Exhilarating adventure awaits you in Australasia
As blissful as it can be, lazing on a beach for your whole trip may give you a great tan. But remember, that will eventually fade — memories of experiences can last a lifetime.
For the adventurous among you, this part of the world is one of the best in which to throw yourself into activities to get your adrenalin pumping, ranging from the rather tame to the much more extreme!
Hit the slopes
It may be difficult to believe that you can ski in this part of the world, but you actually can! New Zealand has a mountainous landscape and temperate climate providing the ideal conditions for skiing during the winter months (approx. from June to the end of October). South Island has three main ski areas: Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie, Canterbury in Christchurch, and Wanaka in Queenstown; and on North Island, you’ll find Mount Ruapehu — New Zealand’s only skiable volcano.
Take in the phenomenal views of the surrounding lakes and alpine peaks as you’re soaring down the snowy slopes and then kick back in a resort town to recharge those batteries.
What Australia lacks in snow, it makes up for in sand. So you can still hit the slopes — dune slopes!
From Kalbarri on the west coast to Port Stephens on the east coast there are opportunities galore to pick up a board and traverse the dunes. Port Stephens is even home to the largest moving dunes in the Southern Hemisphere — the Stockton Sand Dunes. Little Sahara — a 2 km sand dune system on Kangaroo Island off Australia’s south coast — is another fantastic area to try sandboarding. There are dunes of varying sizes and, for the real adrenalin junkies, hit the highest at around 70 metres above sea level!
Head for heights
What better way to take in the view than from high in the air while plummeting towards the ground? New Zealand is any adrenalin sports lover's dream and adrenalin is certainly what you’ll be feeling whilst in a plane thousands of feet up in the air before skydiving out. And don’t worry, a tandem skydive ensures you won’t be jumping out of a plane on your own — you’ll have a professional with you all the way. You’ll be a budding skydiving-pro in no time! And of course, there are skydiving opportunities in Australia too!
And of course, this isn’t the only hair-raising sport you can experience in New Zealand. The Kawarua Bridge in Queenstown is where AJ Hackett Bungy first pioneered the commercial bungee jump in 1988 and since then it’s taken off. So where better to try it than off that very bridge where you’ll leap off at a height of 43m?
For the real daredevils, there are other places where you can jump from even higher with different options of jumping/swinging to choose from.
A combination of endless beaches, huge swell and fantastic weather means that surfing is a favourite activity for many. A popular area is Byron Bay in Australia where there are masses of surf schools offering lessons, helping you on your way to becoming a pro! Or if you’re already nifty with a board then head to the world-renowned Bells Beach in Victoria, home to the Rip Curl Pro event and waves that can reach five metres. With so many great surfing spots all over Australasia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Or if you fancy something a bit tamer, paddle boarding is a great alternative that has fast become a fitness fad. Kneel or stand while gliding along the surface of the water. Once you get really good you can attempt balancing over waves.
Imagine being underwater and having a shoal of fish or a sea turtle swim by. Scuba diving is a popular choice for backpackers and many even opt to undertake a PADI open water diving course to become certified whilst exploring underneath the waves.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef provides a fantastic opportunity to submerge yourself in the turquoise waters and observe the fascinating, colourful underwater world. Make sure you pay a visit to the Whitsunday Islands in the heart of the reef, famed for their breathtaking appearance of dense jungle and powdery white sand fringed by aquamarine waters.
Fiji is another destination home to some of the best dive sites in the world, which is unsurprising when you consider how the archipelago consists of 300+ islands. Take a leisurely dive to explore part of the 4,000 square miles of coral reef, or if you’re after even more of an adventure, how about a spot of shark diving? And we’re not talking cage diving. This literally involves having nothing but the ocean between you and the toothy creatures. The Fiji Shark Dive at Shark Reef Marine Reserve gives you the chance to see up to eight species of shark, including grey reef sharks, tawny nurse sharks, bull sharks and perhaps even tiger sharks. Don’t worry, though, you obviously won’t just be thrown in by yourself, there will be experienced dive crews to accompany you.
Other water sports
The opportunities to have fun in the water are seemingly endless, from a relaxing kayak along the coast of Samoa to the more vigorous white water rafting in Tasmania if you’re really feeling brave! Take up wakeboarding or windsurfing in Fiji to learn a new skill and grab a snorkel and admire the marine life throughout the whole Australasia region.
So you decided to embrace the rapids by white water rafting… but have you considered experiencing black water rafting? Contrary to expectations, it’s unlikely you’ll come across many rapids in the latter, but it’s still just as exhilarating due to the fact it takes place in the Waitomo Caves in New Zealand. The experience involves floating, abseiling and climbing through the underground passages. Marvel at the craggy walls and ceilings studded with mesmerising lights emitted from countless glow worms.
New Zealand isn’t the only place where you can view this glow worm phenomenon. Tasmania’s Marakoopa Cave is a hotspot, containing the largest glow worm display in the country. Caves are found across Tasmania and there are also underwater caves to explore if you’re an experienced diver.