From camel to kombi, horseback to hot air balloon; here’s your brand new NSW Bucket List


New South Wales is an adventure playground offering a plethora of weird and wonderful ways to experience her beauty.

If you’re in need of a little inspiration for YOUR next weekend escape, then the following 18 modes of exploratory travel should give you a gentle poke of encouragement for your weekend adventure planning…


1. MOTORBIKE & SIDECAR

Are you more of a Wallace or Gromit? Love your Wensleydale? Either way, this is a pretty damn cool way to breathe in the country air and ensure an unforgettable escape from the city.

Where to do it? 

Ural of Oz are the only outfit in NSW who are able to rent out this style of bike to anyone with a full rider’s license – and boy do they have a fleet to pick from! Based in the glorious New England region of Northern NSW, the self-guided overnight trip takes you on and off-road through pristine snow-gum and eucalyptus forests, the only difficult part is deciding where to have your picnics.

Hardcore Rating: 3/5     Cost Rating: 4/5     Fly-Swallowing Risk: 4/5
ural of oz motorbike and sidecar

Ural of Oz motorbike and sidecars give riders the freedom to explore NSW as you choose

2. CAMEL

Did you know that Australia is home to the world’s largest camel herd? So we think it would be rude to not take one for a spin then! Hopping aboard one of these Ships of the Desert is a seriously unique way to explore NSW – we guarantee you’ll be reaching for your selfie stick and if you’re unlucky maybe even some chafage cream.

Where to do it? 

The more popular spots are along the North Coast in places like Port Macquarie and Coff’s Harbour, but if you really want to become a modern day desert explorer, then head inland to the outback town of SilvertonBarrier Ranges Camel Safaris will take you on a multi-day camel adventure that Lawrence of Arabia would be proud of.

Hardcore Rating: 3/5     Cost Rating: 3/5     Chafage Risk: 4/5

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Camels taking a rest whilst riders reapply the chafage cream

3. INFLATABLE PACK-RAFT

Step 1: Buy an inflatable raft from any outdoor store (ideally for less than $50)
Step 2: Locate a remote NSW river on Google Maps and drop a pin
Step 3: Drive to where the road ends; trek to the river’s edge; pump, paddle and explore

This is one for those with a few extra hairs on the chest, but we’ve been rewarded with some of our most epic weekend adventures in a cheap inflatable pack-raft (like this onethis one and this one).

Where to do it? 

As far as your wanderlust will take you! Our recommendations would be the Colo River (Wollemi National Park) and Nymbodia River (Nymbodia National Park).

Hardcore Rating: 5/5     Cost Rating: 1/5     Sogginess Risk: 5/5

colo river adventure, gorge, kayak, raft

Drive to where the road ends; trek to the river’s edge; pump, paddle and explore

4. HIKING

Fredrich Nietzsche famously said that ‘All great thoughts are conceived while walking’. Wise old Freddy wasn’t far wrong when he coined this – there really isn’t a more simplistic and immersive way to experience nature than packing up a few essentials, strapping up your boots and putting one foot in front of the other.

Where to do it? 

Undoubtedly the most accessible of all modes of travel on this list, whether you’re after short day trip along a coastal trail or a multi-day expedition deep into mother nature’s back-yard, your call of the wild can be answered within any of NSW’s 820 national parks and reserves. Don’t own a car? No problem, check out this list of escapes using only public transport! Need ideas of where to trek? Check out the Wild Walks website for some inspiration and detailed information.

Hardcore Rating: Dependent on Hike     Cost Rating: 1/5     Blister Risk: 3/5
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Soaking up the rugged and isolated wilderness of the Budawangs. Photo by DANIEL BOS

5. VW KOMBI CAMPER

The Kombi Van completely epitomises the classic Ozzie road trip; cruising the sun-kissed open road with your best mates along winding coastlines and remote vistas, behind the wheel of the best thing before sliced bread.

Where to do it? 

