Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails, Derby, Tasmania © Tourism Tasmania/Revolution MTB
3 new experiences to try on your Aussie travels
Expanding your horizons isn’t about how far you travel, it’s about what you do when you get there. These Australian experiences are guaranteed to push your boundaries – in a good way.
By Ute Junker
If you want to do more than relax on your next holiday and you love the thrill of trying something new, we have you covered with short-break suggestions that will stretch you mentally and physically. These are holidays that immerse you in your destination in ways you might not have known were possible, making these uniquely Australian experiences all the more special.
Sail the mighty Murray in Victoria
Where: Mildura in Victoria, a 4.5-hour drive from Adelaide.
Flowing slowly between riverbanks fringed with orchards, sandy beaches and mighty river red gum forests, the Murray River is more than just a watery playground. Forming the border of New South Wales and Victoria as it meanders towards South Australia, Australia’s longest river is also a highway that delivers you to the door of some of the nation’s best foodie finds. Discover classic country pubs serving delicious lunches (try the Gol Gol Hotel near Mildura) and award-winning wine regions such as Rutherglen.
If you’ve never captained a boat before, the Murray is the perfect place to give it a whirl – all you need to hire a houseboat is a driver’s licence. Moor your floating home wherever you like, then step ashore to sightsee the pretty towns along the way, or, simply cast a fishing line into the river and see what you catch.
How to experience it: Hire a glamorous houseboat from Boatel Luxury in Victoria’s Mildura.
Bike and sauna in a forest-fringed Tasmanian lake
Where: Derby, a 1.5-hour drive west of Launceston.
Talk about second acts. The former mining town of Derby in north-east Tasmania is now enjoying a new incarnation as a mountain biking hub, thanks to a 125-kilometre (78-mile) network of scenic trails through its picture-perfect mountains and rainforest.
Riders come from across the globe to feel the thrill of flying over granite boulders, past banks of ferns and alongside mountain streams. All of the trails are free to ride and there are plenty of options suitable for beginners, marked as green trails. But it’s not the only experience to try for your first trip to Derby – top off a day on the tracks with a session in Australia’s only floating sauna, perched on the serene Lake Derby. The ultimate luxe-meets-active adventure.
How to experience it: Find your flow on the trails on a group trip with Vertigo MTB Tasmania.
Swim in an outback waterhole in Western Australia
Where: Karijini National Park, Western Australia.
Sure, Australia is famous for its beaches – but have you ever heard about our inland waterholes? Dotted all over the outback, these jewels of the desert offer a thrilling alternative to cooling off on the coast.
Getting to Western Australia’s subterranean Kermits Pool – tucked away deep inside Hancock Gorge in Karijini National Park – inland from the Ningaloo Reef tourism hub of Exmouth, is an adventure in itself. Although the route is less than two kilometres (1.2 miles) long, be prepared to shimmy down ladders, pass through narrow canyons and crevasses, wade through knee-deep water and spider-walk along walls. All that exertion will be worth it when you reach the emerald-hued waters of this otherworldly natural pool, surrounded by soaring red-rock walls.
How to experience it: Take a dip in Kermits Pool as part of an adrenaline-fuelled guided walk to Hancock Gorge.