Thrill seekers, adrenalin junkies and all Aussie travellers who want to get the most out of life; get your kicks with these adventure holiday ideas. Land, sea or air, there’s something for all climates, skill-levels and willingness to live life on the edge!
Whales, sharks dolphins, penguins, camels, horse - whatever your wildlife fave, we've tracked down the most amazing places and best experiences to come face to face with the best of Australia's wildlife. 1. Swim with the whale sharks, Ningaloo Reef, WA Few people who encounter Ningaloo Reef’s whale sharks (around 12 metres long) deny it is a life-changing event. The best time to swim with these massive softies on the north-west tip of Western Australia (in one of the world’s healthiest reef systems, World Heritage List in 2011), is between April and June. Operators such as Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours,...
Enjoy a living history lesson while tasting, touching and enjoying modern Aboriginal culture on these Indigenous holiday tours (part of Australia's 16 Ultimate Escapes) Spear your own lunch at Kooljaman Staying at Kooljaman (Cape Leveque) Camp, located on The Kimberley's stunningly colourful Dampier Peninsula, you can spear crustaceans, set fish traps, and gain an insight into bush medicine on intimate cultural tours with the Bardi community. Even start from scratch by making your own spear. See: Ultimate Escapes: The Kimberley Blue Mountains walkabout Follow the spiritual journey of the Aboriginal rites of passage with a member of the local Darug tribe...
With diverse landscapes comes an equally diverse number of ways to get outdoors, get sweaty, scare and challenge yourself… Here’s our ultimate action plan (part of Australia's 16 Ultimate Escapes) 12 Apostles coast by helicopter Sure driving and hiking the Great Ocean Road is appealing but let’s take it up a level: how about soaring over the 12 Apostles in a helicopter? 12 Apostle Helicopters offers a range of aerial indulgences from 15-minute trips to hour-long journeys up to Australia’s oldest lighthouse at Cape Otway. See more: Ultimate Escapes: Great Ocean Road Angling for barra’ at Barmurru The shallows of...
Australia’s dry sense of humour blossoms when anyone mentions festival and charity in the same sentence. Here are some of the craziest ways that Aussies have found to raise money and/or community spirit (Steve Madgwick). 1. The Parkes Elvis Festival (January) It’s not the subject of this festival so much as where it takes place that makes Parkes Elvis Festival unique. Imagine a sleepy country town almost five hours’ drive west of Sydney (population 10,000) inundated by 15,000-plus Elvis fans and voyeurs for a few days in one of the hottest months of the year – that’s why it’s one...
Think a 250-kilometre run through the Simpson Desert sounds mad? So did Cathy Finch – until she did it. Now she reckons you should, too… If you’ve ever stood, alone, somewhere in the vastness of an Australian desert, then you’d be familiar with the extraordinariness of its silence. You’re in the middle of bloody nowhere, after all, and there is a sense of great nothingness in all that vastness. But there is also an unshakeable sense of power. It is one thing to spend a few days within this space from the safety of a car or tour bus. It is quite...
Time to saddle up for your next riding adventure? Here are five of the great horseback experiences around Australia. 1. Horseback Winery Tours, VIC Length: one day Vino and ponies; is there a happier match? Based in Red Hill on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Horseback Winery Tours has been taking travellers to wineries on horseback for 15 years, with plans to open a new five-million-dollar equestrian centre and cellar door. Weaving through farmland, down picturesque country roads and across rolling hills overlooking the sea, the tours then stop at cellar doors such as Red Hill Estate, Olive Grove and T’Gallant Winemakers....
One by one, over the past few years the Segway has been slowly rolling into our favourite holiday spaces. Now, city by city, it is silently colonising our urban areas too. By the middle of 2014, tours on the unlikely-looking ‘personal transporters’ (PTs) may start at some of Melbourne (Docklands and MCG) and Darwin's tourist hubs after regulations changes removed restrictions on use in certain areas. In Queensland laws were changed in 2013 that let PTs loose on footpaths (as long as you wear a helmet) and during the past couple of years tours have popped up in Hobart, Perth...
For eco-warriors and people-lovers, Australia is the perfect land for blending travel and volunteering. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh 'Voluntourism' has emerged as a new age reward for the everyday adventurer, but for Australians there has been an international focus, specifically on Asia-Pacific and African countries, for a number of years. But for those who wish to lend a hand a little closer to home, the sparse Australian landscape doles out a number of volunteer opportunities at a range of prices, blending some of the country’s most spectacular environments with the satisfaction of giving back to Mother Earth. From aiding turtles to...
