Are you a thrillseeker? Looking to have some adventures in Sydney? These adrenalin-inducing activities are a great way to see more of the city than just the main sites and are perfect for celebrating a special occasion or just having some fun!
Thrill-seekers Guide to Sydney.
I am a bit of a chicken, so I could not put together this list of adventurous things to do in Sydney without some assistance. I have called in the help of some of my travel writing friends who have provided their first-hand experience of the best things to do in Sydney for thrill-seekers.
Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge
A Bridgeclimb is actually at the top of my to-do list, and I hope to share my full review with you soon. Until then Kylie is here to help.
Kylie from Between England and Iowa shared her experience on the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb at night
“One adventure unique to Sydney is climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge! The full bridge climb takes around 3 hr 30mins to complete, taking you to a height of 134m/440ft above the harbour!
Before being let loose on the main bridge, you are kitted up with a jumpsuit, harness and any extra weather dependant clothing (waterproofs, fleece jackets etc.) and then practise how to climb correctly on an indoor ‘bridge simulator’. All bridge climbers wear a headset so the climbing guide can be in constant contact with the group, not only for safety reasons but to point out various landmarks and share interesting facts about the bridge!
There are several tours on offer, including both day and night climbs. If you visit during Vivid Sydney, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the light shows around Circular Quay and at the summit of the bridge is turned into an illuminated retro dance floor!
The climb is suitable for a wide range of ages. It’s not particularly strenuous as it goes at a steady pace with a couple of pauses along the way. Obviously, there is a height factor involved. However, the guide told us that nervous climbers are usually affected more on the way down rather than on the way up! You are attached to the bridge at all times so there’s no need to worry that you might fall off!
I’ve completed the bridge climb twice, and I loved both experiences. It’s great being able to get so up-close with a globally recognised icon!”
Find out more about booking your own Bridgeclimb
Fly over Sydney Harbour
I really must combat my fear of small aircraft and try flying over Sydney Harbour; it must be amazing!
Cat from Walk My World is a whole lot braver than I am, so let’s hear about her experience exploring Sydney by helicopter.
“Sydney is a stunningly beautiful city from the ground, but it’s even more spectacular from the air. While you can get a pretty good view from the flight into Sydney if you’re lucky, there’s nothing like taking a helicopter ride to see this incredible city from above.
There’s no speeding along the runway here; it’s straight up into the air in seconds. It’s such a rush flying low above the city and what feels precariously close to some of the city’s most famous icons.
There are plenty of companies offering helicopter rides, and we’d recommend choosing one from Sydney airport which gets you to the heart of the city within minutes. From here you’ll quickly fly over Darling Harbour and get up close to the Sydney Tower before narrowly shooting over the Harbour Bridge.
Our flight circled back around to get that iconic view of the harbour, with both the Opera House and Bridge together, before heading over to Manly beach. You need to take the more extended 30-minute flight to include the beaches, but it was well worth it.
You take in the coast from Watson’s Bay to Maroubra, including the world-famous Bondi Beach. We loved seeing all the tiny surfers waiting to catch a wave, and also got lucky spotting two incredible humpback whales just offshore, (sightings are relatively common between May and October).
We believe that a helicopter flight over Sydney is perfect for almost anyone, even if you are nervous at take-off, once up in the air you will be far too wowed to be scared. It’s that perfect mix of adrenaline rush without being terrifying. It’s genuinely one of the most memorable experiences we’ve had in five years living in the city.”
You can read more of Cat’s advice on this post about planning a 3-week itinerary for your Australian visit.
Snorkelling at Bronte Beach
Ok so if like me you are more comfortable around the water then up in the air the next few ideas might be more to your liking.
Melissa and her family enjoy snorkelling at Bronte, and I think you will too
“Most visitors to Sydney do the famous beach-side walk between Bondi and Coogee to take in the stunning scenery. But did you know that there’s even more adventure to be had once you get down to Bronte Beach?
Bronte is home to a sizable but shallow tide pool. It’s the perfect place to cool off after the hot walk, and you won’t be the only creature swimming in the pool – the rock-walled pool at Bronte Beach makes an ideal place to snorkel and catch a glimpse of some of Australia’s beautiful tropical fish! Watch yourself closely, though, as we spotted dangerous creatures like pufferfish and even a blue bottle jellyfish among the friendlier species.
Overall the experience was a wonderful adventure for the whole family. This is a great place to teach your kids how to snorkel, as they’ll be able to stand everywhere – just make sure to bring their goggles or kid-size snorkel gear (since it isn’t easy to hire locally) if you don’t have any with you try the local shops at Bondi Junction before you head out.
