Here are our Top 5 weekend adventure getaways for you and your mates around Sydney and NSW. Common theme for all? They’re wild, cheap and ridiculously good fun.
‘Happiness is only real when shared’
These are the dying words the infamous vagabond Chris McCandless (of Into the Wild fame) scribbled onto the inside of a magic bus shortly before succumbing to a double whammy horror death of starvation and poisoning in the Alaskan wilderness. The lesson is pretty clear, and thank you, Chris, for taking one for the team and teaching us this the hard way – there’s simply nought more fun than heading off for an adventure with your friends and seeing where the weekend takes you.
So here are five ideas to get your creative juices flowing in the planning stages of an unforgettable NSW adventure weekend:
# 1 Canoeing Trip
Hardcore Factor 2/5
Rivers weave through NSW like a gang of fidgety snakes, and if you’re unlucky (or lucky depending on your preference) you may even spot one of the slimy wrigglers. Admittedly, water in Outback NSW is relatively scarce but certainly around Sydney, all the way up the coast and into the more mountainous rural NSW the options for a gentle to moderate multi-day paddle are bountiful.
There are some amazing resources out there to help you plan your adventure, but our top recommendations include Kangaroo Valley (which we did with 20 of us!), Royal National Park, Hawkesbury River, Tumut River, Murrumbidgee River (nr Wagga Wagga) and Macquarie River (nr Dubbo). For the even more adventurous, the Nymbodia Region and Kosciuszko National Park should throw a few slippery ones at you.
# 2 Surf Adventure and Beach Party
Hardcore Factor 1/5
Between me and thee, I’m going let you in on a little secret… Australia is a pretty sizeable island abound with beaches. 2,137km of coastline to be precise, with 892 beaches and seven of Australia’s national surfing reserves to explore with your board. In a nutshell, there’s a wave out there with your name on it.
Whether you flap about in the surf with all the style and grace of Gina Rhinehart pole dancing, or ride tubes like a pro, there is something for all skill levels. There’s a plethora of sites out to help you plan your trip – WannaSurf is a great starting point.
To summarise, I follow an extremely simple 5 step plan:
- Find a break
- Drive there
- Pitch tent/ hammock
- Surf until sundown
- Hoedown (don’t forget to pack your clown outfit)
# 3 4×4 Adventure
Hardcore Factor 3/5
Road trips are the perfect way to explore a huge amount of ground in the shortest possible time. But to access the most rewarding routes in NSW you’ll need a vehicle with a little grunt, and unfortunately, your Toyota Corolla won’t cut the mustard.
Step up the trusty 4×4. Of course, anyone will do, although my recommendation if you can get your hands on one is the British classic – the Land Rover Defender. It just so happens that I know someone with a fleet of them, each with enough kit to start a one-man revolution. Contact Bear Rentals to guarantee a beast of a weekend.
Once again, there’s plenty of help out there through a trusty website called Google, and the best resource is 4x4earth. Barrington Tops, Myall Lakes and the Blue Mountains are my personal faves.
# 4 Hike and Stargazing
Hardcore Factor 3/5
As my old pal Nietzsche once said, ‘all truly great thoughts are conceived whilst walking’. Hear hear.
Adventure doesn’t come as beautifully pure and simple as packing your bag and taking to the hills with little more than a few essentials, a mischievous grin and a hop in your step. Embracing fresh mountain air and mother nature in all its glory is the ultimate de-tox… finding a serene spot to sling up your hammock under the stars with a barrel of rum? The ultimate re-tox.
Thankfully, NSW has been pain-stakingly well mapped for trekking, with routes weaving through all 865 national parks and reserves across the state. Whet your appetite on the National Parks website…and check out Caroline’s blog, Lotsafreshair to see how the chicas roll in the hills.
Also, check out our How To guide for stargazing.
# 5 Find somewhere alluring on a map and travel there by any means possible
Hardcore Factor 4/5
Unadulterated adventure lies in not being entirely sure of what lies ahead. I like to have a loose idea of where I’m going, but the surprise of stumbling across a waterfall or stepping onto a vantage point with sudden panoramic views across a valley is what 21st century exploration is all about. The Grateful Cyclists and Two Breakfasts know exactly what I’m talking about.
On several occasions, my mates and I have pulled out a map and scanned our grubby digits across it until we find somewhere remote and possibly accessible. Pirates of the Ku-Ring-Gai and Spit-Roasting on Snake Island are a couple of examples.
We pack light and head into the wild for a couple of days… ‘we’ being the operative word.
I dare you to do the same.