Romantic things to do in Australia

Australia, like all countries in the world, has lots of places that are ideal for a romantic meal, or just to spend some quality time as a couple. Romance is important in a relationship, so where do the Australians go for a romantic break? Read on for our list of the most romantic destinations in Australia.

Bondi Beach

Bondi beach is one of the world’s most iconic beaches. It is part of the Australian National Heritage List and really is somewhere to add to the top of your Sydney bucket list. With one kilometre of soft golden sand and a backdrop of green parkland, it is an ideal place to relax on a warm day. For swimmers, the north end of the beach is the best, while those that enjoy surfing should head to the south end for the Bondi’s famous current. In the summer months, you may be lucky enough to see whales and dolphins swim by as they migrate. So romantic!


The Whitsundays, just off the coast of Queensland, are a group of islands that offer the ideal romantic setting. Some islands are quite isolated, while others like Hamilton Island that are big tourist attractions. One of the most popular activities in the Whitsundays is the glass bottom boats. These boats provide the amazing experiencing of seeing unique sealife that you might otherwise miss.  It is something you should certainly add to your tour of the Great Barrier Reef.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas has that perfect balance of enticing attractions to keep you entertained and lots of gorgeous outdoor spots to do nothing but relax with a good book or a picnic. Cycling, scuba diving, hiking and trekking are all on offer in Port Douglas. You can also just sit back and watch the world pass you by  while you enjoy a drink and some fine food in one of the many bars and cafes.


Broome is a town with a chilled-out vibe along the Indian Ocean coastline of Western Australia. It was renowned as a centre for the pearl industry in the late 19th century but now has developed into a charming town that is a delight for travellers from all over the world.  With a population of just 13,000, its tree-shaded streets and scenic coastal stretches offer one of the most relaxing and unique breaks you could hope for.

Margaret River

A small town of only 4,500 inhabitants, Margaret River is a great base for exploring the surrounding wine regions. It is a town of many facets and welcomes tourists with open arms.  It is said the people are some of the friendliest in Australia and is an ideal location for a romantic weekend away.


It’s hard not to find something romantic to do in Sydney! Whether you want culture, cuisine, nightlife, shopping, sightseeing, water sports, theatres, markets, bars or whatever else you can think of, Sydney has it all. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world but has a down-to-earth nature at its heart that enhances this harbour city’s iconic features. Visit the famous Opera house or take a walk around vibrant Darling Harbour. Try any type of food you fancy without having to search for hours and take in a few shops while you’re there.

Every couple has their own idea of the perfect romantic break, but Australia has no shortage of places that provide the perfect setting no matter your preferences.

Our travel story

I think it’s fair to say that I’m a big advocate for travel. I’ve learned so much more about the world and its people through travel than I ever thought possible. I strongly believe everyone should take a ‘gap year’ it doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 50.  Fit in as many countries as you can, take long journeys on shitty buses, get up early to watch the sunrise in a jungle or on a volcano or some other crazy location, eat food from a roadside stall, lose sleep in a noisy hostel. These are all memorable learning moments and some aren’t pretty (especially the noisy hostel part ‘cos I love my sleep). But, I guarantee if you do travel you won’t regret a single moment.

el cuco, el salvador, sunset
Our favourite sunset ever – El Cuco, El Salvador

syros, greece, sunset
Paul contemplating life on a little church on the hill – Syros, Greece

How we started this life of adventure

What brought me to this life of travel? If it wasn’t for the recession in Ireland back in 2009/2010 I’d  probably be living a completely different life. I graduated with a media degree in May 2009, the absolute height of the recession. With no options in my preferred field  (I really wanted to be a Journalist) I got a job  in retail. After a couple of months I got really fed-up, this wasn’t the life I wanted.  I started to consider a move to Australia after watching acquaintances on Facebook who moved there and seemed to be living the life. What have I got to lose, I thought, if it’s awful I can always come home. I applied for the visa at the end of 2010 and got it a few weeks later. I honestly thought I’d last max. a year. How wrong I was. I moved to Australia in January 2011 and I haven’t lived in Ireland (or even Europe since). Seven years later.

