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A close up on some people doing whitewater rafting with water splashing all around them
Photograph: Destination NSW

Seven incredible adventures you can experience in Penrith this summer

Go west and discover thrills and spills in the shadow of the Blue Mountains

By Time Out in Association with Penrith City Council
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Calling all adrenaline seekers: if you’re looking for some exciting and surprising new ways to supplement your serotonin this summer, it’s time to head west. Penrith boasts a range of white-knuckle thrills that make for the ideal day out this sunny season. So whether you’re looking to take a walk on the wild side, put the pedal to the metal, or reach for the sky, Penrith has the exhilarating attractions that will set your pulse racing. 

The most adventurous things to do in Penrith

Equipped with more features than any other park of its type in the world, this watersports wonderland will have even beginners performing gnarly stunts by the end of their session. Attached to an innovative cable pulley system, visitors can experience the highs of wakeboarding and kneeboarding in a controlled and entirely safe environment. With expert coaches on hand to teach you the basics and all safety equipment and gear included in your session price, all you need to bring is your sense of adventure (and maybe a towel). One-hour, two-hour and all-day passes are available, as well as function and party options and overnight accommodation if you want to make your visit a real celebration. 

They may not be the flame-fuelled jetpacks the sci-fi movies promised us, but these innovative water-powered alternatives are every bit as fun. Using high-pressure water jets, you can propel yourself high out of the water and execute aerial maneuvers with a safe splash down beneath you. This jetpack experience is the only one of its type in Metropolitan Sydney and if you want to test your limits, you can also try flyboarding – yes, that is indeed a water-powered hoverboard – or the jetovator, a crazy airbound jetski.

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Sydney has its fair share of world-class animal attractions, but Zambi stands apart as the only resort-style home for animals retired from the zoo, circus and entertainment industries. It’s also a rehabilitation centre for mistreated or injured exotic animals, giving them a new lease on life after suffering abuse or improper homing. At Zambi, you’ll find big cats, including lions and tigers, as well as primates, meerkats, exotic parrots and wolf dogs. Set across 50 acres of Western Sydney, it’s where visitors can support the important conservation work of the retreat while also getting up close and personal with its wild residents, including hand feeding the tigers. Access is strictly by appointment only, so booking your visit in advance is essential. 

The raging waters of the only man-made rapids in the Southern Hemisphere aren’t just for regular thrill seekers. They’re so like the real thing, even Penrith local and Olympian Jessica Fox uses them to train – the Stadium was built for the Sydney 2000 games and has been used for world class events ever since. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a world-class athlete to have a great day out here. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday for self-guided or guided whitewater rafting as well as kayaking, and you can also visit Café Whitewater, where you can fuel up before your session or chill out after an hour or two testing your mettle against the waves.

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It was once the case that if you wanted to try skydiving there were no half measures – you could either stay on the ground and forget it or hurl yourself out of a plane tens of thousands of feet overhead. However, thanks to the high-powered fan technology at iFly, there is now a middle way. Discover the rush of freefall without the nagging feeling you may have forgotten to pack your parachute with this safe, fun and accessible alternative to skydiving that’s perfect for beginners right through to experienced jumpers. The only indoor skydiving in NSW and the largest and most powerful indoor skydiving facility in the Southern Hemisphere, here the action takes place in a 365-degree glass tunnel so friends and family can watch as you (almost) take to the sky. Christmas offers are available now, so why not give a special someone the gift of flight this year?

While hurling a hatchet around is frowned on at most venues, it’s positively insisted upon here. After learning the basics from your throwing coach, you’ll have two hours of lane time throwing axes at your dedicated target. Get hooked on the satisfying ‘thunk’ of the blade hitting the bullseye and be sure to keep score to find out who in your group is a bona fide modern-day viking. Throw Axe is open seven days a week and is perfect for team-building sessions, date nights or as a fun alternative to the pub for you and your mates.

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When you simply can’t make up your mind on which adrenaline-drenched activity you want to do, you can head to a venue where you can find multiple options all in one place. From go karting to paintball warfare to the high-octane excitement of the motor park track, Luddenham Raceway brings the thrills from every angle. Whether the brand-new go kart fleet or the next-gen paintball guns, Ludenham boasts state-of-the-art equipment and facilities that can’t be bettered anywhere in NSW. Beginners will receive the tutoring to make the most of the session, but for more experienced visitors, there are tournament-style competitions to really up the ante. If you’ve got a special occasion coming up or you’re looking to shift gear with this year’s Christmas party, the Raceway’s friendly team is ready to help you plan the ultimate group booking.

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