Skypark Cairns by AJ Hackett, Cairns, Queensland © Skypark Cairns by AJ Hackett
3 travel experiences to face your fears
These boundary-testing activities won’t just give you a holiday high, they will also help you confront your phobias.
By Ute Junker
Conquering your fears can be exhilarating. Whether you have a horror of heights or you dread the dark, these high-adrenaline Australian holiday activities will help you confront your anxieties. Embrace the rush and look forward to coming out the other side feeling invincible.
Bungy jump in a Queensland rainforest
Where: A 20-minute drive north of Cairns.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline hit, it’s hard to beat the thrill that comes from jumping off a 50-metre (165-foot) tower and hurtling towards the earth, trusting in a single rope to keep you safe. And there are few more memorable places to give bungy jumping a try than at Australia’s only bungy tower, in the middle of the rainforest near Cairns. What sets the experience apart is not just the spectacular views (you can see out over the shoreline all the way to the Great Barrier Reef) but the number of different jumps you can try. The 16-strong “jump menu” includes everything from swan dives and backward dives to a blind bungy jump. If that doesn’t satisfy your adrenaline craving, sign up for the BMX jump off the tower roof.
How to experience it: Fancy adding a little extra excitement to your jump? Let the Jump Masters know that you would like to touch the water at the bottom – and don’t worry, it’s 5 metres (16.4 feet) deep.
Dive into the darkness in Perth
Where: Perth, Western Australia.
You may already be familiar with the thrill of strapping on a scuba tank and discovering the underwater world – but a fluoro night dive takes things to the next level. Although that first moment when you sink into the inky waters may remind you of your childhood phobia of the dark, stay brave: on a night dive off Perth or nearby Rottnest Island, your fears will be quickly blown away.
With the help of blue-light torches and mask filters, the otherwise-invisible fluorescent markings on all kinds of marine life – from corals to crabs to moray eels – shine so bright, they could have been made with a neon highlighter. As you marvel at the blaze of colour on local reefs, which form part of Australia’s lesser-known Great Southern Reef, any fear of the dark you had will give way to awe.
How to experience it: Before embarking on your night dive, familiarise yourself with the underwater world by booking one of Perth Scuba’s dive courses.
Ride the air above the New South Wales coast
Under most circumstances, stepping off a cliff is not an activity that we would recommend. Unless, that is, you are about to give paragliding a go – in which case it may be the start of one of your most memorable experiences. Paragliding uses an extremely flexible, elliptical parachute that allows you to soar like a bird on thermal currents. It also allows you to soak up some of the best views you will ever see – and the fact that you are flying in tandem with your instructor adds another level of safety to the proceedings. One of the best places to try it is in Wollongong, both for the steady thermal currents and for the magnificent ocean views.
How to experience it: Book a tandem paragliding experience. It doesn’t require much strength, but you will need to show up with good health and a positive attitude.