Hire a Kombi will kit you out with a seriously retro one to go exploring in (they recently teamed up with Bonds to do the same) although the only catch is that you’ll have to pick it up from Melbourne and drive from there! Where to drive? The road less travelled of course, so let your imagination go wild. Here are a five epic road trip ideas if you’re still struggling.

Hardcore Rating: 2/5     Cost Rating: 4/5     Cool Rating: 5/5
hire a kombi

The VW Kombi Campervan – undoubtedly the coolest vehicle on the road before sliced bread

6. HORSEBACK

Whether you’re a fan of Western movies, closet horse whisperer or just fancy yourself in a pair of jodhpurs, riding a trusty steed through the NSW mountain ranges is an experience that’s very hard to beat. A multi-day trek is the proper way to do it; you’ll explore diverse and rugged terrain like explorers of the past, camping out under the stars to share stories and apply the trusted chafage cream.

Where to do it? 

Not many horse trekking companies allow for overnight trips, however Kangaroo Valley Horses will customise a amazing adventure for your group of up to 12, whilst Reynella Rides in the Snowy Mountains operate 7 day trips through their 6,000 acre property in Kosciuszko National Park.

Hardcore Rating: 4/5     Cost Rating: 5/5     Chafage Risk: 5/5

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Whether you’re a fan of Western movies, horse whispering or jodhpurs, horse-trekking is hard to beat

7. SANDBOARD

If you’re itching to shred some snow but not too keen on the 6 hour drive to Jindabyne, then sand-boarding is a pretty awesome alternative. NSW is teeming with wide beaches and towering sand-dunes up and down the rugged coastline – all you need to do is rent or make your own board, shred some sand, and then charge into the sea for a well deserved wash down, you mucky pup.

Where to do it? 

The mecca for dune riding adrenalin seekers is Stockton Dunes, Australia’s largest sand dune system which lies within beautiful area of Port Stephens. The largest dune is 40m high, which means there’s plenty of sand for you to fill your crevasses with and wash out in the shower later! Sand Dune Safaris will kit you out with a board if you need one.

Hardcore Rating: 2/5     Cost Rating: 2/5     Dry-Tongue Risk: 4/5

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If the snows too far away, come shred some sand at Stockton Dunes instead and then charge into the sea

8. CANYONING

Like an adventurous cocktail you can slurp in the Peruvian hill tops, canyoning combines a dash of rock climbing, bush walking, water jumping and abseiling to give you a rush that almost rivals ayahuasca’s potent effects…minus the spiritual revelations. It is growing in popularity and is an awesome way to explore the land that time forgot.

Where to do it? 

Spend a day out canyoning in the Blue Mountains and you’ll never see those iconic valley views the same way again! Far beneath the golden cliffs and green gums you see from all the lookouts is a hidden world of waterholes and creeks weaving through dark, twisting chasms.  Formed over millions of years, Blue Mountains slot canyons are a truly unique natural wonder and a real treasure for adventure seekers in NSW. Unless you know what you’re doing, give BMAC a call and they’ll sort everything out for you.

Hardcore Rating: 4/5     Cost Rating: 3/5     Claustrophobia Risk: 4/5

Canyoning the Blue Mountains

Canyoning’s a punchy cocktail of climbing, bushwalking, water jumping & abseiling. Photo by DANIEL BOS

9. HOT AIR BALLOON

If you can rustle together enough coins, why not treat your nearest and dearest (or just yourself) to a slightly flash but utterly exhilarating hot air balloon ride? Aside from being an epic surprise date that’ll win you some serious points, you’ll see the world from an entirely new perspective. The early start for the sunrise ride is worth every yawn and shiver.

Where to do it? 

Balloon Aloft is your best bet to book with as they have sites in the Hunter Valley, Camden Valley, the Hawkesbury, Mudgee and Canberra.

Hardcore Rating: 4/5     Cost Rating: 3/5     Selfie Stick: 5/5

Balloon Aloft

Hot air ballooning – a guarantee to put a smile on your date’s face

So which one will you try first? (Part 2 coming next week…)