There is something spectacular about living in a country that allows you to be snowboarding on a mountain one day and hiking through the arid dessert the next. Australia has countless outdoor experiences that ought to be tried by every traveller, The Culture Trip presents the highlights.
A trip to Australia would not be complete without time spent at one of the seven natural wonders stretching across more than 2000km of Australia’s coastline. From a beginner to a fish out of water, there are courses offered across Queensland to suit everyone. A mask and fins is the only way to get up close and personal with the underwater world teeming with more than 1600 types of fish and coral. For the adventurous travellers, camping is permitted on some islands in the reef, typically costing around $6 per night.
Not for the faint-hearted, New South Wales Blue mountains offers some of the most stunning waterfalls and caves to explore. A combination of abseiling, hiking, swimming, caving and canyoning offers an unforgettable experience for anyone craving a little adrenalin rush. Make sure you do this one with a guide though as it can be very dangerous. Qualified instructors run courses throughout the year, with prices starting at about $200.
White water rafting is perfect for any adventure seeker with a love of the outdoors. The Franklin River, located just south of Queenstown, is known as the best of the Wild Rivers in Tasmania. For a fully immersive experience, Franklin River Rafting offer 8-10 day guided tours of the river which include rafting, hiking and camping under tarps. For those who are just after a few hours of fun, a day trip will set you back around $150 with one of the many rafting companies out there, most of these are based in Queenstown.
Climbers come from far and wide to visit the beautiful crags at Mount Arapiles in Victoria. Arapiles is one of the few climbing crags in the world that offers 2000 quality climbs for all grades. The sandstone rock is perfect for beginners: most climbs have well-formed natural handholds, making Arapiles the ideal location for anyone looking to move out of their comfort zone and enjoy Victoria’s beautiful landscape at the same time. For climbers willing to get in touch with nature, the closest place to stay is The Pines campground, located at the base of Arapiles. There are a few bed and breakfasts scattered close by as well, for those who need a hot shower after a long day.
The typical backpacker route up the east coast forgets the unruly beauty Australia’s west has to offer. Stretching across West and South Australia, the Nullabor plains is the world’s largest limestone karst landscape and is home to one of the world’s largest caving systems. Yanchep National Park, about 50km north of Perth, offer guided tours of Crystal Caves for anyone after an upright experience but for those ready to get dirty, adventure caving tours are available upon booking.
A trip to Australia wouldn’t be complete without hitting central Australia and going bush. The Larapinta Trail is relatively new and is quickly gaining momentum as one of Australia’s best hiking destinations. The ideal time to walk the trail is from May to August. There are campsites and 2WD road access to most trailheads, making Larapinta perfect for a day trip or a longer hike. Make sure you do your research before heading out as some sections can be difficult, but the grading system makes it easy for everyone to decide where they’ll fit in best.
For advanced surfers heading north to South Stradbroke island (Straddie to the locals) will reward you with one of the most consistent breaks in Queensland. For beginners after an instructor, The Spit – just south of Straddie – has some of the best breaks for beginners and plenty of surf schools on offer which will set you back between $50-65 for a two-hour lesson.
At 710 meters, Mt Lofty has been called the meanest hill in Adelaide. The 17km track will have you negotiating hairpin bends, flying down straights and making friends with some of the 130 species of native animals over morning tea. Hiring a bike is the best option for anyone who knows what they’re doing but for those who haven’t jumped on a bike in a while, a guided tour is recommended and will cost just over $100.
Australia does have a few more relaxing outdoor expeditions. If a relaxing trip down white sand beaches, stunning blue water and Western Australia’s rich red soil to offset it sounds a bit more appealing than working up a sweat, camel riding on Cable Beach is for you. 22 kilometers of spectacular scenery, whale and dolphin spotting and a lesson in Broome’s history awaits. Tours start at $30 before sunset or $80 for a sunset ride.
Kosciuszko National Park boasts large ski resorts such as Perisher Valley and Thredbo, with ski and snowboarding lessons available for all skill levels. The park is lively all year round, and during the warmer months hiking Charlotte’s Pass is an easy walk for beginners that doesn’t require a guide. With heaps of campgrounds scattered throughout the park, Kosiuszko caters for those after a quick trip or a longer engagement with nature.