tutukaka, new zealand, sunrise
The day we got engaged – Tutukaka, New Zealand

elepahnts, uda walawe national park, sri lanka
Seeing elephants on Safari – Udawalawe, Sri Lanka

Living abroad for seven years

I was very homesick my first few months in Australia, I’d never done anything like this before. But I gave it a chance and soon fell in love with Sydney. I lived in Sydney for four years before we decided we should experience somewhere else, we applied for our Canadian visas. A bit of a nightmare of a process, especially for Paul but we knew it would be worth it. So after a few months of travelling through Central America and Europe we landed in Vancouver. The  start of our two year working holiday visa. We liked Vancouver, it’s such a pretty city, but we found it difficult to live there. It was hard to meet people and I found it difficult to find a job with most employers favoring Canadian candidates.

We would have stuck it out, and probably would have ended up landing on our feet there until we went to Whistler one weekend and fell in love. And so all our focus went into moving here. We moved to Whistler six months after first landing in Vancouver and it was probably the best decision we could have made. We spent 18 months in Whistler, this mad magical place that we miss everyday. But we were getting older and wanted to experience more of the world before putting down roots somewhere. So, I got it into my head that we should move to Capetown, that didn’t work out. So, we went with Paul’s first choice – New Zealand. Which is where we currently live, we spent the first year in the sunny Bay of Islands and for the past two months we’ve been living in picture-perfect Queenstown.

whistler, canada, british columbia
The most magical place that we called home for 2 years – Whistler, Canada

kinsale, cork, ireland
My favourite town in Ireland – Kinsale, Cork

Everything happens for a reason

So, that’s just a short summary of how this life of travel happened for me. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, if it wasn’t for the recession and me not being able to find a good job back home in Cork, I’d probably be living a very different life. Or maybe not. Maybe this life was always meant for me and if it wasn’t the recession something else would have forced me out of my comfort zone to lead this ‘charmed life’. Fate they call it, don’t they. Because it is a bloody fabulous life we’ve created for ourselves but it’s not without its hardships. We work very hard to lead the life we do. Of course the way things have happened for us is a little to do with luck but it’s also a lot to do with sacrifice, lots of research and goddamn long hours working to save for our next adventure.

cinque terre, manarola sunset
Where we get married next Summer – Cinque Terre, Italy

yick cheong building, hong kong
Pure & utter madness – Hong Kong

I wouldn’t change a thing

I know the phrase “I wouldn’t change a thing” is so overused and you’ll probably roll your eyes but 100% I wouldn’t change a single thing so far. And we’re not finished with our adventures yet, we will probably stay in Queenstown for another year. We get married in Italy next Summer and after that we are very seriously considering a move to Hawaii.

The absolute life!

Our Wedding

How to get to the Cinque Terre

Hello everyone,

Now that you’ve received our Save the Date you will know that our Wedding will be held on Saturday August 3rd 2019 in the gorgeous Cinque Terre, Italy. To be more specific, the whole day will be held at Buranco Vineyard in Monterosso al Mare.

A lot of you have been asking how you can get to the Cinque Terre and so in this post we hope to give you all the information you need to best plan your route to the Cinque Terre. As most of our guests will be travelling from Cork, Dublin or London Gatwick, we’ve listed the best options for all three airports.

***Please note you CANNOT book flights until approximately 6 months out if you plan to fly with Ryanair or Easyjet, sometimes they may be released earlier. The British Airways flights should be available in the next two months.  We will keep an eye and email you as soon as the flights are available to book***

vernazza, cinque terre
What you have to look forward to when you visit the Cinque Terre

From Cork:

The only airport in Italy that you can fly to from Cork is Milan Bergamo with Ryanair. At the moment, they fly twice a week on Thursday’s and Sunday’s and the same days for the return journey. Milan Bergamo is typically a cheap airport to fly into, but it is about 45 minutes from Milan City. If you choose this option, we highly recommend spending the night in Bergamo – it’s a gorgeous town.

