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A small group of people enjoying a tour through a cave system at Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains.
Photograph: Supplied/Destination NSW

Three NSW getaways that will spark your sense of adventure

Open your heart, feel the thrill and let loose

By Time Out in association with Destination NSW

For some, holidays are all about sitting by the pool doing as little as humanly possible. Not you. You’re an energetic explorer who likes to feel the pound of your heart pulsing. You want to get out there and discover something exciting. These NSW adventures are the perfect solution, whether you have a week or a weekend in which to lose yourself.

Not feeling so adventurous? Find another feeling.

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Little Niche Nosh

Penrith Whitewater Stadium, Penrith | Photograph: Destination NSW

A wild weekend in Western Sydney

There’s a world of adventure to discover beyond Sydney’s famous harbour. Head out to the western suburbs and book into the stylish Mercure Penrith, overlooking the awe-inspiring and eminently hike-able Blue Mountains. From here, make like an Olympian and get wet and wild at Penrith Whitewater Stadium. The rapid river purpose-built for the 2000 Olympics allows brave souls to hop in a kayak and face down 14,000 litres of ferocious water. Then make like Superman and soar without the aid of a plane at the awesome iFLY indoor skydiving centre nearby. Or why not both? Scoot to Jetpack Adventures and you can propel yourself ten metres into the air fired by water jets. Head back towards the city via Eastern Creek and rev heads can hoon around Sydney Motorsport Park on two or four wheels.

Little Niche Nosh

Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness, Narooma | Photograph: Destination NSW

An unforgettable four-day escape to the South Coast

If your hunger for adventure has your heart set on heading further afield, jump in the car and head out along the Grand Pacific Drive, which traces the glittering South Coast – one of nature’s most dazzling shows, complete with splashing seals. Once you hit Wollongong, you can literally hang in Stanwell Park, the historic site where deaf-defying aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave once took to the skies. It presents hang gliding and paragliding potential over the big blue. Or hop on a Harley, care of Just Cruisin’ Motorcycle Tours. It wouldn’t be an adventure along the coast if you didn’t dive headlong into the surf. You can take in two of Australia’s most astonishing breaks in Shellharbour’s Killalea Reserve – the Farm and the Mystics

But one of the absolute best ways to experience this beautiful stretch of Yuin country is by joining a two-night tour run by Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness. As headed up by Dwayne ‘Naja’ Bannon-Harrison, these dead-set legends will hold your hand on a rich and rewarding introduction to the Djirringanj people’s spectacular heartlands. Experience a smoking ceremony and learn more about Indigenous culture and cuisine, all while exploring Gulaga National Park’s rugged beauty.

Little Niche Nosh

Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo | Photograph: Destination NSW

Go wild with a one-week odyssey spanning Sydney to Dubbo

The pull towards the coast is understandable, but much of NSW’s staggering beauty lies inwards, towards the grand sweep of the Blue Mountains and on to Dubbo. Not far west of the city, you’ll reach Katoomba Falls, best seen as dusk fades into darkness magically illuminated. From here, you’ll also be able to check out the ancient majesty of the Three Sisters rock formation. 

Named for the fairy king who appears in Shakespeare’s beloved play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you’ll feel like you’re dreaming when you land in Oberon. A remarkable cool-climate destination packed with lush places to lose yourself, it’s the perfect fairy tale backdrop to swashbuckling adventures. Make the most of the High Country by jumping on the back of a horse or a quad bike, then fall under the mesmerising spell of the subterranean limestone marvel that is the Jenolan Caves. Stay in the five-star luxury chalets of Lake Oberon Estate for a well-earned rest, then dive into the world’s second-biggest canyon on a jaw-dropping hike of the Capertee Valley, transporting you back to Jurassic times. 

Push northwest past the snaking tendrils of Lake Burrendong (with an optional stop for the eye-popping Castle Rocks walk), and you’ll eventually make it to Dubbo, nestled in the great green fold of Macquarie Valley. Drop your stuff at the historic Castlereagh Hotel, which doesn’t look a day over its almost 100 years and serves a mean counter meal, and get ready to go wild meeting the majestic beasts of the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The meandering Macquarie River offers water sports options galore and mountain bike trails. Cap it all off with an exhilarating flight of fancy by taking to the air in one of Warrior Warbirds’ historic military aircraft for an adrenaline-fired day to remember.

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