1. Croc swimming
In Darwin you can swim with crocodiles. Not cuddly little freshies, but big, bad, grumpy saltwater crocs, the size of tanks. Okay, you’re in an acrylic see-through cage. But that probably won’t stop them trying to rough you up a bit. Come face to very ugly and toothsome face with Chopper, the star of the first Crocodile Dundee film, and other suspected man-eaters. The “Cage of Death” is lowered into the croc enclosure and you are free to swim amongst one of nature’s most dangerous predators, with some measuring up to 16ft long. This is scary sheet.
2. Skydiving (pictured)
Ever stuck your head out of the window on the fast-lane of the motorway? If you have A), we hope you weren’t driving and B), you’ll have the inkling of an idea what a skydive might be like, – if you times that by about 100. Jumping from a perfectly good plane and plummeting through the air at a hundred-and something-kilometres per hour is one hell of a buzz. You canskydive in many spots around Australia, so check for prices and the best possible scenery.
3. Bungy Jumping
With a skydive, once you’re on the plane there’s isn’t really a decision left to make. When you see how effing high up it is it’s too late, the guy attached to you wants to jump. At the top of the bungy platform however, you can still choose… And that’s what makes it so goddamn scary/brilliant. Though you’re lower down, somehow the fear can be greater. So are you brave enough, or are you yella? Our advice: don’t look down and jump as soon as possible – the longer you wait, the worse it gets…
What is it? Difficult to explain. But it’s something like a walk, jump, abseil, swim, scramble, slide, splash journey through a usually spectacular canyon. There are a few places to do this, the Blue Mountains being one of the best. Both wet and dry trips are available and no abseil experience is necessary as training is provided. It’s a lot of fun and will probably involve some screaming.
You see how that river looks all angry and strong – a sort of Mike Tyson of rivers? Well let’s make it crosser by taunting it in our little inflatable ship thing. Great idea huh? Whitewater rafting is about as wise as riding a bull like those rodeo clowns. By heck is it thrilling fun.Queensland’s Tully River is one of the most popular spots.
6. Shark encounters
Sharks are big and scary, but not all of them want to eat you. Probably the most hair-raising experience in Oz is meeting the legendary great white sharks and you can cage dive with these toothsome terrors from South Australia’s Port Lincoln. Another incredible option is swimming with whale sharks, onWestern Australia’s Ningaloo Reef. Giant and gentle grey nurse sharks can be dived with in Manly’s Oceanworld, or from various points on the NSW coast, including Sydney. Smaller reef sharks can be encountered, on, you’ve guessed it, reefs. Talking of reefs, diving or snorkelling is invariably a rewarding adventure and it doesn’t get much better than the Great Barrier Reef (which can be reached from Cairns, Mission Beach and Cape Tribulation – psst the Mackay and Undine Reefs are worth sniffing out).
Some people believe you don’t really get to know an area till you’ve got off your behind, off the bus, donned a backpack and walked through it. Those some people are us. Australia has some amazing treks, the most famous bushwalk being Tasmania’s wondrous Overland Track. See some of the world’s most beautiful bush, valleys and mountains by foot by walking this World Heritage Wilderness area. Waterfalls and lakes unfurl before you and native wildlife, such as wallabies and duck-billed platypuses, are plentiful. Treks don’t get much better – yes, even in New Zealand.
8. Scenic flight
And once you’ve trekked through a beautiful landscape, the ultimate way to appreciate it is from above (it’s nice being on top sometimes). Now unless you can afford a jetpack, your next best option for getting that bird’s-eye view is in a helicopter or small plane. These experiences can seem pricey on the surface, but the memories and the photos will last a lifetime. Truly unique places like Western Australia’s Bungle Bungles and Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef are difficult to appreciate up-close are so are surely worth splashing out for.
The sun bleeding orange across the horizon, Kings of Leon pumping on the stereo, roos bouncing about in the distance, your best mates in the back, an eskie full of coldies in the boot… The best advice TNT got before coming to Australia was: do a roadtrip, preferably through the Outback. Nothing is more quintessentially Oz. Only then can you really appreciate the beauty, uniqueness and the humungousness of this extraordinary continent. Rent or buy a car or van and hit the road, Jack.
10. Hot Air Ballooning (pictured)
When you were young did you blow up balloons and then think wouldn’t it be cool to drift off into the air with it? We did. And that’s why we like it when hot air and balloons get together. Floating over the Australian Outback, expect to be mesmerised by the vast landscape that stretches out before you. Tours from Alice Springs begin before sunrise so you can watch the world wake up below. Over the peaks of the MacDonnell Ranges you’ll be able to spot bemused native wildlife looking at you as if you’re a UFO.