For visitors of all ages, come prepared with sunscreen, a towel and your snorkel gear – no fins necessary.
One of the most appealing features of snorkelling in the rock pools at Bronte Beach is its easy accessibility. You can get there on foot as part of Sydney’s stunning beach path, or take an easy bus ride from the city centre – we arrived on foot and departed by bus, which was the best of both worlds. It’s incredible to have easy access to such a great snorkelling spot right in the heart of Sydney!”
If you would prefer to go on a guided snorkelling tour check out this tour located in Shelly Beach in Manly – another fantastic snorkelling spot.
Learning to Surf in Bondi
Hayley from A Lovely Planet took her first surfing class in Australia and shared her experience with us.
I moved to Bondi a few years ago from London, which was quite a change in scenery as you can imagine! I’d tried surfing a couple of times before, in Newquay in the UK, and after a few weeks of watching the surfers at Bondi Beach and I was keen to have another go.
Bondi is one of the most popular beaches in Sydney and can get very crowded, so I wanted to feel confident on my board before I braved it alone, so I decided to take a lesson. If it’s your first time surfing, then it’s advisable to do the same, and ideally, you should be able to swim and feel comfortable in the water.
The lesson was excellent – a reminder of the dangers of the ocean – rips, wildlife and other people, and we were in the water, attempting to stand on our boards. Beginner surfers are best off learning at the northern end of the beach, where the waves are more gentle, and only foam boards are allowed to be used.
Since that first lesson, I’ve bought myself a surfboard and even braved the southern end of the beach! Surfing gives you such an adrenaline rush, and when you manage to stand on the board, however briefly, it’s an incredible feeling. Bondi is such an iconic surfing beach, so if you’re going to try surfing in Sydney it’s an awesome place to start!”
Find out more or book your own Learn to Surf lesson at Bondi Beach
Follow Hayley on Instagram via @alovelyplanet
Scuba diving at Bare Island
Expat and now local Katie is a water baby and tells us about her experiences diving at La Perouse
“One of the best adventure activities in Sydney is scuba diving and no better place to dive than Bare Island. Easily accessible as a shore dive, this popular dive site in La Perouse is suited for beginners or advanced divers and offers a beautiful look into the diverse species of Sydney’s underwater world. It’s one of the best places to experience Sydney’s marine life- blue gropers, wobbegong sharks, rays, and a wide range of colourful tropical fish are spotted at Bare Island regularly. It’s also known for its colony of weedy sea dragons, beautiful and unique creatures that I have been lucky enough to spot there on several occasions.
If you are a certified diver, most of Sydney’s dive operators offer regular dives to Bare Island- it’s the perfect spot for your next weekend dive. You can also visit as a snorkeler, but diving allows a better look at the wonderful creatures down below.
If you’re looking for additional dive sites in Sydney, other popular locations include Camp Cove, Fairlight, Gordons Bay, and Clifton Gardens. More advanced divers may want to try a boat dive out to one of Sydney’s scuttled shipwrecks, including the Valiant and the SS Dee Why.
No matter what your diving experience is, diving in Sydney is one of the city’s best adventure activities and can be done year-round.”
Read more about Katie’s adventures on her site The Accidental Australian
Touring the harbour in a Jetboat
Eniko Jetboating past the Opera House
There are several companies offering boat rides in Sydney Harbour. I wanted to see the Opera House from the water, as I think that is a unique angle. I also wanted something different from the usual, boring, slow boat tours. The Jetboat ride was just the experience I was looking for. It was fun, exciting and unique.
The speedboat fits 23 people, and I would suggest it to anyone a bit adventurous. I had a 10-year-old boy sitting next to me with his grandma, and they both had bast. There is loud music playing during the ride, and there aren’t any slow sections, just pure action-packed fun-filled with spins and fast speed. I think it is the best way to do sightseeing.
Thanks to my GoPro, I was able to get some good shots, but I wouldn’t recommend taking a standard camera as you can expect to get quite wet on the ride. The speedboat took us past the Opera House, Harbour Islands (Clark & Shark), and the suburbs of Rose Bay and Watson’s Bay. We finished the journey after passing Taronga Zoo, and we went under the Harbour Bridge, by Luna Park Sydney as well.
The ride takes approximately 45 minutes and costs around $79, depending on the season. Find out more or book your own ride here.
Hiking to Ruined Castle (via Scenic World)
If you prefer to do your exploring on solid ground, these next two options are among my favourite things to do in the Blue Mountains.
“From the touristy but impressive Scenic World in Katoomba, you can duck your way under the selfie sticks and venture off the boardwalk to stroll through lush rainforests, traverse a massive landslide, and climb a mass of sandstone boulders for views across the Jamison Valley.
