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Edition 49 of Outer Edge is the Ultimate Adventure Pass.

This is our THIRD Adventure Pass – why? Because we know how much you love them so we keep bringing them to you! The Adventure Pass is full of adventure activities from around Australia and the world.

From diving the depths of the ocean, to exploring from a bird’s eye view: relaxing at a resort, to empowering your mind with a retreat – we love to cater for all kinds of adventurer with the UAP.

We have some amazing businesses on board for this edition as we explore across Australia and into International waters; we also provide you with a guided tour of some of Australia’s best road trips or walking trails.

We take you from the top of Queensland with the Whitsunday Coast and Hinterland, to Australia’s Nature Coast in South East Queensland, and on to the Legendary Pacific Coast from the Queensland-New South Wales border to Sydney. We go on a journey from Sydney to Melbourne then we follow the Great Southern Touring Route around Victoria.

This is the ultimate road trip: and we have some fantastic businesses on board to offer you the Ultimate Adventure Pass.

Start planning your next getaway today!

CONTENTS Issue 49

  • 07

    WHITSUNDAY COAST AND HINTERLAND

  • 10

    AUSTRALIA'S NATURE COAST

  • 12

    LEGENDARY PACIFIC COAST

  • 19

    SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE COASTAL DRIVE

  • 23

    GREAT SOUTHERN TOURING ROUTE

  • 32

    AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURES

  • 41

    INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURES

Whitsunday coast and hinterland drive - Bowen to Sarina

The Whitsunday Coast is a diverse and fascinating peninsula that stretches far to include isolated beach communities, inland regional centres and scenic hinterland.

A tropical concourse of sparkling sapphire waters and white sandy beaches, the Whitsunday Coast is one of Australia’s main tourist attractions. Known to be the best place to explore both the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday’s 74 spectacular islands, the coast is also home to the party town of Airlie Beach that is packed with restaurants, bars, and clubs.

The Whitsunday peninsula coast and hinterland drive from Bowen in the north, with its eight spectacular beaches, Cedar Creek Falls with its remarkable cascades set in a natural rock amphitheatre and the secluded, wildlife-rich Hydeaway Bay are all within short distances of each other, and make for one of the most scenic drives this country offers.

Positioned at the top of the Whitsundays, Bowen visitors are treated to a truly authentic paradise. Bowen has an exciting history; being the oldest town in North Queensland, established in 1861, several years ahead of Townsville and Mackay and is well-known as the birthplace of the Kensington Pride (Bowen Special) mango. Bowen is known for its varied industries; including fishing and agriculture.

The Whitsundays activities include diving and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, sailing the 74 Whitsunday islands, ocean rafting or flying over the islands. Driving from Bowen south, there are a plethora of stops you can take in along the way. The Bruce Highway takes you towards Proserpine, however if you are looking to head off the beaten track before you get there, you should take a left onto Collinvale Road, then left again onto Dingo Beach Road, as the destinations you will find if you continue, will leave you breathless.

Hydeaway Bay is set on a long, white, sandy beach on a no-through road about 50 kilometres from Airlie Beach. The beach has five public access points and the nearest boat hire and ramp is just down the road at Dingo Beach. If you’re after peace and quiet, there’s no better place to find it than Hydeaway Bay. You might even be fortunate enough to see some dugong, dolphins, whales or turtles.

Proserpine, to the south-west of Hydeaway Bay is a great place to make a break if you are journeying down the Queensland coast. Restaurants, Cafes, Coffee shops and Food Outlets are a plenty, and nearby is Lake Proserpine and the Peter Faust Dam, home to some of the biggest barramundi you can catch.

Proserpine was established around 1890 just after the sugar mill was constructed and it experienced high growth in the early 1900s as the local sugar industry grew and began exporting raw sugar via the Proserpine Landing where it was sent to refineries. The township is floated by the Proserpine Co-operative Sugar Mill (Now Wilmar Sugar Mill), which processes the region’s 2,000,000+ tons of sugar cane each year for export.

Travelling by car through the Whitsundays wouldn’t be complete without venturing to Airlie Beach. The town is world-renowned as a party stop, and with its well-presented streetscape, and tourist driven economy, it’s a must visit place. Not only is it party central of the Whitsundays, it’s also the best access point for the main tourist islands like South Molle, Hamilton, Hook and Whitsunday Islands. If you’re planning on utilising some of the great available tours on your journey, Airlie Beach is the best spot to take them. Hiking, jet skiing, kayaking, ocean rafting and parasailing are all available from the one place.

Travelling out from Airlie Beach, you will benefit from visiting a little place called Conway Beach. Conway Beach is located 30 minutes from Airlie Beach, and is a popular spot for fishing and wind-powered sports such as kite surfing and land kiting. The two kilometre sandy stretch of Conway Beach is positioned at the mouth of the Proserpine River, and is an excellent location for catching mud crabs, barramundi, king and blue salmon, grunter, whiting, flathead and bream.

Heading south towards Mackay there are a number of stop in towns that pay to visit, purely for the sake of their quaint beauty. Midge Point, St Helen’s Beach, Ball Bay, Cape Hillsborough National Park and Shoal Point are all noteworthy places to visit.

As you head into Mackay, you will notice art deco buildings, charming cafes and palm-tree lined streets that make the city quite unique. The Botanical Gardens, the Bluewater Trail and manmade Bluewater Lagoon are worth every minute you spend there. There are breweries, art galleries, museums, water-skiing and jet-skiing activities, and like every other place in the Whitsundays, there are pristine beaches.

Driving south from Mackay offers you options of a visit to the Hay Point Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, to see some of the biggest ships you will ever lay eyes on, shipping coal for export.

Further south lies the quaint sugar town of Sarina, which is located on Plane Creek, which flows into the Coral Sea, but most of the urban development is on the northern side of the creek, including the Sarina Sugar Mill In Sarina, the most memorable tourist attraction would have to be a large cane toad statue, called Buffy, that is situated in the town centre in honour of Sarina's cane farming history.

whitsunday island camping

Ever imagined what it might be like waking up in paradise?

With Whitsunday Island Camping Connection you can find out! If you’re planning an adventure to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands in North Queensland, camping is certainly an experience you want to add to your itinerary. And camping on the islands is something you’ll never forget.

Spending the night staring into the millions of stars across the sky; falling asleep to the sound of waves gently lapping on the white sands; waking up for an early morning dip in the crystal blue waters – it doesn’t get any better than this!

Whitsunday Island Camping Connection provides everything you need to know about camping on the islands; and they will get you to and from the campground on the island of your choice! They offer information on the islands themselves, camping permits are easily obtained.

They operate a 10 metre aluminum barge, affectionately named Scamper, which will take up to 34 passengers plus luggage; straight up on the beach so you can be dropped off right at your chosen campsite. They operate 7 days a week (with some closure periods for maintenance) from the water front at SHUTE HARBOUR.

If you don’t have your own gear, they provide camping kits for just $40 for the first night and $20 per night after – which includes a 2-3 man dome tent, gas stone, pot and pan, sleeping mats, esky, torch and utensils!

All you need to do is get ready to relax and start exploring the beautiful National Parks and marine life that awaits.

For everything you could possibly need to ensure a fantastic camping adventure on the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, contact Whitsunday Island Camping Connection today.

ocean rafting

Fun, adventure and the Whitsunday Islands – get ready for the ride of your life!

With Ocean Rafting, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the amazing islands of the world famous Great Barrier Reef, visiting pristine snorkeling reefs and taking guided walks through the Whitsunday Island National Parks: and the best part? You get to feel the wind in your hair and the water on your face as you do all of this with a rush of adrenaline on an ocean raft.

Ocean Rafting provides semi rigid inflatable vessels that are super fast, 11 metres in length, and allow you to have fun, adventure and education all in one.

Operating since 1997 in the beautiful Whitsunday region of north Queensland, they are the only tour operator with access to all areas of the iconic Hill Inlet beach on its Whitehaven Beach tours and special snorkel sites at Hook Island and Border Island.

Tours will take you away from the rest of the travelling crowds and into the “wild side” of the Whitsundays, exploring uninhabited islands with beautiful natural scenery and an abundance of marine, bird and animal life.

A multi-award winning company, Ocean Rafting provides two different tours to Whitehaven Beach: the Northern Exposure Tour, which offers plenty of snorkeling time around Hook Island including Mantaray Bay, Maureens Cove and other spots, and takes you to Hill Inlet beach where you can watch the rare estuarine stingrays and ghost crabs at play; and the Southern Lights tour which allows you to relax on the beach of Whitehaven for 2 hours, enjoy a guided bushwalk to Hill Inlet Lookout and snorkel for over an hour around Border Island, Dumbell Island, or one of the “secret” snorkel spots.

Whatever tour you choose, your guide is full of local knowledge and experience so you’ll be learning from the best in the business. With a motto of, "take only photos & leave only footprints", give Ocean Rafting a call today or visit their website for more information.

Air whitsunday

There’s only one thing that is more amazing than experiencing the Great Barrier Reef first hand … and that’s experiencing the Great Barrier Reef from the sky!

With Air Whitsunday, you can see the region from an angle you’ll never forget. Since the 1970s, Air Whitsunday has been operating seaplane services throughout the Whitsunday Coast region, operating out of the beautiful Airlie Beach.

The view of the Great Barrier Reef from the sky is unsurpassed: you’ll have a rare opportunity to see exactly how enormous it is, to view the colours and the shades of the marine life, the coral, the islands teaming with greenery and white beaches. There’s nothing quite like it.

Your pilots are passionate about the local area, dedicated to providing you with a unique opportunity, and experienced in the area’s history and taking care of the local environment: in fact, it was one of these pilots who discovered the very famous Heart Reef back in 1975.

At Air Whitsunday they offer a range of tours to suit all ages. They operate a fleet of luxury Cessna Caravans and classic de Havilland Beaver and are the largest seaplane operator in the Southern Hemisphere. They also have a private semi submersible vessel for all reef tours. Their reef location is completely private and allows for a truly intimate experience.

Any snorkeling equipment is provided for you, and reef tours are scheduled around low tide to suit all level of experience for snorkelers. Choose from the Panorama half day tour from the air; Reef Adventure Tour which includes flying and glass-bottom boat; Whitehaven Experience which includes time to relax and swim; and the comprehensive Reef & Whitehaven Scenic tour, which includes a thrilling water landing!

Whatever your you choose, take your camera along for some amazing shots of the Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet.

Visit Air Whitsunday online to find out more.

sarina sugar shed

Central Queensland has a whole lot to offer, and whether you are travelling through, visiting a specific region or town, or if you’re lucky enough to reside there yourself, one place you might find it difficult to go past is Sarina Sugar Shed.

Situated just off the Bruce Highway just south of Mackay, the Sarina Sugar Shed is a destination in itself, with guided tours and deliciously unique products available to tantalise your tastebuds.

The guided tours take through the facility where their famous goodies are created. They make a seriously tasty range of gourmet sauces and chutneys onsite using top quality locally grown products, and on the tour you’ll get to try all of them. Chef’s Gusto sauces and chutneys are always produced in small batches to celebrate the seasonal variations of flavours from the area, and each time you visit, the flavours will change. Their unique ‘Sweet Taste of Sarina’ sauces are made from old family favourite recipes whilst some have a new twist that is sure to become a family favourite.

In addition to their famous sauces, they have also created a unique range of award winning liqueurs, schnapps, premium quality rum and sweetly-spiced non-alcoholic ginger beer. Their unique caramelisation techniques, hand milling process and a mix of specialty local ingredients create fulsome flavours that you are not only able to try on their guided tours, but able to buy directly from them at the cellar door.

To top all that off, Sarina Sugar Shed also produce a delightful range of hand-crafted ice-creams. Using the freshest produce from local pastures, time-honoured recipes and traditional methods to create the creamiest of ice creams their 10 distinctive flavours are impossible to resist.

So if you have a taste for all things sweet, and you’re heading to Central Queensland, Sarina Sugar Shed should be a destination of your journey.

AUSTRALIA’S NATURE COAST: Queensland  

Following the coast road right down to South East Queensland brings you to Australia’s Nature Coast: a region that stretches from the Fraser Coast and beautiful Fraser Island, to Noosa and the Glass House Mountains.

Australia’s Nature Coast is a region that is filled with natural beauty, along with a range of adventure experiences, from bushwalking and hiking, to 4WDing, farm experiences, fishing charters, food trails, water sports and whale watching.

You’ll find an abundance of National Parks and gardens to explore as you travel through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the Glass House Mountains and Pumicestone Passage. Visit Noosa and you’ll have the chance to experience the wonders of the Cooloola National Park, with remote golden beaches, sub-tropical rainforests, freshwater creeks and some of the largest and most colourful coastal sand dune systems in the world. The Cooloola National Park is World Heritage listed and covers around 70,000 hectares. It’s also home to the southern hemisphere’s largest pine plantation.

One of the best things to see here is Rainbow Beach, with coloured sand dunes that reach up to 200 metres high. And if you have the chance, visit Double Island Point with its towering rainforest growing on the sand, and the Double Island Point Lighthouse on the rocky headland.

This is all part of the Great Sandy Straight, which leads you to the iconic Fraser Island.

Fraser Island itself stretches more than 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point. The island has uninterrupted white beaches, striking sand cliffs, rainforests and more than 100 freshwater lakes and it is World Heritage listed. Explore the sites on Fraser, from Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby, Eli Creek and the Champagne Pools, to the Pinnacles Coloured Sands and the Maheno Shipwreck. There’s no other way to see Fraser than by 4WD, so book ahead and take the controls yourself.

Other highlights of Australia’s Nature Coast include two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves - the Great Sandy Biosphere and Noosa Biospheres; Lady Elliot Island - the most southern island on the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and a key part of the Great Barrier Reef turtle habitat, with green and loggerhead turtles visiting the beach where they were born, every year between November and March; along with 47 State and National Parks, Reserves and Forests; and more than 200 kilometres of pristine beaches.

The Sunshine Coast offers a relaxed lifestyle with an abundance of adventure, from water sports and cycling, to mountain climbing and hiking: including the Hinterland 56 kilometre Great Walk which is a must for any walking enthusiast. The Glass House Mountains National Park was formed millions of years ago thanks to volcanic activity in the region and the mountains are craggy volcanic plugs, rich in vegetation, birds and animals. Here you can climb, abseil and bushwalk to your heart’s content.

Meanwhile, the Fraser Coast is such an amazing place that the humpback whale goes here every year to play for months. Visit between August and November for peak whale watching season, and you can also visit the beautiful coastal city of Hervey Bay to enjoy the beach lifestyle. See the iconic Urangan Pier, which stretches for almost a kilometer. It’s one of the longest piers in Australia and was originally built in 1917.

There is so much to see and do in Australia’s Nature Coast for the adventure lover that you are guaranteed to want to stay a while, so be sure plan ahead.

noosa2fraser

There’s nothing quite like exploring Queensland’s most stunning beaches from 4WD, so if you are looking for an unbeatable off-road adventure, Noosa2Fraser 4WD Hire is the best place to go.

Noosa2Fraser 4WD Hire has a full range of 4WD hire vehicles available so you can explore the scenery of Noosa North Shore, Double Island Point, Wide Bay, Rainbow Beach, Fraser Island, Bribie Island, Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island and other areas on the Sunshine Coast. You’re guaranteed adventure.

