Valentine’s Day hiking ideas


Valentine’s Day, while once considered just another American holiday, is now firmly entrenched in Australian culture. The day is usually associated with chocolate, flowers and dinner out, but is this just lazy romance? Why not change things up a bit by thinking outside the box and blending hiking with Valentine’s Day for a unique, romantic date out-bush!

In this article we look at some of the considerations for combining hiking and romance.

General considerations

Before we talk about a romantic hiking date let’s set some boundaries about romance in general. Gill and I have been married for many (many) years and if you talk with her about my ability to be romantic she’ll more than likely describe me as a bit hit and miss. Sometimes as hard as I try, things don’t go to plan or I just tend to take the romance for granted. At other times, I get it so right, or as she describes it ‘I pulled a rabbit out of a hat’. In planning a romantic date, whether it be indoors or out-bush, the concepts are essentially the same and usually contain some key components. While there is no definitive list of what is considered ‘romantic’ and it’s definitely something that is seen from an individual perspective, it usually includes the following:

  • Dressing up
  • Picking a romantic location
  • Prioritising conversation or an agreed activity
  • Enjoying each other’s company

Get this right from a hiking sense and you may end up with a partner who shares your love of the outdoors, even if it’s not to the same extent you do.

Benefits of hiking dates

So you love to hike, and you may even be a romantic, so why not combine the two for the best of both worlds? Here are just a few benefits combining romance and hiking:

  • Hiking is a minimal cost activity, usually much cheaper than a dinner out!
  • It provides a great opportunity to decompress and unwind from your day to day life which usually makes you better to be around
  • It provides a great opportunity for interaction with your partner
  • Unlike sitting in a restaurant, hiking gives you an opportunity to move around, to look around, to take in the natural environment, which means that there’s less opportunity for those awkward silences

The where?

If you are planning a romantic hiking date there are some specific considerations that apply over and above the general ones:

  • While short day hikes are a good opportunity, leave the overnight trips until later. Even then this is usually something you work up to once you discover a bit about each other including things such as likes or dislikes particularly if you are planning this as a surprise
  • Taking someone on an outdoor date that doesn’t enjoy the outdoors may not go well so it’s best to start slow. First and foremost if this is a date that is planned for romance then that should be the priority rather than picking a challenging hike just because that’s what you like
  • So what should you look for in a romantic hiking destination? The ideal hiking destination, particularly if this is a first attempt and you aren’t quite sure of your partner’s tolerance for the outdoors, should include:
    •   Keep it short and easy starting with a short day hike
      • We’d recommend no more than a 1-2 hours, return, walking in total, particularly if your partner is a non-hiker
      • If you are trying for a romantic outdoor date, it shouldn’t be a 30km ‘route march’ unless that’s what you are both into
    • Easy to walk trail with good trail tread and good signage. If you are having to focus intently on your footing and where you are going, then you aren’t focusing on each other
    • Pick a scenic trail that has that something special
      • Try to include views, water bodies such as rivers, steams or waterfalls, wildlife, wildflowers – something that just has that ‘nice’ feel to it
      • Don’t pick the steepest hill you can find!
    • Let your partner set the pace
      • Take breaks as required, its not a race!
    • Ideally pick a trail that has plenty of facilities
      • Surprising someone with a remote trail that requires them to go to the toilet ‘au natural’ may be beyond their comfort level
      • Also, pick a trail that has a degree of privacy. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other people around but rather you have the opportunity to have some undisturbed interaction
    • Consider seating options ensuring you have somewhere comfortable to sit and stay dry. If where you have chosen doesn’t have seating, bring a picnic blanket with you
    • Consider your ‘Plan B’ in case the weather turns bad

Pre dinner snack on a hiking date night

Exped Sit Pad Flex to provide a soft dry seat

Dress to impress

Just because you’re going hiking doesn’t mean you can’t dress to impress. If you are planning on a ‘surprise’ outing, you still need to advise your date of the need for appropriate outdoor gear. There’s a list to the surprise:

  • Wear clean and neat outdoor clothes – remember you’re trying to make a good impression and your usual apparel may not make the cut
  • Make sure you have appropriate footwear
  • If it’s cold, or rain is forecast, come prepared with some extra layers, a blanket and possibly an umbrella. These may not be the usual things you take on a normal hike

Gill and Tim looking slightly better than they normally do on trail!

The luxuries

Particularly if you are planning a short hike, you can afford to go a bit heavier on the pack you’re carrying and bring some luxuries to make your outdoor date that bit more special.


For us a typical day hike doesn’t involve anything special when it comes to the food. Typically it’s fruit and nuts and if the hike is long enough for lunch, usually a jar of peanut butter because it’s loaded with calories. But if you’re trying for some romance it’s time to up the food game particularly for when the hike is only a short one given you don’t have to worry about inconveniences such as refrigeration.

Again this is a very personal decision about what you like and what you bring in a hike but if you’re looking at upping the stakes in the romance department then go high quality. I’d suggest staying away from cooking as this can be more of a distraction. For us this includes:

  • A charcuterie meal including a selection of your favourite cheeses, meats, pate and biscuits
    • It’s easy to carry a freezer block if it’s a hot day to keep everything from liquifying in the heat
  • Chocolate
    • Good quality
  • Desert which for hiking will typically be fresh fruit and/or nuts
  • A nice bottle of wine or juice
  • Good coffee or hot chocolate
    • Again given the short distance, its easy to carry a thermos of a good quality hot drink


You may feel the you want to up the entertainment particularly if you don’t feel you can hold a conversation for long periods. Additional luxury items you may want to bring include:

  • Games
  • Music
    • A phone and a small bluetooth speaker work well here
    • Keep the music on the quieter side for both yourselves and anyone else who happens to be around


You need to allow plenty of time away from the hiking so that your date gets to enjoy the experience. If you’ve gone to the trouble of hiking in with all the makings for a great lunch overlooking a great view, allow the time to take it all in.

Platy Wine Preserve, a good option to replace the glass bottle

Something small to break the ice

Next level

Once you feel confident as a couple you may want to take your date to the next level and by that I mean go for an overnight date. This option brings so many more complexities surrounding gear if your date doesn’t have everything they need. Hopefully if you’re a keen hiker you will own multiple sets and have spares you can provide such as a sleep system, a headlamp and hopefully a big enough tent that is comfortable enough for two. In addition, you will definitely need to discuss options for going to the toilet on trail if you haven’t already done so by now.

Again if this is the first time your partner has camped outdoors, make sure you make it as easy as possible so it becomes an encouragement to want to do it again.

Last words

Now we’ve focused on Valentine’s Day as the reason for this article however taking a date hiking is something you can do at anytime of the year so long as the weather is decent.

And remember, its about them not about you! If you frame the experience around those things your date may appreciate, they may want to see you again!

The key takeaway here is that a hiking date should be an enjoyable and easy outing for you both. Put as much effort into a romantic date out-bush that you would into a town-based date. Who knows, you may end up with a lifelong partner who is also a lifelong hiking buddy!

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