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Real adventures Aussie style

Real adventures Aussie style

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It’s so easy to chill out in a relaxed, laid-back land like Australia. On the other hand if you’re tired of pulling a tab off a “tinny” and downing a “coldie”, or throwing another “snag” on the barbie, here’s a few ideas to help you crack into some real heart-pumping adventures to find your pulse again.

Scuba diving

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Australia is mega-diverse, and full of the weird and ancient. Its coastline harbours some of the strangest creatures, among them the dugong grass-eating marine mammal found in the warmer coastal waters from Shark Bay, in Western Australia to Moreton Bay in Queensland. These seas have some of the best diving spots and while everyone dreams of visiting the species-rich Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Marine Park, the lesser-known Mingaloo Reef in Western Australia is just as interesting. Here you’ll find the biggest fish in the world, the docile and playful Whale Shark, friendly enough to just maybe let you hitchhike a ride.

If you can’t make the 1270km drive up from Perth, there’s plenty of scuba-diving around Rottnest Island and Shoalwater Marine Park and the cooler waters of New South Wales and Victoria offer lots of variety. If you’re planning to view part of the country underwater take a look at these top scuba diving sites in Australia.

Crocodile encounters

 

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Speaking of wildlife, Australia is home to some of the most venomous and dangerous on the planet. The “top end” of northern Australia is renowned for its massive “saltie” crocodiles – nearly as prehistoric as the land itself, and swimming with them is not recommended. The best way to see these predators in action is to join a jumping-crocodile Adelaide River cruise, or hire a local wilderness guide to explore crocodile-infested areas.

These man-eaters were nearly hunted to extinction until they were protected in the 1970s. There’s now estimated to be 80,000 roaming the waterways, but they’ve yet to reach the massive size they once were. Even Sweetheart, the 23-foot reptilian star of the 2007 horror film Rogue, who hunts down a group of tourists – true story – doesn’t measure up to the gigantic 29-foot length of Krys, the Savannah King caught, in 1957 on the Norman River.

White water rafting

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It’s hard to remain calm when you are at the mercy of any boiling white-water torrent and the lush rain-fueled rivers in the northern tropics hold some of the best white-water rafting in Australia. Adventurers from all over the world tick off the Tully River as one of Australia’s most famous. Further north and closer to Cairns is the shorter ride through world heritage rainforest on the Barron River. In southern Victoria, four hours either side of Melbourne the foaming waters of the Mitta River in East Gippsland and the Murray River, in the spectacular Snowy Mountains offer lots more adventures.

Water powered jet pack

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Still on water, but hovering above it James Bond style, the futuristic water-powered jet pack is bound to send a buzz through any adrenaline junkie. It’s a relatively recent invention and there are now hire locations in New South Wales and Queensland, including Airlie Beach. There are plans to open more near Melbourne and Perth by the end of the year.

Skydiving and air ballooning

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It’s usually aircraft pilots who question why anyone would ever want to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft, but if you are ever wanting to get a unique bird’s eye view while free-falling I recommend having a look at the top 5 skydiving sites in Australia. Latch on to a tandem jump master if you don’t dare go solo – believe me the world will never look the same.

If this extreme adrenaline-rush is not for you, hot air ballooning can offer a slower, somewhat different kind of toe-curling vertigo-battling exhilaration. Drifting across the sky with the whim of the wind watching the sun come up sounds idyllic, until it comes time to land…

Dirt bike

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You can only count yourself a true blue Aussie if you get into the outback and get covered in the celebrated red dust. There are multi-day guided options in the wilderness of northern Queensland’s Cape York, or try conquering the epic Kimberley and Canning Stock Routes in Western Australia.

Horseriding

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Alternatively don an Akubra hat and a drizabone oilskin and relive the cattle-drover days of old on horseback – the ultimate opportunity to sight wildlife. Of course beachwear will take care of clothing options in the warmer north so you can ride the continuous white sand beaches or trails comfortably.

If you’ve done it all before or these stunts aren’t daredevil enough, the only thing I can suggest is to search out an aerobatic warbird or jet fighter flight. That should get the back of your head pinned to the cockpit seat.

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