If you don’t know which place or places to visit, Noosa2Fraser will help! They not only provide well-maintained 4WD vehicles but can also plan your adventure to ensure you enjoy your time hassle-free.

You don’t need to call them days before the trip to book your 4WD vehicle. Just show up on the day and choose a 4WD from their fleet of Toyota Landcruiser Prados, Nissan Patrols, Mitsubishi Pajeros, Nissan Pathfinders and Land Rover Discoveries.

If that is not enough adventure, try hiring a boat as well!

Want a discount? Hire for a longer time! And if you need a driving permit for Fraser Island and Cooloola Recreation Area, they can supply one.

If you’re new to 4WDing, the team at Noosa2Fraser will take the time to help you get to know your vehicle before you take off.

Contact Noosa2Fraser 4WD Hire today to plan an off-road adventure in the Noosa area or the islands around the Sunshine Coast!

Sunshine coast paragliding

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, or to relax away from the hustle and bustle, take to the skies over the beautiful Sunshine Coast with Rainbow Paragliding.

You’ll experience the beautiful Rainbow Beach region of the coast from a bird’s eye view as you soar across Queensland’s blue skies in paragliding comfort.

Established in 1995 in association with the Sunshine Coast Hang Gliding Club, Rainbow Paragliding is based on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, with access for 25 sites and a permit to operate in the Cooloola National Park. This gives you amazing access to the world famous dunes at Rainbow Beach and the secluded Teewah community on Noosa’s north shore.

Rainbow Paragliding flies all year round, offering a full license course with quality, personalised tuition (usually takes 9 days to complete); a refresher course with groundhandling, top landing and asymetric recovery techniques; and intermediate, advanced, tandem or paramotor endorsement. They offer a pay-as-you-go system for the 9 day course and you receive 10 days HGFA membership; 1 month Club membership; workbook; tandem flight all equipment; $400 voucher for new equipment purchase; and 10 extra days free of charge upon completion of your course and purchase of equipment.

They also provide full tandem experiences with videos and images taken during your flight so you can look back on the experience for years to come. Your flight will last 20-30 minutes: and if there are no flights booked after yours, you’ll get extra time for free!

With more than 6,000 student days accumulated over the past 20 years, you know you’re getting quality service from highly experienced instructors. Owner Jean Luc Lejaille has more than 5,000 student days experience and has been instructing since 1995.

Feel the freedom of the air and give Rainbow Paragliding a call today.

LEGENDARY PACIFIC COAST 

Australia is teeming with regions that will take your breath away, entice you with great food and entertainment, or make your heart pound with adventure activities. If you’re looking for something a little different and love taking to the open road, the Legendary Pacific Coast is one of Australia’s leading tourist drives.

The drive takes you from Sydney in the south to Brisbane in the north through some absolutely stunning regions. From the Central Coast, Hunter Valley, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, you will have the chance to embrace surf beaches and discover intimate hide aways, stop in at the largest coastal saltwater lake in Australia, visit some of the country’s best wineries and take a walk through gorgeous colonial towns, and enjoy a picnic on the beach, go for a surf or stop in at a salt water ocean bath for a refreshing dip.

Travel further north to Port Stephens, the Great Lakes, Manning Valley and Port Macquarie; through classic coastal country to quiet seaside towns, visit the dolphin capital of Australia and come face to face with hundreds of bottle nosed dolphins, enjoy a walk or 4WD tour on the largest moving coastal sand dune system in the country, and see where the Hastings River meets the sea while exploring the beaches, parks and riverways.

Further to the McLeay River, Nambucca Heads and Coffs Harbour. See the legendary Smoky Cape Lighthouse and Trial Bay Gaol; camp out under the stars, catch your own fish and experience ocean life with a diving experience, visit a historic town in the hinterland, enjoy some shopping or take a cruise in Coffs Harbour and, if you’re up for it, ride a camel on the beach for something different and exciting. Visit Woolgoolga, home to the largest regional Sikh/Punjabi population in Australia, which was settled by Europeans in the 1870s, and before this was home to the Gumbaingirr Aboriginal tribe. It was an early centre of Sikh migration for families who arrived before the White Australia Policy was introduced.

As you reach the final stretch it will take you through the Clarence Valley, bounded by the Kyogle in the north, the Coral Sea in the east, Coffs Harbour in the south and Tenterfield in the west. There are rainforests, marine parks, rural and coastal communities and an abundance of adventure activities available. The Clarence River is the largest river on the eastern seaboard and it stretches some 400 kilometres, through open plains, ancient forests, lush farmland and quiet villages.

From here visit the second largest fishing port in Australia, Yamba: famous for its prawns and with excellent swimming and surfing beaches. Voted the “best town in Australia”, it has a relaxed lifestyle, award winning restaurants and plenty of sights. Take a dip in the ocean pool which has been built into the rocks, take a river cruise, try to catch the big one on a fishing charter or, at the right time of year, enjoy some whale watching off the coast.

The region around Ballina, Nimbin and Lismore is the perfect place for you to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with nature. Ballina lies on the coast and is quiet and popular with families. Nimbin and Lismore are tucked away amongst World Heritage National Parks, where you will find an abundance of waterfalls, walking trails and lookouts.

Byron Bay is home to the eastern most point of Australia and has much to offer, from the lighthouse and views of the point, to the quirky giftshops and cafes specialising in local produce, and the popular beaches which are great for surfing.

On to the Tweed region, nestled in the caldera of an ancient shield volcano from Coolangatta in the north, down to Kingscliffe and Cabarita in the south. Tweed is at the heart of Australia’s Green Cauldron – nominated by Tourism Australia as a “National Landscape” and with its gorgeous unspoilt beaches, to the lush World Heritage listed rainforests, striking mountain ranges and rolling farmland.

Explore the rainforests and World Heritage listed national parks or check out one of the three major river systems in this part of the coast: with the Tweed, Richmond and Clarence, providing the perfect backdrop to a relaxing getaway or the ideal setting for an adventure or fishing trip.

Tweed Heads itself is the most northerly town in the state of New South Wales and showcases some world-class surfing beaches as well as the expansive Tweed River, a great place to take a kayak or boat out if you’re keen on some fishing, or bring a picnic to enjoy along the river’s edge. Hire a houseboat, take a relaxing cruise, visit the art gallery or Aboriginal Cultural Centre and explore the region.

Welcome to the Legendary Pacific Coast.

skydance

The horizon calls each one of us at some time or another.

It’s a pull, towards something beyond. Towards the unknown.

The vastness calls us - to be courageous, to go find that new adventure and explore, each in our own way. We live in a world of duality and compromise, with our careers, family, or any number of things constantly competing for our time. Making that adventure materialise can all too often fall into the “someday” category.

A Sky Dance airborne adventure can take you directly to the heart of adventure as you know it, and jumpstart your passion for what you love!

We live in a wild and vast country here in Australia. Much of the unique rock structures and the rich biodiversity in Australia originates from a time when volcanic hotspots and the tectonic plate movements were at a peak. Though long since gone now, Australia once had a landscape that was world’s apart from what it is today - a tumultuous land filled with towering mountain ranges and erupting volcanos. Some of the mountains were once some of the highest in the world.

Now, Mt Kosciusko stands as the tallest in the country only 7000ft above sea level. The process of flattening and returning the land to the sea happened over the course of millions of years. One water droplet falls onto a mountaintop, and then rolls to the bottom, forms up with a river, and then flows slowly but surely down into the ocean. This is quite the concept to grasp. Each drop, small, but part of something big, and capable of returning whole continents to the sea.

In Aboriginal Dreamtime paintings and stories, the depictions and settings are often seen from above - bringing questions of possible astral projection or a greater awareness of the scale of where they lived. But ask anyone who has known this perspective, however gained, and they will tell you that it is nothing short of incredible. Australia is truly an awe inspiring continent!

Australia boasts 19 of the world's UNESCO world heritage listed areas, and one in particular is Mt Barney National Park in the breathtaking Scenic Rim. Mt Barney stands over 4,000 feet tall and is the remnants of the 2nd largest shield volcano in the world. This mountain holds great spiritual and geological significance for Aboriginal people, and the geological history of the area is one of the keys to the prosperous growth of the modern civilization we have today.

Now rewind about 23 million years…back to when a series of hotspots under the earth's crust moved up the coast of Australia causing a series of volcanoes to form. When these volcanos were active, viscous rivers of lava, under tremendous heat and pressure, flowed under the earth's surface finding the weakest paths up towards the earth’s surface. This process formed what we call Shield Volcanos. A series of eruptions and spilling of the lava from the summit of the volcano created a giant “shield” of hard rock around it’s perimeter. Part of this giant shield still remains today as the Scenic Rim. Now that time has returned most of the rock and soil to the sea, all that remains are the now exposed ancient lava flows, large volcanic plugs, and the rich volcanic soils and reefs.

To this day, Mt Barney stands as one of the icons of Southeast Queensland! The mountain is also the stylised concept behind the Sky Dance logo. (Check it out.)

To escape and to discover! To fly!! To see this land like the birds and dreamers do…

Sky Dance is an aviation adventure company currently based out of Brisbane, Queensland. Sky Dance flies guests to experience some of the country's most beautiful places with a focus on nature, food, wine, and community. The Scenic Rim, Lake Eyre, Tasmania, Uluru, The Granite Belt and a selection of wine regions across Australia are just some of their destinations.

So get out there and escape with Sky Dance! Discover Australia!

516366000647349303/20121PAGE TWO, DIGITAL ONLY:

A Skydance Adventure
by *name* and Lachlan *last name*

“Girraween. It’s a name that strikes emotion into anyone who has explored the great Granite Belt of South East Queensland. For some it sparks awe, as the great granite monoliths lie basking in warm golden light. For others it draws on the amazement of carefully balanced stone, seemingly defying the laws of gravity.

My wife and I have spent many cold winter mornings and scorching summer days out at Girraween. Being rock climbers, hikers, trail runners and general nature lovers we find it offers us everything we could want in a weekend. With that in mind, a 4 hour drive each way, after a stressful work week, sometimes finds us abandoning our tent for the luxury of a closer destination (i.e. our daybed on the balcony).

Bring in Sky Dance! We heard about Josh and James’ company through a mutual friend of ours. We had opted to drive out with Josh the night before the rest of the group arrived by air. A strange decision for some but Josh’s promise of a warm cuppa on top of the pyramids for sunrise was too hard to pass up. With this in mind we dropped off our car at Archerfield airstrip and jumped in the Sky Dance luxury Mercedes to take us out west. A few hours later we had tents pitched out under the stars between towering granite blocks.

Sunrise on top of the pyramids is something to take your breath away. We sat facing the warm glow of the sun as the granite came to life below us. Josh had just finished brewing a warm cup of herbal tea as promised and we relaxed back to just take it all in. After the morning shadows slowly vanished we roused ourselves to wander around the rim of the great granite dome. Josh was an outstanding guide, pointing out many previously missed features of the park including some strangely white bush carrots. We casually chewed the tasty treats as we descended off the pyramid for a quick climb before meeting the rest of the group.

We listened intently as the newcomers described their flight out to meet us, winding their way around Mt Barney and the scenic rim before heading out to Stanthorpe. They chatted excitedly about every detail of the flight as we took up another trail in the park, out to a rocky bluff known as castle rock. Another spectacular viewpoint, made even more so as you exit a deep rocky cave to end up on top of the towering bluff.

With everyone still on their high from the morning's adventure, it was time for the degustation. We had heard rumours from the group about the upcoming late lunch being something a bit “special”. Being accustomed to crackers, a tin of tuna and some cheese while out in the bush, we didn’t know what to expect.

We turned up at a local winery around 2pm, the rows of vines and antique feel of the venue set a warm and inviting tone. Walking in Josh had tried to explain how taxing it had been to test out all the different venues in trying to find the absolute best in local knowledge and produce. I’m not sure he had everyone convinced but by the end of the third course we knew he had found something truly unique. Each course was more intricate, decadent and delicious than the one before. With matching local wines and a description of each ingredient and preparation procedure straight from the chef who put it on the plate, the experience was almost as magical as the mornings sunrise while on top of the pyramids… almost.

Five courses later we stumbled out into the vineyards, catching the last glimpses of sun disappear over the long horizon. Now this is usually the time in a weekend trip that you start to dread the thought of the slow dazed drive home. Without hesitation Josh bundled up the group and before we knew it we were back at the air strip standing in front of our taxi home, our taxi with wings! We watched the granite fields disappear beneath us as we took off heading back east to Brisbane: another surreal experience at the end of a day full of surreal experiences.”

Lachlan:

“Wide open sand flats and mountain ranges.

Girraween holds a special place in my heart. Exactly why I cannot nail down to any one specific reason, as there are simply too many.

Firstly, I guess the landscape is quite different to the national parks found closer to Brisbane & the coastline. The rolling hills are covered with beautiful eucalypt forest, punctuated with sections of sedgeland & heathland. But for me the real gems are the endless outcrops of granite scattered throughout the park.

These granite formations take on many forms, from huge monoliths & towering tors, to countless balancing boulders. It's this granite that for me that transforms this landscape into a giant playground. A veritable treasure trove of rock that at times seemingly defies the laws of gravity. I can simply never tire of days spend exploring the hidden passages between the rocks, feeling the rough texture & being immersed within the landscape offers endless fascination.

Waking up early to witness sunrise from the top of one of the bigger rocks is my favourite way to start a day at Girraween. Gaining a feeling of peace whilst watching the soft pre-dawn light gently caressing the landscape - all the while eagerly waiting for the warm kiss of sun to invigorate my soul after a cold sub-zero winter's night. And I've not even started on the native animals; seasonal native flowers & crystal clear streams, yet those are all present in abundance also.

Girraween for me is a place of beauty & discovery. I'm doubtful I'll ever tire of visiting & whilst writing this can already feel the pull to return growing stronger.”

aranyani bison

Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with an American Bison or wondered what it would be like to sleep in a traditional Native American tipi?

Aranyani Bison Adventure Tourist Park in New South Wales provides both these unique experiences and much more. Located 30 kilometres south of Casino and only 2 hours south of the Gold Coast. You can come for the day, stay overnight in one of Aranyani's Tipis or camp in a spacious unpowered campsite suited for Caravans, RV's or tents.

Set on 1,180 acres, the tourist park is the only certified working ranch to exhibit American Bison in Australia. Bison are the fastest growing land mammal from eating grass alone and can jump 6 foot from a standing start. You can learn more about American Bison and get up close and personal with them at Aranyani by watching a demonstration feeding with educational talk.

Aranyani Bison has loads of activities for all ages. There is archery, canoeing, bush walking or mountain bike riding on one of Aranyani's amazing bush tracks. There is a challenging 9 hole putt putt course, 18 hole frisbee golf course with competition frisbees available for hire. There is swimming in the in ground pool or many secluded spots in Myrtle Creek with golden sandy beaches. There is a whiffle baseball pitch, beach volleyball and cricket available. You’ll also find plenty of freshwater fishing opportunities in Myrtle Creek or natural waterholes near our entrance.

There is a camp kitchen with fridges and bbq for use of Aranyani's visitors. A microwave and toaster are also available. If you forget something you might find it in the Kiosk that supplies limited grocery items, snacks, drinks and ice.

Clean amenities block with hot showers are a welcome treat after a busy day. Aranyani Bison has wheelchair friendly amenities and paths.

