Roses are lovely, and fancy dinners divine, but for our money few things are more romantic than plonking down somewhere to watch that great big star of ours do its thing. With our prime spot on the eastern seaboard, we do get great sunrises in Sydney... but don't dismiss our sunsets: a pink-skyed disappearing act over the Parramatta River is something to behold.
This historical lighthouse on the extreme of South Head was built in 1858 and is standing tall today – use it as a marker for where you need to park yourself to catch a sunrise that we'll just call "full on". That means full pink-through-the-clouds views of the harbour and the ocean, all in one.
OK, so you're wondering whether the chlorine has seeped into our brains, what with us recommending a place with no views of the horizon and one that's walled in by grass mounds… But a gorgeous view does not always a perfect sunrise make. Whether catching the sunrise through water-dappled goggles as you backstroke up the pool or seeing it peer over the grass from a seat at the café, this is some idyllic morningness right here.
This lookout at the Waverton Peninsula Reserve affords postcard-pretty views of the Sydney CBD skyline. And while we are not crazy-big fans of views that are mostly concrete and glass, get here at the right time and you get a double-whammy of skyscrapers reflecting the pink setting sunlight at the same time their lights are coming on.
This park on the shore of Iron Cove solves the problem of "how do you see a decent sunset over the water in the east?" with a little visual trickery. Look straight across the cove to Drummoyne and that sun setting behind the suburb in the west will look as if its melting into the water.
If you're of the bendy persuasion, you might try to catch the tail-end of sunrise at Yoga in the Sky. But if that sounds a little torture-ish, try hitting the viewing platform at sunset for views stretching all the way to the Blue Mountains (on a clear day). Or be one of the last people on the Skywalk (the day's last walk departs at 8pm) for something more hair-raising.
Beauty and convenience don’t always go hand in hand, but Opera Bar is a glam exception to the rule. It manages to be both one of the most enviably located bars in the city as well as its most advantageous spot for a pre-show drink. On the day you snag a seat facing the Harbour Bridge up on the raised promenade you should go buy a lottery ticket, because lady luck has smiled on you.
Watch from a boat
The jewel in Sydney’s crown is its harbour – always has been, always will be. This love affair with the crushed sapphire liquid expanse of the Harbour dates back many, many thousands of years to when the Gadigal people of central Sydney paddled their canoes around the bays, into the coves and across the open seas in search of fish or en route to ceremonial sites or neighbouring settlements. Today, those journeys of discovery are provided by Sydney Ferries when you clamber aboard one of the picture-postcard green-and-yellow ferries that still scoot across the harbour as they have for the past century-and-a-half.