Love is in the air… we’ve all come down with an illness known around the CA office as ‘Herbie the Love Bug’.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow – but if you’ve forgotten to organise something special, or simply don’t know what to do, don’t panic! There is still plenty of time – and besides, we have your day sorted. This plan is for lovers of cars who can’t go a day without enjoying a special moment with that special machine (not to the extent of that guy from My Strange Addiction, that’s going a bit far…).
If you’re in a relationship, this is a way to spend quality time with your car and your partner… but mainly your car. If you’re single it’s just you, your wheels and no limits. Pick the ones that interest you, or go all in and tick off the entire list.
Show you care by rising early and washing his/her/your car. Grab a bucket, a sponge and detergent and scrub-a-dub-dub away. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, vacuum and detail the interior, too.
Your partner will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to, or at the very least you get to start the day with a shiny, clean and fresh set of wheels.
Once you’ve finished with the chamois, appreciating and admiring its shapely lines, it’s time to head out for breakfast-in-bed supplies. Head to your favourite bakery for fresh croissants and stop by a local florist for the obligatory bunch of roses. Or the servo, if the florist is sold out.
Here’s a tip from one of our romantic CA staffers – pull the petals off one of the roses and put them behind the visor on the passenger’s side. When he/she flips it down to block the sun they’ll be showered in petals. Aw, that’s beautiful!
After a long and luxurious lay-in, hit the road and enjoy a scenic drive. No matter where you live there has to be a destination within a few hours that’s worth visiting. In Sydney try heading south past Wollongong to any of the little coastal towns, or head for the Southern Highlands, Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley or Central Coast.
There are plenty of fantastic roads just out of Melbourne as well, try the Yarra Valley (wine country never fails to disappoint), head down the Mornington Peninsula or perhaps towards Macedon and Daylesford.
If you’re heading off ex-Brisbane you’re spoilt for choice with the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland just up the road, or the Gold Coast, regional south-east QLD and northern NSW all within easy reach. One of my favourite drives is out past Beaudesert, the Lions Road is a part of a large loop around spectacular Mount Barney with great twists and turns, lookout spots and crosses the border towards Woodenbong.
Get off the main road and explore the tourist drives or plan a backroad adventure if your car can handle it. Stop for a coffee along the way, take a dip if you’re travelling along the coast, enjoy a pitstop at a winery and purchase a nice drop to enjoy at the end of the day, or pull over and just soak up the serenity.
Pick a nice cafe or restaurant to enjoy a long lunch. Out in the Blue Mountains there is an interesting place called The Hydro Majestic with its fantastic views, little gift shop and quirky decor. Amanda’s on the Edge in Pokolbin has been recommended if you’re heading to the Hunter Valley, or Bells at Killcare north of Sydney at The Entrance is lovely. If you’re heading south try something more relaxed like the Scarborough Hotel.
From Melbourne if you head to the Macedon Ranges there are cute little intimate hotels like the Victoria Hotel in Woodend, for waterfront fare the Mornington Peninsula is loaded with options like Pelikan Societe in Hastings. Chateau Yering Hotel is historic and romantic and does high tea on Sunday’s but you’ll need to book in advance.
Head to Tides Waterfront Dining at Bulcock Beach if you head to the Sunshine Coast, at the Gold Coast I’d head south to Tweed Heads and stop at a casual beachfront local favourite like Cafe D’Bar.
Drive back, but take a different route. Spend 10 minutes before you head off in the morning to plan an alternate way to get home. If you’ve taken the main highway to your destination, take a tourist drive or explore the back roads on the return journey.
Be warned though, if you wing it you might find yourself taking a detour that takes hours longer than expected.
Park at a scenic lookout and surprise your partner with a glass of champagne, picnic blanket and snacks that you’ve stashed in an esky in the boot. Non-alcoholic bubbles for the driver, of course.
In Sydney you can get an uninterrupted view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the bottom of Blues Point Road, McMahons Point, or park at the end of Clovelly Road near the surf club and enjoy the sea-breeze and beauty of the ocean. If you head further south to La Perouse and Bare Island, or up north try North Head in Manly. See the lights of Wollongong from Bulli Lookout if you’re down that way. And it’s hard to go past the breathtaking view from Black Mountain in Canberra.
There’s a well-known spot on the Yarra Boulevard in Melbourne that has a couple of roadside parallel-parking spots and a great view of the CBD skyline, Arthurs Seat has plenty of parking and telescopes for looking out over the bay, you’ll pass numerous panoramic spots in the Yarra Valley and along the Mornington Peninsula – just take your pick! Sky High on Mount Dandenong is a popular spot too or try Williamstown, it has quaint charm about it, looking out past the yachts to the city.
Mt Coot-Tha in Brisbane is a well-known spot to take in the view, Tumgun Lookout in Burleigh Heads National Park is a sure-fire winner and Mt Tinbeerwah is further up the coast near Tewantin but well worth the drive.
Here’s a tip from another member of the CA team – there are places to pull over along the roads leading to the airport from upper Kingsford Smith Drive, perfect to lie on a picnic blanket and watch planes take off overhead.
Head to the drive-in movies. Blacktown is screening Deadpool and Zoolander 2 on Valentines Day. Not very romantic, but it’s not like you’re going to be watching the movie… There’s also a Hunter Valley option called Heddon Greta Drive-In, but movies only screen on Friday and Saturday nights.
Around Melbourne your options for a romantic drive in movie date are Dromana, Dandenong or Coburg. Dromana 3 Drive-In is selling Valentine’s Day packages complete with decadent desserts, Luna Drive-In in Dandenong are offering a free rose and chocolate to the first 300 couples. Coburg Drive-In will be just as romantic as Blacktown, movie choices are Deadpool, Zoolander 2 and Dirty Grandpa.
The Yatala Drive-In is between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, while the Tivoli Drive-In is located near Ipswich. It’s only open Saturdays but offers a family friendly environment with market stalls and a jumping castle. The Eat Street Drive-In is a nostalgic experience, but sadly only open on Friday and Saturday nights so this won’t help you out on Valentine’s Day either.
Being Valentine’s Day eve, you may have found yourself reminiscing about an ex recently – our very own James Ward certainly has. If you too have been feeling sentimental and nostalgic about an old car and wondered whether you’d take it back if given the chance, this might help – read his thoughts on the topic here.
Do your Valentine’s Day plans include your car or do you have any ideas to add? Let us know in the comment section below.