Valentines Day is a day for romance, a chance to do something amazing for that special someone in your life. Whether it’s your first Valentine’s Day as a couple or you’ve been with your partner for many years, you can always create great new memories.

Follow these four tips to plan the ultimate romantic Valentine’s Day.

1. Keep in mind your partner’s preferences

You may feel tempted to purchase the same chocolates and dozen roses that everyone else will be buying. That’s expected, right? That, or an expensive piece of jewellery. But giving a unique, thoughtful gift doesn’t have to break the bank.

Instead of following gift-giving trends, consider your loved one’s unique interests. Are they obsessed over sports, Jane Austen, or sci-fi movies? Do they love going to concerts or museums? A little brainstorming and research on your part will help you find a much more interesting and personalised gift.

Another tip is to choose experiences over physical gifts. The options in this category are endless, from the more predictable theatre tickets or weekend get-away, to something unexpected like ballroom dance classes or a skydiving package.

2. Create a mood of anticipation

Plan to take the day off and spend it making great memories. Valentine’s Day in 2015 falls on a Saturday, which may help with this part of the plan. A few days before Valentine’s Day, start dropping little hints, or leave your partner a notecard saying that you’re excited about your plans. Let them wonder, and build the anticipation.

When getting ready for the big date, pay a little extra attention to your personal appearance to increase the feeling that this is a special occasion. Consider buying a new outfit or changing your hair. Feeling and looking your best boosts your confidence and signals to your partner that you think they’re worth an extra effort.

3. Tell your loved one how you feel

Instead of just buying a card this year, try to put into words exactly what your partner means to you. If you are creative, consider writing a poem, or song lyrics, or even creating a piece of art describing how you feel.

But if you don’t think of yourself as creative, don’t let that intimidate you. Your partner won’t be expecting a Shakespearean sonnet or an original symphony. What is important is that it comes from you and really expresses your feelings. If you write something from the heart, it’s guaranteed to mean a lot.

4. Plan an activity you don’t usually do

Most Valentine’s Day dates are focused around food, but that doesn’t mean you have to be predictable. What if you could spend several hours on a romantic boat ride drinking sparkling wine and having a lovely relaxed lunch or dinner? And you’ll have none of the stress or clean up that comes with cooking at home.

If you want to plan the ultimate romantic lunch or dinner outing, consider booking a Captain Cook harbour cruise. This year Captain Cook offers options for lunch and dinner on both Friday and Saturday.

For the main dinner seating, you can choose from a 3- or 6-course meal and a chocolate gift, with wine and beer included. You can also dance the night away to a live band, all while cruising around the lovely Sydney Harbour. Sydney Harbour is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, and it looks even more gorgeous at night. What a way to make an impression!

Don’t just go through the motions this year. Why not make an effort to create lasting memories instead? With a little planning and research, you’ll be ready to create a very memorable Valentine’s Day in 2015.

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The Murray-Darling Basin covers over 1 million km²,  and is an important ecosystem supporting hundreds of unique species. The Basin includes approximately 30,000 separate wetlands, and connects the three longest rivers in Australia. But settlement in the Basin and the use of trees and water resources for human needs has taken an environmental toll.

The Australian government are taking steps to alleviate ecological damage, including authorising $1.8 billion to fund irrigation infrastructure upgrades and water management projects. And conservationists have designated nationally threatened species within the Murray Basin wetlands to offer increased protection.

Wetland fauna

The Murray-Darling Basin is massive and contains a large diversity of native fauna, including hundreds of species of birds and lizards, more than 50 species of frogs, and 85 mammalian species. The wetland areas tend to have the most diverse biological ecosystems, and provide habitats and breeding grounds for fish, birds, plants, and invertebrates.

Creatures that specifically dwell in the wetlands include 98 species of waterbirds, including the Painted Snipe. Wetland snake species include the Tiger Snake and Red-bellied Black Snake, though other snakes may move to wetter areas when the surrounding climate becomes too dry. Lizards include the Eastern Water Skink and Eastern Water Dragon.

Environmental challenges for the wetlands

The Murray Basin wetlands play an important regulation role in the environment by recycling, absorbing, and re-releasing nutrients from decayed matter. They also help improve local water quality by acting as natural filters, trapping sediment and pollutants.


The weathering of rocks in the Basin, the presence of saline groundwater, and water evaporation from the river as it flows through dry country are all factors contributing to the rising salt content of soil and water in the Murray-Darling Basin. If the salt level rises too high, it can be toxic to plants and animals that are not adaptive.

As a short-term solution, salt interception points have been set up to physically remove excess salt. More research is needed for a longer-term solution, which will most likely involve a large-scale government management project.

Algae blooms

The blue-green algae in the Murray Basin wetlands are actually a type of bacteria. The two most common types are Anabaena and Microcystis. Both use photosynthesis like algae, and are part of a natural freshwater environment. The problem occurs when conditions are too favourable for the bacteria, leading to tremendous growth and the formation of toxic scum.