Diving with great whites is confronting… but not for the reasons you’d expect, writes Alissa Jenkins. "I tried to gouge his eyes out, which made him loosen his jaws, but as I attempted to push myself away my hand disappeared back into his mouth. Before he could bite my hand off I pulled it back, ripping it across the teeth – I received 97 stitches in that hand, with only one tendon left.” This is the story of Rodney Fox – the South Australian spearfishing champion who was attacked by a shark in 1963, just a couple of peninsulas east...
It’s fun, it’s a great way to keep fit, it instils a deep and abiding respect for the ocean and the environment, and it might just kindle a lifelong passion. Surfing was first observed by Europeans in Tahiti in 1767 and in the intervening centuries it has gone on to become one of the great Australian sports – and the good news is it’s never too late (or too early) to start wiping out… er, hanging ten, we mean. Anyone who’s admired the cool, impossibly laidback surfers as they seamlessly slide through barrels and weave across waves could be forgiven...
Most of us have never forgotten the first time we glimpsed the silent, majestic world under the sea: streaked with sunlight from the ‘other world’ above; intensely colourful; and teeming with fantastical creatures big and small, all merrily gliding or crawling about their natural habitat with complete disregard for you and your wide, open eyes. Snorkelling is a fantastic rite of passage for kids to discover more about our marine life, and for adults to rediscover that sense of childlike wonder. All you need is flippers, a snorkel mask and some nice calm water brimming with marine life. You can...
Sure, swimming and boogie boarding are guaranteed fun. But why not make this the year that everyone in the family tries a new water sport? Set a challenge for your summer holiday to master something new, and get moving. Stand up paddle boarding has taken off in popularity in recent years – it’s relatively easy to learn and suited to a broad age range of age groups. Prefer sitting down? Sea kayaking also combines a fun workout with the opportunity to explore the coastal scenery. Whether you’re paddling around the harbour beaches of Sydney or kayaking out to one of WA...
It may surprise you to know that Australia has over 8,200 islands, with a breathtaking range of environments, wildlife and cultures to discover. It’s not only the tropical options that offer fantastic island getaways – why not think outside the box and take the family on an adventure to one of the more undiscovered islands? How about fishing (or just enjoying the silence) to your heart’s content in the beautiful isolation of Wilderness Island, off the coast of Exmouth in WA? With just five cabins sharing this unique retreat, you’ll be relaxing and reconnecting in no time. Or breathing some...
Not content with land and sea activities? Take to the air with a futuristic water-propelled jetpack from Jetpack Adventures that shoots you up as high as 30 feet (or 8.5 metres) into the air. As your sci-fi moment takes place over water, crash landing is safe (and refreshing). With locations including Sydney and the Gold Coast, Jetpack Adventures has now added Airlie Beach to its adrenalin-packed sites. This one’s for older teenagers aged 16-plus, and adventurous mums and dads. 61 << The colourfully iconic Brighton Beach huts (Vic) Marvel at the pure white sands >>...
Our coastline might be beautiful, but it’s certainly proven a headache for many a ship’s captain over the centuries. Hundreds of vessels have found themselves spiked on a hidden reef or lurking shard of rock, taking on water and sinking forever – or remaining perched above the surface, a constant reminder of the dangers of our shores. The upside of this is that we now have many historic shipwrecks to gawk at, dive on, or study in seaside museums. These watery time capsules make a great talking point to get children interested in our fascinating seafaring history. So much more...
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- The ‘ghost towns’ of outback NSW
- East coast country cottage chic
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #53 road trip the Legendary Pacific Coast, Sydney to Brisbane
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #63 take a beach break, Sapphire Coast, NSW
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #86 a beach break on The Shoalhaven Coast, NSW
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #19 escape to the Rowley Shoals, WA
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #23 a beachy road trip in WA’s South West
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #42 stay at Berkeley River Lodge, WA
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #59 trek with an elder, WA
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #61 drive the Coral Coast, Perth to Exmouth
- Ultimate Escapes: Queensland’s Wet Tropics
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #11 stay at Lizard Island, Qld
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #54 holiday in Queensland’s triple threat
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #78 walk Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #85 swim with Manta Rays, Lady Elliot Island, Qld
- Thalia Haven – the greatest ocean-view bathtub in sight?
- Ultimate Escapes: Tasmania
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #2 road trip Tasmania’s east coast
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #5 book into Saffire Freycinet, Tas
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #13 (a tie) walk the Freycinet Experience, Tas
- Ultimate Escapes: Timeless North, NT
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- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #18 see the wet season in the Top End
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #27 make the Red Centre pilgrimage
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #56 (tie) follow Larapinta Trail (World Expeditions), NT