Where to let off steam in Sydney

These are the best places to release all that pent-up emotion in a safe space
Man smashes keyboard
Photograph: Joe Cheng
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Whether you’re living out your career dreams or slogging through each day in a job you can’t stand, a long day at work can leave you feeling rather flat. Not to mention the inner city traffic, soaring cost of living and general state of world politics. If you need a safe space to let your frustrations and anxieties out, try these seven cathartic activities that are much more fun than screaming into a pillow. There’s nothing more satisfying than giving something a good thwack.

If you’re not ready to come back to reality afterwards, spend the rest of your leisure time in another world at the theatre on this week, or gather your mates and head to the best bars in Sydney for a transformative brew.

Still not frustration-free? Attack those stress receptors with a blissful session at Sydney’s best spas.

Stress less on these adventures

Things to do, Pop-up locations

Smash Brothers

icon-location-pin Beverley Park

Pick up your trusty baseball bat, a milk crate of breakables and begin the onslaught. At the Smash Brothers break room you’re encouraged to go berserk, smashing the hell out of glass bottles, plates and electronics until the day’s frustrations dissipate. Kitted out in overalls, tough-man gloves and something similar to a welding mask, you enter one of the two small rooms on an adrenaline-fuelled solo mission. A standard evening of smashing at the Kogarah warehouse includes one crate of old crockery and glassware which you can stack up on the tee-ball stand and thwack into dust, as well as one larger object like a thick old television or mini fridge to rip into. It’s ten minutes of a guilt-free Rambo time where you don’t have to worry about the clean-up or buying a new printer afterwards.

Things to do, Sports

Ultimate Paintball

icon-location-pin Sydney

Sometimes you need a strategic approach to redirect your frustrations. Paintball is like the OG of interactive war games, where you can plan a coordinated attack or go for broke in a mad dash across no man's land. At Ultimate Paintball in Camden you slog it out in the trenches, rescue hostages and defend your bases across 14 themed battlefields located on 120 acres of beautiful (or treacherous) bushland. You might find yourself facing off zombies, battling for control of the bridge or fighting to find the black box recorder in the burnt out airplane. Whatever turn your adventure takes, you’ll be focused on the objective, not on the laborious conversation you had with Sharon from human resources last week.

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Sport and fitness, Boxing

SRG Thai Boxing Gym

icon-location-pin Alexandria

Known as the ‘art of eight limbs’, Muay Thai is an intense full-body fighting style. To remember all the weapons in your self-defense arsenal, sing the remixed heads-and-shoulders song: “fists, elbows, knees and shins, (knees and shins)”. Picking up the basics requires some concentration, but once you’ve got them down pat, it’s a marvelous way to kick and weave away your worries. From beginner to advanced classes, you’ll be learning and perfecting strikes, blocks and grappling techniques so you can face-off worthy adversaries. And at the end of a one-hour training session you’ll be too exhausted to stress over any life dramas beyond the boxing ring.

Things to do

Maniax

icon-location-pin St Peters

There’s something rather satisfying about flinging an axe with perfect speed and accuracy to send bullseye splinters flying. This is indeed the only aim of the game at Maniax in Sydney’s Inner West, where you’ll learn technique, style and safety before your axe-throwing session begins. You can personalise your session – a few corporate groups have pinned buzzwords and company policies to the targets – but you can’t make it personal, so no pictures of people. For true competitors, there’s two league nights where you can battle it out in a tournament of 15 people over eight weeks. Though there’s no booze on site, Willie the Boatman is next door for a post axe-throwing schooner if you’re feeling thirsty.

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Man plays archery sport and jumps through the air.
Photograph: Supplied

Archery Attack

If you want to prove yourself on the field of battle, or at the very least see if you can match up to Katniss with a bow and arrow, book a session with Archery Attack. Participants are equipped with a bow (imagine something you’d use on year nine camp) and a protective face mask. You’re armed with arrows fitted with round rubber tips like a squash ball, which means that if you land one on someone, it stings a bit, but isn’t going to leave massive welts like paintball. They also blow up obstacles so you can run onto the field Braveheart-style or go for a sniper role from behind cover. You can fight your friends in a group session and they’ll bring the battlefield to you, or solo archers can sign up for drop-in sessions. It’s $39 per person for an hour of play, or $59 for two hours.

People playing laser tag.
Photograph: Supplied
Sport and fitness

M9 Laser Skirmish

icon-location-pin Sydney

While hits in this battle ground don’t land with an audible thud, the bravery required is just as real and the win just as satisfying. At Darling Harbour’s M9 Laser Skirmish, you can join a team if you’re flying solo or bring enough mates to take over the whole battlefield… and when we say ‘field’ it’s more like a darkened room filled with black painted walls and blockades to race around as you hunt down the opposing team with your light beams. It heats up in that darkened space pretty quickly so you’ll appreciate coming back out after each round to see how you’ve scored. For $20 you’ll get to reenter three times as you battle for individual and group points. Make it $30 and you get five games per person. This is a non-contact sport, so keep nimble and focused on hitting those little green dots on players’ jackets and guns.

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People rolling around playing bubble soccer.
Photograph: Supplied

Bubble Soccer

The soccer element to this game is more of an excuse than the reason to get onto the field and smash into your friends and colleagues. Secured inside your blow-up bubble, you take a few practice rolls and flips to get your bearings before heading onto the pitch, where you gleefully slam into your opponents and the inflated barriers in a slapdash effort to kick a soccer ball through the goals. You can sneak attack from behind for a highly effective blow – affectionately known as ‘the dog shot’ – or sideswipe your opponents to send them bouncing, but there’s no hits allowed when players are on the ground or outside their bubbles. This mobile activity is suitable for groups of any size – you can form a small tournament with more than 15 players – and costs $175-$350 by the hour depending on various additions (venue hire is extra).

Focus on mastering more skills

A close up shot of a woman practicing martial arts
Photograph: iStock
Sport and fitness, Self-defence

The best mixed martial arts in Sydney

Learn to channel your anger jedi-style at Sydney’s best mixed martial arts gyms. They have classes for kids and adults in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and more.

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