How can you cram the spirit and outrageousness of a wild adventure into your hard-earned weekend, without having to take a single hour off work?

Simple: they’re called microadventures.

Cheaper and more fun than a convict has on day-release, these local outdoor escapes provide a much needed break from an increasingly tech-riddled world. We’re more connected to the world than ever before, meaning its now even harder (but more important) to break free from the shackles of wifi signals and double piccolos.

Aside from the physical health benefits, microadventures can be utterly transformational for your brain; you’ll feel inspired, you’ll reflect, you’ll dream. You’ll also have an ear-to-ear grin to bring to the office on Monday complete with a tale to impress your colleagues with.

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 5 weekend ideas to get you started on your very first (or next) microadventure, most with overnight camping at their core.

How many are you going to tick off this March?

#1 Wild Swimming

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. Current favourites include the Colo River (Wollemi NP), Mermaid Pools (Bargo River Gorge) and Winifred Falls (Royal NP). The one that’ll really tickle your taste buds is the Pool of Siloam and Lyrebird Dell, which are easily accessible from Leura in the Blue Mountains.

#2 Vaga-biking

Bringing vagabonding to a worryingly lycra dominated past-time, ‘vaga-biking’ is a sure fire way to experience the great outdoors and lose some of your festive weight in the process. And lets face it; bicycles are undoubtedly the most fun you can have between your legs.

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. Two suggestions are the Hunter Valley (train to Maitland, then cycle to Newcastle via Dungog and Palmers Lane if you’re feeling thirsty) or Wombeyan Caves (train Lithgow and return from Mittagong).

#3 Captain your own Eco-boat on Sydney Harbour

We’ve all done the iconic ferry trip across the harbor and marvelled at Sydney’s incomparable beauty, but what about exploring some of her lesser known nooks and crannies? The perfectly alternative way to do this is to don a captain hat and take the helm of your own Eco Boat. Based in Middle Harbour, you’ll spend the day gliding through secluded bays and gum-cloated hills enjoying the occasional dip, BBQ and boat-boogie. Only a sense of adventure required. For more details contact Eco Boat Hire.

#4 Climb that Goddam Mountain!

Stare at a map, find a mountain (or hill) and climb to the top of it. Bish Bash Bosh. No matter what your experience level, 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. Two favourites near Sydney are the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in the Budawangs and Mt Solitary in the Blue Mountains. As Nietzsche once said, “all great thoughts are conceived whilst walking”. Old Fred can’t be wrong!

#5 Pack-Rafting

Step One:       Buy an inflatable raft from any outdoor store (ideally for less than $50).

Step Two:       Locate a remote NSW river on Google Maps and drop a pin.

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

Seeing as Sydney and NSW are riddled with mouth dribblingly beautiful waterways, the location for this microadventure depends purely on the extent of your wanderlust and imagination. Our tried and tested recommendations would be the Colo River in Wollemi National Park and the Hawkesbury River just north of Sydney. These are both brilliant because camping grounds await you on route to ensure a deep body cleanse and full immersion into Mother Nature’s welcoming embrace.

Happy microadventuring!

[THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON AWOL]