Aranyani is open daily from 10am til 5pm and entry is just $10. Demonstration feeding with Bison talk is $18. Visit Aranyani Bison's website

moonshadow

Adventure isn’t always about getting the heart pumping. Sometimes you want to just sit back and enjoy the ride. With Moonshadow – TQC – you have both options!

Operating out of Port Stephens and Newcastle Harbours, they offer a wide range of tours to suit all walks of life, from families and couples to international visitors and corporate delegates.

With over 36 years of experience this means that we know what is important to you. Our cruises run to schedule with guaranteed departure every day (except Christmas Day), our vessels have the capacity to suit everybody and our friendly crew are dedicated to providing a comfortable and memorable cruise.

If you want to explore these unique waterways, they have 8 vessels offering everything from whale watching and dolphin viewing; to dinner/lunch cruises, private charters, weddings and team building activities. Tours are suitable for families, singles, friends and children.

Choosing a dolphin watch tour gives you a 99% chance of seeing a dolphin and add a little adventure; go on the Twist & Twirl waterslide or take a boomnet ride. From May – November you can climb aboard one of the largest and safest whale watch vessels in the region to catch sight of the amazing humpback whales, you will never forget seeing the awesome bulk of these amazing animals, 15 meters long and weighing 40 tonnes!

From October – April get back to nature for a full day adventure aboard their Broughton Island National Park Cruise – snorkeling, swimming or just relaxing on the beach this tour has something for everyone! A dinner cruise around the Newcastle and Port Stephens harbour is an ideal way to end your day of exploration in the region, with an Australian buffet feast and live entertainment guaranteed to impress.

Combine your Dolphin or Whale Watching Cruise with a sandboarding adventure on the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes. The dunes reach heights up to 40 metres with slopes at 60 degrees – imagine yourself sandboarding down that! Tours include sandboards, instruction and supervision: sure to get the heart racing!

Moonshadow TQC also offers the best of both worlds so you can visit the dunes by 4wd bus and enjoy a dolphin cruise or whale watching experience on one ticket.

Visit the website or give them a call today to find out more.
Shop 3, 35 Stockton Street, Nelson Bay New South Wales 2315

Aquafun

Can’t get enough of the water? Why not add a bit of excitement to your next experience with Aquafun. Hit the waters for a spot of sightseeing (and we admit, great exercise) on a pedal boat, get your muscles working for a paddle in a kayak or enjoy the exhilarance of a stand up paddle board.

Located on the shores of Avoca Lake on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Aquafun guarantees you a fun day out for the whole family. Avoca Lake is located right behind Avoca Beach and is a large coastal lagoon in the heart of the village. It’s an ideal spot for families, couples, friends, work groups; with picnic tables, shops, cafes and playground just metres from the beach.

If you can’t decide which activity suits you best – try them all! You might be surprised! Avoca Lake’s calm surface is ideal for all kinds of watersports and you’ll be able to pedal, paddle or SUP your way through the lake, lagoon and islets.

You don’t need to worry about booking ahead for hire. Just show up on the day and choose your poison! Single, double or quad pedal-boats; and single or double kayaks (sit in or sit on) are available.

And if you’re trying your hand at stand up paddling for the first time, while it is a whole lot of fun and fantastic exercise, it can be tough if you’re just starting out.

If you want to become a master and take your paddling to the next level, try a lesson!

The lessons are filled with tips and tricks so you’ll gain confidence AND have a great time! You’ll be taught by an ASI certified instructor who will teach you all the proper paddling techniques. The instructors provide easy to follow instructions before leaving you on your own to explore. You’ll soon be steering and paddling with confidence.

Bookings are needed for a lesson and you need to be over 12 years of age.

To find out more about Aquafun, contact them today!

port stephens 4wd

Stockton Bight is a unique adventure playground that is rarely heard of and relatively unexplored – except for one key group that keep going back there day after day seeking the ultimate experience. Adrenaline-seekers have long been drawn to the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes – and with over 32 kilometers of dunes, why wouldn’t they?

Port Stephens 4WD Tours provide the ultimate adventure, to allow adrenaline-seekers to reach their peak with a tour of this breathtaking region of New South Wales. They have been operating for over 10 years and cater to group and individual bookings, taking up to 100 passengers during peak tour days!

Stockton Bight Sand Dunes provide the ideal backdrop for a fun-filled adventure: the scenery combined with the thrill of sand boarding is an experience you’ll never forget.

The team at Port Stephens 4WD Tours are ready to take you a memorable 4WD trip up into the high dunes, everyone has first–hand exceptional knowledge of the dunes and surrounding area and they will answer questions you may have.

Port Stephens 4WD provides Sand Boarding adventures, where one of their experienced sand boarding instructors will first demonstrate how to safely sand board so you can rest assured you will have a fun AND safe adventure; along with a Beach and Dune Tour that will take you driving across 11 kilometres of beach to “Tin City” – a small makeshift fishing village which emerges from the dunes. Along the way, you’ll visit WWII and historical sites, and of course – go sand boarding at the end of your tour!

Port Stephens 4WD offer a range of other mixed tours, including dolphin and whale watching combos. They also have private charters (hire a 4WD with a driver who will tailor a tour to suit your group), educational tours (your outdoor classroom on the sand dune ecosystem) and senior’s 4WD adventure tours (comfortable 4WD journey experiencing culture and history).

For a 4WD adventure that showcases a unique landscape on the largest moving coastal sand dunes in the Southern hemisphere with friendly staff, contact them today.

bonogin

For millennia, the relationship between humans and horses has been evolving. Cave artwork throughout the world shows that we were riding horses over 20,000 years ago, and throughout history, evolution has us still riding horseback.

Although we no longer rely on horses as our only means of transport, horse-riding is still a pastime many of us enjoy. Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat in the spectacularly beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland has been operating for 7 years, but the 35 years of experience behind the team there, is outstanding, and offers unique and specialised training programs for all levels of horse riding.

Horse riding is a very unique experience, and Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat offers programs that give fantastic opportunities to boost confidence, develop coordination skills, concentration, improve general wellbeing and provide an exhilarating feeling of freedom!

A great way to experience the majesty of horses is through Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat’s “Horse Power” program; which was developed by Olympic Opening Ceremony Rider Debbie Burgermeister. They run courses at the retreat for beginner riders aged between 8 and 80, and also have their “Ready Set Trot - Fun 4 Kids” sessions for the little ones from 3yrs of age. Other courses available at the Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat include “Horse Care & Handling”, “Horse Connection”, “Balanced Riding” and “Learn to ride in a day”.

Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat’s courses are a great way to connect with animals, but their expertise doesn’t stop with that. They also provide many equine services including short stay agistment, horse recovery & holiday centre, horse sale preparation, training and horse work. Rob Kirsch, who is the retreat’s onsite real life ‘horse whisperer’ specialises in treating animals using acupuncture and shiatsu massage. A true horseman, Rob is experienced in treating horses, cattle and pets, using a range of traditional and contemporary treatments.

Bonogin Valley Horse Retreat create happy and healthy horse experiences where you will have fun while developing your horse riding skills in a safe environment.

skyline aviation

There’s only one thing more exciting than seeing the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter regions from the air: seeing it from a prime seat in a helicopter!

Skyline Aviation Group is the most experienced helicopter pilot training, charter and scenic tour company in the Newcastle and the Hunter regions in New South Wales.

Skyline has been operating for around 20 years from Newcastle Airport; and with a helipad at Nelson Bay and now Lake Macquarie; there are plenty of opportunities to see the sights from the air with one of their scenic flights, tours or charters; 7 days a week.

See Newcastle from the sky with a 10minute, 20 minute or 30 minute flight to see landmarks including Stockton Sand Dunes, Lake Macquarie and Nobby’s Lighthouse; or tour the crystal waters of Nelson Bay for 10, 20 or 30 minutes.

With their new base at Lake Macquarie, the options are endless. You might choose to indulge with a brewery and winery tour (Ales with Altitude) or surprise your loved one with a surprise, romantic lunch, or a marriage proposal?? with the Hungerford Hill and Muse Restaurant tour or a wine and dine tour to the Harvest restaurant at Hope estate.

Skyline Aviation’s fleet of helicopters is outstanding: the Bell 206 Jet Ranger is the helicopter Dick Smith travelled the world in back in 1983 becoming the first world soloist in 260 hours of flight time; the Eurocopter AS350 B3 is the helicopter you’ll see movie crews and the police force in; the typical armed forces Eurocopter BO105 is also used by Red Bull; while the Robinson R22 andR44 are among the world’s most popular.

If sightseeing or a single flight isn’t enough for you, why not get your own wings? Skyline Aviation is the premier helicopter pilot training school in the Newcastle and Hunter region. Training is available for commercial or private students. And if you already have your license but you’re looking to take it a step further, why not test your skills with a Sling Endorsement or Night Ratings course.

GREEN FROG

“I’m going on an adventure” quoted by Bilbo Baggins, in Peter Jackson’s 2012 epic fantasy adventure film The Hobbit: an unexpected journey, has often been used to describe fun filled missions to the local shops (usually while inebriated), long distance road trips with mates and, as in the movie, a trip of self discovery which will most likely only happen once in a lifetime. Our recent adventure within Back Creek Canyon, which is nestled in the lush green subtropical rainforest of South East Queensland, with my 11-year son Max, fell fully into the movie description.

It all started with a comment from my better half suggesting I needed to spend more time with our prepubescent son to get to know him better and to get him away from the Xbox, IPad, fridge repeat cycle. I have always loved the outdoors and I thought this might be an ideal chance to imbue Max with similar feelings of nature. Holidaying in SE QLD, we were a little spoilt for choice, beach, bush walking, swimming holes etc, however, we had done those activities before an I wanted us to experience something new and different. After quick search of local adventure companies in the Brisbane area, I decided that with Graham and Kelly from Green Frog Adventures would be the right mix of adventure and nature that I was after, and after a quick call to their team, a long day Canyoning adventure was booked.

Not knowing exactly what canyoning was, I referred to YouTube to search for Back Creek Canyon. The search results came up and an adventure of epic proportions (well for my son and I), looked to be on the cards with abseiling through waterfalls, bounding over boulders and logs, jumping into rock pools and trekking through spectacular rainforest – all within two hours from Brisbane! Who would have thought?

On the day, Max and I turned up to the little scenic reserve just outside Canungra with the advised equipment and clothing – notably, comfortable clothing and footwear that could get wet was essential. We met Graham and Kelly and commenced a safety brief followed by equipment issue and a lesson in abseiling. Then we were off… We were going on an adventure! After a short walk down the creek, we came to the first abseil, straight down through a waterfall. This was the point at which I thought, “…. Maybe this is a bit much for us, may be I should have just taken Max to the beach.” I mean, looking over the edge made me feel apprehensive. Graham and Kelly were fantastic. They were a professional team with our experience and safety at the forefront of all their actions. So we both completed the first abseil and the feeling is indescribable. It was a mix between “We are both going to die – how am I going to tell his mother” and ‘OMG we are Alive and this is the most awesome thing ever!’

We walked down the creek a little further, climbing, bum sliding and jumping over rocks that ranged from the size of a small car to some easily bigger than our house and came across a beautiful sun bathed pool… 3m below us. Without a word, Kelly jumped straight in and called for us to follow. Max had no hesitations and leapt straight in. I had to follow, didn’t need him to see me baulking. It was over quickly and we sat down to some lunch with a little more swimming in the pool. Max found a way back up to the top of the jump and continued with 2-3 more leaps each with louder shrieks of joy. I had to give it to him; at least he was out of the house and enjoying the outdoors.

After lunch was a short rock hop to the next abseil, which was much easier than the first. Perhaps it was because there was no waterfall flowing endlessly into your face this time. The last obstacle was what I can only describe as the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my adult/parenting life, and I will keep it a surprise for those that also choose to embark on their own adventures. But needless to say, both Max and I came out unscathed and a lot closer as Father and Son.

From here we found the exit and commenced the bush walk back the car. On the walk out, I got to reflecting on the day and our adventure. I surmised that this was exactly what my amazing wife had wanted, her tubby hubby and her boy to reconnect and have our own little adventure. But I also thought how this exact activity would be an amazing way for anyone to bring a group of people together, from a sporting club, or small business to a corporation. Being able to identify individual’s strengths and weaknesses as well as individual stress reactions within yourself and your team are invaluable tools to have to help your team grow.

I thought it was just a catch cry, but the Green Frog Adventures motto – ‘Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens’ is exactly true. If Max and I hadn’t gone out on our adventure, just like Bilbo Baggins, wouldn’t have found our self discovery as well as a shared love of the outdoors. I can’t thank Graham and Kelly enough. They are passionate about providing a professional, unique, customer focused experience for a very reasonable price. If you are in the Brisbane/Gold coast area, do yourself a favour and give them a call, you will not forget or regret it.

SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE COASTAL DRIVE 

From Sydney heading south to Melbourne, the routes are jam packed full of unspoiled beaches and bays, vast green hinterland of forests and mountains, creating the perfect drive through holiday on the South Coast of New South Wales and through the diverse countryside of Victoria. Stretching from Sydney’s Royal National Park to Eden, near the Victorian border, the South Coast region offers a myriad of fun for the whole family and with the majority of the region within three hours from Sydney it’s easily accessible and is one of the most beautiful drives you can take in Australia.

The South Coast region includes an abundance of activities, from water sports such as fishing, diving and snorkelling, sailing, canoeing and kayaking, right through to fine gourmet dining, art galleries and antique shops. You will also find a seemingly endless supply of walks through the region’s national parks, marine parks and nature reserves and you will never be lost when it comes to good accommodation and fresh food, particularly the local supplies of sweet Clyde River oysters, tuna, mussels and kingfish, all of which hail from the rivers, estuaries and seas.

Shellharbour; in the heart of the Illawarra region sits between the sparkling waters of the Tasman Sea and the Illawarra Escarpment, with Lake Illawarra to the north and the Minnamurra River in the south.

Further south, famous for its blowhole and lighthouse, Kiama overlooks the coastline and has several popular surfing beaches, as well as numerous caravan parks, cafes and restaurants. Kiama has an interesting history, having been the site of two volcanic flows, the Gerringong Volcanics. The blowhole was formed as part of the erosion process of more recent rock and the region was originally the home of Aboriginal tribe Wodi Wodi, with evidence dating back more than 17,000 years.

Less than 30 kilometres from Kiama lies Shoalhaven. The town’s attractions include a contrast of forests and beaches and it is home to the famous Jervis Bay, the Kangaroo Valley, Ettrema Wilderness, Budawang Ranges and Morton National Park. It is a popular vantage point to watch the whales as they make their annual migration, coming within just three kilometres of the coastline.

Seven Mile Beach, part of the Shoalhaven River delta, is a fisherman’s haven and another popular sight is the Hamden Bridge, a suspension bridge across the Kangaroo River which is a medieval style bridge and the oldest surviving suspension bridge in the country.

You can continue to travel further down the coast to explore the Eurobodalla region, including Batemans Bay, the seaside villages of Tomakin, Mossy Point and Broulee, and Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba; and along the Sapphire Coast where you can visit Bega, famous for its cheeses, Mimosa National Park, the old whaling town of Eden and Wallega Lake.

As you continue your journey over the Victorian border you will enter the tranquil coastal town of Mallacoota, and the lakes of Mallacoota Inlet. You can paddle a canoe up the Genoa or Wallagaraugh rivers to Gipsy Point, or see one of the world’s largest colonies of little penguins at Gabo Island. At Cape Conran Coastal Park a camping spot between heathlands, wild ocean beaches and banksia woodlands makes for a great overnight stay.

