood. So here’s an idea: why not visit a karaoke bar for a drink, rev up your sense of humour, put aside your shyness and sing!

Picnic in a park

There’s something special about eating outside. It’s why we Kiwis love our barbecues, and why a picnic can be a great experience. Pack up food and drink and head out to your favourite park – or the beach. Breathe the fresh air, enjoy the moment and relax. You can’t think about chores when you’re on a picnic.

Challenge yourself with a pub quiz

Meet friends and neighbours or get to know some new people by entering a pub quiz. It’s fun to make your brain work, find out answers through teamwork, and laugh a lot. Most of the larger centres boast pub quiz venues (here are some in Auckland), so find out if there’s one near you.

Sign up for a class

Another thing that’s good for you is learning a new skill – it does your brain all kinds of good. Most towns and cities run continuing education programmes, or you can choose to upskill or retrain formally. It’s not exactly date material – unless you do it together.

Stroll through a local farmers’ market

There’s something for everyone at a farmers’ market – food, plants, fresh fruit and veg, books, art – and often entertainment. Take along a little cash and enjoy!

Tour by bike

You don’t have to be an athlete to ride a bicycle these days – most bike-hire places offer electric models. You get your exercise, and some help to get up those steeper hills. The great thing about bikes is they travel faster than walking, so you’ll cover more ground and take in more sights.

A progressive dinner date

Maybe you can’t decide where to eat. You might like one place, your spouse prefers another, and neither of you are sure about a third. If you’re not in a hurry, try a progressive dinner where you have each course in a different restaurant. That way, you each get to eat at your favourite spot, and you can try out new places without investing in a whole meal you may not like. Warning: unless you’re walking, one of you had better be the sober driver. A drink with every course is just too tempting!

There’s a lot happening out there

If you’re looking for something different to do, and you don’t know what’s on, check out Eventfinda for ideas in your area. Plays, concerts, comedy, festivals – whatever’s happening will be listed. No need to sit around wondering why life is so dull – because it isn’t!