Heading Down Under? Add these outdoor activities in Australia to your bucket list!
Now’s the time to travel and escape to nature (finally!). Australia’s great outdoors offers an array of experiences, especially now that borders are open and Covid is a sort-of distant memory. Down Under is calling your name, loud and clear. We’re psyched to check out the outdoor activities in Australia, from Adelaide and Brisbane to Melbourne and Sydney. So, take a (coffee) moment to bookmark these revitalising adventures and get into it – because life’s too short to stay indoors!
Best outdoor activities in Australia: Adelaide
1. Visit a wildlife park without fences
Hop over to Kangaroo Island for a few days and spot native wildlife on a private three-day conservation tour. It’s a two-hour drive from Adelaide followed by an easy ferry ride, or a 30-minute flight from Adelaide Airport. You’ll gain insights into the conservation of Kangaroo Island’s key wildlife species, as well as the iconic landscape and wildlife encounters the island is famous for.
2. Take a scenic flight
The view from up top is one you’ll never forget. Design your own experience or pick from one of Hartwig Air’s breathtaking flights. You’ll get to explore (by air) Barossa Valley, Metro Beaches, Kangaroo Island, beaches and vineyards along the coast. Departing from the comfort of a passenger lounge based at Parafield Airport, you’ll travel north, east, south and west to discover an aerial view of Adelaide and South Australia. If you’re looking for something different, you can always make up your own itinerary!
3. Swim with leafy sea dragons
The southern waters of Australia are the only place in the world you can reliably dive with Leafy Sea Dragons. These incredibly beautiful creatures come from the same family as seahorses but grow a lot taller, floating gently in the seagrasses of the ocean. They’re a protected species, and by joining a small group or private dive, you can share your insights and raise the profile of the marine animals. One of the best spots to dive? Rapid Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula, which is a 90-minute drive from the vineyard city of Adelaide. The bay is sheltered from the prevailing currents, which means visibility is often between 15 and 20 metres.
Best outdoor activities in Australia: Brisbane
4. Pair champagne with oysters while cruising the waters
The River to Bay champagne and oyster tour is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the finer things in life onboard a high-speed boat. With the wind in your hair, this cruise takes you along the Brisbane River, out to Moreton Bay Marine Park. You’ll learn about oyster farming, slurp up the freshest oysters, and sip on glasses of French sparkling wine amidst a truly stunning setting. If oysters aren’t your thing, opt for a cheeseboard. Psst: if you’re lucky, you might spot wildlife like dolphins, turtles, dugongs and maybe even a humpback whale or two during whale season!
5. Abseil down Kangaroo Point cliffs
This is what life’s about: taking a step off the edge of Kangaroo Point cliffs! Feel the buzz of excitement as you abseil down this 20-metre drop on an outdoor 1.5-hour abseiling adventure in the heart of Brisbane. It’s the perfect way to combine thrills with unbeatable views while you watch the city cats, boats and kayakers skim across the Brisbane River. Whether you’re an experienced abseiler or a first-timer, no experience is necessary – each session includes safety instructions, briefing and equipment. Just bring your smile!
6. Be amazed at Amaze World
This is one for the kids (or the big kids inside us). Amaze World is a magical, enchanted land bursting with wonder, brought to life by imagination. It’s here, in a secret maze garden, where you can find a cheeky forest trickster who likes nothing more than puzzling anyone who wanders into his world. Put on your thinking cap to solve puzzles, riddles, tricks and twists!
Best outdoor activities in Australia: Cairns & Port Douglas
7. Dine amidst one of the earth’s oldest rainforests
Want a unique outdoor dining experience? Flames of the Forest offers an evening of culture just a short transfer from Port Douglas. It’s hosted by two local Aboriginal brothers who share knowledge of the land, didgeridoo and a dream-time story. Start with a selection of canapes and sparkling wine before you feast on a 7-course banquet menu. Imagine yourself dining under a silk canopy illuminated by hand-made crystal chandeliers. You’ll be immersed in cultural experiences interwoven into the dining experience with music, ceremony and storytelling.
8. Explore the Great Barrier Reef on a unique tour
For a rare opportunity to explore the iconic destination accompanied by Aboriginal guides, check out Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel. Departing from Cairns, you’ll embark on a day-long adventure of guided snorkel tours and learn about the ancient relationships between people, marine creatures and the ecosystem they’ve shared for tens of thousands of years. This is the only experience that celebrates north Queensland’s Aboriginal maritime heritage and allows you to visit two spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef sites, which may include Milln, Flynn, Hastings, Saxon, Norman or Thetford Reef.
9. Try adrenaline-fuelled rafting
Ready for adrenaline junkie-style white water rafting? On its doorstep, Cairns has mighty rainforest rivers and stunning natural gorges with ancient flora and fauna. It’s the perfect backdrop to some of the region’s waterways. Choose from half-day or full-day rafting tours with Cairns Adventure Group, where you’ll get transfers from Cairns, the Northern Beaches and Port Douglas. Glide along the rivers’ changing landscapes, from nail-biting rapids to peaceful, calm water floating. This is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream!
