Dreaming about an adventure? From scuba diving amid dazzling reefs to biking down mountains, and multi-day hikes to learning to ski, there’s an adventure activity for everyone in New South Wales.
Here are just 12 ways to get a thrill across the state.
Skydive in Wollongong
For 60 hair-raising seconds, you’ll freefall at a speed of over 200km/h on a tandem skydive over Wollongong, 90 minutes south of Sydney. Then you can enjoy the incredible coastal views as you float towards the earth for the next five to seven minutes.
Stand-up paddle board in Jervis Bay
The calm, pristine waters of Jervis Bay on the NSW South Coast make it the perfect place to try stand-up paddle boarding with the likes of Jervis Bay Stand Up Paddle. The diversity of marine life here means you may even see dolphins, seals or even whales from your board, as well as dozens of bird species.
Scuba dive at Lord Howe Island
Its crystal-clear waters, vast coral reefs, plentiful marine life and underwater trenches have made Lord Howe Island, around a two-hour flight from Sydney, one of the best places in the world to scuba dive. You can explore more than 100 dive sites here with Pro Dive Lord Howe Island, including the volcanic sea stack of Balls Pyramid. Don’t dive? Lord Howe is also a great place for snorkelling.
Learn to surf in Byron Bay
The warm waters and variety of breaks at the far North Coast town of Byron Bay make it a popular place to learn to surf. There are many surf schools to choose from: at Surf Camp Byron Bay, you’ll get daily lessons and accommodation at a local hostel. Opened in 2020, budget-friendly Surf House Byron Bay is also the home of Soul Surf School.
Hit the slopes in the Snowy Mountains
The NSW Snowy Mountains are home to four ski resorts with runs of all abilities. Perisher and Thredbo are the largest resorts, with daily ski lessons available to help you master the slopes. You can also tackle the cross-country trails, or learn to snowboard.
Get vertical in the Blue Mountains
The dramatic cliff faces of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are perfect for abseiling, canyoning and rock climbing. Sign up for a tour with the likes of High and Wild Australian Adventures based in Katoomba, 90 minutes west of Sydney. No matter which vertical pursuit you choose, the views will be incredible.
Mountain bike in Thredbo
During the warmer months, Thredbo’s snowfields transition to Thredbo Mountain Bike Park, one of Australia’s top mountain biking destinations. Perfect for those looking for an introduction to downhill riding, the Kosciuszko Flow Trail starts at the top of the Kosciuszko Express chairlift all the way to the village, with beautiful valley views all the way. Daily riding clinics are available for all skill levels.
Kayak the Hawkesbury River
The Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, is a tranquil place to spend an afternoon kayaking. But in a full two or three days you could explore the waterways all the way from the historic riverside town of Windsor to Brooklyn, near the mouth of the river, gliding past mangroves, historic towns and national parks as you go. You can hire your own kayak (try Hawkesbury River Kayaks in Brooklyn) or join a guided tour with Hawkesbury River Kayak Tour in nearby Mooney Mooney.
4WD through Outback NSW
One of the best ways to explore the ruggedly beautiful landscapes of Outback NSW is on a 4WD adventure. Start with the 70km loop track through Mungo National Park, perhaps breaking up the journey with a night’s camping at Belah Campground, around halfway along the track. Or let someone else do the driving on a tour with Mungo Lodge, just outside the park.
Hike through Oxley Rivers National Park
Experience the satisfaction of completing a multi-day hike at Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in the NSW Northern Tablelands, west of Port Macquarie. The 65km Green Gully Track can be conquered in four or five days and will take you past gorges, rivers and rainforest as you go.
Walk amid the treetops in the Illawarra
Walk amid the treetops of the Illawarra Rainforest on the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk, two hours south of Sydney. The 1.5km walk begins on the rainforest floor and leads you up into the verdant canopy, where you can enjoy views of the Royal National Park, Lake Illawarra and the Pacific Ocean beyond. To really get the blood pumping, you can also opt to fly through the trees on a zipline.
Go rafting on the Murray River
Get the ultimate adrenalin rush on a guided white-water rafting trip on the magnificent Upper Murray, 30 minutes from Thredbo, with Alpine River Adventures. Descend between intricate rock formations for up to 6km, before taking a relaxing dip in the river’s rock pools.
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