Dial up the romance with a weekend away

In today’s busy world, making time for romance in a relationship is a must. Whether it’s for a special occasion such as an anniversary or a birthday, or just to take some time out to reconnect, a long weekend away as a couple is a great way to keep the love alive.

Couples therapist Melissa Ferrari says devoting time to a relationship helps couples remember why they fell in love, why they are together and helps reignite old passion and memories. “Couples should have a romantic getaway at least two or three times a year,” she says.

Couple riding bikes in the Hunter Valley

Couple enjoying riding in the Hunter Valley

“It is important because with the stress of family life, jobs, parents, in-laws, health issues etc life can be very full-on, and therefore couples don’t get the opportunity to check in on each other, nurture their relationship or spend quality romantic time together. Over many years this can erode the sacred connection of a couple simply because they have not had the experience often enough to truly connect meaningfully and mindfully.”

Ms Ferrari says a romantic escape provides the opportunity to remember who their partner is when they are connected and feeling good, away from the distractions of life. “Two to three nights allows both of you to settle into the experience and wind down your nervous systems so that true connection can emerge, rather than it being rushed and neither of you being fully present,” she says.

“The longer the better and the extra time will allow you to do some activities together outdoors, which is great for the brain as well as your relationship. The nervous system responds to our partner’s touch, voice, eye contact and body warmth, which all contributes to our overall positive physical and emotional health. It ignites our nervous system, taking us back to the early days of the relationship, when our connection felt electric and exciting.”

When it comes to romantic experiences, Spicers Vineyards Estate in the NSW Hunter Valley has all bases covered. These days there aren’t many places where you get a wood burning fire in your room, but this boutique five-star retreat has a fireplace in each of its 12 luxury suites. A two-hour drive from Sydney and one hour from Newcastle, the retreat is in a natural bush setting with its own private eight-acre vineyard. The romance can begin from the moment you arrive, with rose petals, candles and a bottle of sparkling wine waiting for you in your suite.

Couple standing by fire in room at Spicers Vineyards Estate

Enjoying one on one time at Spicers Vineyards Estate

But that’s just the beginning, with a myriad of activities on offer for couples throughout the day. Early risers can start the day with a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Australia’s oldest wine region. Soak in the crisp morning air while floating over the cellar doors of Pokolbin, Lovedale, Rothbury and Broke to a height of 2000ft or more, before an a la carte breakfast at Peterson House Winery with a champagne or wine tasting.

Another great way to explore the region is via a horse-drawn carriage ride. Clip clop along Pokolbin’s tree-lined back roads in a Victorian carriage for two and call in at a selection of wineries, ranging from small boutique offerings to larger, more commercial establishments. Or, jump on a pair of electric bikes and ride from winery to winery along a purpose-built track. Sweet tooths can stop off to enjoy an artisan chocolate tasting at Cocoa Nib at Keith Tulloch Wine.

Back at the retreat, enjoy a gourmet picnic at a private location somewhere on the 22-acre property. Staff will set up a rug and pillows so you can laze away the afternoon sipping sparkling wine or champagne and nibbling on a cheese platter and locally-sourced condiments, house made quiche, sandwiches and sweet treats.


Picnic at Spicers Vineyards Estate

Couple enjoying picnic at Spicers Vineyards Estate

A couples’ treatment at on-site day spa, Spa Anise, is a must. The experience begins with a ritual essential oil foot bath and a full body massage, followed by a bamboo foot exfoliation with rich lashings of spearmint and ginkgo, a raspberry and rose hand exfoliation and an exotic moisture boost of guava and Moroccan rose. The spa has two treatment rooms with private courtyards, and after the treatment guests can relax and nibble on a fresh fruit platter.

When it comes time for dinner, head to on-site noshery Restaurant Botanica, which serves modern Australian cuisine with local, seasonal ingredients. Couples are welcomed with a glass of champagne at their table, and can indulge in a five-course degustation menu featuring the chef’s favourites and signature dishes matched with local wines.

Couple enjoying a massage at Spicers Vineyards Estate

Couples massage at Spa Anise at Spicers Vineyards Estate

After dinner, head outside to roast marshmallows under the stars by the outdoor fire pit, or return to your suite to snuggle by the fire in matching gowns and slippers, glass of red in hand. The retreat even offers the services of a ‘bath butler’. While you are out, staff will run a bath and set up candles, rose petals and champagne ready for your return.

Words by Angela Saurine.