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Australia Travel Guide

13 Wild Outdoor Adventures You Can Only Experience in Australia

There’s a reason Australia is famous for its wild rugged landscape and epic outdoor adventures.

From more active endeavors like hiking Australia’s Red Heart or rafting one of the last truly wild rivers on earth, to more chill adrenalin rushes like camping with kangaroos or gliding in a hot-air balloon over the Yarra Valley, there are endless opportunities to interact with the wild and wonderful outdoors Down Under.

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Sail the Whitsundays

WHERE: Queensland

Charter your own boat to skip the tourist spots and discover the Whitsundays at your own pace. Spend your days snorkeling crystal clear waters with tropical fish and your nights stargazing from the deck. If you don’t feel confident chartering your own boat, guided day and overnights trips are also available.

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Discover the Red Center

WHERE: Northern Territory

Immerse yourself in Australia’s rich Indigenous history with a trip to the Red Center in the Northern Territory. This extraordinary landscape of sweeping deserts, rocky gorges, and burnt-orange plains will pull you in with its magic and mystery. Listen to Dreamtime stories by a fire on a visit to Uluru, one of the most sacred Aboriginal sites. Be awed by the immense scope of the red-tinged Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park. And cool off in still, secluded waterholes surrounded by soaring rocks and eucalyptus trees.

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Meet Crocodiles in the Wild

WHERE: Queensland

Get up close to these deadly creatures on a crocodile safari in tropical Queensland. Jump on a boat and let trained experts guide you through the estuaries where this Aussie icon lives. You might see one sunbathing on the shore or a pair of crocodile eyes peeking up from the water. Some tour operators will even offer the crocs food from the boat so you can see their powerful jaws in action.

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Canoe Katherine Gorge

WHERE: Northern Territory

Paddle slowly along a maze of sandstone waterways and take in rocky riverbanks teeming with native flora and fauna, rock art, waterfalls, and swimming holes on an overnight canoe tour of the Katherine River in Nitmiluk National Park. An overnight canoe tour allows you to travel farther upstream and reach the more remote and stunning gorges. The farther upstream you go, the more scenic the landscape becomes. Gliding through the 70-meter-tall sandstone cliffs, you’ll see long-necked turtles, sunbathing lizards, and even the odd freshwater crocodile.

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Surf at Bells Beach

WHERE: Victoria

Famous on the international surfing scene for its clean waves and consistent right-hander, this Victoria beach is home to the world’s longest-running surf competition—the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach—and the final scene of Point Break was also filmed here. If you’re just a beginner, don’t worry, the beach is suitable for all surfing levels.

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Ride in a Helicopter Across the Twelve Apostles

WHERE: Victoria

Indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles. This row of soaring limestone stacks off the coast of Port Campbell National Park is one of the most remarkable natural wonders in Australia. A helicopter ride will give you a better idea of their size (some are up to 50 meters high!) while you take in the breathtaking views of the coastal landscape. Trips range from 15 minutes to over an hour.

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Bike Down Sand Dunes in Lord Howe Island

WHERE: New South Wales

Feel the wind on your face as you race down the paper-white sand dunes of Lord Howe Island on a 400ccc quad bike. Bike 50-meter-high sand dunes—the largest moving dunes in the southern hemisphere—then head inland and explore the island’s rugged bushland.

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Take a Hot Air Balloon Over Yarra Valley

WHERE: Victoria

Sip a glass of wine on a sunrise tour over Victoria’s breathtaking Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s most important and picturesque wine regions, and watch the sweeping valley transform into a spectacle of color, as the corridors of grape vines are bathed in pink light.

PHOTO: Daiusuke Kurashima/Dreamstime
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Shuck Oysters in Coffin Bay

WHERE: South Australia

Eat fresh oysters you’ve shucked yourself while sitting in the sea on a tour of an oyster farm in South Australia’s Coffin Bay. You’ll walk through the water in waterproof waders to a pontoon in the middle of the sea where you’ll learn how to properly shuck oysters. Best of all, you’ll get to taste test the Pacific and Angasi oysters while sipping a chilled glass of white wine. For seafood lovers, this hands-on experience is a must.

PHOTO: Daiusuke Kurashima/Dreamstime
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Cave Dive on the Limestone Coast

WHERE: South Australia

You’ll feel like you’re on another planet as you explore the mysterious landscape of South Australia’s Limestone Coast, a region known for its water-filled caves and magical sinkholes. Popular spots include Kilsby Sinkhole, a shimmering crystal clear chamber located in the middle of a sheep paddock and Piccaninnie Ponds in Mount Gambier.

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Camp With Kangaroos at Pebbly Beach

WHERE: New South Wales

Seeing a kangaroo is at the top of most people’s agendas when they come to Australia. At Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park, you can go one better and camp alongside the beloved animal. This picturesque beach, surrounded by thousands of hectares of natural bushland, is famous for its swimming kangaroos. You’ll see them sunbathing on the beach, grazing on the grass, and welcoming guests at the national park campsite.

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Raft the Franklin River

WHERE: Tasmania

The World Heritage–listed Franklin River, one of the last truly wild rivers on earth, rushes through steep gorges and lush green bushland, taking you and your raft to the heart of wild Australia. Part of the magic of this wild place is the fact that artifacts over 25,000 years old lie untouched in the lower Franklin’s caves and rainforest. You can drink the fresh water straight from the river and while you will be at the end of the world, tour guides provide hearty meals at the end of each day.

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Hike the Overland Track

WHERE: Tasmania

Considered one of the country’s most famous trails, this track leads through the World Heritage–listed Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Claire, the deepest lake in Australia. You’ll pass through eucalyptus forests, waterfalls, swimming holes, and breathtaking views of the mountain ranges. You might even come across an echidna, quoll, or wombat.

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