Travel

7 Adrenaline-Charged Adventures in Western Australia

Get your blood pumping.

Now that we all can skip to Western Australia, it’s time to live large. Sure, Australia’s biggest state has many things to lure you west side – blissful beaches, top-notch wineries, red dirt roads, those cute-smiling quokkas – you name it. And when it comes to doing something truly epic that gets the adrenaline pumping and you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, the state’s got you covered; sea, sky and all outback tracks in between.

See the state from a new angle as we share our top seven adrenaline-charged adventures in WA.

Zipline your way across the Swan River

The heart of Perth is undoubtedly the snaking Swan River. It’s a big deal with locals, debating which is better: north or south of the river? Instead of picking sides, experience a bit of column A and column B by ziplining your way across the river. A fun way to remain neutral, right?

Located opposite Optus Stadium, Matagarup Bridge has recently added a zipline to its heart-racing bridge climb experience. Climb 314 steps to reach an open-air platform 72 metres above the Swan River, observing primo views of the city’s skyline and the stadium. Then fast-track your way back on solid ground, travelling up to 75 kilometres per hour along a zipline that’ll have you singing ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’ all the way down.

Step off the roof of Optus Stadium

Optus Stadium is more than just sports and concerts; it’s home to hair-raising experiences like The Ozone’s Vertigo.

This 90-minute rooftop experience allows you to have a bird’s eye view of the stadium from a 42m-high viewing platform dubbed the “Tinnie” due to its uncanny beer can ring pull likeness. The platform extends five metres off the roof’s edge, and you can walk 10 metres from side to side, harnessed from above and flirt with Tinnie’s edge. If feeling brave enough, you can hover over the stadium and have the world at your feet with nothing to hold onto. The perfect moment to call out “no hands!”.

MORE: The Best Things To Do In Western Australia.

Swimming with ocean giants

WA’s coastline is blessed to receive two types of returning residents – whale sharks and humpback whales—who migrate up the coast each year.

To catch a glimpse of these ocean giants, head to Coral Bay or Exmouth during autumn to winter to practice your scissor kicks alongside them in the thriving Ningaloo Reef. Plenty of tour operators like Live Ningaloo offer the bucket-list snorkel; all conducted responsibly to let these trailblazers do their own thing. Trust me when I say you will never feel so small swimming alongside these majestic creatures. Just wow.

Screaming your head off skydiving in Jurien Bay

Go from ocean’s depths to thousands of metres above sky diving over Jurien Bay.

Skydive Jurien Bay is one for the hardcore adrenaline junkies wanting to have the ultimate thrill of free-falling from up to 14,000 feet. While making your way back to down earth, make sure to take in Jurien Marine Park’s patchwork of coastal blues between all the screams. It’s considered one of the world’s most beautiful skydives but don’t just take our word for it, feel the rush for yourself.

Sandboarding in Lancelin

WA may not have the snow, but who needs it when you have plenty of sand to go around? Lancelin is Australia’s premier sandboarding destination with its white lofty dune system stretching for two kilometres, just 1.5 hours’ drive north of Perth

It’s a top place to chase cheap thrills with board rentals under $20 from local hire stores in town. From then on, manoeuvre your way down its 45 angle sand dunes while lapping up views of the coastline. And if wanting to chase waves at sea, there are plenty of those nearby too.

Mountain biking the Munda Biddi Trail

Take your bike riding game next level by conquering the Munda Biddi Trail.

Translating to ‘path through the forest’ in the local Noongar language, the extensive 1000-kilometre trail stretches from Mundaring to Albany. It’s considered one of the world’s top off-road cycling experiences, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an everchanging scenery, journeying through river valleys, all kinds of forests—jarrah, karri, tingle—farmlands, townships and along the coast.

To make your trip along the trail, hop on a mountain bike or a bike with wide, off-road tyres to comfortably tackle all sorts of terrain. Ride on.

Surf’s up at Red Bluff

Red Bluff is for the intrepid surfers, those who would go the distance to ride the perfect wave.

Located a whopping 1004 kilometres north of Perth, Red Bluff attracts surfers for its iconic left point break and commune beach vibe at Quobba Station. Even the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Matt Damon have descended on this remote sought-after surfing destination to become surfing heroes. And with its stunning, red-rusted headland and brochure blue waters thrown into the mix, it’s worth the drive for the ride. Oh, and it’s legendary mango smoothies, too: Simply mango-nificent.

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Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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