Take a Remarkable Journey in NSW… To a Memorable Adventure

Hang-gliding in NSWIn New South Wales there is an array of accessible adventure experiences delivering an adrenaline rush to thrill seekers.  From the highs of hang-gliding and parachuting to the depths of caving and canyoning and the satisfying struggle of big game fishing, there’s something appealing for all adventurous spirits.

Looking for more action? Try driving through sand dunes resembling the Sahara Desert; or how about walking, running, climbing or cycling through truly remote landscapes. There are adventures right on Sydney’s doorstep such as a drive in a high-powered Ferrari through spectacular coastal scenery.

A Walk on the Wild Side

Adventurous souls seek extended walks and NSW offers a variety of appealing options - from steep gradients through breathtaking wilderness areas to shorter challenging treks over vast escarpments. Kosciuszko Alpine Guided Walks arranges amazing one- and two-day guided treks, overnighting at campsites in brilliant wilderness surroundings in Kosciuszko National Park. The walks are scheduled around full moon for wondrous soft light. Other options to explore this alpine adventure land include granite torformations and stunted snow gums around Dead Horse Gap or build a snow cave on a mountain survival weekend.

Once the snow thaws there are numerous summer activities to attract adventure seekers in the area. Set out on anovernight trek past glacial lakes and wildflowers to the beautiful Mount Carruthers, follow the history trail on a walk to the former chairlift near Mount Stillwell or pack your swag and riding boots and head out from Adaminaby on amulti-day horse trek with Reynell Rides.

Another challenging walk – and an Australian classic – is the 45km Six Foot Track, crossing the Cox’s River and traversing ridges, gorges and heathlands to link Katoomba with the Jenolan Caves. Ideally, devote three days to it and take your camera. The Six Foot Track Lodge, architect-designed with two cabins and 28 beds, is the place to stay. If you’re super-fit and dedicated, try running it. The Six Foot Track Marathon takes place every March and is so popular that the maximum number of runners (850) was reached in minutes of registrations opening this year.Canberra resident Alex Matthews took line honours for 2010, running the 45km in three hours, 20 minutes and 58 seconds.

Not as long but still challenging, Sublime Point Track up the Illawarra Escarpment has re-opened after six years of reconstruction. Short but steep (for fit walkers only) the round trip takes only a couple of hours. It links the Illawarra coastal foothills to the plateau, ascending sharply from near Austinmer to the Sublime Point lookout. A series of steel ladders assist walkers up the jagged cliff lines. Views are sensational.

Hard-Core Adventures Beckon

Explore NSW with your face to a cliffBald Hill, towering over the Tasman Sea on the southern tip of the Royal National Park, marks the Illawarra’s northern end. Intrepid Australian inventor and aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave used this spot as a launch pad. Today, Hargrave’s successors launch themselves from the cliffs in hang gliders – and so can you. Experts like former US hanggliding champion Curt Warren (who lives in nearby Coledale), offer tandem flights.

For plunging rather than gliding, Skydive Maitland takes you to new heights – namely 14,000 feet or 4267 metres. Reach terminal velocity as your adrenaline surges. Do it tandem (highest tandem skydive in Australia) or alone.

Byron Bay Microlights delivers grand views without the plunge, powering you above some of Australia’s most fantastic scenery, in quiet, uncluttered airspace a few minute’s flight-time from Byron Bay and Mount Warning.

You don’t have to fly for exhilaration. The most memorable way to see the Blue Mountains can be with your face to a cliff –local world-class climbing instructors know the ropes. River Caves Canyon in Wollemi National Park, part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, is a maze of canyons, cliffs and undisturbed forest – perfect for canyoning and adventure.

Wild Waters and Deep Blue Sea

Snorkeling NSWNew South Wales offers every type of water-based leisure activity from scuba diving and snorkelling to windsurfing,yachting, water-skiing and fishing. Solitary Islands Marine Park off Coffs Harbour is one of Australia’s top scuba diving spots. The confluence of the warm East Australian Current, flowing from the tropical Coral Sea, with the cooler northward flow from the Tasman Sea produces great marine diversity. Glide past banks of rainbow-hued coral with more than 550 species of fish, four turtle species and inquisitive marine mammals. Camp in the adjacent Yuraygir National Park (north of Red Rock) or stay more comfortably in Coffs Harbour. Recreational fishing is permitted in many areas of Solitary Islands Marine Park.

