Out there: 10 Aussie extreme sports

Lee Atkinson
Rock climbing (AAP Images)
Pump up the adrenaline on your next Australian holiday with these 10 great adventure activities.
There's no greater way to fly like a bird than hang gliding and the beachside cliffs of Bald Hill at Stanwell Park south of Sydney is the best place to try it. You can undertake full instruction courses that will have you flying solo with your pilot's license as soon as you're ready or, if you prefer to try before you buy, there are tandem 30-minute sightseeing flights available.

Find out more: Hang Glide Oz

Geraldton, around five hours drive north of Perth, is Australia's windsurfing and kite-boarding capital. Conditions are best during the summer months when prevailing southerly sea breezes spice up the action. Experienced windsurfers should head for Sunset Beach, while St George's Beach is great for beginners. Coronation Beach is regarded as one of the world's best locations for wave jumping. You can hire or buy windsurfing or kitesurfing equipment in Geraldton.

Find out more: Windsurfing

If you've secretly harboured dreams of being a fighter pilot like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, you can live the dream on a Strikemaster jet fighter flight. Each adventure includes a full safety and mission brief covering the area of operations, weapons delivery and G-force preparation. You will be outfitted in a full military pilot flying suit, helmet and oxygen mask. Be prepared for the exhilarating acceleration from zero to 600km/h in less than 20 seconds!

Find out more: Jet Fighter

The uninitiated might think it's a crazy thing to do, but once you've done your first bungy jump, you'll be back for more. Inspired by the manhood ritual on Vanuatu's Pentecost Island, where young men jump from 35-metre towers with vines tied around their feet, the modern bungy jump using latex rubber cords is the ultimate swan dive. The 50-metre-high Cairns Bungy Tower is 15 kilometres north of Cairns, surrounded by lush tropical rainforest with panoramic views out to the Great Barrier Reef.

Find out more: AJ Hackett

Ascend into the heavens on a sunrise hot air balloon flight. Suitable for all ages, the most difficult thing about hot air ballooning is getting out of bed so early — most flights begin set up well before dawn in order to catch the stable early morning breezes. There are plenty of places suitable for hot air ballooning around Australia, with the best being the Yarra Valley in Victoria, the Hunter Valley in NSW, Alice Springs and Canberra.

Find out more: Balloon Sunrise, Balloon Aloft and Outback Ballooning


For pure fear, it's hard to beat sitting in the open doorway of a plane knowing you're about to jump out into absolutely nothing. And for sheer exhilaration, it's hard to beat the incredible sense of freedom and speed as you plummet very quickly towards the ground. The best way to get your first taste is on a tandem skydive. Flight time is around 15 minutes or so, free fall around 45 seconds, while the entire jump lasts around four to five minutes. The adrenaline rush lasts much longer.

Find out more: Tandem skydives are available in regional centres across Australia

Come face to face with "Jaws" in the waters off the Eyre Peninsula, home to the great white shark. Film maker Rodney Fox, survivor of a great white attack in 1963, runs cage diving expeditions off Port Lincoln. The four-day, three-night live-aboard tours will get you up close and personal with seven-metre-long creatures in a submersible shark-proof cage. Adventures depart from Port Lincoln.

Find out more: Rodney Fox Shark Experience

The Franklin River is Australia's best white water rafting destination. Rafting this river is challenging, with rapidly fluctuating water levels, unpredictable weather and demanding portages, but it is a magnificent wilderness adventure through deep gorges, superb rapids and awesome scenery. Most trips take between five and 10 days.

Find out more: Rafting Tasmania and Tasmanian Expeditions

Test your nerve rock climbing in the Grampians National Park. There are hundreds of exciting climbs, especially on the rugged cliff faces of Mount Stapylton at the park's northern end and Mount Rosea, just south of Halls Gap. There are several adventure specialists based in Halls Gap.

Find out more: Absolute Outdoors

Thredbo is the capital of mountain biking in Australia, with a range of trails from easy-riding for casual riders to gnarly terrain for the downhill dynamos, as well as regular championship racing events. Either bring your own bike or hire one with all the gear you need from RawNRG, who also run a range of guided trips, including the legendary Cannonball Run, which involves taking your bike up to the top of the mountain on the chairlift and hurtling back down as fast as you can.

Find out more: Raw NRG and Thredbo

Check out RALPH's related article on cage diving with crocs in the NT, and RALPH's hilarious guide to what you can do to be the greatest man ever!

Related link: Top 20 deadliest extreme sports

Have you experienced any of these adrenaline ruses? Share your adventures with us:

User comments
Great climbing photo - of 'Chain Reaction', Smith Rock State Park, Oregon, USA. Why isn't there a photo of climbing in Australia? There are plenty of good Australian photos around - www.climberswa.asn.au or www.chockstone.org
as above
To build on what others have said about this article. 1. Adventure activities, not sports 2. Adventure activities, not fighting and 3. Skydiving Rules! that is all...
How are most of these even classed as "sports"???? How did you ever miss out dirt biking?
have you tried the 140m abseil from the Gordon Dam in sth west Tasmania....now that's extreme....there have been lots of excuses not to get over the edge....like i need to take my library book back being one....
Where is MMA in that list? I think cagefighting is a bit more extreme than some of those. And its got to be the fastest growing sport in the world???
How could this list have possibly missed out expedition length adventure racing? Held once every 18 months, XPD redefines the term 'epic' when it comes to extreme sports. All the details can be found at www.xpd.com.au