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The Top 8 Water Activities of Australia

Written by 8 February 2014 5 Comments

The summer in Australia is raging hard, fast and hot at the moment. The beauty of the glorious Aussie summer brings the stereotypical care-free and sunshine drenched beach lifestyle, but there’s no time to beach bum around. With the temperatures soaring, don’t waste time lying on the beach topping up your tan. Get involved with the hundreds of water adventures available and indulge your inner explorer with some out-of-this–world underwater experiences!

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SURFING (of course!)

When you think “Australian water fun”, surfing is one of the top activities that spring to mind. Don’t wave it off  (excuse the pun) as being an obvious and overdone water sport though. To try it in Australia means you will get some of the most quality waves and top notch surf lessons. Not to mention you’ll see the most amazing unspoilt sights! The best thing about Australian surf though, is that there are waves for every type of surfer. Whether you’re a novice, a touch inexperienced or a pro; there’s something for everyone.

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Byron Bay, on the East Coast, is a renowned area to learn to surf due to Cape Byron protecting The Bay and providing smaller safer breaks. You’ll be spoilt for choice for surf schools as there are a ton of them. Another great place to learn is over in Western Australia on Ocean Beach in Denmark. The gentle rip means it’s perfect for learning basics, and South Coast Surfing Lessons is a good school to help you get to grips with your board. Margaret River (also in WA) provides some serious waves, especially at Prevelly Park. If you venture a bit further to Yallingup, you won’t be disappointed by their waves either.

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Sydney’s Manly Beach provides good breaks for surfers, but as summer comes rolling in on the East Coast, so do the tourists by the hordes. Be prepared for very busy surf, which can sometimes be frustrating for a surfer who knows what they’re doing. If you’re based in Melbourne, head down The Great Ocean Road for Bells Beach in Torquay for some famous waves.

SNORKELING

Don’t fancy getting caught in waves and prefer a calmer ocean? Well, check out some of the awesome coral reefs that exist around Australia. We’re all familiar with the famous Great Barrier Reef that stretches for over 2,600 km off the coast of Queensland, and it should definitely be on your Bucket List. A large part is protected from tourism as it’s become badly damaged over the years, but it should definitely be witnessed while in Queensland!

Other snorkelling spots to check out include Clovelly in Sydney, which is sheltered enough to provide serenely calm waters that are full of fish and underwater life.

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SUBMARINES

Desperate to see the corals but don’t fancy getting your hair wet? Never fear, it’s still possible and you get to do it in a kitschy unique way. Jump in a yellow mini-submarine with GBR Subs which will take you all around the coral gardens. Enjoy a day or night ride in the teeny submarines which are only large enough for three people (including your pilot), and get down to depths of 40m! Not suitable for claustrophobic or annoying individuals.

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HELMET DIVING

Helmet diving is also a fun alternative to snorkelling. Helmet diving allows you to get down to deeper depths than snorkelling, but without having to go through lengthy scuba diving training. You don’t even have to swim! It’s literally a helmet with an oxygen supply that slips comfortably over your head. Sunlover allow you to mooch along an underwater platform walk in the coral while you comfortably breathe through your mouth and nose. Green Island also provide the non-fuss simple equipment for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

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SCUBA-DIVING

However, if you’re after breathtaking coral which is both pristine and slightly off the beaten tourist track, then head up to Ningaloo Reef in North West Australia. I warn you though; some of the underwater sights there will blow your mind. Not only is it fantastically preserved, but also you’ll be swimming alongside Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. Ningaloo Reef Dive offers various diving tours with experienced guides. They’ll also take you further afield on reef safaris to untouched areas. Their slogan is pretty spot on: “No distractions, only attractions.”

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One place that will seem absolutely magical and leave you pinching yourself, are the Kelp Forests of the East Coast of Tasmania. These looming long pillars of kelp rise out of the sea bed stretching up to the surface, and create dreamy surroundings that many liken to ‘flying through a rainforest’. Considered as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth, these forests are disappearing fast and are becoming endangered so consider this as a must-see before it disappears altogether!

