From hair-straighteners to hell-raisers: self-confessed city-soft girly-girl Sara Hirschorn attempts a daredevil week of Australia’s most bad-ass pursuits and endures one hell of a ride… Let me introduce TNT’s wildest week in New South Wales: I’m the guinea pig. A gutless guinea pig, who winced and wailed and came mortifyingly close to a pant-peeing incident. More girly than grimy, more elegant than extreme, I didn’t need a health warning: these are not things I’d try at home.

Most Stomach-Turning: Trapeze Flying

I get stomach-flipping, room-spinning vertigo. You’d think this would ring alarm bells in my happy trapeze-swinging dreams. But I kept telling myself about the big net. A narrow ladder shoots skywards. Teetering at the top, toes overhanging a skinny suspended plank, I take position to ‘fly’. Big net or no net, and despite being securely roped up, this requires an outrageously devilish lean forward over the distantly spinning ground below to take the trapeze. Every bodily instinct screams at 1,000 decibels as I plummet downwards. My body recoils, my legs haven’t shaken with such force since my driving test, when I lost all clutch control and stalled at every set of lights. Beyond shaking, this was a full-on body spasm, causing the teeny board beneath my feet to sway. But the trainers patiently held me secure until I was trapeze-in-hands. In flight one, I was stunned to be swinging upside down, hooked over the trapeze at the knees. In flight two, before I could comprehend which way was up, I’d done a full back flip. And just one hour after my virgin flight, I soared from my swinging perch to a professional hanging trapeze artist who performed a complete body ‘catch’. Ninety minutes prior I was Little Miss Vertigo. Now I’m a back-flipping, body-catching Lady Trapeze. And you know what? It feels out of this world. The damage: One workshop costs $45 The details: Located at Sydney Olympic Park and Byron Bay’s Entertainment Centre. For info, Ph: (02) 9706 8848 or visit

Most Raucous: Quad Biking

Handling a quad bike it seems, requires the same approach as that for a hot-blooded man. They’re rampant little beasts with a cheeky urge to go off course, but you’ve just got to show them who’s boss. Impressed with my own heart-tearing speed and ability to create clouds of red dust, the hairpin bends slammed me straight back to earth. Unable to cope with the speedy about turn, I flew wham, straight into the bushes. More confident in leg two, I careered wham, straight into the bushes. Steely determination in round three threw me wham, straight into the bushes. I blame five magic words; on arrival, I was told: “There is no speed limit.” Admittedly I was highly unlikely to utilise this freedom to its full potential, but hey, I was excited. It was in leg four that I finally nailed it. A forceful lean into the turn brought me wham, flying round that corner. Taking off my helmet to view the extensive map of tracks, with a new beard of dirt and a film of grit lining my teeth and throat, before I knew what I was doing I’d hocked a giant ball of spit into the dirt. Girly, schmirly. I was ready to upgrade to the Bone Shaker. Eat my dust. The damage: Quadbikes $60/hour, buggies $80/hour The details: Located at Boorowa, NSW. For info, Ph: 02 6385 1861 or visit[quadbiking]

Most Ball-Breaking: Pistol Target Shooting

Yes! Finally an activity I was gagging for. I’ve never commanded so much as a water gun, let alone a sleek, loaded pistol. As I entered the foyer, the Charlie’s Angels theme tune was on loop in my head and I felt myself walk in with a bit of a strut. Overseas visitors to Australia don’t need a licence to shoot here; as long as you’re a tourist, over 18 and bring your passport, Sydney International Shooting Centre welcomes you with open arms and a shining .22 calibre pistol. Clutching my 50 rounds of ammunition in a matchbox-sized packet, I was invited to step up to take my gun. At this point, the nerves kicked in. Bullets may be surprisingly tiny, but the weight of the pistol served a potent reminder of the explosive power suddenly at my command. My hands were shaking as I loaded my ammunition and cocked the gun. I raised my arm outstretched and with one eye closed, aligned the sight just below the target, as instructed. I took a deep breath in an effort to compose my unsteady hand. I wrapped my forefinger round the trigger. I squeezed the trigger. A sudden recoil forced my heart straight into my mouth. Smoke wafted from the barrel. I scored a one. Dammit. Regaining my composure, I raised my arm again to take aim. A second pull on the trigger. I scored a 10. Cheers erupted from the instructors. Unnerving and thrilling. And I’m hooked. The damage: Rifle/pistol hire, hearing protection, supervision and 50 rounds of ammunition costs $65.50 (overseas visitors only). The details: Located at Cecil Park, Sydney. For info, Ph: (02) 9826 2380 or visit[shooting Centre]

Most Grimey: Cattle Mustering

The great thing about a cattle-herding expedition is it comes hand-in-hand with a mighty roadtrip. The car loaded with cowgirls, we weaved through hours of jaw-dropping mountain scenery and kissed civilisation (and mobile network coverage) goodbye. As we reached the farm, I realised this had all the hallmarks of your classic Outback horror movie. But then we met Barry. The archetypal Aussie cowboy (with a twinkle in his eye). We ate dinner round his table and slept in his farmhouse. Like stumbling on gold dust, we recognised this was no phony tourist-trap. This is as authentic as it gets. Being novice riders, we warmed up with a scenic trot through barley fields of butterflies and wild kangaroos until we were chomping at the bit for some herding action. As it happens, some cows just aren’t up for being mustered. They moo and scream and run into bushes. Our job was to march them via meadows and creeks to another field, scaring the crap out of the disobedient ones until they rejoined the herd. A hilarious game that on completion leaves you with a satisfying feeling of a hard day’s work done well. Back at the ranch, Barry demonstrated his expert crack of the whip, loud enough to burst your eardrums, then laughed at our attempts of imitation. Then it was onto lassoing, where we finally indulged our all-consuming urges to scream “Yeeehaaa!” My back covered with misjudged self-inflicted lashes, with filth under my fingernails and a new walk to rival John Wayne. The grand finale of the wildest week in NSW – I couldn’t stop smiling. The damage: Three days, including local pick-up, meals, accommodation and activities costs $330. The details:[Jackaroo and Jillaroo] is located at Yarrowitch (inland from Port Macquarie). For info, Ph: (02) 6777 7583