This 13-kilometre, full day return hike will challenge and inspire you. It’s hard work, but you’ll be rewarded with incredible views across the Jamison Valley to the Three Sisters and Mount Solitary, both along the way and from Ruined Castle itself.
We cheated a little bit, descending into and climbing out of the Jamison Valley via the Scenic Railway (one of Scenic World’s most popular attractions). This comes at a cost, so if you’d prefer not to pay, you can use the Furber Steps and add a couple of kilometres, or the Golden Steps which will reduce the hike by about five kilometres. If you don’t mind paying, the Scenic Railway (or the Scenic Cableway) are well worth the cost and your legs will thank you.
Though it is a hike for fit and agile adventure travellers, fortunately, it’s well signposted, and the trail is relatively easy to follow. Keep your eyes peeled for wallabies, all kinds of birds, and the stunning range of reptiles along the way, especially at Ruined Castle itself. Just be extra careful in the warmer months – where there are lizards, there are likely to be snakes.”
Horse Riding in the Blue Mountains
Jane from Wicked Walkabout loves exploring the great outdoors and shares her experience going on a horse ride in the Blue Mountains
‘The Blue Mountains is an easy day trip from Sydney and one of New South Wales’s most famous tourist regions. Well known for the Three Sisters rock formations, waterfalls, canyons, bushwalks and incredible views across the mountain ranges,
Horse riding in the Blue Mountains is fabulous. Stunning scenery and excellent horses that are well cared for and a comfortable saddle makes the trail riding at Centennial Glen Stables one of the best we have ever done.
My daughter just loved riding with the friendly group, and the horses were all well behaved, which makes this an ideal experience for beginner riders and experienced horse folk.
The centre provides sulky rides (horse and cart) for people who prefer not to be on horseback, and they tag along with the rest of the group. This is something special as we have not seen it offered before.
Based in Blackheath, the rides take in some of the best views in the Blue Mountains and the bush. Of all the trail riding we have done in Australia and overseas, this was one of the best. Safety is vital, and the management made sure everyone was on a horse that suited their ability.
It is just over an hour from Sydney so perfect for a day trip out of the city.”
You can find Jane via her blog, Fun Things to do in Melbourne or on her Facebook page, Wicked Walkabout.
We have plenty more ideas of things to do in the Blue Mountains
- 33 Blue Mountains Lookouts
- 12 Short Blue Mountains walks
- 50 Things to do in the Blue Mountains
- Where to Stay in the Blue Mountains
Indoor Sky-diving with iFly Downunder
And finally one for a rainy day!
Julie faced her fear and went indoor skydiving!
“I never really understood sky-diving, why anyone would purposely jump out of a perfectly functioning aeroplane. Even the thought of it provokes fear and anxiety. But for chickens like me, I have found an alternative, and it’s exhilarating – and addictive.
Indoor skydiving is the current craze to hit in action and adrenaline sports, and it was for this that we found ourselves one cold Saturday morning taking the long drive out through Sydney’s sprawling western suburbs to Penrith at the foot of the Blue Mountains to take an introductory flight with iFly Downunder.
A flight with iFly is the closest you will get to the sensation of skydiving without having to take that giant leap out of a plane door. Held aloft by a massive wind generator, flyers are propelled effortlessly skyward by seemingly invisible forces in a 13m glass tube.
The technology behind this is quite simple. The environmentally aware among us can rest assured that these particular wind tunnels are rated as the most efficient and greenest wind tunnels in the world, using far less power than others.
After watching a short video and receiving some tips for good flying – the top tip: relax – we were kitted out in our flight suits, helmets and perspex goggles and led into the glass tube to wait our turn to fly. I have to admit to a few nervous butterflies in my stomach as I watched those lined up before entering the tunnel.
Soon enough, it was my turn, and with a deep breath, I leant into the wind as instructed, and I was flying. It’s as simple as that. There was no sensation of falling, just the sound and feel of a powerful wind rushing past you as you truly defy gravity.
The introductory package is two flights, each of approximately 50 seconds duration, which may seem short. Still, the experience is intense, and I think it is quite sufficient for an introduction to this sport. On our second flights, the instructor took each of us up to the top of the 13m tubes, a real whirlwind of an experience.”
Follow all of Julie’s future adventures on her website Nomad-Nester
I want to thank all the writers who contributed to this article. Please take some time to check out their websites; they all have lots of great content to help you plan your visit to Australia.
More options for the truly adventurous
If you want even more danger, you can try one of these. I know I won’t be!
Have you done anything adventurous in Sydney?