The Best Outdoor Adventures in Australia

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One thing you need to give Australia credit for is its extremities. Wildlife that is utterly unique (and sometimes deadly), vast open spaces and insanely varied landscapes – from the scorching red-orange desert, the tropical rainforests to the snowy alpine backcountry. Australia just doesn’t do things in halves!

It’s these characteristics that draw thrill-seeking travellers to Australia to enjoy a mix of mind-blowing and invigorating adventure travel experiences.

For me personally, Australia has changed my perspective of the natural world and what it means to live life to the fullest.

Outdoor adventures in Australia are nothing short of exhilarating. They challenge you and most definitely pull you out of your comfort zone. 

There are so many things active travellers must add to their Australia outdoor adventure bucket list. Here are just a few of the most compelling activities for a signature Aussie adventure.

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Australia Bucket List
outdoor adventures in Australia
the best outdoor adventures in australia

Diving/Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef – Queensland

Great Barrier Reef

It’s one of the most iconic landmarks of Australia, but for good reason. Officially one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral system made up of over 2,900 individual reefs.

You simply can’t come to Australia and not immerse yourself into an underwater world of vivid corals, shoals of angelfish, clownfish and gobies. You may even get to call a marine turtle your diving companion. 

A snorkelling day trip is definitely the easiest and most convenient option to see the Great Barrier Reef, as it suits most swimming abilities and requires only a small amount of gear.

However, to see more varied marine life and to get the full experience of the reef, scuba diving is highly recommended. 

If you’re not a certified diver, there are plenty of introductory fun dives. Or, why not take the plunge and get your diving qualification in Australia?

The Great Barrier Reef covers a huge area, but some prime diving and snorkelling spots include: 

  • Green Island – a safe but thrilling way to get a taste of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Lady Elliot Island – famous for manta rays, most commonly seen in large numbers in winter
  • Ribbon Reef – 30-metre-deep water visibility, shallow lagoons and giant clams at the Glam Gardens
  • SS Yongala Wreck at Cape Bowling Green – a shipwrecked historic cargo and passenger ship

Hiking the Overland Track (or a 1 day version!) – Tasmania

dark blue lake with jagged mountains in background

The Overland Track allows visitors to experience the world-famous Tasmanian wilderness at its finest. Traversing 65km from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, this trek takes adventurers through Jurassic-like stunning natural landscapes, over a period of around six days.

Whilst this trek may be physically demanding and even emotionally draining for some, it’s one of the top hikes in Australia for beautiful landscapes and unique flora and fauna that simply can’t be found anywhere else in Australia.

This highly in-demand hike must be pre-booked. If you’re visiting in summer, be aware that you will need to pay $200AUD for an ​Overland Track Pass, along with a parking pass. That’s of course on top buying or hiring hiking and camping gear, if you do not have your own.

Or, if you don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to a six day hike, there’s a fantastic alternative available in the form of a one-day hike to the summit of Cradle Mountain. Or, simply a day tour to the Lake St Clair National Park

Depending on how you choose to get to the top, you’ll soak up stunning views of vast deep blue Dove Lake and mighty elevations. If a love of nature and exploration pulses through your veins, this iconic hike undoubtedly needs to be included on your Australia adventure list. 

Thinking about heading to Australia’s only island state? Make sure you read this list of important things you need to know before you go to Tasmania.

Witness Sunrise at Uluru (on a Camel) – Northern Territory


Uluru (or Ayers Rock) is an iconic Australian travel experience. Plastered on postcards and on travel book covers, there is so much more to this cultural landmark than what initially meets the eye.

The imposing presence of this giant sandstone monolith leaves you spell-bound. Transitioning from a rusty orange hue to a fiery bright red at different times of the day, the sandstone is a canvas for nature’s magical show.

The sacred landmark of Uluru holds important Aboriginal cultural significance. According to Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories, Uluru was formed by ten ancestors, who travelled the land and created the features of the monolith. Uluru represents a connection to the very beginning of time. The Anangu People still hold rituals at Uluru, connecting to traditions and a way of life so integral to the world’s oldest living culture.

If you have the opportunity, partake in a cultural experience in the Kata Tjuta National Park to have the privilege to learn more about the unique culture of this region. Or, there’s an epic tour by camel at either sunset or sunrise to see Uluru in all its glory!

Kayak The Katherine Gorge – Northern Territory

katherine gorge min

Nitmiluk National Park is known for its rugged beauty and attracts many hikers from all around the world. But a day trip in a kayak or canoe down the Katherine Gorge is a phenomenal alternative way to explore it.

During your excursion, you’ll be able to see the colourful layers of ancient sedimentary rock compressed into sandstone up close. There’s also an abundance of wildlife: birds, silvery Barramundi fish and even some crocodiles. 

Depending on how much time you have, there’s a half-day, one-day or an overnight trip to reach gorges that are further away from the crowds.

It can get incredibly hot along the gorges, so sunscreen and water are essential. And remember to always respect the crocs!

Crocodile Cage Diving in Darwin – Northern Territory

croc dive darwin
Photo credit: Crocosaurus Cove

Speaking of crocs, the Cage of Death in Crocosaurus Cove, has a name that could strike fear into anyone, let alone the faint-hearted!

However, for adventure-seekers and wildlife fanatics, it’s a tremendous way to get face-to-face with a saltwater crocodile in a way you just can’t in the wild (unless you were about to be lunch!)

