Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published July 16th 2016
Fun Seeking - Essential, Risk Taking - Not Required
Daring doesn't have to be deadly and adventure doesn't have to be risky. For those of you who want a bit of the unusual and exciting, but abseiling down a cliff face or hang gliding off a mountain is not your cup of tea, there are still some wild times to be had.
1. Dangle from a Hot Air Balloon: Have you been dreaming of flying through the skies with the wind in your face? Have you been thinking about skydiving but just can't understand why anybody would throw themselves from a perfectly good air plane? Take heart, the answer is nigh, and the answer is hot air ballooning. It's open air flight without the manic speed, solid footing instead of the fear of falling and time to take a breath and enjoy.
Ballooning is popular above the city of Melbourne and across the picturesque Yarra Valley. Urban or rural landscape, take your pick. Flights across Melbourne give a bird's eye view of the city skyline, the iconic buildings, the rail yards, the docks and the Yarra River before drifting across for views of the bay and the suburbs. Yarra Valley Flights soar above vineyards and farms, a beautiful rural vista with a mountainous backdrop.
Picture This Ballooning offers one hour flights over Melbourne city, the Yarra Valley and Daylesford. Their flights can be packaged with a champagne breakfast.
Global Ballooning's flights over Melbourne and the Yarra Valley can be packaged with touristy stuff; a Café Culture Walk, a Chocolate Tour, the Melbourne Star, or the Peninsula Hot Springs.
Balloonman's flights over Melbourne can be upgraded to include a champagne breakfast at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Go Wild Ballooning offers flights over the Yarra Valley which can be packaged up with accommodation at the Chateau Yering Hotel.
2. Walk in the Tree Tops: There's something enchanting about a forest, a magic in towering trees, their moss and fungi coated roots painting the forest floor picture perfect. You long to be in those tree tops but ropes and pullies, winding and flexible ladders and tiny wooden platforms make your head swim. Imagine reaching the lofty canopy on stable steps and long solid walkways with secure railings. Would that not be amazing?
The Otway Fly Treetop Walk takes you on a safe and steady stroll into the rainforest canopy. At around 2km in total the forest walk includes the 600m long treetop walk which rises to 300m in height. It is the longest and highest of its kind in the world. In all the walk takes about an hour, unless of course you are so captivated by the forest's beauty your pace is reduced to a dawdle.
3. Wonder at the Whales: Even the most macho of grown men have been known to squeal in excitement at their first sighting of a whale in the wild. And who could blame them. Whales spend a lot of their time in the frigid Antarctic waters but you won't need to brave the cold to catch a glimpse on them. During our winter these magnificent creatures head north.
Wildlife Coast Cruises on Phillip Island run Winter Whale Cruises from Cowes. The four hour cruises circumnavigate Phillip Island. Whale sightings are generally experienced on around 80% of the trips. You will also see seals, albatross, dolphins and some amazing coastal scenery. The company also runs a two and a half hour Ecoboat Whale Tour. Humpback Wales and Killer Whales can be seen in the area. Click here for the latest sightings.
4. Explore Antarctica, the Final Frontier: We watch documentaries of its harsh landscape, of giant ice bergs breaking from the mass, of whales, seals, sea lions and penguins. It is a place once reserved for explorers and scientists but now you can visit this winter wonderland. See for yourself the brilliant blue tinge taken on by the ice. Witness Minke and Humpback Whales at close range. Stand amongst penguin rookeries. Marvel at glaciers and icebergs, pristine channels and towering mountain ranges.
A number of tour providers offer Antarctic voyages aboard comfortable or luxury ships. Most Tours depart from South America and visit the Antarctic Peninsula but there are also options departing Australia and New Zealand for the Ross Sea region.
Scenic Cruises offers tours to Antarctica aboard the luxury Scenic Eclipse. With 12 Zodiacs, two helicopters and a submarine on-board there are plenty of exciting excursions. The trip also takes in the Falklands and South Georgia.
Quark Expeditions offers a variety of tour options to Antarctica ranging from 10 to 23 days. Some trips include visits to the Falklands and the Galapagos Islands.
Eclipse Travel offer small ship cruises with a number of options. Choose from different ships and tour features.
Cool Antartica has trips leaving from New Zealand and Australia which visit the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay region. These trips take longer than the Antarctic Peninsula trips from South America.
5. Get Scared Silly on a Ghost Tour: Ghost Tours might scare you a little but you're up for it aren't you? Walk with the experts as they take you in search of ghosts where many are reported to have been seen. Take part in paranormal investigations. Push the adventure beyond a leisurely walk and stay overnight in spooky places.
The Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour is claimed to be the oldest in Melbourne. This two hour evening walk traverses dark lanes and spooky places while your experienced guide regales you with stories of the city's paranormal phenomena. The tour runs from The Haunted Bookshop.
Lantern Ghost Tours offer a range of tours both in Melbourne and in some regional towns, some of which are overnight stays. They even have a tour that allows you to become part of a paranormal investigation. Visit places like the old Pentridge Gaol, Old Williamstown, J Ward Lunatic Asylum and Point Cook Homestead.
6. The Sky is the Limit in a Flight Simulator: When I was a little tyke we dreamed of having adventurous jobs like policeman, fireman or pilot. If pilot was your fancy but you never got around to it, it's not too late to get a feel for it. Hop into a flight simulator and enjoy the thrill of flying without the really long learning to fly bit and more importantly without the risk.
(Photo from Jet Flight Simulator Melbourne Facebook Page)
Jet Flight Simulator Melbourne puts you in the captain's seat of an F-16 Fighter Falcon. If you weren't dreaming of a military jaunt then try their Boeing 737-800NG based simulator experieince.
Flight Experience puts you in control in a Boeing 737-800 flight simulator. This is the real deal. The simulator is approved for actual pilot training.
7. Go Treasure Hunting for Geocaches: Pirates may be the stuff of fairy tales but there is still booty to be had. Geocaching is a hi-tech modern day treasure hunt where people use GPS co-ordinates to find a hidden container, the geocache. The hunter then enters their name in the log book and returns the geocache to its hidey-hole to await the next person.
Geocaching has become an international pastime and I have heard there is even a geocache hidden on the International Space Station.
People fill the geocache with knick-knacks and in some geocache games a person swaps something of their own for an item in the container.
Participants register a free geocaching account to join the hunt. If you're wondering where you get an appropriate GPS device, worry not, there is of course an app. Sign up and start hunting. There are over 6,000 geocaches near Melbourne.
8. Go Skinny Dipping (Legally): Woo Hoo, was that you running around in the nuddie in public? I'm sure it wasn't, after all, no matter how liberating it just isn't the done thing to stride about town in the altogether. But if it is a kind of liberation you're keen to try, a daring adventure you long to take, these beaches allow skinny dipping.
Sunnyside North Beach in Mornington. This clothes-optional beach is at 1 Sunnyside Road, off Nepean Highway just south of Mount Eliza and is a 10 minute walk along a path from the carpark. This is a secluded and sheltered beach safe for swimming.
Point Impossible Beach in Torquay. On Victoria's beautiful Surf Coast, Point Impossible Beach lies between Breamlea and Torquay. A carpark at the end of The Esplanade gives access to the middle a wide sand beach backed by sand dune cliffs.
Southside Beach in Anglesea Another clothes-optional beach near Torquay, Southside Beach is south west of Bells Beach and north east of Point Addis. Set up away from the water line as the sand strip is quite narrow at high tide.
I'd like to do the hot air ballooning but you have to get up awfully early in the mornong but I might go on the Phillip Island Whale Watching Cruise. I didn't know youc could sigh whales at Phillip Island.