From Milan Bergamo the fastest and cheapest way to get to Cinque Terre is by train – although it does involve a few changes. From the airport you hop on Bus number one to Bergamo train station, from there you get the train to Milan Central train station, here you will get the train direct to Monterosso al Mare. The train to Monterosso takes 4 hours and costs approximately €34. You can find all the train information here Again, please note that trains are not available to book for next Summer yet

Other options from Cork, would be to drive to Dublin and get the Dublin to Pisa flight detailed below or fly from Cork to London with Ryanair and get a flight to pretty much anywhere in Italy – although, do note that the closest airport to the Cinque Terre is Genoa and the second-closest is Pisa.

From Dublin:

From Dublin the best option is to fly to Pisa. Pisa, is the closest large city to the Cinque Terre so, for those who don’t want to spend too much time messing around – we recommend this option. You can fly from Dublin airport to Pisa with Ryanair, they fly four times a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday and the same days for the return journey.

From Pisa airport you hop on the PisaMover airport bus to Pisa train station which takes only 10 minutes. From Pisa train station you can get a direct train to Monterosso al mare which takes just over an hour and costs approximately €13. You can find all the train information here Again, please note that trains are not available to book for next Summer yet

From London Gatwick:

There are heaps of options from London Gatwick but we recommend either flying to Genoa or Pisa.

Fly from Gatwick to Genoa:

Genoa is the closest airport to the Cinque Terre. You can fly to Genoa with British Airways. Over the Summer, British Airways fly to Genoa every day. Although, British Airways isn’t as notoriously cheap as Ryanair, you may get some good deals if you’re lucky.

From Genoa airport you get the Volabus Genova to Genova Brignole train station, from there you can get the train direct to Monterosso al mare which takes 50 minutes and costs only €9. You can find all the train information here Again, please note that trains are not available to book for next Summer yet.

Fly from Gatwick to Pisa:

You can fly from Gatwick to Pisa with easyjet. They fly every day during the Summer months.

From Pisa airport you hop on the PisaMover airport bus to Pisa train station which takes only 10 minutes. From Pisa train station you can get a direct train to Monterosso al mare which takes just over an hour and costs approximately €13. You can find all the train information here Again, please note that trains are not available to book for next Summer yet

manarola, italian riviera, italy
The beautiful village of Manarola in the Cinque Terre

Some other points to note:

If you do decide to rent a car while you’re in Italy, we do not recommending driving between the villages in the Cinque Terre as the roads are very narrow and winding and take so much longer than the train. The train goes between each of the five villages every 15 minutes. If you do have a car, you can park in a carpark on the outskirts of each village as you cannot drive into the villages, they are all car-free with the exception of some roads in Monterosso al mare

The trains in Italy are very clean and efficient, we recommend booking a Second-class ticket (all the train prices listed above are for Second-class). You can pre-book the tickets online or at the ticket machines in the train stations. Just make sure you validate your ticket before you get on the train (or you may get a fine), there are ticket validation machines on the train platform and they are typically bright red in colour

And, I think that’s it for now – we will continue to update this post as new information comes available so, please keep checking back. If you have any questions please comment in the section below and we will get back to you.


Aimee & Paul x

Why we chose the Cinque Terre Wedding

This time next year, me & Paul will be preparing for the most important day of our lives – our wedding in Italy’s stunning Cinque Terre. Some of you may have visited this colourful area in the Italian Rivera, others may have admired photos on the internet, while for some of you this may be your first time hearing of it. If you’ve not heard of it I recommend googling it pronto, it’s trully a unique part of the world. Which is why we’re getting married there. It brings me great excitement to let you all in on the details of our upcoming Cinque Terre Wedding.

A photo of the town of Manarola – one of the five villages in the Cinque Terre has been my laptop screensaver for, oh, about 10 years. Hilariously, I never knew where it was ’til me and Paul were planning our trip through Italy back in 2014 and he showed me the exact same photo and said “we should go here’”. On  the trip, we stopped here for 4 nights and loved it. I even said when we were there that this was my dream place to get married.

riomaggiore, cinque terre, italy, cinque terre wedding

Paul proposed on “our beach” in Kerikeri, New Zealand this February. We call it our beach because it doesn’t have a name, it’s just a beach at the end of a walk through a rainforest. We spent a lot of time this past Summer sunbathing and swimming and relishing the fact that we had the beach all to ourselves.  When he got down on one knee one evening over a Picnic, I was surprised (I even offered him the wrong hand). P.S. if you’re interested you can read more about our engagement here