Heading south through extensive dairy country you can continue to the gold rush village of Walhalla, which is surrounded by dreamy forestry on the southern edge of the Victorian Alps. Mine tours are a popular attraction here, and the town’s gold mining history is very distinguished and intriguing.

Walhalla is also located on the threshold of the Baw Baw National Park, which is very popular for bushwalking, scenic drives and picnics. Snorkelling and diving at the granite cliffs is also very popular, and the nearby dairy town of Foster has many beautiful inlets and bays to do this.

From Foster onwards, you will drive through the fishing and pelican haven of San Remo and over the bridge to the famous Phillip Island, where you can visit the Penguin Parade, see fur seal colonies or go to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, home to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) and V8 Supercar 500.

The final stretch of this section of the journey is quite a short distance, but if you really want to soak in the area, it can take days to see it all. There are beaches to discover, wineries and berry farms to visit, and at the peninsula of Sorrento, you can swim with dolphins. The diverse beach town of Mornington boasts all year round seasonal produce, glorious gardens, sparkling golf greens, vineyards and captivating new experiences. From here the only place left to go is Melbourne where you can soak up her labyrinth of laneways, magnificent bars, elite restaurants and hidden boutiques for weeks.

australian coastal wilderness

When you want to have the ultimate marine adventure, you can’t get any better than Australia’s Coastal Wilderness Adventures. With Australia’s Coastal Wilderness Adventures, you’ll have the opportunity to see, catch and eat amazing seafood from the local waters on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.

Their tours will take you onto the water, into the ocean and onto the plate.

If you want to get up close to some amazing marine life, a snorkeling tour will allow you to embrace a sense of true adventure. A qualified Marine Scientist will accompany the group as you immerse yourself in the region’s stunning marine environment at Eden, Pambula, Merimbula, Tathra and Bermagui. You’ll learn about snorkeling, the location and the animals and plants you’ll discover along the way.

For an experience unlike any other, the Night-time Estuary Prawning is an experience you’re guaranteed to enjoy. Prawning tours are available from October until the end of May and are held at night. You’ll visit prawning sites and learn from a local expert as you discover the unique fishing method used to catch premium local seafood. Learn the secrets and pleasures of prawning and see nocturnal marine creatures in their natural habitat.

If you love the taste of fresh seafood, the Ocean to Plate Experience is the ideal tour for you. This tour allows you to catch your own seafood –learning from a local expert to discover the best seafood collection techniques for harvesting mussels, abalone, crayfish and urchins. You’ll use the right equipment, have the right advice, and catch yourself some delicious delicacies. After the tour, you’ll enjoy a smorgasbord of local seafood: including oysters, prawns, mussels, abalone, lobster and urchin coupled with delightful local refreshments.

Australia’s Coastal Wilderness Adventures doesn’t end there. They also offer a Snorkel Diver Training program taught in accordance to the AUSDIVE Snorkel Diver guidelines, providing the best educational resources and professional teaching/guidance.

Find out more about getting as close to marine life as possible with Australia’s Coastal Wilderness Adventures.

gippsland high country

There’s only one thing better than the opportunity to get back to nature to escape the humdrum of modern living; and that’s having the chance to do so in the beautiful Gippsland and High Country areas of Victoria. Imagine enjoying that natural beauty with a local guide to share some hidden secrets and their love of the different environments, the plants, wildlife and history.

Gippsland High Country Tours specialise in small group nature tours and bushwalks with Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation, all led by knowledgeable local guides. With over 25 years experience, they are experts in the area and know the best places to go and the best time to be there.

Are you curious about the natural world? We like to think of these tours as “slow travel”; there is no rush, just lots of time to enjoy nature, learn about the region and unwind from the pressures of everyday life. Choose from short easy ambles or stretch your legs on energetic bushwalks. Enjoy the company of a small inclusive group of nature lovers and return home refreshed, invigorated and better informed.

Tours are typically no more than 10 participants and are all-inclusive packages with accommodation and catering, making a hassle-free holiday. Having Advanced Eco-certification with Ecotourism Australia means you have the assurance of a quality operator, leaving minimal impact on the environment.

The Gippsland High Country Tours range of Easy Ecotours and Walking Ecotours range from 3 to 8 days in duration and will have you exploring regions like the Snowy River, Alpine National Park, Errinundra Plateau and Croajingolong National Park while staying in cosy accommodation at night. They also offer bird watching tours, wildlife research and occasionally adventurous camping bushwalks for serious adventurers Find an ecotour or walking experience to suit by contacting Gippsland High Country Tours today.

OFF ROAD RUSH SYDNEY

You wake up on a Saturday, head to a location not far from home, don a helmet, a race suit, and hop into the driver seat of a Chevy V8 powered Race Buggy. You click together your race harness, start it up, put it in gear, drop the clutch, put your right foot to the floor and do 20 of the most adrenaline pumping laps of your life, on of one of the best off-road tracks in the country. With an instructor riding along as your navigator offering encouragement and some handy tips on car control, you will be drifting and racing over our purpose built jumps, and your confidence and speed will grow as each lap goes by.

If driving it is not your cup of tea, and you’d prefer to take the passenger seat in a Race Buggy with a V8 engine full of grunt, this dream can now be a reality. Hot Laps are an excellent way to experience the tracks and cars to their full potential while a professional drive trills you to no end!

Off Road Rush Sydney is the only adventure of its kind in Australia. The choices are not limited to V8 Off Road Buggies, but include WRX Turbo Rally Cars, or the new Yamaha YXZ1000R, or a combination of them all. Off Road Rush Sydney has locations in Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide and all have tracks with these options available, and are open most weekends for bookings.

Off Road Rush Sydney has been running since 2002. Off Road Rush’s Sydney aim is to give you the opportunity to drive a V8 Buggies, WRX Turbo Rally Cars, or the New Yamaha YXZ1000R in the most extreme dirt track conditions, just like a real race driver! Their instructors are the best you will find and their priorities are simple, they want to keep you safe and have a heap of fun! They are all off road racers that have a passion for off road and love to share their knowledge and experience to ensure the best experience possible.

Off Road Rush Sydney combine passion for off road racing to give a spectacular (yet safe) experience. Get yourself behind the wheel of a V8 Race Buggy, WRX Turbo Rally Car, or the new Yamaha YXZ1000R. Discover the secrets of these awesome cars, get sideways, and have a load of fun!

phillip island

The epitome of wildlife in Victoria all seems to merge into one amazing destination and if you’ve never been, Phillip Island is by far one of Australia’s best adventures.

Just a 90 minute drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is an ideal place for nature lovers and adventure junkies. From penguins to koalas, race tracks to coastal cruises, there is something for everyone.

Phillip Island Nature Parks is a non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing you the best the region has to offer, in a way that is eco efficient and educational.

One of the most popular attractions by far is the Penguin Parade where you can watch as these tiny creatures cross the beach, from the icy waters to their homes among the sand dunes, where they are known to play, chatter and socialise: in full view of an audience.

For another tour option to get you up close and personal with one of our iconic marsupials, the Koala Conservation Centre has you walking amongst the tree top boardwalks through their world, allowing you to come face to face with koalas in their natural habitat, the Australian bush.

New to Phillip Island is the Antarctica Journey, a virtual tour that takes you into the world of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. It includes three levels, from the story of the conservation of the Summerland Peninsula and its penguin population; to the interactive and informative experiences at The Lab; and finally an audio visual spectacle that puts you in the heart of the action. You’ll feel as though you’re floating on ice, and you’ll want to reach out and pat the penguins or stroke a seal. An amazing experience like this is found nowhere else in Australia.

A tour of Churchill Island Heritage Farm takes you back in time and allows you to explore the dairy farm, and get involved in wagon rides, sheep shearing and whip cracking; while an EcoBoat tour will speed you along Phillip Island’s spectacular coastline to see Australia’s largest fur seal colony at Seal Rocks.

If you want to experience all of the above, Phillip Island Nature Parks provides a 4 PARKS PASS bundle package that gives you the best of all worlds! Find out more on their website.

Great Southern Touring Route 

The spectacular Great Southern Touring Route showcases everything from historical cities steeped in culture and art, outstanding wineries, mountains to climb, fantastic azure seas and inspiring characters with many stories to tell.

Marvellous Melbourne, the cosmopolitan capital with its dramatic towers, art galleries, restaurants and charming river, is a natural starting and finishing point and the romance of the Great Ocean Road, with its rugged coastline, lush forests and overpowering sense of freedom, is an unforgettable experience.

Geelong’s bayside waterfront precinct is a cultural paradise and with all the activities such as bay cruises, chopper flights, carousel rides, promenade walks and restaurant mastery you will need to plan a longer stay.

The area is renowned as one of Australia’s truly iconic wine regions and a wine tour will help you discover how myriad microclimates make the Geelong Wine Region a diverse fusion of intensity and intimacy. Bike enthusiasts will love the hiking or mountain biking trails through bushland and rocky outcrops to the summit of the oddly named You Yangs, and with spectacular views across volcanic plains it will be worth your while to visit.

Village life is alive and well on The Bellarine Peninsula where you will find yourself entering into a mini-cluster of seaside charm, relaxed ambience and little-known foodie delights in Portarlington, Ocean Grove, Queenscliff, Drysdale, Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads. The very best of the Bellarine’s gourmet food and beverage experiences is cleverly gathered into the Bellarine Taste Trail.

Queenscliff’s grand colonial hotels, streetscapes, antique shops and steam railway are loaded with charm and will certainly provide you with stunning photographs and memories, while the fresh-off-the-boat seafood is sure to tempt your taste buds.

The Great Ocean Road is wildly beautiful. The infamous Twelve Apostles rise majestically from the Southern Ocean and with every sunrise and sunset you can expect ever changing colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun. Beyond the beauty of the Twelve Apostles there lies a world of fascination.

The Shipwreck Coast, the bustling seaside city of Warrnambool and the pretty little village of Port Fairy all offer rich experiences. The stacks that tower from the ocean in the Bay of Islands create a haunting natural landscape and with the sun setting in the west, they are a photographer’s delight. Warrnambool is the ideal place to enjoy the sea with its promenade that’s just made for walking or cycling and what better way to enjoy the stunning views of the ocean than with a coffee from one of the many seaside café’s.

Take a step back in time and visit Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. By day it’s an interactive 1870s maritime village and museum, offering a glimpse of the time when the seas were the super highway and the coast became known as the Shipwreck Coast. By night, everything changes and you get to experience ‘Shipwrecked’, a world-class sound and laser show which relives the tragedy and triumph of the ill-fated clipper ‘Loch Ard’.

Griffiths Island is an explorer’s delight with its colony of shearwaters, and spectacular lighthouse. At dusk birdwatchers are in for a treat as the colony of shearwaters, or mutton-birds, return in swarms to their nests after a day fishing. At the end of the Great Ocean Road, you will uncover another place and time in history from every vista when you visit the charming fishing village of Port Fairy. Its wide streets are edged by nineteenth century cottages, Norfolk pines, old stone churches and inns.

The majestic Grampians rise up from the plains of the Western District with an abundance of waterfalls, wildflowers and native animals - just some of the reasons to take the time to explore the national and state parks. MacKenzie Falls offers you the most spectacular view as torrential water cascades over cliffs that send a spray of rainbow mist high into the air above a magnificent gorge. The Grampians is famous for its mountainous and rugged scenery and spectacular scenic lookouts and the Chataqua Peak or the more challenging Boronia Peak walks, both overlooking Halls Gap offer unbeatable views of the Grampians National Park.

Ballarat is the gateway to the Goldfields region and this grand old city’s colonial architecture stretches out along broad, tree-lined streets and reflects the riches taken from the ground after the discovery of gold in the 19th Century. The uprising at the Eureka Stockade is regarded as a pivotal moment in the development of Australian democracy. Experience the hustle and bustle of life on the Ballarat goldfields in the 1850s at Sovereign Hill, one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions. Pan for real gold, ride in horse-drawn carriages, or travel underground on a tour of the Red Hill Mine. Ballarat is also home to the country’s oldest and largest regional gallery and Ballarat Wildlife Park, with its 16 hectares of natural bushland.

The towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are surrounded by more than 60 mineral springs, with the water long renowned for its beneficial qualities.

The Great Southern Touring Route has much to offer. You just have to see it for yourself.

baw baw adventures

The Australian bush is an adventure just waiting to happen. There’s something for everyone, and within a short drive from where most of us live, there’s somewhere we can get back to nature.

Baw Baw Adventures in Victoria offer a variety of guided tours from beginner adventurers and experienced adventurers alike. Their adventures are available for solo, family and group travellers. With extensive experience in the natural environment, Baw Baw Adventures will be sure maximise your outdoor experience, and leave you gasping for more.

Baw Baw Adventures offer customised tours to suit your needs. Their speciality tours include hunting expeditions, fishing, bushwalking, horse riding and 4WD tours. With their extensive local knowledge of game and fishing locations, and their range of hunting techniques you can be sure of an exciting and educational experience on your hunting trip. They also pride themselves on knowing all the best hidden fishing spots around the region to ensure the best catches are yours. Their fishing tours are very popular, and will take you to all corners of the serene and remote Baw Baw region.

If you’re not quite prepared for a family camping trip but really want your family to enjoy the great outdoors as a unit, Baw Baw Adventures run what is called a tag-along 4wd tour!

They choose the location, set up camp for you and you just rock up with your family and camp the weekend away. Combine the tag-along 4wd tour with their educational hiking or bushwalking, or horse riding trips to add an extra element of adventure to your trip.

GEELONG ADVENTURE SPECIALISTS

If you’re looking for adventure in the Geelong region, you’ve found it.

Geelong Adventure Specialists (GAS) have been operating since 2012 and with a goal to create opportunities for people to get out into the wild, experience nature at its finest, and have fun while doing it – you know you’re in for a fantastic time!

They specialise in high quality private adventures and tours and have been awarded Certificate of Excellence Winner's 2016 & 2015, by Trip Advisor, for 'superior service' – so you can rest assured you’re getting quality.

GAS offers a huge range of activities to suit all ages, so whether you’re keen for a challenge or a fun day out with family and friends, there is something to suit. Tours are typically designed for 1-10 people, and they also cater to larger school or business groups.

If you want to experience rock climbing, nothing beats the feeling of gliding down after you’ve worked your way to the top. You can enjoy the magnificent views of the You Yangs, Anakie, Werribee Gorge and the famous Grampians.

Feel the flow on a mountain bike with a tour through the You Yangs, Forrest, the Alps and Geelong. Enjoy a full weekend of shredding at Mt Buller or improve your skills at the Hill Bike Park in Geelong. If you prefer a more leisurely ride, the Barwon River and Bellarine Rail Trail are fantastic options.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there’s more than 100 walks throughout the region, you can enjoy a bushwalking tour through the You Yangs, on the Bellarine, Otways and the Grampians with an experienced guide. There are single day or multi-day hiking adventures available.

GAS also run Bus Tours to these destinations, including the amazing 12 Apostles.
If you’re ready for some fun, give GAS a call today!

Johanna Seaside Cottages

Johanna Seaside Cottages are located just off the Great Ocean Road on the untamed coastline of south-west Victoria.