Donning a mask, you’ll be suspended in a glass cage above the water and slowly submerged, as you feel both water and adrenaline levels rise! The handlers will feed the crocodiles, allowing you to witness the rapid movements of this living dinosaur’s 5 metre-long body, and the true might of its lethal bite.

A croc dive gives brave adventurers the chance to see this prehistoric creature up close; its powerful jaws, comical teeth, mammoth tail and thick, armoured skin.

Hiking the Larapinta Trail – Northern Territory

red rock of Larapinta

The arid landscape of the Northern Territory can be best experienced via the famous Larapinta Trail, an epic hike divided into 12 sections running along the West MacDonnell Ranges.

The Larapinta Trail starts at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station and ends at the highest point of the trail, the summit of Mount Sonder. Or, you can do just a section of it, like a day tour.

Along the 223km bushwalking trail, you can camp under the uninterrupted starry night sky and feast your eyes on an ever-changing landscape that is so emblematic of the Northern Territory. 

During this adventure in Australia, you’ll see the stunning pools of water at Simpsons Gap, running through two colossal red rock walls. There’s also the picturesque waterholes of Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen.

Regarded as one of the world’s best long-distance arid walks, this adventure will pull at the heartstrings of any hardcore hiker.

Snow Camping – Victoria

JB Plain hut in snow with trees in foreground

The backcountry of Victoria is a magical wonderland in winter. If you are not put off by frigid temperatures, snow-camping is a ‘must do’ for anyone who has the right gear and the desire to try this unique alpine experience. 

There is a wide variety of winter activities to enjoy during the day too, including skiing (resort or cross-country), snowboarding, snowshoeing, tobogganing and of course snowball fights!

Two of my favourite spots to go snow camping in Victoria are JB Plain near Dinner Plain (ideal for beginners) or Bluff Spur Hut / King Spur Shelter on Mount Stirling for something that feels more off-grid. 

Regardless of where you go, make sure you have the right gear and are well prepared for this icy outdoor adventure in Australia. 

Tandem Skydiving – Various


Freefalling through the sky at 120mph from 15,000ft, with a mix of adrenaline and serotonin racing through your body, is one of the most exhilarating experiences a human can have.

In fact, many view skydiving as a form of therapy that allows them to feel an otherworldly sense of freedom. For others, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you simply can’t pass up, especially when doing it over such incredible scenery.

Either way, there are so many different options available for you to skydive in Australia.

If you’re looking for something coastal then a skydive at Mission Beach in Queensland provides strikingly stunning views of the shore and the Great Barrier Reef. Other options include Wollongong, Byron Bay, Lee Point Beach. In Victoria, you can also skydive in my home suburb of St Kilda in Melbourne, which is just one of the many super cool things you can do in St Kilda!

Looking for a more in-land experience in Victoria? The gourmet food and wine region of the Yarra Valley will give you views over the countryside and picturesque rows of vineyards. 

If you’re in Western Australia, you could choose to dive over the city itself, Rockingham, Jurien Bay and even Rottnest Island and wave to the adorable quokkas on the way down.

Abseiling in the Blue Mountains – New South Wales

blue mountains view

Outdoorsy adventurers who are looking to push themselves can enjoy the electrifying feeling of rappelling down the breathtaking Blue Mountains which are only an hour away from Sydney.

Belaying down such a striking landscape, with forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons and rivers, is an unmissable experience.

There are various companies in the area offering abseiling, rock climbing and canyoning experiences. Some require previous experience if the pitches are particularly technical or if they require a huge jump. However, many are open to beginners and experienced guides will walk you through mastering the basics.

Rainforest Snorkelling the Mossman River – Queensland

snorkel mossman river
Image credit: Back Country Bliss

The Mossman River near Port Douglas boasts diverse wildlife and pristine waters that are perfect for a unique kind of experience – river snorkelling!

Curious travellers can submerge themselves in the biodiverse environment of the ancient Daintree Rainforest as they float downstream.

Under the cool transparent waters there’s an abundance of freshwater marine life: turtles, lizards, various species of fish and perhaps even platypus. 

Above you, the setting is of ancient tree foliage, birds, butterflies and dragonflies – bliss!

I hope these 10 activities prove just how many outdoor adventures in Australia there are on not only land, but in water and the sky too! Which of these would be on your Australian travel to-do list?

Heading to Australia soon? Don’t forget these essentials!

Flights: compare and search using Skyscanner

Accommodation: hotels to hostels, glamping to apartments I always use

Tours: to search and compare the best group tours and activities worldwide (with up to 20% off), use Viator

Visa: don’t forget to check the entry requirements for Australia on the government website for the passport you are travelling with

Inspiration: Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia or for your next trip, how about Lonely Planet’s Guide to the World?

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5 thoughts on “The Best Outdoor Adventures in Australia”

  1. I definitely want to do some of these great outdoor adventures when we return to Australia. We snorkelled and scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef on our last trip. So that was a great introduction. Sunrise at Uluru on a camel would be amazing. But I would probably pass on crocodile cage diving. And so many great hiking options. Will be a busy return visit.

  2. There is so much to do down under. I missed my chance to get to the Barrier Reef several years ago and can’t wait to go back and give it a go.

  3. Such a variety of thrilling yet beautiful activities in Australia. I’d absolutely love to float and snorkel along the Mossman River or visit Cradle Mountain!

  4. These adventures in Australia look amazing! I would love to see the great barrier reef someday. Your pictures are stunning!


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