You may have noticed the mercury’s soaring…we’re gearing up for an El Nino Summer of biblical proportions – wild bushfires, crippling drought, epic thunderstorms etc etc

Forgetting the downside for just a minute, let’s focus on the good stuff; the plethora of adventurous opportunities that this weather brings to our Sydney weekends!

For newbie ‘adventurers’ however, converting this burning desire to escape and explore into actual action is where the issue lies.

“I’ve never gone exploring before, what can I do? I’d love to go camping but who can I go with? Where can I go? I haven’t got any kit! What the hell’s a she-pee?”

…are all very common questions I hear time and time again.

To make your life easier then, we’ve distilled the following list of ideas for weekend adventures near Sydney that are absolutely perfect for first timers; they’re low cost, massively fun, and perfect experiences to share with your mates:

1) Go Road Tripping

Hire a car if you don’t own one, pack your camping essentials and pick a friend or three that you’re happy to spend time in an enclosed space with. For beaches try the Grand Pacific Drive, for rugged mountains the Kosciuszko Alpine Way and for ease of access and pure tune-blasting splendour the Greater Blue Mountains Drive.

2) Go Camping

It’s hard to beat a night at the billion star hotel. It’s free too which is always a winner in my book. Picking a spot that’s going to be private is what you should strive for! Avoid the big family holiday camps and instead aim for places a little more discrete such as Green Patch (Jervis Bay), Little Beach (Bouddi Bouddi NP) or Picnic Point (Mimosa Rocks NP).

3) Go Hiking

Stare at a map, find a mountain (or hill) and climb to the top of it. Simples. Whether you’re after a local afternoon escape, weekend away or a multi-day adventure trek – there’s a hike for everyone out there. 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. We recommend Mount Solitary and Mount Warning!

4) Go Paddling

We live in the world’s most beautiful city that is best seen from the water. Take it at your own pace and hire a vessel from Sydney Harbour Kayaks to explore Sydney’s islands, nooks and crannies. For the more adventurous we highly recommend a weekend paddle with Kangaroo Valley Canoes, who’ll deck you out with everything you need for a weekend cruising the wild areas of the Southern Highlands.

5) Go Riding

If you don’t own a carbon fibre bike and/or sleep in lycra, fear not! As long as you can pedal a pushie, this ones for you. Pack water, snacks and camera, and hop aboard your trusty steed. Two awesome rides include Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP (West Head / Akuna Bay) or from Cronulla to the Scarborough Hotel (via the Royal National Park) for the finest views in NSW and a well deserved pub lunch!

Once again, you’re looking for more epic microadventure ideas around near Sydney, here is a free download brimmed full of ideas for you!)

[This article first appeared on The Urban List]