Johanna Seaside is a unique coastal property providing quality boutique accommodation in the heart of the Great Ocean Road at Johanna Beach. Secluded beach cottages with stunning views, log fires, spas, gourmet kitchens. The cottages are surrounded by 250 hectares of private bushland and farmland. A true nature based experience for all guests.

The cottages enjoy views over the river flats and undulating hills and most with spectacular ocean views. Choose between 4 beach cottages or authentic Farm House. Whilst staying at Johanna Seaside Cottages guests have access to the heated indoor swimming pool, organic fresh produce garden and free range eggs.

Johanna Seaside Cottages offer a number of tailored Great Ocean Walk Packages, with the choice of catering. Johanna Seaside Cottages is the only property along The Great Ocean Road that has direct access to The Great Ocean Walk, simply roll out of bed and step onto the walk.

The Great Ocean Walk stretches more than 100km from Apollo Bay to the iconic Twelve Apostles, hugging the coastline with nature’s drama unfolding at every step with every day being different.

For additional information regarding Johanna Seaside Cottages and there range of Great Ocean Walk packages please call (03) 5237 4242.

gorats

The Great Ocean Road is a world of adventure and no one knows it better than Great Ocean Road Adventure Tours! If you’re looking for adventure in the Geelong, Surf Coast and Otway Ranges regions of Victoria, you’ve found it. Great Ocean Road Adventure Tours (GORAT) create personalised tours so you can get the most out of your adventure, whether you’re looking to paddle or cycle your way to the edge.

Their mountain bike tours will take you along the surf coast so you can make the most of the region, exploring hidden locations and enjoying the views. They provide tours to suit all levels of experience, from leisurely 1.5 hour rides, to exhausting multi-day journeys. You’ll join a group of around 15-30 other enthusiasts for maximum fun. GORAT also provide bike hire, with road bikes, mountain bikes, touring, kids and electric bikes available.

If you want to discover Victoria's most beautiful watercourses, including the Aire River, Anglesea River and Barwon River as well as Painkalac Creek, GORAT have a fleet of flat-water canoes and two person canoes that are guaranteed to provide a heart-racing adventure.

GORAT also provide serious adrenaline pumped adventures, ideal for sporting clubs, fitness clubs, corporate groups, PT groups, and more. It doesn’t matter what kind of rush you want, whether its tearing along a single track on a bike or smashing down a mountain, paddling hard on the river or running through the bush; there is something for everyone.

The GORAT team are all high performance athletes, national champions, qualified fitness instructors and nutrition experts so you know you’re getting the best advice and training from people that matter.

With GORAT it’s not just about the adventure, and they also offer accommodation options for training weekends.
To find out more, visit their website or give them a call today!

Spearfishing and Scuba Diving - Bucket List Trips with Adreno

If you’re on the hunt for the trip of a lifetime, look no further! Adreno is more than just the World’s largest spearfishing, scuba diving and surfing megastores. For the past 15 years we’ve been working hard (really hard, we swear!) exploring the World’s top scuba diving and spearfishing locations so we can start taking our adventurours community on bucket list trips, showing them the very best of the underwater world.

Upcoming Scuba Diving Adventures
Fiji – Beqa Lagoon Trips
October 22-29, 2016
July 15-22, 2017

Beqa lagoon offers one of the most widely acclaimed shark dives in the world! Diving consists of coral encrusted walls, memorable night dives and the famous Beqa Lagoon Shark Dive. 8 different species of shark call Beqa Lagoon home including whitetip, blacktip, nurse, lemon, grey reef, silvertip, bull and tiger sharks and over 300 species of fish.

All-inclusive Cost: $2,735 per person including return flights, dives, tours, accommodation and more.

Papua New Guinea – Rabul Trips
May 06-14, 2017

Imagine your very own beach hideaway with pristine coral right at your doorstep and endless WWII dive sites within arms reach. This is the spectacle that you can expect when you arrive at Kabaira Beach Hideaway, Rabaul!

All-inclusive cost: $3,445 per person including return flights, dives, tours, accommodation and more .

The Solomon Islands - GIzo
September 01-08, 2017

Surrounding Gizo Island there are endless blue lagoons, coral cays, volcanic and crystal bays. Gizo offers fantastic diving with warm, crystal clear waters, impressive coral formations, steep coral encrusted walls and fantastic Marine life, from macro critters to curious pelagics!

All-inclusive cost: $3,310 per person including return flights, dives, tours, accommodation and more.

Upcoming Spearfishing Adventures
Tonga
July 20-26 2017
August 24-30 2017

Explore the incredible Kingdom of Tonga and enjoy the luxury of 2 in water guides, plus a dedicated skipper - you'll never have to go boaty, and the experienced guides will work the burly, flashers and help you land the fish of your dreams. 6 days of diving, 1 rest day. Includes meals and accommodation. Target species include: Dogtooth Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo, Dolphin Fish, Trout, Mangrove Jack, Trevally, Cod, Red Bass and MUCH more!

Cost: $2,995 per person + flights (4 divers per trip + 1 Adreno rep)

Coral Sea
LAST TRIP OF 2016 - October 14th - 20th 2016
February 25 - March 3 2017
October 9 - 15 2017

The Pinnacle of Australian diving is the Coral Sea! 5 days in the water on a beautiful, well-equipped liveaboard. 8 spaces available. 2 x 5m tenders. Full-time boaties so all you need to do is shoot fish! Stewardesses to cook and clean - all meals provided. Ribbons Reef diving, venturing to the Coral Sea-weather permitting. Target species include: Dogtooth Tuna, Wahoo, Spanish Mackerel, Dolphin Fish, Yellowfin Tuna, Job Fish, various emperor species, trout, Mu, Maori Sea Perch and other exotic reef species - you never know what you’ll encounter there!

Cost: $2,500 per person (8 people per trip + 2 Adreno reps)

Why join Adreno?

Adreno is the World’s largest dive store with Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and online megastores stocking the biggest range of spearfishing equipment and scuba diving gear, as well as wetsuits for every watersport. At Adreno, we are passionate about the exploration of the unknown. Our expert staff really do “Live it, Breathe it, Dive it” – not only can we gear you up for your next adventure, but we can take you there too! For the past 15 years we have explored every (underwater) corner of the globe, and now we’re ready to share the experience with you!

Want to get into diving or spearfishing?

We now offer scuba diving and freediving courses at all of our stores! If you’d like to join a trip one day but need to learn all the basics, we’re here to help any time!

Get in touch!

If you’re interested in joining a trip email james@adreno.com.au for more info!

EXPERIENCE WALHALLA GOLD

Take a deep breath of fresh air, and prepare yourself as you’re immersed into an underground world like no other. Australia’s mining background is intriguing and exploring a gold mine is one way in which you can truly experience this amazing part of our history.

The Long Tunnel Extended Mine in Walhalla, Victoria, was operational from 1865 until 1911 and leads into the side of a hill for 300 metres. There were 8.5 kilometres of tunnel, reaching almost 1 kilometre the underground. Follow the tunnel along before you reach a cavern-like chamber which was originally built to house the machinery that worked the mine.

Over time, it became the fifth richest mine in Victoria – it produced around 14 tonne of gold!

If you are keen to experience a tour, the Walhalla Board of Management runs tours every day (except Christmas). The tour will take you the 300 metres to the chamber, and your experienced and knowledgeable guides will introduce you to the mine’s history and features. General tours last around 50 minutes, or you might choose to take a 2 hour technical tour (held the first Sunday of the month by appointment) if you want to learn more about mining and haulage methods used in deep quartz reef mines.

Whatever tour you choose, you’ll find it is informative, interactive and a lot of fun. Tours are suited to all ages, and if you suffer from a little claustrophobia or you’re a little afraid of the dark, you don’t need to worry. The mine is well lit and well ventilated, so you can explore without any worry.

Walhalla itself is location just near Baw Baw National Park and was founded as a gold-mining community in 1862. If you’re travelling to the Walhalla region of Victoria, this is one attraction you don’t want to miss.

hike2camp

The Great Ocean Walk takes you where the Great Ocean Road can’t! From Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles the Great Ocean Road travels far inland leaving an epic 100 kilometre trail next to the ocean just for hikers - the Great Ocean Walk.

Hike 2 Camp is a small local business providing a unique experience along the Great Ocean Walk. Stay in the ocean view “hike-in hike-out” campsites exclusively for Great Ocean Walkers. It has become a “must do” experience in recent years, taking you through tall forests, coastal heathlands, wild rocky shores, river estuaries, remote beaches and windswept cliff-tops. You’ll have the opportunity to get to know the local wildlife and relish the beauty that is Australia.

Hike 2 Camp provides a stress free way to experience this walk in 5 or 6 days, or part of it, with 2 and 4 day options. Tours include camping fees, transfers, tent (which is set up for you), self-inflating mat, sleeping bag, pillow and headlamp; all food and drink during the tour, including snacks; and everything else you might need, such as a poncho, First Aid Kit, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and information brochures.

Depending on the tour you choose, highlights include ocean view camping, koala spotting, Aire River sanctuary, Cape Otway Lightstation including lunch at the cafe, kangaroo spotting at dusk and dawn, Castle Cove, Ryans Den, lunch at Princetown Café, shipwrecked anchors at Wreck Beach, Devils Kitchen and the renowned 12 Apostles.

Hike 2 Camp strike the perfect balance between dependent and independent hiking. They take your bags for you, give you a briefing and away you go. You’ll meet them again at the next campsite along with other fellow campers with your tent already set up for you and dinner not too far off. In the morning, simply wake up, pack your bag enjoy a hearty breakfast and off you go again.

Hike 2 Camp turn a big trek into an easy and enjoyable experience. If you want to know more, visit their website or give them a call today!

ADVENTURE GUIDES

Chasing the ultimate outdoor adventure in northern Victoria?

Adventure Guides Australia operates in and around the Mount Buffalo region of Victoria and the business has been offering amazing adventure experiences for more than 30 years. They have regular advertised half day caving and abseiling experiences or you can book a private full day adventure.

The Mount Buffalo National Park stretches across 31,000 hectares, with cliffs, granite tors, waterfalls and amazing flora and fauna providing an ideal backdrop for a range of adventure activities. Adventure Guides Australia offers activities all year round, including abseiling, caving, climbing, skiing, kayaking, snow shoe and cross country ski lessons and tours, crevassing and bushwalking.

Take a tour with Adventure Guides to the edge of the Mount Buffalo gorge, where you have the opportunity to abseil between 10 metres and 300 metres (depending on your age, experience and preferences). They also provide abseiling adventures, ideal for beginners, gold panning and aboriginal art site tours in nearby Beechworth.

If you prefer getting an insider’s view of the scenery, caving is an experience you won’t want to miss. Choose from a caving experience in the underground world of Mount Buffalo in a granite boulder infill cave; or a family adventurer in Burston’s Crevasse.

Adventure Guides also provide abseiling adventurers for young children from 4 to 6 years with a family friendly 4 and 6 metre abseil site When you want to take to the waters, white water kayaking down the Ovens River is a great experience; while Lake Catani on the plateau of Mount Buffalo is nice and relaxed kayak and stand up paddle board destination.

With the colder weather upon us, you might be thinking a snow tour is on the cards. Adventure Guides have cross country ski lessons and tours, plus snow shoe hikes taking you through the snowfields, toboggan and snow shoe hire through their Mount Buffalo Ski School. The ski school is based out of the warm and friendly Dingo Dell Cafe

With tours to suit all ages and groups, when you’re looking for adventure, Adventure Guides Australia are waiting to take your call.

Roaring 40’s Kayaking

The reflections of the pristine Tasmanian wilderness are perfect, right way up and wrong way down. Kayaking over these mirrored images of mountain and sky in the morning is like entering a meditative state, disturbed only by the splash and movement of our paddles.

The uncanny sensation of navigating between reality and illusion wasn’t entirely unexpected. It already felt as if we were entering another dimension on our chartered flight deep into Tasmania's south-western wilderness.

Descending to the gravel runway at Melaleuca where we would begin our Roaring 40ºs Kayaking expedition, all 618,000 hectares of this Southwest National Park lay spread enticingly beneath us. For seven days our small group would kayak through reflections on Bathurst Harbour, surf the swell of the Southern Ocean, meander along the numerous rivers and creeks and walk untouched beaches and remote mountain peaks that make up this UNESCO World Heritage Wilderness region.

Described as a place where time stands still and rated by Lonely Planet as one of the world's 10 epic sea kayak paddles, our expectations of this trip were high. Grabbing our bags we hopped off the plane and straight into the water for our first short kayak down a quiet inlet to the Forest Lagoon standing camp. The serenity around us was broken only by parrots screeching from treetops and the beating wings of startled black swans as they took to the sky.

Comfortable in stable double sea-kayaks, our next few days were spent exploring the natural beauty of an area characterized by golden-green mountainous ridges rising steeply from sandy-white quartzite coves and small islands that appeared to float on the dark and reflective water that ultimately merged with the salty Southern Ocean.

It’s hard to imagine, but beneath the kayaks in the sheltered Port Davey Marine Reserve all is not as it seems. Tannin-stained freshwater floats above heavier tidal salt water and these two opposing layers have created a diverse underwater environment that exists nowhere else in the world. Tannin limits sunlight penetration, restricting plant growth but allowing colourful, delicate marine invertebrates to thrive.

Meandering at paddling pace, we crossed the protected waters of Bathurst Harbour with its expansive views to the Arthur Range and along Bathurst Narrows, a drowned river valley lined with beaches nibbled into the base of mountains before reaching the tempestuous Southern Ocean. Here, conditions allow us to pass beyond the Breaksea Islands to experience the adrenalin of paddling in the Southern Ocean’s mighty swell.

With its combination of sheltered wilderness harbours, rugged ocean coastlines, remote islands and wild rivers it is no surprise this watery wilderness has been described as "the most magnificent paddling destination in Australia".

Too soon we found ourselves back on the gravel runway where illusion would again become reality on the time-machine that would fly us home.

Roaring 40ºs Kayaking offer 7 and 3 day expeditions into Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. They also offer a range of wilderness day tours exploring national parks and reserves close to Hobart. Get up close and personal to the southern hemisphere’s highest sea cliffs and resident Australian fur seals or explore the lichen-covered cliffs and sea caves along Hobart’s Derwent River.

Or for a unique experience, paddle Hobart’s iconic waterfront and experience one of the world’s most picturesque harbours from a different perspective. Glide past prestigious homes, marvel at tall sailing ships and keep an eye out for Sammy the resident seal. Your discovery of Hobart wouldn’t be complete without some locally caught fish and chips from the city’s famed floating fish punts. Enjoy them with the best view in town - straight from your kayak!

Roaring 40ºs Kayaking is Tasmania’s award-winning kayaking operator and have a tailored kayaking adventure to suit your time-frame and experience level. With an impeccable safety record and a great crew just waiting to share a paddling adventure, contact them today to begin your kayaking adventure. All tours operate November to April.

wildlife tourism australia

Australia is a strange place. It is home to famous marsupials such as kangaroos, koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils, as well as quokkas, numbats and many other marsupials you may never have heard of. In fact about half our mammal species are marsupials, and we have no native monkeys, bears, cats or hoofed animals. We do have the very peculiar furry but egg-laying platypus and echidna, the world's best mimic (lyrebird), the laughing kookaburra, the tall and flightless emu and cassowary, bowerbirds that construct elaborate, decorated bowers, and most of the world's cockatoos. We share the world's largest crocodile with tropical Asia and have a smaller crocodile found nowhere else. Australia is also the probable birthplace of songbirds, parrots and pigeons, all of which we have a-plenty.

