What did all the poor daredevils do for the last two years? As a fainthearted baby, I welcomed binging Tiger King and attempting to make sourdough. But how the hell did the adrenaline-junkies pass the time? Socially-distanced parkour, perhaps? Some high-stakes bushwalking? Maybe a li’l skateboarding action? Whatever it was – yikes – I’m betting it didn’t satiate their unquenchable thirst for thrills. The poor buggers.
But it’s okay, because the world is opening up more and more. We’re allowed to travel again, so the adventure-fiends among us can spread their wings and go back to their brave-but-batshit lives. If you want to make up for lost time, head on a holiday where you can jam a bunch of knee-knocking activities into one big ol’ thrill.
If you thought you’d have to skip over to our Kiwi neighbours for a dose of adventure, you do not, my friends. Aus has its own adventure capital in Tropical North Queensland. We’ve rounded up a bunch of adrenaline-heavy activities to do on your next holiday if you need a shake-up. And you can do literally all of them up around Cairns & Great Barrier Reef – if you like to have your action served with a side of pretty views.
If you love adventure, you’ve probably skydived before, but if you’re on a nice holiday it’s a helluva way to see the place. Or, if you’ve tagged along with your adventurous mate and can stomach trying it for the first time, you’ll have the thrill of a lifetime while checking out a beautiful view.
When staying in Cairns, you have a couple of options of where you can take the plunge. You can get a transfer down to Mission Beach – it’s about a 90-minute drive south from Cairns. Or, if you’d prefer to catch some city views as you fly down, you can make the jump about 15 minutes south from Cairns. Either way, with the Great Barrier Reef on one side and the world’s oldest rainforest on the other, you’ll be getting the best view around – all while your pulse races.
2. Whitewater rafting
Whether you’re a beginner or a rafting master, schedule in one hell of a ride while you’re on holiday. Raging Thunder runs two tours close to Cairns. And the beauty of the tropical location means those rivers stay warm year-round. Thank God.
Barron River is a half-day tour with grade two and three rapids. In other words, it’s ideal if you’ve never done it before. Plus, it’s just 20 minutes from Cairns.
If you want to really test that arm strength, try Tully River on a full day tour. It’s about two hours south from Cairns (or one hour from Mission Beach) and once held the World Rafting Championships. So, you just know those grade three and four rapids are gonna be wild.
3. Bungy jumping
Surrounded by trees and sitting a steep 50 metres above a natural lagoon is Skypark Cairns – Australia’s only bungy. Also, if you missed the memo, the days of one simple swan dive off a bungy jump platform are gone. While that is always on the cards, you can do 16 (!!!) different jump styles at Skypark Cairns, from backwards to blindfolded, if you’re so inclined. And for the most hectic among us, you can even ride a BMX off a roof, too. Gnarly.
After some tamer options? Australia’s only multi-person Giant Swing runs rain, hail, or shine, too. So you can destroy your poor bud’s eardrums as you scream through the sky at high-speed. And you can also walk the plank. Although you’ve still gotta be bloody brave to step out onto nothing if you ask me.
Once you’ve survived your jump, head downstairs to for a drink as you watch the next lot of thrill-seekers give it a go.
4. Jet Boating
With high speeds and quick spins, this activity is a perfect one to drag your less adventurous mate on. They can defs push their limits on this ride. You’ve gotta spend some of this holiday together, right?
Hop on the Bad Fishy jet boat in the middle of the Cairns CBD and strap in for the ride of your life. During your 35-minute thrill ride through the waters of Trinity Inlet, your captain will also treat you to some fun facts and point out local flora and fauna. They might even find a croc for you to cop a look at!
Canyoning gets you up close and personal with lush rainforest while also getting that adrenaline rush going. Push your body and your fears as you zipline across cascades, abseil down cliffs, leap off rocks and swim beneath waterfalls.
Cairns Canyoning has a few adventures to choose from, depending on your skill level. Start ’em all off by being picked up from the Cairns CBD and shuttled into the rainforest to get a rundown before you let rip.
Behana Canyon is about a 40-minute drive from Cairns and is a fab choice for newbies. Crystal Canyon is also a goodie for beginners and located at one of the most popular waterfalls in Cairns. Plus, it has a 30-metre zipline into the water. Take things up a notch at Spillway Canyon, where you’ll have a full day kicking off at Lake Morris (Copperlode Dam) and including 52-metre abseil drop.
6. Get wild at the wildlife park
If you thought a trip to a wildlife park would be any tamer, remember this is adventure central. At Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome the heart will continue to race. In the world’s first challenge ropes course in a wildlife park, you can try a Mid-ZOOM or Hi-ZOOM course with three zip lines – including one that takes you OVER Goliath, a four-metre saltwater croc. So, keep those feet up, my friends.
But to get the palms sweating even more, try the 13-metre Power Jump or Dome-Climb to cop some of the best views of Cairns from every angle. As you edge your way around the external 60cm wide platform you can catch a view of the Coral Sea and Trinity Inlet.
If you need a hot min to slow down, you can also catch some presentations about Aussie wildlife or cuddle a koala for a change of pace.
If you’re keen to try something adventurous on an upcoming holiday (get your mind outta the gutter, Brad), tackle all of the above in Cairns. No matter what Aussie state you’re in, it’s only a short and sweet plane trip and then bam, adventure-central. So go wild, you loose units!