9 adrenaline rushes found only in Australia
Pump up the adrenaline on your Australian holiday with these exciting adventures.
It’s not every day you get to scale the world’s largest steel arch bridge. Totalling 1,149m (3,769ft) high, it’s a long way down from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But the 360-degree views of the sparkling harbour, city skyline and Blue Mountains are well worth the goosebumps. While you ascend to the summit in your harness, you’ll hear fascinating tales of the bridge and harbour’s rich history.
The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains have more than 47 hikes revealing dramatic cliffs, native wildlife and picturesque waterfalls. With Blue Mountains Adventure Company, you can step off the path and out of your comfort zone on a day of canyoning and abseiling amid the mountains. Once you’re kitted out with a harness, helmet and wetsuit, prepare to wade, jump and abseil your way through the temperate rainforest before the big finale: descending 30m (98ft) down the thundering Empress Falls.
Nothing is guaranteed to make you feel small like swimming with a 14m (46ft) long whale shark. These massive fish are truly the gentle giants of the deep. Located in the north-west corner of the country, Ningaloo Reef – the world’s longest fringing reef – is the only place in the world where whale sharks swim so close to the coast. Plan your trip between late April and early July to snorkel or dive with these majestic marine animals.
The untamed Franklin River flows for 100km (62mi) through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. If one day of adrenaline isn’t enough for you, try an eight-day Tasmanian rainforest rafting expedition blending camping, starry night skies and wondrous wildlife. Expect everything from tranquil gorges to exhilarating rapids and hair-raising river drops. No previous experience is required, just a love of adventure.
Coming face to face with a great white shark is an incomparable adrenaline rush. In the waters off the southern tip of South Australia's Eyre Peninsula, you can climb into a cage where nothing stands between you and a great white but steel mesh. You'll be suspended just below the surface, breathing through a 'hookah' as you scan the ocean for the first glimpses of a shark – sometimes almost 6m (19.5 ft) long.
The Gold Coast is famous for its high-rise towers and sparkling blue stretch of coastline, and you'll get a great view of them both from the top of the city’s tallest building. At 270m (886ft) high, the SkyPoint Climb to the summit of the Q1 Resort building is Australia’s highest external building climb. If the stairs to the top don’t take your breath away, the view certainly will.
The trees of southern Western Australia are among the tallest in the world, soaring up to 75m (246ft) high and 20m (65ft) wide. These mind-boggling trunks were once part of the supercontinent Gondwana and hold more than 65 million years’ worth of history. Feel chills down your spine as you walk between them along the Tree Top Walk’s suspended walkway. Looking down from the highest point – 40m (132ft) above the ground – you’ll see why they call this place the Valley of the Giants.
Night diving opens up a whole new underwater world for scuba divers. There’s an added element of mystery as you watch the ocean come to life under the glow of your dive light. The scene changes entirely, as day creatures retire and unique nocturnal organisms emerge. Watch as shrimp, lobsters and crabs dance around your torchlight. You might even spot reef sharks and stingrays.
Picture 74 idyllic islands fringed by the bright turquoise ocean and sparkling white sand. The Whitsundays are awe-inspiring from the ground and from above. Take your thrills to the sky on a skydiving escapade from Airlie Beach, where you’ll freefall 4,572m (15,000ft) over palm-fringed beaches. Fly between June and September and you’ll have a good chance of spotting migrating whales beneath you.