When the excitement and novelty of having a ring on that finger died down,  we started talking about where our Wedding would be. There was one thing we were both certain about and that was that we would get married abroad.  We’ve spent our whole relationship travelling the world together and honestly,  it just wouldn’t be us to get married at home (i.e Ireland/England). We wanted to share our love of travelling with our family and friends and what better way to do that than with a Wedding in one of our favourite places in the world.

vernazza, cinque terre, italian riviera

Even though, a Cinque Terre Wedding was top of my list, I was open to other suggestions.  So, me and Paul sat down and came up with a list of what’s most important to us for our Wedding:

  1. It has to be in Europe  – easily and cheaply accessibly for our wedding guests who are from Ireland/England. Also,  preferably a budget airline will fly there e.g Ryanair or Easyjet
  2.  It has to be somewhere lesser-known and nobody I know can have gotten married there
  3. It needs to be by the ocean
  4. It should be relatively inexpensive

vernazza, cinque terre

Making that list helped us narrow it down to three places  – Cinque Terre, Lake Como or one of the Greek Islands. Lake Como got crossed off the list pretty quickly when we realised how expensive it was. Don’t get me wrong, there are cheaper ways to get married in Lake Como but for what we wanted (a wedding on the water and completely private) it just wasn’t feasible. Greece was next to go because it’s not so easy to get to from Cork (where all my family would be flying from). A Cinque Terre Wedding it is!

manarola, cinque terre, cinque terre wedding

We found a great Wedding Planner and a potential Cinque Terre Wedding venue after a few days of research. I recommend joining the Facebook group Weddings Abroad Guide Community  We also simply did a Google search of ‘Wedding Planners in Cinque Terre’, made a list of the best, then, emailed off some questions. After a few days, we were able to narrow it down to who seemed the most helpful and who offered the most practical venues for us. We eventually decided on Melina at Cinque Terre Wedding and are so happy with our decision. Our Wedding Planner Melina is an Australian-Italian so there is no language barrier, she lives in the Cinque Terre and is also fluent in Italian to deal with all the suppliers. The whole process so far has been seamless, and because we are living in New Zealand at present we are so happy that we opted to get a Wedding Planner.

cinque terre wedding, monterosso, italy

When we were visiting home this June me, Paul and my Mom went to the Cinque Terre to meet with Melina and to see if all these years later the Cinque Terre was as magic as we believe. We visited the venue and honestly it was perfect in every way. Exactly how I imagined it to be.

riomaggiore, cinque terre, italian riviera, italy, cinque terre wedding

For our Cinque Terre Wedding, we’re getting married in a vineyard at the top of Monterosso, it will be completely private with a view down to the village and the ocean. It is very us, everything will be held outdoors, even the dinner (it will be in August so the weather should definitely hold up), it’s surrounded by rosemary and vine leaves and the smell is divine.

We can’t wait to share this special place with our nearest and dearest.

cinque terre wedding, monterosso


Who is she? Interview with Aimee of Snap Happy Travel

 – What age are you, where are you from?

I’m 29. From Cork, Ireland.

 – When did the travel bug bite you?

I guess I’ve always had the travel bug and back when I lived in Ireland I tried to go on holiday at least twice a year but this was only for a week or two at a time and to popular European destinations like Spain or Crete. But the ‘backpacking bug’ as I like to call it bit me when I was living in Australia somewhere around the end of 2011.

 – Had you initially intended to travel for work and it grew from there or was globe trotting always the plan?

Every journey has to start somewhere and mine started in Sydney, Australia where I had been living for 4 years and working as an Event Producer. I was lucky enough to be able to travel throughout Australia with my job, say for example I had an event in Darwin on a Monday I would fly up the Friday before the event and cram as much sightseeing in as I possibly could over the weekend. I got to see very city in Australia thanks to my job and I guess it was during that time I decided I wanted to see so much more of the world.

– Who did you go travelling with and why? Did this change at all?