Some animals are easy to find: colourful parrots are common in most cities, wild grey kangaroos abound not far from some of our capitals, and there are many places to watch the flight of thousands of large and noisy ftuitbats or watch whales in season. Other creatures may take more effort and patience: e.g. climbing a mountain to see rock-wallabies, heading way out into the true outback for big red kangaroos and desert birds and reptiles, waiting at dawn or dusk for shy platypus, or diving in southern seas to find the strange leafy sea dragon.

In Australia you can dive the coral reefs amid bright-coloured fish, turtles and other creatures, swim with whale-sharks or minke whales, see penguins waddle ashore at night, watch animals gather at an outback waterhole before sunset and then camp under a sky of brilliant stars, hike through rainforests or the typical Aussie bush (eucalypt forest and woodlands), explore caves, canoe down scenic rivers or watch thousands of glow worms (very different from fire-flies, although we have them too) light up at night. You can instead sit comfortably on the veranda of an ecolodge watching birds and wallabies, go seeking animals on safari in air-conditioned vehicles or visit well-run wildlife parks that emphasize research, public education and conservation breeding, with a variety of fascinating creatures you may not otherwise see if here for a short visit.

Wildlife Tourism Australia's website introduces you to environmentally-friendly tours, accommodation and wildlife parks throughout the country, with tips for your own independent travel, and how not to disturb the animals you wish to see. There is also much information on native animals, discussions on conservation and other issues, best-practice guidelines and links to much other information, including books and research papers.

Our members (tour operators, accommodation providers, wildlife parks, academic researchers and others) agree to commit to supporting wildlife conservation, animal welfare and quality interpretation (“interpretation” here means enjoyable education of a kind that provides a deeper understanding and appreciation of wildlife and their habitats).

You may also like to help with wildlife research. Wildlife in Australia, as in other world regions, face many problems. Climate change, habitat destruction, increasing human population spreading into wildlife areas, the black market trade, human-wildlife conflicts, changes in fire regimes, vehicle collisions, diseases and many other pressures are causing concern about the survival of many species. There is much that we already know, to guide conservation plans, but also much that we don't yet know, and some tour operators conduct research or assist researchers. If you can reliably identify Aussie birds and other creatures you can directly help with recording observations, or otherwise assist by finding animals to point out to the research leader, taking relevant photos, setting and washing live-capture traps, measuring tree-trunks or carrying equipment. You can learn a lot about research techniques and about the animals themselves, as well as having a feeling of accomplishment at helping the wildlife you have enjoyed seeing. See http://www.wildliferesearchnetwork.org.

Wildlife Tourism Australia also runs conferences, workshops, wildlife expos and other events. We have just enjoyed a lively and very useful workshop on wildlife interpretation, and in November delegates from across Australia as well as Asia and Europe will be coming to Adelaide for the conference “Where the Wild Things Grow: Leadership, Partnerships and Ethics in Wildlife Tourism.” See http://www.wildlifetourism.org.au/blog/wildlife-tourism-conference-south-australia-november-2016/.

Whatever your interest in Australia's wildlife, http://www.wildlifetourism.org.au has a wealth of information for you.

MOUNTAIN BIKE TASSIE

Tasmania is one of Australia’s most intriguing destinations, with an edge to adventure that some might only dream about. Mountain Bike Tasmania / Rock Climbing Tasmania is a guiding company that offers the excitement of this fantastic State straight to you, allowing you to enjoy the true natural excitement Tasmania has to offer, either on the seat of a bike or by harness.

If you’re a biking fanatic or just looking to try something new, Mountain Bike Tasmania provides a range of mountain bike tours through the local bushland and mountain tracks across Tasmania. You’ll follow amazing new trail networks that have recently been developed, whether you’re planning on going for a few hours or a few days. From exploring the Launceston trails of Kate Reed and Trevallyn; to taking a journey along the paths of Hollybank Mountain Bike Park, Derby and Mt Wellington; there is something for everyone.

Mountain Bike Tasmania is most famous for the Ben Lomond Descent – taking you down a total drop of 1,050 vertical metres (mostly downhill). Hold on and enjoy the ride. If you’re looking for something a little less adventurous, the Riverside Trails is a great way to explore Launceston’s waterfront with a leisurely ride.

4 and 5 day options for groups of up to 10 are our specialty. These trips incorporate the Launceston trails of Kate Reed and Trevallyn as well as Hollybank, Derby and Mt Wellington. As part of this service we will book your accommodation and handle all your transport with our comfortable van and purpose built MTB Trailer. Our experienced guides will ride with you to ensure you get the most out of your time here without the hassle of having to refer to trail maps.

When Rock Climbing is more your style, or if you want to try both, Rock Climbing Tasmania offers you the chance to see the world class Rock Climbing areas of Tasmania, with experiences available for all types of climber, whether you’re a novice or an expert.

Take a day trip in Launceston’s Cataract Gorge - a natural gem that has been the training ground for local climbers for years; or if you’re more experienced, head on a multi-day adventure to more remote cliffs with the granite of Freycinet being a popular choice.

Whatever your choice, you’ll have the time of your life. For an experience that can only be found in Tasmania, give the team a call today to book your mountain biking or rock climbing adventure. The excitement of Tasmania awaits.

SKYDIVING MELBOURNE

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and prepare to make the leap of your life!

There is no greater feeling than jumping from a plane, soaring through the clouds and heading straight down 14,000 feet above the ground. If you haven’t been skydiving yet, you’re missing out! This is an adventure that will stay with you for life and Skydiving Melbourne has the reputation to provide you with the best experience.

Skydiving Melbourne is one of the most reputed Skydiving schools in Victoria, whether you’re learning to skydive, planning a tandem jump or heading out on your own above the Melbourne skies. The Parachute School and Skydive Euroa has been been operating since 1983 and has the best safety record in Victoria.

First timer? Tandem is the way to go. Stapped tightly to your highly experienced and friendly instructor you will reach speeds of up to 220 KPH for 60 secs. After the canopy ride of 6-8 minutes you will land back on the Drop Zone in front of your friends and family – guaranteed to have the BIGGEST smile on your face.

Skydiving Melbourne offers skydiving courses, including Static Line Free Fall, AFF First Jump Courses, and A-Licence Full Solo Course. If you’re more experienced but looking to enhance the fun by making skydiving a sport, you can choose from a range of options for training and fun – from formation skydiving to freeflying, vertical formations to skysurfing and wingsuits.

To top off the excitement, fun, safety and service, Skydiving Melbourne also guarantee the lowest prices in Melbourne. At Skydiving Melbourne, you’re encouraged to live life to the full, so get flying today!

BALLOON ADVENTURES

Imagine the feeling of a dream-like experience, floating above the lands, looking down on the Earth below, in complete awe. Experience the peace and beauty of floating over the South Australian country side as the sun is rising, glancing down at some of the most picturesque landscapes our beautiful country has to offer. Ballooning is one of the most breathtaking things you can do in your lifetime. For many it’s a dream, but it’s quite simple to make it a reality.

Barossa Balloon Adventures is one of the longest running and most experienced hot air ballooning company in Australia. They run a number of different flight tours including flights over the Barossa Valley and the Murray River. The Barossa Valley is one of the most spectacular winery regions in Australia, and one of Australia’s premier ballooning locations. Balloon Adventures is one of the greatest sightseeing adventures In South Australia, and has been running for 30 years.

Justin Stein, your pilot, has the most experience of flying the Barossa Valley region than any pilot in Australia. His in-depth knowledge of the topography and localised weather means he can skilfully choose your flight path to capture the best views the Barossa has to offer.

The picturesque Langmeil Winery is where your adventure begins and ends. This historic winery is home to the original blacksmith, bakery and butcher shop established in Tanunda in 1843. The vineyard surrounding the winery is believed to be one of the oldest known surviving Shiraz vineyards in the world.

The Barossa tour ends with a delicious gourmet breakfast back at the winery, where you can relax and reflect on the mornings events, whilst sipping Langmeil sparkling wine while indulging in the best Barossa produce available.

If you’re planning a visit to the region, there’s no better way to see it, than by balloon.

BUSHLORE AUSTRALIA

Survival in the Australian bush might not be something that you need in your day-to-day life, but if your adventurous desires lead you off the beaten track on a regular basis, you may one day find yourself in the need for some survival or tracking techniques, nature observation skills or bushcraft knowledge.

Imagine you are mountain biking through one of Australia’s many isolated tracks with friends; you take a wrong turn while exploring the wilderness, and become lost, injured and find yourself in imminent danger. Having knowledge of your surroundings, and skills that can help you survive or find your way again might literally be the difference between life and death.

Most adventurers are risk takers to an extent, but if there is a way to prepare yourself for the worst, you take it.

Bushlore Australia offer expert outdoor programs that impart life-saving wilderness survival skills and facilitate a re-connection to the natural world. They also provide training in search and rescue tracking, disaster survival, urban survival, survival self-defence, self-reliance, sustainability, team building, leadership and personal development.

These amazing courses don't just teach techniques and tricks, they show you the philosophy that underpins engagement with the natural world. The courses they run, range from Survival Self-Defence, where you will undergo a series of SAS designed training and learn to read a potentially hostile situations, become situationally aware, then if attacked know what to do in the most tactically reliable way, to neutralise your attacker(s) and make your escape to safety to a course that teaches you the fundamentals of primitive survival trapping, snaring and hunting.

Bushlore Australia also run courses on tracking and observation, survival fish hook making, and run a 2 day complete wilderness survival course, which ensures that the fundamentals of survival are addressed in a logical and practical manner in order to foster personal resilience.

Subjects normally covered during the course include the psychology of survival, shelter construction, fire lighting, water procurement, food procurement, emergency signalling, expedient navigation techniques, knives and knots, survival kits and emergency packs and using resources effectively and respectfully.

You never can tell when you will need skills for your survival.

When the email arrived inviting me to do a 2 day Wilderness Survival Course with Rich Hungerford I jumped at the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with skills that had been suppressed over the past 7 years.

I lived and trained for the Outer Edge Polar Challenge, which was all based around keeping warm and snow-sailing; but with my upcoming Stand Up Paddle around Florida Island in the Solomon Islands, unsupported and being self sufficient, I needed to make sure the survival skills I would potentially need were covered.

So off I went at 5am on a Saturday morning to Rich’s training compound.

We were a group of 7, meeting for the first time and you can imagine the jaw dropping experience when Rich uttered these words “Hi guys, welcome and there will be no food for the first 24 hours…”

The next 36 hours were spent honing and refining skills.

Rich Hungerford not only knows the subject thoroughly, he is able to relay the information and find ways to make the subject matter stick. Classroom work and "hands on" drills in the field, along with his desire to make sure the subject is understood, makes this course unique. You can really feel Rich’s need to make sure his students don't just earn a "Completion Card" but that they really understand and are able to execute the proper skills in a real world situation. He knows this really could mean the difference between Life and Death for someone.

Rich is incredibly passionate about wilderness skills and the proper teaching of the subject matter. The skills he teaches are based upon his own experience! This is not someone that has gotten his knowledge from a book, TV or YouTube: his knowledge comes from experience - from actually using the skills he teaches, which puts him in a very small minority of survival skills instructors.

From basic skills like fire, trap and shelter building, to identifying edible plants to strategies for getting rescued, this course is packed with a staggering amount of useful information in a short two day format. This course does not pull punches. It makes you live the survival situation and experience the challenges first hand, but provides just enough guidance to help you learn from the experience.

You will come out of this course smarter and more able to survive. I can't say enough about how impressed I was with Rich as the course instructor. He teaches from experience, not theory, and does so with humor, patience and a deep understanding how to approach a survival situation.

Make no mistake, you will work hard, you will sweat, get dirty, fatigued, cold, hungry and tired. What you will not get, is a false sense of security about wilderness survival. You will learn about some of the most common mistakes in the survival books, not because he tells you so but because he explains and demonstrates why and then lets you experience for yourself the proper approach.

If you really want to learn wilderness survival skills from someone that has the knowledge, experience and has "walked the walk", you owe it to yourself to attend Bush Lore Australia. I highly recommend this course for anyone who hikes, camps or simply wants to be better prepared to survive in the wilderness.

adrenalin fiji

Bula!

If you’re planning your next adventure holiday and you’re not quite sure where to go: Fiji is easily the ultimate adrenaline destination for lovers of everything water!

Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 islands, where warm temperatures meet sea breezes, palm trees meet white sands and crystal waters meet nature’s paradise. It is a world that is unlike anything else; and it is a world where adventure awaits.

Adrenalin Fiji provides you with everything you could want for an exciting holiday in this beautiful part of the world.

Operating since 2005, Adrenalin Fiji is based at Port Denarau Marina and provides memorable tropical outdoor experiences.

If you want to feel the wind in your hair and your heart pounding with excitement, a guided jet-ski safari offshore adventure goes either to Beachcomber Island or Cloud9 on a 2.5 hour thrill ride to enjoy Fiji's island scenery and tropical weather.

There’s nothing quite like catching the “big one” and Adrenalin Fiji operate game fishing tours from a number of vessels, including a 25ft centre console, a 36ft Kevlacat, and a 51ft Riviera. You’ll yell, laugh and pant your way through the fishing experience of a lifetime as you chase tuna and mahi-mahi, or cast a line for the elusive Golden Trevally. Tours are half day, full day in the nearby Mamanuca Island or overnight in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.

Feel a little more like relaxing? Their leisure cruises will delight with a private charter boat taking you around the waters of Fiji, allowing for swimming, snorkeling, island hopping and much more.

Bel’Mare is an 86ft motor yacht available for private charters, popular for family & friends, wedding or corporate incentive groups. Cruise the stunning Mamanuca Islands and savour meals prepared onboard by the chef, local beers, NZ wines and water toys that include a jet ski ride, kayaks, paddle boards and snorkeling gear. If a private charter is out of budget, ask about the Bel’Mare All Inclusive Day Cruise (where guests pay per person) which takes guests cruising around Malalo Island.

For an ultimate adventure, charter both Bel’Mare and Opulence together for a full cruising, jet skiing and fishing experience in the beautiful and remote Yasawa Islands.

Closer to your resort, and from Port Denarau, iIf you want to escape and take a bird’s eye view of the beautiful region, they also offer parasailing flights that will blow you away!

Whatever adventure it is you seek in the waters, there’s no better place to go, so join Fiji’s most experienced watersports team at Adrenalin Fiji. Give them a call or visit their website today.

kokoda tribute

I meet the group for the first of this years Kokoda Treks in early February. A warm morning in Melbourne's Dandenong Ranges is the start of a journey that will take 6 months to complete. After friendly handshakes and introductions we start our first ascent. These training walks that I host are an essential, and enjoyable part of preparing to walk through the formidable Owen Stanley Range of Papua New Guinea, from one side to the other.

The closer we get to the trek, the length and intensity of the training increases, as does the fitness and morale of the group. By the middle of July when we meet for the last session, the improvement in everyone's well being is visible, friendships made,and I leave them to head for PNG confident in their ability to complete one of the most arduous walking treks in the world. Everyone is ready to go.

Upon leaving Jackson's airport in Port Moresby,we can all feel the change in conditions. Heat and humidity are mixed with the smells and sounds of a vibrant country. Arms wave and faces smile as we drive past, and the warmth of the people already outweighs the temperature. After a brief tour of the city, the real journey begins.

