How can you cram the spirit and outrageousness of a wild adventure into your hard-earned weekend, without having to take a single hour off work? Simple: they’re called microadventures.
Cheaper and more fun than a kid has at an amusement park, these nearby outdoor escapes provide a much needed break from an increasingly tech-riddled world. We’re more connected to the world than ever before, meaning its now even harder (but more important) to break free from the shackles of Wi-Fi signals and double piccolos.[related_articles]57618,57226[/related_articles]
Aside from the physical health benefits, microadventures can be utterly transformational for your brain; you’ll feel inspired, you’ll reflect, you’ll dream. You’ll also have an ear-to-ear grin to bring to the office on Monday complete with a tale to impress your colleagues with.
Sydney is one of the best cities in the world to be a microadventurer, thanks to the vast beauty and opportunity right there on its doorstep. Below are five weekend ideas to get you started on your very first (or next) microadventure, most with overnight camping at their core.
How many are you going to tick off this year?
#1 Wild swimming
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If following lane dividers at your local swimming pool is getting a little tedious, then it’s probably time you tried wild swimming. A wild swim adventure is about finding a remote river, lagoon, waterfall or lake; basically anywhere that’s completely entombed by nature to ensure a seriously adventurous and chlorine-free experience. Be brave, breathe deep and take the plunge – you won’t regret it.[related_articles]37067,22856[/related_articles]
Current favourites include the Colo River (Wollemi NP), Mermaid Pools (Bargo River Gorge) and Winifred Falls (Royal National Park). The ones that’ll really tickle your taste buds are the Pool of Siloam and Lyrebird Dell, which are easily accessible from Leura in the Blue Mountains.
Bringing vagabonding to a worryingly lycra-dominated pastime, “vaga-biking” is a surefire way to experience the great outdoors and rid yourself of some of your festive weight in the process.
Pick a train station you’ve never been to within three to four hours of Sydney. Pick another station you’ve never been to approximately 50 to 100km away from that one by road or fire-trail; then explore between these locations on two wheels. Two suggestions are the Hunter Valley (train to Maitland, then cycle to Newcastle via Dungog and Palmers Lane if you’re feeling thirsty) or Wombeyan Caves (train to Lithgow and return from Mittagong).
#3 Captain your own Eco-boat on Sydney Harbour
We’ve all done the iconic ferry trip across the harbour and marvelled at Sydney’s incomparable beauty, but what about exploring some of her lesser-known nooks and crannies? The perfectly alternative way to do this is to don a captain hat and take the helm of your own Eco Boat.[related_articles]37067,22856[/related_articles]
Based in Middle Harbour, you’ll spend the day gliding through secluded bays and gum-coated hills enjoying the occasional dip, BBQ and boat-boogie. All that’s required is a sense of adventure. For more details contact Eco Boat Hire.
#4 Climb that goddamn mountain!
Stare at a map, find a mountain (or hill) and climb to the top of it. No matter what your experience level, there’s a suitable peak for everyone out there whether you’re after a local afternoon escape, a weekend away from Sydney or a multi-day adventure trek. Whatever climb you and your friends decide to do, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views and a feeling of smug satisfaction at the top.
Two favourites near Sydney are the “Stairway to Heaven” in the Budawangs and Mt Solitary in the Blue Mountains. As Nietzsche once said, “all great thoughts are conceived while walking”. Old Fred can’t be wrong!
Step one: Buy an inflatable raft from any outdoor store (ideally for less than $50).
Step two: Locate a remote NSW river on Google Maps and drop a pin.
Step three: Drive to where the road ends; trek to the river’s edge; pump, paddle and explore.
Seeing as Sydney and New South Wales are riddled with mouth-gapingly beautiful waterways, of all microadventures, this one depends purely on the extent of your wanderlust and imagination.
Our tried-and-tested recommendations would be the Colo River in Wollemi National Park and the Hawkesbury River just north of Sydney. These are both brilliant because camping grounds await you on route to ensure a deep body cleanse and full immersion into Mother Nature’s welcoming embrace.
There are great accommodation options around Sydney suburbs, including motels, retreats, farmstays, cabins and cottages.
Enjoy your microadventures!
(All images: Henry Brydon)
Founder and Editor of We Are Explorers, Henry's always on the rummage for fresh experiences, adventure and all round soul nourishment. He rode a push bike from London to Sydney over two years in search of the ultimate adventure; a 38,000km journey through 30 countries that showed him the beauty of the world and the relieving qualities of chafage cream.