With my boyfriend Paul, who’s from Brighton, England. We met in Sydney through friends back in 2013. He’s travelled quite a bit more than me (which I hate to admit), he’s lived in Cyprus, Tenerife and travelled Southeast Asia before we met. Thankfully living in each others pockets every single day for a year and experiencing foreign and stressful situations didnt affect us as a couple in fact it probably made us stronger.

– Did you keep a diary and take pics along the way and if so, why?

Yes, I tried my best to keep a log of all our daily activities and we took a lot of photos, thousands to be precise. Paul is the photographer though, I dont have as much patience as him to wait for the right moment to take the photo.

– Where did the blog idea come from?

It’s been in the back of my mind for a very long time but I guess I was afraid to start out of fear of failure. I studied New Media and English at the University of Limerick and worked an internship for The Corkman Newspaper, and so writing has always been a huge passion of mine. Thankfully I plucked up the courage to start Snap Happy Travels and now we have our own little slice of the internet where we can share our travel tips and photographs with friends, family and even a couple of strangers.

– What has the reaction to the blog been so far?

Very good so far, I’ve been in contact with a few other travel bloggers and have been asked travel advice from friends and other followers. But I only started the blog a few month ago so it’s definitely still in the early stages. However, I do have big plans for the future of the blog.

– Is Canada home now?

For the next 9 months, yes it is. Whistler in British Columbia is where we’ve been living for the past year and honestly it’s the prettiest but craziest place we’ve ever lived. I’ve never experienced anywhere quite like it.

– Would you like to come home to Cork and if so why?

Cork will always be home. There’s nothing like the Irish people, even when I’m travelling or living abroad I’m drawn to the Irish warmth. I’ve always said that when I start a family I’ll move back home. There’s nowhere better to raise a family in my opinion, I know some people will disagree with me but I’ve lived in Sydney, San Francisco, Vancouver and now Whistler and I still believe Ireland is the greatest country in the world (if we could put a roof over it). We’ve got so much beauty in such a tiny country and my next step is to explore it in depth. Become a tourist in my own country.

– How has travelling changed you as a person?

Completely. Before I went travelling a lot of my family and friends would have referred to me as a Princess – I’d go out and spend half my paycheque on clothes and makeup, but the past year spending hours on sleeper buses in South East Asia and Central America, staying in cramped rooms in hostels, eating at roadside stalls, has transformed me. It has taught me patience, it has taught me that you can learn something from every person you meet, it has taught me that the best food can be found at these tiny roadside stalls but above all it has taught me how incredibly lucky I am to be able travel the world so freely.

– What was the highlight?

There were three once-in-a-lifetime activities I completed while on my travels. The first was a bungee jump in Cairns, Australia. Amazing but terrifying at the same time.

The second was a tour of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves in San Ignacio Belize. A 7km cave system that was used as a Mayan burial site, its filled with swimming pool deep water and is incredibly dark so you have to wear a headlamp at all times. There are different chambers inside with skulls and bones and old Mayan artifacts scattered everywhere. Everything is left exactly how it was when the first explorers found it. Honestly ATM caves has to be seen to be believed, the best I can compare it to is being in an Indiana Jones movie.

And lastly, hiking for hours up an active volcano in Santa Ana, El Salavdor.

– What was the worst thing?

Packed, sweaty and sticky bus journeys that took hours more than expected. Having to use squat toilets. And food poisoning. It’s inevitable.

– If you could change anything about your travels what would it be?

That I had saved more money to travel for longer.

– Using just 3 words tell me about your travels?

Can I use five? Best thing I’ve ever done!

 – What’s next for you?

Our work visa expires in May and we’re planning to transfer to the Caribbean for a year with my job. After that, who knows.

Why Cinque Terre is my favourite place of the year

Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

I know I promised to do a ‘Top 5 Counties’ post but I lied a little and instead I’ve decided to do a ‘Top 5 Places’ series for now. I’m going to write a separate post for each place over the next few weeks. Excited yet? I am! It’s actually been really hard to narrow it down to only five, in the past year we’ve been to hundreds of places and as I’ve said every place has good and bad points, but luckily for you, some have way more good points than bad. And so here is my No.1 –

My new screensaver 🙂

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre was my favourite place of the whole year! And that’s saying a lot considering some of the amazingly beautiful places we’ve seen on our trip. There was a bit of nostalgia (is that even the right word?) for me with the Cinque Terre, you see, it had been the screensaver on my laptop and work computer for about 5 years and I could never figure out exactly where the picture was from. Eventually the boyfriend figured it out and Cinque Terre was added to our 6 week tour of Italy, even though it was a little out of the way, more on that later.

