Photo credit: Daniel Bos
Do you feel your life is in need of an adventure injection? Are you a too busy or too skint? These microadventures might be just the ticket…
Microadventures are cheap, simple and local outdoor escapes that cram the spirit of adventure into an amazing weekend away.
Alastair Humphreys, the pioneer of microadventures, said that “you don’t need to fly to other side of the world to have an adventure…. it’s a state of mind. And if that’s true then adventure is all around us, at all times”.
Sydney is one of the best cities in the world to be a microadventurer, thanks to the vast beauty and opportunity right here on our doorsteps. Below are 8 weekend ideas to get you started on your very first (or next) microadventure. How many are you going to tick off?!
1) Sleep in a Cave
Hidden away amongst spectacular scenery, Sydney has numerous cave escapes for anyone looking for a unique weekend adventure whilst reconnecting to their ancestral roots. Whether you’re looking for something remote and intimate, or something big enough to throw a cave rave, there’s something for every kind of cave-dweller. It really is surprising how ‘at home’ one feels sleeping in a cave, so dust down your loin cloth and try one these weekend retreats.
Time required: 1-2 days
Basic Kit needed: Tent, sleeping bag, mat and disco ball
Where: Gooches Crater (Wollangambe), Pindar Cave (Brisbane Waters), 100 Man Cave (Kanangra Boyd NP), Psyn Cave (Blue Mountains)
2) Climb a Mountain
Stare at a map, find a mountain (or hill) and climb to the top of it. Simples. No matter what your experience level is there’s a suitable peak for everyone out there, whether you’re after a local afternoon escape, weekend away from Sydney or a multi-day adventure trek. Whatever climb you and your friends decide to do you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views and a feeling of smug satisfaction at the top.
Time needed: 12 hours – 5 days
Basic Kit needed: Good hiking gear, warm clothes, plenty of food and water
Where: Mount Warning (Northern Rivers), Mount Gower (Lord Howe Island), Mount Kosciuszko (Snowy Mountains)
3) Watch the Sunrise over the Sea
Watching dawn break from the middle of nowhere is a wonderful feeling that always seems to shift things into perspective a little, all whilst witnessing the true beauty of mother nature. As NSW is blessed with over 2,000km of east facing coastline, there’s also plenty of opportunities to bag yourself a private viewing. All you need to do is find a campsite on a beach, cliff or mountain with ocean views and remember to set your alarm clock for before sunrise!
4) Go for a Wild Swim
If following lane dividers at your local swimming pool is getting a little tedious, then it’s probably time you tried wild swimming. A wild swim adventure is about finding a remote river, lagoon, waterfall or lake; basically anywhere that’s completely entombed by nature to ensure a seriously adventurous and chlorine-free experience. Be brave, breath deep and take the plunge – you won’t regret it.
Time needed: 1 hour – 2 days
Basic Kit needed: Swimmers (optional)
Where: Colo River (Wollemi NP), Mermaid Pools (Bargo River Gorge), Wombeyan Gorge, Winifred Falls (Royal NP), Minnehaha Falls (Blue Mountains)
5) Mid-Week Camping Trip
On an average school night we have the hours between 5pm–9am of pure freedom. This leaves 16 hours to play with, which quite frankly is a hugely neglected time of adventurous opportunity. A mid-week microadventure is the perfect way to utilise this time. All you need to do is pick a campsite within 2 hours of Sydney, invite some friends, take a bus or train to a wild pocket of paradise and go explore. Check out one we did here. You’ll probably be smelly and tired when you roll into work the next day by my god, you will definitely have a more exciting story than your colleagues!
6) Catch, Cook and Eat your Own Dinner
This microadventure is another way to re-connect to your more primitive roots, and all you need to pack is a fishing rod, a little luck and a couple of cold ones. Choose whether you want to go for a mountain stream or coastal lake, then just drive or hike to that location, cast your line and let the good times roll. Let’s face it, there’s nothing fresher or more wholesome than eating something that was still wriggling minutes before!
Pick a train station you’ve never been to within 3-4 hours of Sydney. Pick another station you’ve never been to approximately 50-100km away from that one by road or fire-trail; then explore between these locations on two wheels. Trains are an incredibly cheap and efficient way to travel in Australia, and bicycles are….well, the most fun you can have between your legs.
Time needed: 1-2 days
Basic Kit needed: Bike, helmet, puncture repair kit, chafage cream, food and water
Where: Hunter Valley (train to Maitland, then cycle to Newcastle via Dungog), Wombeyan Caves in the Blue Mountains, Naas Valley near Canberra and Narooma down on the South Coast.
An adventure activity cocktail combining rock climbing, abseiling, bush-bashing, swimming and hiking all into one day, canyoning is a perfect microadventure within 2 hours of Sydney. Buried deep in a pre-historic sandstone world lies a network of over 100 canyons that range in grade, length and formation depending on your experience and desire. The goal? To descend the canyon by whatever means possible. BMAC offer fully guided adventures for those without the foggiest idea where to start.
Time needed: 1-2 days
Basic Kit needed: Wetsuit, thermals, dry bag and some climbing gear
Where: Blue Mountains.
Have you got any other weekend ideas that would make for a great microadventure? Please share in the comments below, we’d love to hear them.