10 Sunshine State adventure must-dos for thrill-seekers
For the adrenaline junkie, the Sunshine State is one big adventure playground. Within its 1.8 million square kilometres sit countless opportunities to test your limits, if you’re so inclined. Forgo the leisurely holiday next visit and instead embrace the following 10 must-do adventure experiences in Queensland.
1. Bungy jump on a BMX bike
Those not afflicted by a fear of heights might enjoy jumping head-first off a 50-metre tower, BMX in tow. Your life will be in the hands of AJ Hackett Cairns, the company created by the daredevil of the same name who launched bungy jumping into the world. Now he’s the proud owner of Australia’s only bungy tower and giant Minjin Jungle Swing in the middle of a rainforest. There are 16 different bungy jump styles to choose from here, including BMXtreme where you’ll ride a BMX off the roof.
2. Dive with Sharks at Osprey Reef
Get up close and personal with Queensland’s shark population at Osprey Reef. Considered one of the world’s best dive sites, the reef is home to a bevy of deep-sea residents, from barracuda and mackerel to Grey Whale sharks and Hammerheads. While the cage-free experience with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions is not for the faint of heart, it isn’t without ample safety precautions – the company promises to brief divers comprehensively prior to setting off under the sea.
3. Whitewater Rafting on the Tully River
Wrestle rapids with a whitewater raft down the Tully River, residing in one of the state’s wettest towns. Sitting amidst a World Heritage-listed rainforest, the grade three and four rapids will prove a challenge to navigate no matter your experience, but local experts Raging Thunder Adventures will be on hand, arming you with helmet and life jacket for the journey. Post-event, celebrate your effort with a riverside barbecue lunch.
4. Helimuster in the Outback
Immerse yourself in life on the land with a true blue heli mustering experience at Shandonvale Station, 45 minutes north of Barcaldine. Jump aboard the low-flying helicopter to help the resident team muster herds of sheep through the endless stretch of paddock that belong to this working station, but be warned there are no windows in the chopper, so you’ll need to have your wits about you.
5. Clamber up Queensland’s tallest mountain
Grab your hiking boots – you’re headed for the top of Mount Bartle Frere. Queensland’s tallest mountain at 1611 metres, the vertical landmark stands at the only tropical peak of the State 8 (the eight highest mountains in each Australian state and territory). There are a duo of different routes to choose from to reach the mountain’s summit; climb the Bartle Frere Trail accessed via Josephine Falls, or head west via Atherton Tablelands.
6. Mountain Bike Queensland’s toughest course
If you’re an avid mountain biker you’ll no doubt be familiar with Smithfield, home to the world championship downhill course. Sitting just 20 minutes outside of Cairns’ centre, the bike trails here have been visited by many a professional and wind their way along volcanic clay trails through dense rainforest. But those less experienced need not fear; there are plenty of different biking tracks to choose from, ranging from the beginner-friendly to the double black diamond for more advanced riders.
7. Ride Queensland’s fastest rollercoaster
The Gold Coast is the undisputed home of some of Queensland’s best theme parks. It’s here you’ll find Warner Bros. Movie World, where DC Rivals HyperCoaster resides – the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest, longest and fastest HyperCoaster of its kind. Expect 1.4 kilometres of gut-wrenching amusement. Neighbouring Dream World boasts a handful of equally terrifying rides, including the BuzzSaw, where you’ll sit upside-down 15 storeys up, before plummeting at up to 105 kilometres per hour.
8. Skydive the Whitsundays
Take in the view of the Whitsundays from above, skydiving down to greet the 74 idyllic islands in its midst. Skydiving is one of the most popular adventure experiences in Queensland, but companies like Skydive Australia will hold your hand throughout, helping you plunge 15,000 feet over the aquamarine waters of the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Brace yourself for a 60-second free fall, before you’ll float for five minutes down towards your end destination of Airlie Beach.
9. Swim with whales
Splash about with the giants of the deep in their natural habitat when they migrate through Queensland waters with a swim with visiting whales. Just remember to time your trip appropriately; you’ll be able to see humpback whales frolic along the Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast from June through October, with dwarf minke whales taking to Tropical North Queensland in June and July.
10. Trek Queensland’s great walks
Some of the best adventure experiences in Queensland are done on foot. Explore the natural wonders of the state through its bounty of walking trails, which wind through the state’s National Parks. There are countless to choose from, with a track to suit every preference and fitness level. Stand-outs include the five-day Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island, the idyllic Ngaro Sea Trail spread across the Whitsundays, and the 102-kilometre Cooloola Great Walk which stretches along the sandy beaches and trails north of Noosa.