Entering the Bomana War Cemetery the headstones of hundreds of Australian, Papuan and Allied forces from WWII appear, surrounded by pristine lawns and foliage. The experience is emotional, confronting, extremely humbling and a big part of the reason we are here. The Kokoda Track is about far more than the challenge of walking it. It has a life of it's own. History and culture, mountains and rainforest, and some of the friendliest and generous people on the planet.

Our first night is spent at the Sogeri Lodge which is located up on the Sogeri Plateau some 40 km north of Port Moresby. Here we prepare for setting off to begin the trek the next morning, and meet the modern day Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who will accompany, and support us for the entire trek.

A 45 minute drive brings us to Owers Corner, and the start of the trek. In the early morning light, the mist rising from the valley floor below can still hide the ranges beyond, and as it burns off, the task ahead comes into view. Lines of steep jungle clad ridges appear and the Track disappears through the Kunai grass as the first descent begins. Slipping and sliding, trying to maintain control can be a tough introduction to what lies ahead, but with the care of a local and concentration, we melt into the jungle and experience the magic of the track for the first time.

Early in the afternoon we have climbed our first ridge, and stand in the saddle of Imita Ridge, where in 1942 the Diggers were ordered to withdraw no further, and fight to the last if necessary. It is here I believe the gravity of the situation, and the task the Diggers had before them comes into the conciousness of all of us who are there. l am asked for the first time how did the wounded get to safety. Papuan Carriers with immeasurable care, compassion and strength did the job, immortalised by their actions, and the wonderful poem, The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by Sapper Bert Berros.

Another steep descent takes us into the picturesque Ua-Ule Creek where the relatively flat ground is a welcome respite. Our first campsite by the creek, and a refreshing waterhole complete our first taste of the Track. As light begins at 6am, and darkness at 6pm it means early to bed and early to rise. The kettle is already boiled by our wonderful cook, and the carriers help to get all the trekkers organised for day 2.

The walk continues along the creek until the ascent of Ioribaiwa Ridge begins. False ridges, one after another are climbed, and the benefit of the pre-trek training starts to show its true worth, as the real battle of wills begins. At the top after passing through the village, we are at the point of the furthest Japanese advance along the Track. Looking back there is the realisation of how close the Japanese were to reaching their goal.

Over the course of the journey we shall ascend and descend over 5,000 vertical metres. Day 2 also has the Maguli Range to tackle in the afternoon before arriving in the scenic village of Nauro, where a hot meal and our individual tents are waiting. A comfort not shared by the Diggers 74 years ago. From here we walk down into the Nauro Swamp before another challenging walk into the beautiful and welcoming village of Menari. Today we are in camp early, and can enjoy the natural spa and the company of some of the village people.

From Menari we walk up the slopes of Brigade Hill to the knoll at the top. A site of fierce fighting and unquestionable courage. It is a place that forever will be etched in your memory. Here I tell the stories of the battle and those of some of the Diggers who l have had the privilege to know.I can never leave Brigade Hill without a heavy heart. The sacrifice here can never be forgotten.

Sweeping views of the ranges and villages appear as we round the north of Brigade Hill and descend into Efogi village for lunch. More climbs and descents take us to the high village of Naduri, after an exhausting but rewarding day. Next morning we walk up into the extraordinary moss forest.We are now hovering around the 2000m mark,where monsters of pandanus and soft composting tracks take us to the beauty of the Myola lakes. These “dry” lake beds were used by the Australians for the dropping of supplies, but were known as a place of ghosts by the local people. We camp at the scene of a B25 Mitchell bomber crash site, in a campground that rivals the botanical gardens. The temperature at night is now like a winters night in Melbourne, and the thermals show their true worth.

We walk over the highest part of the Track early the next morning and into the valley that will take us to Kokoda. Following Eora Creek we swing up and down the side of the valley. An area of both a desperate withdrawal and gruelling advance it is still hard to fathom the difficulty and sheer resilience of the forces who fought here.

Day 7 takes us through the village of Alola and onto the memorial at the site of the battle of Isurava. This is where we camp and have the whole afternoon to enjoy and ponder the scene of one of Australia's most important battles. It is a great reward after the journey we have all endured to get there, and separates it from any other memorial. We conduct a dawn service at Isurava before our final descent to Kokoda, and a chance to rest some weary bodies. The satisfaction of completing the Track beaming from everyone's faces, including the carriers, who made every step that little bit easier and special.

Flying back from Popondetta north of Kokoda, we return to the Sogeri Lodge for a tearful thank you and goodbye to the Papuans who have shared every moment with us over the journey along the Track. The friendship between us forged by our ancestors resonates today, and will be a constant memory of this amazing place. You don't just walk Kokoda, it becomes part of you.

soufit

The world is an amazing place, and sometimes, there’s nothing quite like escaping the daily grind to explore it. Every now and then we need to get away from reality to rejuvenate, rehydrate and de-stress and choosing the right adventure in the ideal destination to do this, is imperative.

Soulfit Adventures offers the best of both worlds – adventure combined with wellness, through a range of luxury yoga and cycling retreats and active holidays.

You’ll visit locations around the world which have been chosen for their natural beauty, cultural diversity and access to the great outdoors; from medieval cities and private Tuscan estates in Italy, beautiful seaside towns and delicious delicacies in Spain; to picture postcard settings and wholesome local produce in France. In Cambodia you’ll explore its heart at handlebar height and in Bali you’ll immerse yourself in a world of snorkelling, swimming and relaxation.

Soulfit Adventures active holidays are designed to suit people of all ages and abilities and with tours that never exceed 15 people, you’re guaranteed intimate surrounds on your journey to a clear mind and energised body. You’ll stay in locally owned accommodation and your local guides will provide the best opportunity for you to learn about the region and to ensure the local community benefits from your stay.

Soulfit Adventures is about helping you to be the best you can be while you escape routine of the daily grind, embrace new experiences, and explore new worlds and BE the change you want to see in yourself.

Soulfit Adventures believes flow is the secret to fun. It occurs when you are so engaged in something that you lose all track of time. You don’t notice anything at all because you are so immersed in a task that is at once optimally challenging and absorbing. Some of your most immersive, flow experiences occur on a bike and your yoga mats.

Soulfit Adventures specialises in active holidays that send you on the path to discovery of the mind, body and soul. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to restart your soul; contact them today and you’ll start to see the world in a different way!

Expedition X

Pack rafting is the most unique and unparalleled experience adventure travel - a mix of hiking and paddling that takes you on a journey of discovery, exploring rugged landscapes by foot and “mild to wild” waters by boat.

A pack raft is a mix between a kayak & a raft, it is stable and behaves a bit like a raft but you paddle it like a kayak and it is so much lighter. Average weight of a boat is only 2.5kg.

You just can't beat the mix of hiking, climbing, camping and paddling that pack rafting makes possible. Experience everything in so many different ways, hiking through forests, up glacier carved valleys or over mountains; paddling across lakes, down rivers or in the ocean and camping in stunning wilderness locations that can be simply inaccessible by any other means. Pack rafts, simply put, redefine outdoor adventure.

One of the very few pack rafting guiding companies in the world, Pack Rafting NZ offer highly personal, very unique and exclusive guided outdoor adventure pack rafting trips in the New Zealand since 2012. They offer outdoor adventures leaving the crowds behind.

From single day trips onto the stunning Waiau River near Te Anau to the 6 day Hollyford & Pyke Pack Rafting Expedition, Pack Rafting NZ is a leader when it comes to these type of expeditions.

Their Fiordland Explorer guided pack rafting expedition gives you access to an area normally visited only by very experienced backcountry explorers. It is a truly spectacular part of New Zealand. During this 6 day / 5 night, guided packrafting expedition you will be traveling from the mountains to the sea, up the coastline and back into the mountains. You will paddle the Hollyford River, Lake McKerrow, Lakes Wilmot and Alabaster, and the Pyke River.

You will walk along the rugged coastline to Big Bay, cross into the Pyke Valley, and wander past waterfalls on the famous Hollyford track. A maximum number of 6 people and 2 guides make sure you'll get a very personal experience and have constant support on this breath-taking, challenging, and unforgettable journey.

If you’re after a unique adventure to take you to some of the most breathtaking places in New Zealand, Pack Rafting NZ is your team.

Helibike Nelson

There is no better place in the world to experience the exhilaration and thrill of mountain biking than the South Island of New Zealand. There are thousands of kilometres of trails to explore – from lush native forests to exposed high altitude alpine environments. Routes range from 1-2hrs suitable for beginners and families right up to week long double black diamond back country adventures that attract the best riders from around the globe.

Helibike Nelson is a New Zealand adventure company that takes mountain biking to a whole new level. Their adventurous mountain bike rides include single and multi-day trips all around the top of the South Island. The best bit about exploring NZ with Helibike Nelson is that they will transport you to the top of the mountain, by helicopter or 4WD, leaving you to enjoy the thrill – coming down!

Their relaxed, fun tours are led by experienced professional guides who each bring their own unique personality to these adventures. They keep their groups small to ensure each ride is the best ride of your life. They take care of the logistics, health and safety requirements and bike hire - all you have to do is book, and show up!

Helibike Nelson’s guides know the rides and destinations intimately. They have chosen and developed a range of rides and adventures that is unrivalled, and each is unique in its character.

The tours take you to places few have been, and to trails that will blow your mind. The Old Ghost Road is an 85km epic single track trail traversing some of the world’s most spectacular alpine terrain. Starting with a scenic Helicopter flight courtesy of Reid Helicopters Nelson, the journey heads from Nelson, across the remote and awe inspiring peaks of the Kahurangi National Park, and on through to Ghost Lake Hut at the top of Old Ghost Road.

During the flight you will pass over scenery from the Lord of the Rings films on top of Mount Owen as you head through some of New Zealand’s most remote and interesting landscapes. The marble mountains and lush native forests will have you captivated, and the deep lush native forest down to Lyell Saddle Hut is mesmerising. The 18 kilometre downhill section is littered with mining relics from a century ago, that lead you to the Lyell Campsite at sunset.

Helibike Nelson’s choice of Reid Helicopters for Heli flights is based on it being a locally owned and operated helicopter company and Nelson’s leading provider of commercial flight services. With three generations of experience operating helicopters in Nelson and the surrounding national parks, there’s no more knowledgeable or safer team to fly with.

Helibike Nelson is committed to minimising its impact on the environment and their team has taken the time to research how their actions can positively benefit the environments and eco-systems their tours pass through.

If you want a memory of a lifetime from your trip to New Zealand book a helibike adventure with Helibike Nelson.

QUEENSTOWN RAFTING

Queenstown Rafting is owned by Queenstown & Fiordland local business Real Journeys and is New Zealand’s largest white water rafting company. The company is regarded as New Zealand’s leader in safety operational procedures for rafting, having rafted in Queenstown since 1974.

Providing an adventure experience from calm to wild waters and half day to multiday, there is something for everyone.

The three day Landsborough Valley adventure, gives you incredible views of stunning New Zealand scenery, with the perfect mix of tranquillity and adventure. The tours are all inclusive and include 3 course meals, wine, beers, helicopter flight, transfers and all the required rafting and camping gear.

Imagine visiting one of New Zealand’s most remote areas - untouched, unspoiled and visited by only a privileged few. Paddling and camping your way down the magnificent Landsborough Valley, you will glide past 2,500m mountains, hanging glaciers and through dense rain forest.

There’s also a 5 day tour option which includes a guided walk over the Brodrick Pass and into the Landsborough Valley. For a single day adventure, you can’t go past their Shotover River rafting tour. Starting with a drive into the famous Skippers Canyon with its exciting cliff edges and gold mining history. Your Queenstown Rafting river guide gives a safety briefing, before beginning your white water rafting journey through the spectacular canyon. Rafting from Deep Creek over peaceful waters at first, you'll head towards the exhilarating rapids of the lower canyon. Your adrenaline will be pumping as you paddle through areas aptly named Aftershock, Squeeze, Toilet, Oh Sh*t, Pinball and Jaws. From there you paddle through the 170m Oxenbridge Tunnel before shooting Cascade Rapid to complete your adventure.

If you’re a first timer to rafting, the Kawarau River is ideal. It’s suited to those looking for a more relaxed rafting experience, or for groups of mixed ability and ages. There is plenty of white water action, but also time to sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

The Kawarau River might be familiar to some, being famously cast as the River Anduin in The Lord of the Rings. The grandeur of the canyons imparts a feeling of paddling through the heart of Middle Earth. The unforgettable 400m long Dog Leg rapid that closes out this adventure is New Zealand’s longest commercially rafted rapid.

If you’re after rapid adventure…Queenstown Rafting is the way to go.

New Zealand Adventures

New Zealand is one of the best off road driving destinations in the world and NZ Adventures provide first hand experience of this – with the azure blue alpine lakes, farmland, rainforests, river valleys and lakes – this is the New Zealand you didn’t know existed.

The 6 tours currently on offer are of either 5 or 6 days duration with a range of highlights and destinations from the Marlborough hill country including Molesworth Station in the north to Queenstown in the south and a wide range of high country sheep stations ,conservation parks and back country roads and tracks in between. Popular with the people on the tours is the interaction with the landowners on the stations and the landscapes unfolding in the back country far off the established tourist routes.

NZ Adventures 4x4 tours has regular access through more than 65 High Country Stations, several plantation forests and extensive DOC managed Conservation estates in Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury Otago and Southland.

The High Country Heritage Tour will take you from Marlborough through high country stations ; tiny mountain streams to great impossibly blue lakes. It is a 6 day tour, 1250 kilometres, from Blenheim south down the spine of the island to Cardrona near Queenstown.

A 5 day tour, the Eastern Explorer heads South East through the Mountain Ranges of South Canterbury, and down to Alexandra in Central Otago. The Southern Ranges 5 day tour is the most diverse in terms of scenery and will astound you as you pass through the seemingly barren and high mountains of the Lindis Pass to the lush fertile Waimea Plains west of Gore.

Experience the vast expanses of the MacKenzie Basin and surrounding areas (including amazing views of majestic Mt Cook and the flatlands between the Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau rivers), with the 5 day MacKenzie Explorer Tour. Or the West Coast Explorer Tour which is 5 days and starts in Hanmer Springs travelling through the Western side of Molesworth Station where we leave the tawny brown tussocks of North Canterbury and plunge into the verdant Beech forests that are a feature of the journey.

The newest tour is the 46 South Tour, loosely based along the 46th parallel, an imaginary line that crosses Southland.

These trips are fully guided with people driving their own vehicles or hiring a vehicle. Radio Communication to all vehicles with a commentary along the way. Accommodation is in Motels and Meals in Restaurants.

Share the most amazing 4x4 experience with NZ Adventures.

For more information please contact us

Wildlife Adventures with Wildiaries and Outer Edge by Simon Mustoe, Wildiaries founder

Remember the thrill of seeing your favourite live music on stage for the first time? Chances are you owned albums, had read countless articles over the years; and felt as though you knew them, because they spoke to you through rhythms, lyrics and harmonies, which you’d long come to love and understand. Now imagine how you’d feel encountering ‘live’, for the first time, a powerful wild Orangutan up close or swimming eye to eye with a gigantic singing Humpback Whale.