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Eagle Hawk Dive provides trips to the forests, plus epic dives that take you through the Tasman Peninsular region which is a labyrinth of sea caves, tunnels and canyons. There are many different levels of diving experiences, but novices can enjoy sights like Waterfall Bay where you can spot Weedy Seadragons. More experienced divers can venture to Cathedral Cave which is the largest sea cave system in Australia and is littered with caverns and passages. That’s all very beautiful and all, but don’t spend too long diving deep into caves or you’ll miss all that summer sun!

THE CAGE OF DEATH

Sounds like a lovely day out, right? Sure, the name is a lot to be desired but this underwater adventure will be a true Aussie experience to remember: Get inches away from the insanely huge saltwater crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of Darwin City.

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Housing almost 200 Crocs, the zoo allows tourists to swim with these predators that are among the largest crocodiles in the world. You get to be lowered into the water in a clear cylinder until you’re face to face with the Crocs. Sounds nuts, but you’ll be closer than you could ever imagine and you get to safely watch the creatures swim and feed with a full 360degree view.

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JET-SKIING

Have you had your fill of all the underwater adventures Australia has to offer? Why not catch some rays as you scooch along the surface of the ocean! Jet Skiing is huge on the Sunshine Coast, and Mooloolaba (an hour from Brisbane) is the base and departure hub for water sports. For a pure injection of adrenaline, go with Ocean Jet Ski and ride waves, do donuts, spin 360’s… go crazy! 3 square kilometres of Open Ocean is fully supervised so you know that you’re always under a safe eye. They’ll teach you how to use the jet skis, plus give you tips on how to do the best tricks and manoeuvres.

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STAND-UP PADDLE BOARDS (SUPS)

Ocean Jet Ski also rent out SUPs, which have become a huge craze over the past few years. It’s pretty much a cross between surfing and kayaking as you’re standing upright on a surfboard but manoeuvring yourself by paddling. Flat conditions and beautiful scenery make this a top sport, which also gives your body a full work-out. The Sunshine Coast a great spot for this, but also try it around Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth or Perth’s stunning Cottesloe Beach.

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The summer is scorchingly in full swing Down Under, so make the most of it: Be active, enjoy the water, wear sunscreen, and see the unique sights that the Aussie oceans offer!

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image 2 Andrew Michael Roberts,  image 3 Ian Wiese, image 4  TravelX, image 5  Dive Center For Sale,
image 6 YouTube, image 7 Green Island, image 8 StuffKit,  image 9 Phil Watson,  image 10 Catherine Marshall, image 11 Amazing places on earth, Image 12 Crocosaurus Cove , image 13 & 14 Ocean Jet Ski, all other photos by Sophie Saint.

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5 Comments »

  • Stef said:

    I’d actually love to try everything except the croc cave diving. I had the opportunity when I was in Darwin, but I’m way too scared to do that. I already went surfing and snorkelling, obviously the usual in Australia. The helmet diving looks like a lot of fun. I definitely want to dive with whale sharks (maybe I am able to do that in Mexico soon). SUP is also something I want to try as soon as possible.

  • Nita said:

    The helmet diving looks so fun! The crocodile thing could be an interesting experience as i think diving with sharks is more popular but i doubt i would be able to do that, somehow though, i think i would feel safer in the tank than i would be in cage (no free spaces). still i dont think i would be brave enough.

  • Jamie said:

    Solid list! Even living in Oz for a few years, I really only did a couple of these (my best year was when I lived only a few blocks from Clovelly!).

    I know a majority of these were on list while there, but never got around to them. I’m actually really disappointed I never heard of the kelp forests while I was doing my road trip around Tasmania! That looks incredible!

    pilgrimmemoirs.com
    Memoirs of a Pilgrim

  • Rachel said:

    These all seem like so much fun. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and all of these pictures are making me want to go more. The surfing seems most exciting.

  • Sophie said:

    Ah thank you! Yes, I only found out about the kelp forests after I left. It’s definitely on my hit list next time I go :)

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