Best outdoor activities in Australia: Darwin
10. Come face-to-face with crocs
Is there anything more exhilarating than meeting Australia’s most mesmerising apex predator, the saltwater crocodile? Experience the ultimate encounter in the Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove. The country’s only crocodile dive sees you lowered into the home of a large saltwater crocodile for 15 minutes to spend some alone time together. You’ll learn to appreciate just how special this awesome specimen is as you come face to face with a ‘saltie’! Don’t worry, it’s totally safe ‘cos you’ll be in a clear circular tube, lowered next to the croc. Tip: make your booking in advance for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
11. Enjoy an e-scooter escapade
Take a load off and zoom on an e-scooter through Darwin’s CBD. You can explore some of the area’s must-see spots including Mindil Markets, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Ski, Sailing and Trailer Boat Clubs, Bundilla Beach, and Fannie Bay Shops. These e-scooters reach a maximum of 15km/h, which is the perfect speed to navigate Darwin’s city and its outdoor landmarks.
12. All aboard a sunset cruise
Easy does it at this two-hour cruise on the ‘Charles Darwin,’ a deluxe three-storey catamaran. This tour will take you past Stokes Hill Wharf, the Esplanade, Larrakeyah Naval barracks, Cullen Bay, and Fannie Bay. Catch the golden hour on the outdoor sun deck and enjoy a buffet dinner with a live commentary of Darwin’s history and landmarks.
Best outdoor activities in Australia: Melbourne
13. Stroll through an Aboriginal heritage walk
Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens were formerly used as a camping and meeting place by the local First Peoples, and this cultural trail brings that to life. Discover the traditions passed down through countless generations on this daily, 90-minute Aboriginal Heritage Walk. You’ll explore the ways that spirit, connection and land intertwine in Aboriginal culture. The experience includes a traditional smoking ceremony and the chance to sample native bush foods and learn about bush medicines.
14. Throw a boomerang
Want to try your hand at hurling a boomerang? Well, now you can on this 90-minute walking tour at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve run by a local Aboriginal cooperative. Located along Australia’s most scenic drive, the Great Ocean Road, the reserve is a wonderful place to get up close with indigenous wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, emus, echidnas, possums and sugar gliders, as well as 160 different species of birds. You might even get the rare chance to enjoy a didgeridoo performance or an introduction to local bush foods.
15. Enjoy a wild day out with eco-friendly fun
Wild Adventures Melbourne has all your bases covered for active outdoor adventures with its nature and wildlife experiences on the Mornington Peninsula. Think stand-up paddling lessons, coastal bushwalking, spring bathing, biking trails and wildlife spotting activities all designed to be sustainability-conscious. Book a private or group bespoke tour and enjoy the ride!
Best outdoor activities in Australia: Sydney
16. Grab a kayak
It’s an early start to watch the sunrise from Sydney’s Harbour, but boy is it worth it! Launching from the shore of the peaceful Lavender Bay, Sydney By Kayak takes you past a number of iconic historic sites including Luna Park and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You won’t miss out on this IG-worthy photo op as your friendly guide will take stunning pics of you from your kayak. Private or group tours are available, but it’s the sunrise tour that truly stands out as you float underneath the Bridge absorbing the tales that built the city.
17. Hop on a sea safari and spot wildlife
There’s an incredible array of wildlife in Sydney Harbour, and the Sydney Sea Safari is the perfect way to get outdoors. This guided tour explores the natural aspects of the world’s largest natural harbour with over 90 bays and several national parks just aching to be visited (by water). Winter or summer, it doesn’t matter. There’s no better way to spot whales, seals and penguins at the harbour.
18. Reach the summit of the Harbour Bridge
The Burrawa Bridge Climb offers an amazing opportunity to discover the story of Sydney Harbour alongside an indigenous storyteller. This three-hour immersive affair starts with an indigenous ceremony before you scale to the summit (it’s only 1,332 steps!). Along the way, you’ll hear stories about the legends of Bennelong and Barangaroo, and make pitstops for photo ops.
Best outdoor activities in Australia: Perth
19. Take a ferry to explore Rotto
‘Rotto’ is Aussie slang for Rottnest Island, a 25-minute ferry ride from the mainland. It’s the perfect place to visit for a trekky outdoorsy day. If you can’t stay the night, pick one or two outdoor activities and get busy. We recommend Aquaplay for all your aquamarine needs, and Paul’s Eco E-bike Tours to see the island on bicycle paths. Along the way, you’ll get the chance to meet quokkas, Western Australia’s cute marsupial residents. You might also spot seals, ospreys and whales if you’re lucky!
20. Step off a rooftop
Looking for a heart-racing adventure? Optus Stadium’s new rooftop adventure, Vertigo, will fuel your adrenaline. As the name suggests, visitors walk several metres beyond the edge of the stadium roof at a height of 42 metres. Don’t worry, you’ll be harnessed from above. Oh, and there aren’t any handrails, so thrill-seekers can peer face-first over the edge for an uninterrupted view.
Take your pick of fun outdoor activities in Australia!