The intrepid traveller and occasional funnyman, Jason Godfrey, offers suggestions on how to get that adrenaline rush while Down Under.
TODAY’S savvy travellers are looking for something different from the same stock experiences that everyone else has. If you’re looking for adventure, few continents do adventures better than Australia. Is it any coincidence that Australia and adventure both start with an “A”?
Without further flapping my gums, here’s my list of Awesomely Adventurous Australian Adventures! (Repetition done on purpose, to stress just how adventurous it can get Down Under.)
Australia is a paradise for mountain-biking, with its huge variety of exciting sites that combine cross-country and downhill tracks for all levels of bikers, from professional to frightened beginner. Bike through ancient forest, over deserts in the outback, along scenic oceanic coastlines – whatever the environment, Australia’s got it.
Where: Mount Buller and Mount Beauty in Victoria; Stromlo Forest Park and Thredbo in the Australian Capital Territory; Mount Royal National Park trail in New South Wales; Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park, Wellington Park, and Ben Lomond National Park in Tasmania; Eagle Mountain in South Australia; and Mt Stuart, near Townsville.
Want a physical and surprisingly mental challenge? Try rock-climbing in Australia. With everything from shorter routes to multi-pitch climbing, there are a variety of crags to test your physical stamina and mental fortitude. And if climbing is already your thing, test your abilities in Tasmania’s Federation Peak Blade Ridge, which predictably looks like a blade towering out of the ground, and get 600m above the valley floor. At this height, even experienced climbers can get sketched out.
Where: Greater Blue Mountain, New South Wales; the Grampians and Bungonia State Recreation Area, Victoria; Ormiston Gorge, Northern Territory; and of course Federation Peak, South-west National Park in Tasmania. Climb on!
Diving (with creatures that could eat you)
Specifically, sharks and crocodiles. There are plenty of natural cage diving experiences in Australia where you get in the water with the dark-eyed predator that is the Great White Shark. As someone who has been cage-diving, I find that it’s not just seeing these beasts while being in the water with them, but there is also something ominously exciting about being in a boat circled by 5m-long Great Whites. Of course, this being Australia, you could also get in the Cage of Death and go into the water with a giant crocodile at Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove. Crikey, mate!
Where: Port Lincoln, South Australia; Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia; Ocean World, New South Wales; Crocosauraus Cove, Northern Territory.
Australia is the home of one of only three deep space communication complexes in the world. Head to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (part of NASA’s deep space network) to check out real moon rocks or a Mars Rover replica, or just to gawk at the largest communications dishes in the southern hemisphere! Australia’s clear skies and wide open spaces are perfect for stargazing and astronomy, so check out one of the numerous observatories and planetariums there.
If extraterrestrial life were to contact Earth, this would be the place the message would be received, and if said life were to stage an Independence Day-style invasion of Earth, these giant dishes may just get enough of their attention to be ground zero for the attack!
Where: The Honey Suckle Creek Tracking Station and Tidbinbilla Deep Space Communication Complex, Australian Capital Territory, Sydney Planetarium at the Sydney Observatory; Melbourne Planetarium
Put your winter woolies on
Australia may not be known for its snowy peaks but it does have them. Go skiing, snowboarding or just get on a toboggan and head down the slope at breakneck speed but don’t actually break your neck. In an incredible display of the versatility of the Australian landscape, you can go from strolling in warm temperatures to sipping cocoa in front of a cosy fire surrounded by chalets and snow in just a few hours’ time.
Where: Falls Creek, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham, Victoria; Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass, New South Wales.
There are few things that are as adventurous as harnessing the power of nature to sail a ship across the hostile seas, and there are plenty of opportunities to do exactly that in Australia. Sail a Tall Ship – the same ships the first settlers arrived on – or join one of the numerous world famous yacht races Oz offers. If extreme adventure is what you’re looking for, head to Tasmania for their Three Peaks Race in April where teams sail north of Launceston to Hobart, only stopping to tackle three mountains on the way. I would definitely sail my yacht, if I had one, to climb those peaks.
Where: Whitsunday Islands, Queensland; Sydney, New South Wales; Launceston, Tasmania; Darwin Sailing Club, Northern Territory.
There you have it. Whether it’s sailing, climbing, or simply fending off “alien invaders”, Australia has an adventure waiting for all. Of course, this is barely scratching the surface. Check out www.australia.com for an adventure that suits you.
- Catch the re-run of Jason Down Under on Feb 27 at 11.30pm exclusively on Life Inspired (Astro B.yond Ch728).