Man standing at Grand Canyon track in the Blue Mountains, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Find Adventure on Australia Travel

Few countries accommodate adventure as much as Australia. And not just one kind of adventure, but seemingly every kind. You can dive beneath the waves and explore the underwater world off the coast, or race across sand dunes aboard a dune buggy. You can hike through vast desert landscapes or zip-line through the tall trees of a tropical rainforest. If you’re looking for adventure, book an Australia travel vacation today.

Adventure Beneath the Waves

As the world’s largest living structure, the Great Barrier Reef attracts people on Australia travel from all over the world. It remains the most impressive coral reef in the world and if you happened to be on the International Space Station, you could even see it from space. That’s how large it is. Thus, it’s hard to top the Great Barrier Reef when it comes to adventure beneath the waves.

The northeastern city of Cairns in Queensland is the best spot to base yourself while exploring the Great Barrier Reef. You can head on daily snorkelling or scuba diving expeditions from Cairns and explore the outer reef. While it’s important to protect the reef from further environmental damage, there are many companies such as Sailaway that ensure a carbon-neutral footprint when exploring the reef. That means you can spend time exploring areas unaffected by coral bleaching, gaze at the bright colours of the coral itself and the many fish and sea critters that call its gardens home, and make sure you don’t contribute to its decline in the process. You can also consider basing yourself out of Port Douglas, staying on Hamilton Island, or staying in the Whitsunday Islands when exploring the reef, as all these spots give you easy access.

Child snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef in the tropical north of Queensland, Australia
Child snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef in the tropical north of Queensland

Of course, the Great Barrier Reef is not the only place to go diving on a trip to Australia. If you head on over to the west coast of Australia around Broome, you’ll reach the Ningaloo Reef, which is the second-largest reef in the country. It’s also one of the world’s great fringing reefs and a prime spot to see whale sharks during their migration. If you plan ahead, you can even swim alongside the whale sharks, sharing the depths of the ocean with these gentle giants.

The opportunities for adventure in the waters of Australia are not just limited to snorkelling and scuba diving. Australia is also a great place for surfing. Bondi Beach, right in the heart of Sydney, is the mecca for surfers across the globe. It’s been the place to go since surfing became popular in the 1960s and is a great place to take a lesson or pal around with surfers. Another popular surfing spot lies along the Sunshine Coast just north of Brisbane. The quiet coastal communities and ample coves and beaches provide great surf breaks and a relaxing place to unwind after days spent on the water.

Surfer at Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Surfer at Bondi Beach in Sydney

Outback Adventures

The Outback is as essential to Australia as the koala or the kangaroo. It also provides plenty of opportunity for adventure on Australia travel. You can ride dune buggies across stretches of desert, hike through remote mountain ranges, and even ride on the back of a camel in the shadow of the iconic monolith, Uluru/Ayers Rock.

Alice Springs is the quintessential Outback town and a great place to get your adrenaline kick. For more tranquil travellers, you can book a ride in a hot air balloon and fly over the MacDonnell Ranges at sunrise or sunset, seeing the red landscape awash in the first or last blazes of the sun. You can rent a quad bike and race over washed up river beds and through old cattle stations in the stretches of the Northern Territory. You can even feel like you’ve travelled back in time with a camel ride across the desert. The town even hosts the Camel Cup every year, a festival that centres on a camel race through Blatherskite Park. You’ll find Uluru/Ayers Rock a bit to the southwest of Alice Springs, where you can also ride a camel through the landscape around the massive sandstone monolith.

Camel tour on a clear winter's evening at sunset in Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory, Australia
Camel tour on a clear winter’s evening at sunset in Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Luckily, the Outback is not restricted to Alice Springs and Uluru. To the north of Uluru, you’ll find Kings Canyon, which offers the best Outback hiking imaginable. The massive natural amphitheatre has 100m-high walls and stretches across the desert. You can head on a 2km hike along the bottom of the gorge, a 6km loop that follows the rim of the canyon, and the epic 22km Giles Track that connects Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs and should be your favoured option if you’re into adventure tourism. In South Australia, you’ll find many more hiking options in the Flinders Ranges.

The underground mining town of Coober Pedy is a good spot to visit to take advantage of many adventure travel options. Coober Pedy was founded as an opal mining town, and while it stills mines the world’s majority of this precious gem, it’s just as well known for its underground homes, known as dugouts. Around half of the town is located under the ground, meaning you can spend at least a day seeing the town’s underground world, from the Serbian Orthodox Church to the Catholic Church and even an entire underground hotel. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can embark on the Mail Run between Coober Pedy and William Creek, which follows in the footsteps of mail carriers from the past. The trail takes you to an abandoned railway outpost, over dried up sea beds and hills, and stops for a drink at the famous Dingo Café.

While you’ll find adventure in the Outback as far afield as the Kimberley in Western Australia, you can also satisfy your urge for adventure on Australia travel with hikes near the major cities. If you’re staying in Sydney, you can easily plan an excursion to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to hike through bush and spot Indigenous rock art sites, or spend a full day hiking through the Blue Mountains to enjoy views of Sydney and the New South Wales coastline.

Cockle Creek at Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, NSW, Australia
Cockle Creek at Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

Riding Through the Jungle

The Outback and the ocean may be the most popular draws on Australia travel, but let’s not forget the jungle. Yes, Australia has jungle – a fair amount of it in fact, as its northerly fringes exist in a tropical zone that’s more environmentally similar to the islands of Indonesia than southern Australia.

Duck-billed platypus

Cairns has the good luck of being close to both the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, so if you’re staying there, you can enjoy plenty of adventure by land and sea. From Cairns, you can book a full-day excursion into the rainforest to see rare wildlife; you may even spot a duck-billed platypus, which is one of the rarest animals in the wild. You can ride the Skyrail to the rainforest village of Kuranda and spend some time getting in touch with Indigenous traditions. You can ride in a hot air balloon over the coastline or go horseback riding through mangrove wetlands and sugarcane fields.

If you want to combine water and jungle, head on a river rafting journey down the Barron River. Perhaps the most exciting option for adrenaline in the Daintree Rainforest is a zip-line adventure that lets you fly through the air from platform to platform and see the rainforest from high in the canopy.

Barron River, North Queensland, Australia
Barron River in North Queensland

Whether you’re diving through coral gardens in the Great Barrier Reef, racing a camel across the red expanses of desert in the Northern Territory, or flying along a zip-line in the Daintree Rainforest, you can satisfy your adventure craving on Australia travel.

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Aren Bergstrom
Aren Bergstrom

Globetrotting Editor - You might say that Aren was destined to become a Globetrotter after his family took him to Germany two times before he was four. If that wasn’t enough, a term spent in Sweden as a young teenager and a trek across Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand confirmed that destiny. An independent writer, director, and film critic, Aren has travelled across Asia, Europe, and South America. His favourite travel experience was visiting the major cities of Japan’s largest island, Honshu, but his love for food, drink, and film will take him anywhere that boasts great art and culture.

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