The door opens and the person in front tumbles out, dropping like a stone into the clouds. I look around – nothing but crazed eyes. I guess this is it. 14,000 feet of empty sky awaits me.

I’ve been waiting years for this moment, desperate to do a skydive. But the last few hours of this Monday morning in Wollongong have been some of the longest of my life.

I’d already taken the flippant “hope nothing goes wrong this time” comments from the instructor in my stride – trying to scare the punter shitless is the first rule in the Working in Extreme Sports Manual.

I’d even remained calm while squeezing on to a plane about the size of my fridge.

The flight was probably 10 minutes. I’ve got no idea. For what seemed like 10 hours I stared at the door, unable to stop grinning like a madman verging on delirium.
“We’re definitely connected yeah?” I ask my instructor (the one with the parachute).
“Not yet,” she replies. Excellent.

But the moment arrives.

Goggles on, I edge up to the door and look down at the world.

Fear, excitement, suicidal tendencies all swirling around my mind. Suddenly, forgetting to check the instructor is now actually attached, the only natural thing seems to be to jump into the void. So that’s what I do.
“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck,” is all I can scream in the kind of guttural roar I didn’t even know I could produce.

Within seconds I’m plummeting at 250km/hour, tearing through clouds as I drag the beach towards me. Wow.

I’m freefalling and it’s incredible. After hours of intense thoughts my mind is suddenly clear, this is purely about enjoying the mind-blowing, adrenalin-pumping, rubber-faced moment.

And a minute later we’re suddenly hanging effortlessly in the sky, admiring the least obstructed view of New South Wales coastline you’re likely to enjoy… luckily my instructor has remembered to pull the chord, I’m not sure I would have done.

We float gloriously down, sliding to an easy landing before I’m up, trying to talk my way on to the next plane up again. AW
VERDICT: Guilty of terrorising our skies!

The damage: $275 on weekdays.

The detailsSkydive the Beach Sydney are based in Wollongong. For info, Freephone: 1300 663 634

Joy Flights

“Sometimes passengers vomit,” Joel says as he helps me into the open cockpit of a vintage biplane. “There’s a sick bag to your left.” Ace.

The little plane bumps and shudders down the runway and after only 300 metres, lifts off. My heart lurches into my throat. The nose pulls up sharply – we are flying directly vertical. Then we are upside-down, parallel to the ocean. Then the engine dies… We are plunging seawards, with no sound except the massive rush of wind in my ears. Three seconds, five…

With a roar, the propeller starts up again and we pull up with a jolt before a series of sideways rolls. Joel was in control all along. The bugger. Touching down I’m shocked and speechless. Joel hands me jelly snakes “to counter the adrenalin comedown”. But 500 bags of jelly snakes could not counter this comedown, so thrilling was the high. RS
VERDICT: Guilty of terrorising our skies a bit more!


Now these aren’t the wooden crate, pram wheels and string combos of yore. They’re mean-machine speed-monsters that laugh at you if you don’t push them all the way to 100kph.

After some unnecessary engine revving that blokes have to do, I speed off with such a ferocious pace I can almost hear Murray Walker going, “And that’s Hall, setting the early pace, he really is a magnificent man in every way…” 
First lap completed, I look up to see my competitors, who… are… about half a lap in front.

By lap five I seem to have the hang of it. I was doing 80kph on the straight, slower for the first bend. Round the second. And round. And round. I seem to be spinning. I’m no longer on the track.

I was more Michael Bolton than Michael Schumacher. But holy heck it was fun. DH
VERDICT: Guilty of terrorising purpose-built race tracks!

Whitewater Rafting

For those of you who think the terms ‘white water’ (meaning water gushing rapidly over sharp rocks) and ‘rafting’ (namely a small, unstable sea vessel) don’t mix, take the word of a true coward, and try this increasingly popular sport.

The phrase ‘between a rock and a hard place’ takes on new meaning, and participants are actively encouraged to engage in ‘group sex’ (vigorous bouncing up and down to clear the dinghy of obstacles) on a number of occasions.

If that isn’t enough fun, then the raft guides will throw in a little extra adventure to make sure everyone gets wet. And remember, if you don’t come away from a white water experience soaked through, you haven’t had a good time. TA
VERDICT: Guilty of terrorising our rivers!


“Hold tight”, yelled the driver. With that he dropped the throttle and we flew forward at an even faster pace, skimming above the surface, barely touching the water. The speedo read 80mph. Then from nowhere came a quick succession of massive slides, 360 degree spins and powerbrake stops just short of other vessels. I pulled my belt tighter and sank further into my seat. Dropping the throttle even further there came a series of wild zig zags that sent the boat careering on its side, kicking up great walls of water that came crashing down upon us. Back on dry land with sea-soaked hair and white knuckles, I was tingling. It was more thrilling than I had anticipated and certainly a better ride than the ferry. RS
VERDICT: Guilty of terrorising our harbours, seas and other suitable water-based environments!


You know that kid at school who always put his hand up, but never knew the answer? Well, that was me (sorry for being annoying by the way). The worst thing is, I haven’t changed.

Bedecked in helmet and wet suit, I’d done some abseils, swam across some rock pools and generally had a rip-roaring time. Then we came to the top of a 12m waterfall. 
“Right,” says our guide, “we can abseil down this waterfall, or…” he adds, with a challenging twinkle in his eye, “you can jump.” My arm is already in the air (I didn’t learn you don’t always have to stick your hand up either).

Twelve metres is actually a very long way. And there aren’t any lifeguards or safety nets. Everyone else is staring at me with looks that say, “he’s going to chicken out. Or become a lump of jelly”.

I had to jump. So I shut my eyes and stepped out…

And it was an amazing, if heart-stopping, rush. Canyoning is sensational and exhausting fun. And only scary if you’ve learnt nothing from your school days. DH
VERDICT: Guilty of terrorising our, um, canyons!