World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, home to the world’s most southerly coral reef, is a scuba diver’s dream. Scuba schools can train you for a basic open-water certificate or ramp up your expertise with a specialist course. Howea Divers offers local knowledge, equipment, instructors and divemasters. Its dive boat, The Blue Groper, takes divers to Lord Howe’s premier dive sites. The trip seldom takes longer than 15minutes.

The mid north coast is also home to Fish Rock Cave at South West Rocks - Australia’s best ocean cave dive. At a depth of 24m divers kick into this 125m long channel and behind a wall of 12m gorgonian coral fans are populations of sharks, rays, cuttlefish, cod and a bubble cave.

Paddle around the magnificent white-sandsweep of Jervis Bay in a kayak. The Jervis Bay Kayak Company offers a fleet of current-model single and double Expedition Sea Kayaks and sit-on-top Kayaks.Hires can run from three hours to several days.

A World of Exploration in National Parks

Explore NSW National ParksNational parks offer vast scope for adventure, walks and explorations as long as you desire. You can ‘discover’ numerous aquatic reserves, nature reserves and state conservation areas.

Bretti Nature Reserve in the Upper Hunteris a 4WD explorer’s paradise. So is Werrikimbe National Park behind Port Macquarie, a World Heritage-listed area of wild magnificence. Werrikimbe’s rainforests, heaths, rushing rivers, waterfalls, gorges and spring wildflowers make a fabulous environment, while its dirt roads provide enough steep drops and sharp bends to keep 4WD drivers happily occupied.

In remote Kinchega National Park, the Lake Drive takes in the shores of Lakes Menindee and Cawndilla and the Morton Boolka swamp. Great territory for bird watching (keep an eye out for emus), it’s also favoured by passing kangaroos.

Brisbane Water National Park, south of Gosford and bordering the Hawkesbury, includes the 30km Girrakool-Patongasection of the Sydney/Newcastle Great North Walk. This is one of the world’s great walks, stretching 250km from central Sydney to the Hunter Valley. You’ll pass Sydney Harbour, Berowra Valley, Hawkesbury River, Watagan Mountains, Lake Macquarie and the Newcastle coastline on the way. Go ahead and detour to the Hunter Valley vineyards.

Mountain Bike Magic

The Mount Royal Mountain Bike Ride is a challenging 30km mountain bike ride on a quiet public gravel loop road throughthe World Heritage forests of Mount Royal National Park, 50km north of Singleton in the Hunter Valley.

Or ride along Stony Creek Road off the Lakes Way. Pause to see ‘The Grandis’, the tallest tree in New South Wales. A short rainforest walk provides access to this forest giant, 84.3 metres highand about 400 years old.

Adventure with a Twist

4WD adventuresStockton Beach and Sand Dunes north of Newcastle offers some of Australia’s most enormous driveable dunes. The 4WD and dune buggy capital of Australia, this lies just two hours north of Sydney. Surrounding coastline comes with a shipwreck, a tin-shed shanty town and a few WWII tanks traps.

In the Blue Mountains, those who want to explore their inner Bush Tucker Man, will find a full-on bush survival weekend with High-n-Wild just the ticket. One of the more unusual activities is the Mammoth Caving Adventure in the nearby Jenolan Caves. Be one of the lucky few cavers allowed to explore the deepest cave on the Australian mainland with six hours of underground action. Climb, crawl and squeeze your way through chambers and caverns which are yet to be fully explored.

Thredbo is the place for telemarking. Drop the knee for this old-style skiing; free the heel and free the soul. A wild way to experience the backcountry, telemarking has nothing to do with telemarketing. Outfits like Wilderness Sports can help you.

If you seek remoteness, Tibooburra, five hours drive from Broken Hill, provides it. The name means ‘heap of rocks’ in an Aboriginal language. Local attractions include The Family Hotel (1883) and the world’s longest fence.  Built to keep farmers’ sheep safe from native dogs, the famous ‘dingo fence’ is 1.8mhigh, runs horizon to horizon and then another 5000km for good measure.

 

For more information go to sydney.com