As you stare into the eye of a creature with a brain bigger than yours, that shares your basic DNA but also has the ability to instinctively navigate a planet’s oceans, you’d expect to be deeply moved ... and so you should. My first Humpback Whale encounter was while snorkelling at the surface with a film camera. I’d recently learnt to dive and was mesmerised by this 10-tonne animal’s buoyancy control, as it eyed me and drifted upwards and sideways, in my direction.

The whale came to a halt metres away and looked straight at me... I choked up and was overcome with a flush of emotion, hidden, thankfully, by being face down in cool water. There are those who see encounters with wildlife as a moment - those who would go, just to be able to say they’d done this. I’ve dived with sharks, tracked Nepalese man-eating Tigers on foot, bush-camped alone in remote forests in Madagascar, woken to the eerie calls of Indris and nearly been swept down waterfalls, in pursuit of rare monkeys in Indonesia.

Though despite thinking I could maintain a cool demeanour, my whale encounter was surprisingly overwhelming, because I’d been building to this moment all my life. I know enough about wildlife not to take any experience for granted. These days it seems all too easy for anyone to jump in with a whale but if that’s all there is to it, you may as well throw a glass of water over your head while watching a doco, sitting in the comfort of your own living room.

It’s not the same as the powerful emotions you can feel when you have that once-in-a-lifetime close contact with a wild creature you’ve come to properly appreciate. Journey in the company of people who are deeply connected and it will offer you a window into their affections, a chance to see through different eyes, a world you wouldn’t otherwise comprehend. Like music, it’s a personal thing and the journey starts long before ‘the moment’.

Archaeologist Chris Carter even explains “the standard visit to Maccu Pichu sees it without meaning. When we end up there, we’re not surprised by what we see. That’s not to say we’re not overwhelmed ... but we’ve learnt the whole story of Mayan civilisation. The effect is profound”. Veteran Orangutan conservationist Garry Sundin has raised almost a million dollars for their protection. “Orangutans are thinking animals” says Garry “... when you look into their eyes, there’s an understanding, an empathy more human than anything we can imagine”.

“They are the only tree-living ape and without them, we have no forest, no animals and we all suffer environmental problems - it doesn’t only affect Indonesians who live there, it affects us all”, he says. Despite struggling against the odds, villagers that live in remote communities supported by Garry, have devoted their lives to conserving their priceless natural heritage. They endure intolerable heat and interminable wet. There are no government grants; there’s no social welfare; and no protection from international business syndicates destroying the forests nearby.

This should be reminder enough that any wildlife adventure is a privilege, not a right. Communities world-wide work tirelessly and enthusiastically, loving to share their insights with us. It’s a way to communicate with the outside world, to raise funds for their work and continue protection. But don’t we also simply owe it to ourselves to make the most of any experience?

If you’ve ever seen live music you didn’t already grasp, you’d know it’s not half as sensational - in hindsight, you might even wish you could go back and do it all again. We strive for authentic, fulfilling travel experiences, so why wouldn’t we want the impact it has on us, to be just as genuine? After all, the ultimate high is a buzz that’s life-altering and what is adventure, if it’s not the challenge to discover more about ourselves?

POORNARTI ABORIGINAL TOURS

As I stand mid- way up the side of Bluff Knoll, in the Stirling Ranges, I see the low white cloud nestling the summit and, Joey Williams, Aboriginal Elder and Loreman, sings in language, accompanied by the tapping of his clap sticks. The sound seems ancient and the hairs on the back of my neck raise, and I shiver. Joey tells me that the Noongar spirits return to Bulla Meile, the ‘hill of many eyes’, as it is known to his people, and the looming rock faces jutting out of the rock above me, are the faces of his ancestors. I feel the eyes upon me and begin to intuit why this is ‘power’ place.

I have travelled in this south -western region of Australia before, walking the Bibbulmun track, which runs from Perth to Albany, on the south coast. People I walked with were able to tell me the botanical names for the plants I saw, the geological features of the landscape, and stories of farming and the early explorers and settlers. However I wished to connect more deeply, I felt like I was merely touching the surface and I want to connect with the culture who had lived so intimately with this land for many thousands of years before white settlement. So I was delighted to come across Poornarti Aboriginal Tours and they seemed to be the only gateway into Aboriginal culture open to me in this region.

On the road here, to this spiritual heartland of the Noongar people, as well as telling us the Dreamtime stories of the area, of the waalitj (eagle), whos wings formed the mountains, Joey has regaled our small group, over the bus PA system, with stories of his life. He tells us of living in the bush with his parents, of them working for the farmers for crates of tea and flour, to clear their own land, to fence them out, of hunting yonger (kangaroo), karda (goanna) and other animals with his father, and of collecting bush tucker with his mother. Joey only spoke in Noongar until he was 8 years old. I am in no doubt of this mans authenticity, his deep and proud connection to his culture, and am impressed by his passion to share and educate wadjella’s (white fellas) like me!

Amazingly, also, Joey has managed to transform the ubiquitous roadside vegetation, “lots of quondong here”, he remarks, “those ones with the light green shiny leaves….you can see the fruit starting to turn red”. Sure enough, now my eye is trained, I see them everywhere.

At the campsite, we pitch our tents, which thankfully, Poornarti has provided for us. While Poornarti staff, in the camp kitchen, are preparing the evening meal, we are taken on a bush tucker walk. “This is our supermarket”, Joey explains, “you can get everything you need here” and sure enough, amongst the strange plants and trees, Joey reveals to us Aboriginal equivalents of potatoes, spices and herbs, salads, fruit, tea and even a ‘lolly’ tree. There are medicines here too, one of which is the crystalized sap of a gum tree, which was used for stomach problems. “Don’t you try this,” Joey advises,” the ol’ Noongars knew exactly how much to take, you don’t. If you take too much it can make you sick”

There is a rich kangaroo stew for dinner. Joey also has some tails to cook on the fire. He shows us how the fur is first singed and scraped off, before laying them in the fire. There are roundels of damper, which are also lain in the coals. We try the bush tea, which is similar in colour to green tea, and in my opinion, much nicer. Joey tells us of the diet of bush tucker he had as a child, and how the cooking fire was a focus of family life. There is a funny story of how, in the preparation of karda, or goanna, the sinews in the legs must be cut first before cooking, otherwise they contract from the heat, making the dead animal ‘stand up’ in the coals, which would frighten the children. He tells us of the cooking techniques, for eggs, fish, wild duck, koonacs and bardi grubs. I am struck by how varied their traditional diet actually was, a veritable smorgasbord!

When the roo tails are done, I try them both. On one the meat is tender and moist and falls off the bone, and I find myself sucking on the vertebrae to extract the juice and gelatine. It is quite delicious. The other tail is as tough as shoe leather, and Joey says it must have been an old roo.

We watch a beautiful sunset and as the stars come out our group gathers around the fire. It is a clear night and the big sky is spectacular. There are shooting stars in abundance. Joey tells us Aboriginal stories of the stars and their meanings. There is one of an emu, that we can clearly see when it is pointed out. The position of the emu’s legs at different times of the year, signify when the emu’s are hatching their eggs.

The next day we drive to ‘the lake of many colours’, which is also the site of the sacred ochre pits. We stop at a farm gate and there is an incredible view of the mountains from which we have just driven. Joey repeats the song he sang to us at Bulla Miele, with the Noongar names of the formations “kaya,kaya, Bulla Meile, Yonger Mir, Mabrunup, Toolyulbrup”. The hill of eyes, the kangaroo with the spear thrower on top, the place of the ‘special’ men, and the beautiful woman sleeping. I am struck my how much the shapes of the mountains, appear to be what they are named, particularly Toolbrunup. I can see the woman clearly, the profile of her face, her arms at her side and her rounded pregnant belly.

At the ochre pits, we are welcomed into the site by Joey and we pass by Joey single file, while he sings to his ancestors, asking them to give their blessing for us to be there. We are asked to go barefoot, so that we can connect to the land. The ochre rocks here are astounding, the colours so vibrant and varied, from deepest burnished reds, mustard yellows to startling whites, and bright oranges. It is like an artists pallete, the colours swirl amongst each other, and I can see shapes, faces, footprints and animals.

Joey takes us to the ‘powder room’, where the Noongars prepared for ceremony. Remarkably there is a rock with a concave bowl shape in it. Water is poured into it and mixed with the deep red ochre powder that crumbles from an earth bank, nearby forming a rich paste. Joey then paints our faces, and assigns us a spirit animal. I am waitch, old man emu. We are each taught the movements and we create a dance, our feet stomping with the red dust puffing up round our ankles. We are told to dance as if the earth came up to our waists My awkwardness self-conciousnessness falls away and I become captivated by a sense of timelessness, where I feel free, playfull and awake. We can't help but to smile

We go to a patch of flat salty sand and stand in a circle as Joey uses his digging stick to draw his homeland in a traditional mapping style, telling us the story as he goes. The concentric rings around the shapes remind me of gradients on ordnance maps, and Joey explains that he sees them as auric fields, and this makes sense.

Joey now tells us that he is going to do a painting for us and I am honestly feeling less than enthusiastic about the prospect of spending the afternoon literally watching paint dry but As Joey sets up he warns us “now don’t wander off, or blink, because you might miss it” and I watch in awe as Joey paints a Carrolup Mission Art style of landscape painting in under 10 minutes. One of the group asks to buy it as soon as he is finished.

Next, we have our Healing. Joey is a Mubarrn man, a ‘special’ man, and a unique healing technique has been passed on to him through his lineage.

What I experience next, was undoubtedly for me, a life changing event. I have experienced numerous ‘alternative’ healings in my life, and I have mostly come away, feeling that I was somehow lacking in my sensitivities, as I just didn’t get it, and I was never able to discern, or sense that anything tangible had actually occurred. The explanation given that the “happenings” occurs in the metaphysical, or etheric realms, was never very satisfactory, and you could say that I was also a little cynical.

Contrary to what many healers say about raising our vibrations, Joey tells us the opposite. “Most of us, most of you, need to lower your vibrations. Lower it, closer to the earth. Reconnect, to Boodjar, Mother Earth”

I have been asked not to share the specifics of what occurred during the healing that took place in the lake. But what I can share with you is that I felt something very tangible occur. I felt my own vibration. My scepticism dissolves and I weep, without quite knowing why and I feel embraced and nurtured and somehow ‘home’ in a way I have not felt since I was a child.

We drive back to camp, and our group is strangely quiet, and I know that the others are also processing what they have just experienced.

That evening, Joey conducts a fire ceremony. He calls the names of his ancestors as he pounds swatches of leafy branches onto the fire. His family totem is fire, and his family, masters of fire ceremony. As sparks and smoke fill the air, we are directed to pass through the smoke and circle the fire and spiral around. There is chanting and clap sticks and the whole effect is disorientating and hypnotic and when we stop I feel as if I have just stepped out of a dream. That night I sleep deeply.

The next day, after we have packed up camp, and are driving back to Denmark, I can smell the smoke on my clothes and there are traces of ochre in my skin. I reflect upon the journey I have just been on with Joey and Poornarti Aboriginal Tours. The landscape I see from the bus window is as beautiful as always, but now I feel that it’s mysteries have been revealed to me and I have a deeper understanding of the ancient symbiosis the Aboriginal people have with this land. In turn I feel my own connection to the land is stronger and I gratefully feel embodied in this country in a way I have never felt before.

no limits

If your dreams are big, and your thirst for adventure is bigger, then your holiday destinations will most likely be of epic proportions. Whether your rush comes from snorkelling or scuba diving, mountain biking, surfing, running, climbing or kayaking, there are thousands of desirable destinations across the globe that might make it (one way or another) to your bucket list.

Some of the most remote places in the world host some of the greatest adventure destinations you can imagine, and the South Pacific Region is home to many.

High on the list of ultimate adventure destinations is Papua New Guinea, arguably one of the most unexplored countries in the world. PNG is abundant in activities for travellers seeking true off the beaten track experiences. The country is Australia’s closest neighbour, located only 160km to the north-east of Australia and lies just south of the equator.

A country diversified and picturesque, discovered in the early 1500’s by a passing Portuguese fleet, is made up of a wealth of dense tropical rainforest, highlands, long rivers, tropical islands and white sandy coastline. Papua New Guinea’s 21 provinces are home to around 6 million inhabitants, many local cultures and over 800 local languages!

Travellers to PNG can experience a wide scope of adventure and culture. Witness the local variations of costumes, rituals and dance at a number of Sing-Sing shows - cultural and tribal festivals held around the country annually with the most famous being in Goroka and Mount Hagen. Trek the highest peak, a live volcano or from village to village through the jungle. Travel up the Sepik River, dive the pristine coral reefs, see the amazing marine life and WWII wrecks. And of course go surfing.

Imagine waking up in a private surf camp, just metres away from an amazing right-hander offering world-class waves. In the far northern beaches of Vanimo Village in Papua New Guinea, you and a few of your closest mates can have full reign over perfect consistent swell ranging from 2-10 ft. thanks to No Limit Adventures and their PNG surf tours. Vanimo Surf Lodge is one of the newly established PNG surf camps and has a number of left and right-handed breaks in close proximity.

The best thing about surfing in Papua New Guinea is you are guaranteed uncrowded waves due to the Surf Management Plan. The SMP was implemented by the PNG Surfing Association and limits the number of visiting surfers in each region to no more than 20. Also, by surfing in Papua New Guinea you are supporting the local surf communities as each surfer pays $12/ day, which in fact is an access fee to all the breaks. By surfing in PNG you make a difference.

No Limit Adventures run tours through Papua New Guinea, Australia and Indonesia, and include some of the best guided tours that money can buy. Their exclusive PNG Highlands and Islands adventure tour are the combination of an off-the-beaten track cultural experience and adventurous discovery. Discover the rugged PNG Highlands, trek through the local rainforest to the third highest peak of PNG – Mt. Hagen, which is also the second highest volcano (extinct) in the region.

Along the journey meet people from local villages and witness their traditional rituals, then travel to the coast and explore bays, the islands and the coastline. One of the highlights of your trip will be trekking up Mt. Tavurvur, a far from extinct volcano and all the new friends you will make along the journey.

It’s also no secret that Papua New Guinea has some of the best diving sites on the planet, and No Limit Adventures can completely customise a diving tour based on your experience as a diver, through pristine diving locations around New Ireland, West and East New Britain, the Madang area and Tufi.

They also run amazing tours within Australia, and their epic 2-week East Coast Tour runs all the way from Sydney; where you will travel through remote National Parks, quaint coastal towns, the iconic Byron Bay, Fraser Island and Noosa, beautiful Airlie Beach and finishing in Cairns, Far North Queensland, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

Once in Cairns become take part in No Limit Adventures’ unique Marine Conservation program on the Great Barrier Reef. Become a Certified Diver and then as a marine conservation volunteer, complete a number of underwater Rapid Monitoring surveys with a dedicated Eco-guide, collecting valuable information on reef health, marine animals and incidents on the Great Barrier Reef.

Information you collect will help the Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks Authority (GBRMPA) build their knowledge of the health and resilience, and the risks to that resilience, on the Great Barrier Reef. The involvement of volunteers in the citizens’ science program and all collected data contributes to the reef’s long term protection. Get involved, make a difference and help save the reef for future generations.

Whether your dreams are to surf uncrowded waves, trek and explore, experience culture, dive pristine reefs, or immerse yourself into the local way of life in remote locations, No Limit Adventures are the operator for you.