Views over Vernazza

Cinque Terre literally means “five villages”, and Italians often refer to it as the Italian Riviera. It’s made up of  Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. We stayed In Manarola, because that’s the village my screensaver was of and also because in my opinion, it’s the prettiest. There’s very limited accommodation options in Manarola so we ended up booking an apartment from a local lady ( it was beyond perfect for us, down a little cobbled alleyway with a balcony looking onto the village and ocean beyond. There’s also a hostel in Manarola ( it look’s like a converted convent from the outside but the room’s look really cute. I heard they have a curfew though so definitely not a party hostel. But then, if you’re looking for a full moon party rave, Manarola definitely isn’t for you 🙂 If you’re after a bit of luxury – La Toretta Lodge is for you (

The entrance to our apartment in Manarola

As if Manarola couldn’t get any better, my favourite restaurant in the world is here. It’s called Billy’s, doesn’t sound very fancy I know ( but the views, the food, the owner are all superb! We stopped by our first night in Manarola and they were completely booked out but the owner Billy found us a seat inside, there were lots of couples coming up without a booking specifically requesting a seat outside and Billy just laughed at them. We thought this was weird until our next night when we actually managed to get a seat outside. If you don’t like seafood you might struggle a bit at Billy’s, although their pesto is yummy and actually originates from the region, their pasta is home-made. The fish is legit caught fresh that afternoon. It’s true, we saw the fishermen come straight from their boats to Billy with massive fish laid across their arms. Cute story – Billy’s father was a famous fisherman in the area and started the restaurant as a side-business, his wife was an excellent cook you see, and now Billy who spent most of his life as a fisherman has taken over the business. He’s a bit of a legend, if you go to this restaurant make sure to have a chat with him! Anyway, you can buy these massive fish and share them with your table, the waiters will de-bone the fish for you or you can choose to do it yourself (no thanks). We got the 12 course seafood starter, its pretty much every fish dish on their menu and it was heaven. Obviously their dessert is heaven too.

Enjoying dinner at Billy’s

The 12-course seafood starter (half-eaten) of course

As remote as it seems, there’s actually a train that goes to every village in the Cinque Terre. But beware if you get off at Corniglia it’s quite a walk to the village – up a very steep hill. Worth it though, as Corniglia is much-less-touristy than the other villages. Our second favourite village was Vernazza, it’s like a bigger Manarola and if you want a day at the beach go to Monterosso al Mare. Spend a whole day walking (hiking more like) the Cinque Terre coastal trail, the views are insane but bring appropriate footwear – I had flip-flops and a bikini top while everyone else had hiking boots and those special hiking sticks 🙂 Oh well! Bring a good camera too because you will be stopping every 5 minutes.

The beach at Monterosso al Mare

Getting there – we got the train from Florence to La Spezia (the nearest major town) and then a regional train to Manarola. If you want to fly there the nearest airport is Genoa. But I recommend flying to Florence, it’s one of my favourite city’s, and getting the train to Manarola the way I did. The trains in Italy are very clean and super-efficient. But REMEMBER to validate your ticket before getting on board, even if you only bought the ticket a few minutes before, you have to validate your ticket at a little box-thing on the platform. You’ll understand if you’ve ever been on a train in Italy. We learned the hard way (with a fine) 🙁

Cute steps in Manarola village

How the boyfriend felt to be in Manarola

Pros: insanely beautiful, relatively easy to get to, friendly locals, yummy food

Cons: you will never want to leave, don’t go during school holidays as it can get really busy, more expensive than other parts of Italy

Thanks for reading 🙂

Aimee x

P.S. this is where I’m getting married when I do, so to all my friends you will get to see its gloriousness one day 🙂

Sunset at dinner in Billy’s