Blue-green algae growths can affect water quality, causing skin and eye irritation to creatures that drink the water. Some species even produce toxins that can lead to liver and nervous system damage in humans. Even after an algae bloom dies down, the decaying bacteria can negatively affect oxygen levels in the water, causing sickness and death to aquatic animals.

Careful monitoring of blue-green algae level is required to mediate the danger level. In some cases, increasing the rate of water flowing in an area can help prevent an algae bloom, but this is not always possible.

Visiting the Murray Basin

Despite the ecological challenges faced by the Murray Basin wetlands, the land remains some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll ever have the chance to visit. The Murray River is ancient and has been around for more than 60 million years. Its basin has been inhabited by humans for at least 40,000 years, and it contains nearly 10,000 archaeological sites in addition to the spectacular wildlife.

One of the world’s longest rivers, the Murray River is accessible via the Murray Princess inland paddlewheeler. Choose from the 3-night wetlands cruise or a longer 7-night cruise to explore more of the Basin. You’ll get to see the South Australian outback at a leisurely pace, and enjoy a selection of guided tours, nature walks, and eco-excursions to make the most of your trip. Don’t miss the chance to explore this amazing landscape.

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There are many wonderful fine dining experiences to be sampled in the beautiful city of Sydney. With so many choices and options available on your doorstep, you’ll have endless possibilities when it comes to a relaxing evening out on the town. Whatever variety of food or dish that you have a craving for, Sydney has plenty of options to satisfy your palate.

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Chris Howey /

Summer holidays are the perfect time to enjoy the delights of Sydney and the harbour. The magnificence of the Harbour Bridge together with the Opera House provide a spectacular backdrop for tourists and locals alike. It’s an invitation to be out in the sun, walk by the water, smell the salt air, and be close to nature and the city alike while you cruise on the harbour to your destination of choice.

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Rajdeep Matharu /

Sydney is regularly listed as one of the top places in the world to spend New Year’s Eve, and how could you spend it anywhere other than on Sydney Harbour? Sydney’s New Year’s Eve firework displays are legendary, and the secret of their success is the City of Sydney’s Creative Ambassador program.

Every year the City of Sydney invites a new Creative Ambassador to make every New Year’s Eve a “once in a lifetime” experience. This year’s theme is Inspire, and it promises to do just that.

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Courtesy of: PomInOz /

If you only see one yacht race in your life, the iconic Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is the one to see. Starting off in one of the most spectacular harbours in the world, the 628 nautical mile race attracts some of the biggest and fastest yachts from around the world and, as you’d expect, significant media coverage. Though you can sit and watch the race from home, the ideal place to experience the start of the race is on the harbour itself. This is why we run two special Boxing Day cruises so you can enjoy front row seats of the action.

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Sydney has a rich Indigenous culture and history. There is a wide selection of places across the city that celebrate and help teach visitors about this in a number of different ways. From celebrating with vibrant live performances to taking one of the cultural Sydney Harbour cruises dedicated to educating visitors about our indigenous people, we’ve got some great ideas suitable for young and old:

Cadigal Place

Dedicated to the original people of the Port Jackson region, Cadigal Place makes up part of the Museum of Sydney. The gallery space acknowledges the continuing culture of Aboriginal Sydney whilst providing visitors with information and educational material on pre and post-contact Aboriginal experience in Sydney as well as some insight into the traditional lives of the Indigenous people of the area.

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Australians love their sport. Sydney is home to some fantastic venues for watching everything from AFL to NRL and plays host to a number of sporting events throughout the year. Here, we’ve listed some of the best events you don’t want to miss. Plus, tips on how to enhance your sports experience. From having pre-drinks on one of the Sydney Harbour cruises that will take you to the event, to getting a group of mates together and being apart of the event, there’s really something for everyone:

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Winter in Sydney

Many cities the world over go into hibernation during winter. But due to Sydney’s mild climate, there is plenty to see and do all year round. From Sydney Harbour dinner cruises to national park camping trips we’ve got a list of the best activities to do during your stay in Sydney in the winter months:

  • Go bushwalking- Sydney has some wonderful places for bush walking just outside the CBD. Visit the Royal National Park and experience the beauty of the bush without sweating it out after 20 minutes of walking. The winter makes the perfect time to explore some of Sydney’s finest natural wonders.
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Spending the holiday season in Sydney and not quite sure how to celebrate? Here we’ve listed the best ways for getting into the action and experiencing Sydney like you never have before. From Sydney Harbour cruises to BBQs on Bondi Beach, we’ve got a great list of activities to help you celebrate the holiday season in style:

Have a BBQ on Bondi Beach

You can’t get any more Australian than having a BBQ with the backdrop of one of the world’s most iconic beaches. Take some mates down and enjoy some great food before taking a dip in the surf. Just remember to put on plenty of sunscreen. You don’t want to spend the rest of your trip in pain from severe sunburn!

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