By Andrea Beattie
Travel always comes with a dash of adventure. But what if you’re after a bit more of a thrill? Australia has no shortage of options for adrenaline junkies.
From swimming with saltwater crocodiles to hurtling along on one of the world’s fastest roller coasters at 160km/h, here are five activities guaranteed to get your heart pumping and pulse racing.
1. IF YOU FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED
Head to Queensland’s Gold Coast to ride two of Australia’s most spectacular new rollercoasters. MovieWorld is home to one of the world’s fastest, tallest and longest “HyperCoasters” (with a drop or height more than 61 metres), the newly-opened DC Rivals HyperCoaster. If the top speed of 115km/h isn’t enough to literally blow your hair back, the 4.3Gs will. (Admission $79 per adult)
Back it up with a trip to DreamWorld’s Tower of Terror II, where you’ll speed backwards 100 metres up, then plummet face first down at 160km/h. Yeee-har. (Admission $75 per adult).
2. GO WILD FOR WATER
Dive into a one or two-day white water rafting adventure through Mitta Mitta River Gorge in the spectacular Victorian alpine wilderness. You might want to trim those nails so you can dig them into the sides of your inflatable raft as you go rushing down 19 kilometres of river dotted with 60 terrifyingly named rapids such as the Grave Yard, Dislocation, S Bend, Waterfall and the Gobbler. Gulp.
The best part is that you don’t need any white water experience before heading off on this adventure, which comes with at least one guarantee – that you will get wet! (From $220.)
3. TAKE A DIP WITH A CROCODILE
It’s one thing to feed a massive five metre-plus saltwater crocodile from a safe distance, another thing entirely to swim with it. Definitely not a good idea for those with herpetophobia (fear of reptiles), Australia’s only crocodile dive experience is offered at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin.
Yes, you read correctly, “dive” experience. After farewelling your loved ones, you’ll enter the “cage of death” – a large, clear cylinder roomy enough to hold two people.
Once you’re aboard, croc handlers will feed the croc right in front of you, so you can witness the power of these majestic reptiles up close. Then the cage is slowly lowered below the surface of the water for 15 minutes you’ll never forget. (From $260 for two people.)
4. TAKE FLIGHT LIKE A TOP GUN
For airborne thrills, take a high-adrenaline adventure in the cockpit of a Czechoslovakian L-39C Albatros fighter jet. This experience is not for the faint-hearted as these amazing jets can fly at speeds of up to 400km/h and reach an altitude of 1800 metres.
If you’re game, strap yourself in and in no time your pilot will perform aerobatic manoeuvres such as rolls, loops, inverted flight, wing-overs and combat moves that will leave you absolutely buzzing. It’s perfect for those adventure fanatics who want maximum thrills in minimum time. ($2000 for 20 minutes.)
5. JUMP OFF THAT DAM CLIFF
Brace yourself, literally, as you scale down the 140-metre-high wall of the Gordon Dam in Tasmania in the world’s highest commercial abseil.
Now, 140 metres might not seem that high to some, but it sure will when you’re standing on top of the dam wall looking down – with nothing between you and the bottom. It’s higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge too, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
If you’re one of those people who couldn’t talk themselves into taking the plunge off the high dive at your high school swimming carnival, maybe step aside and make way for the real adrenaline junkies. ($210.)
Original article appeared in the Travel section of The New Daily.