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Travel Itineraries 10 Extraordinary Experiences To Try At Least Once

When was the last time you did something for the first time? As a local in your own town, have you visited and tried all the extraordinary experiences in your backyard? Take your visiting relatives and friends for an outing through your town, or play tourist in your own town and rediscover what’s always been waiting for you.

Life is filled with first time moments that take your breath away and stay with you a lifetime. As the playground of Australia opens up once again, and we find ourselves itching to travel again, now is the time to chase the countless first times we have on our doorstep.

Here are a few of our favourite experiences we believe everyone should try at least once in their lifetime.

Woman holding baby Koala at Zoo

1. Get up & Close With an Australian Animal

Australia is such an incredible place to live that even the wildlife love it here. This great southern land is blessed to have so many unique native animals residing here and even a couple that like to have an annual holiday here. The two most iconic Australian animals to encounter are koalas and kangaroos who thrive on human interaction but if you live in one of the capital cities it is likely you’ve never encountered one in the wild. Enter Australian wildlife parks, animal sanctuaries and zoos that care for and protect Australia’s precious wildlife. Thanks to our world-class zoos and aquariums, you can cuddle a koala and hand feed kangaroos or have your photo taken with an array of wildlife while learning about these creatures and their conservation efforts.

Rottnest Island is home to the quokkas, easily the most photogenic animal in the world while brave divers can jump in the ocean for a close encounter with Great White Sharks. Over in Western Australia in Exmouth, the pristine waters of Ningaloo Reef welcome graceful Whale Sharks while the East Coast of Australia is now a Humpback highway for majestic whales during the winter months. In South Australia you can swim with wild dolphins and seals but the crocs rule the waters in the Northern Territory. And yes, you can swim with crocs too in Darwin at the Crocosaurus Cove.

It doesn’t matter what corner of Australia you live, or where you decide to travel in Australia because there is an extraordinary animal encounter waiting for you to experience for the first time.

Experience Zoos & Aquariums
Tandem Skydivers falling

2. Jump Out of a Plane

Skydiving is high on the list of many, but only a few have conquered their fears to experience an unbeatable rush and spectacular aerial views. There is no time like the present to live in the moment and tick off all those experiences you’ve always wanted to try. And, many international travellers will be the first to tell you that Australia is an incredible place to try skydiving with breathtaking jumps over Uluru, The Whitsundays, Cairns and a variety of the world’s best beaches.

Tandem skydives will see you paired with professional skydive instructors who have taken thousands of skydives before and they’ll share the highs and lows of the experience and put you at ease before you take the plunge. Many people say that they feel “truly alive” after their first skydive and can’t wait to do it all over again. Choose from extraordinary skydiving experiences available across the sunburnt land in Byron Bay, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Melbourne, Rottnest Island, Perth, the Gold Coast, Sydney or Queenstown if you are travelling across the ditch to New Zealand.

Experience Skydiving
Couple snorkelling through Great Barrier Reef Cairns

3. Go Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef

With over 2,900 individual reefs, you can join a snorkelling or diving expedition anywhere on the Queensland coastline from Hervey Bay to Cairns and Port Douglas in North Queensland. And, there is more than one way to experience the Great Barrier Reef. If you are a non-swimmer then you may enjoy a glass bottom boat tour, a sailing cruise or a scenic helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef. We know that many Australians have never visited the Great Barrier Reef and we think you are missing out.

Visitors who snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef are often left speechless by its beauty and there are an incredible number of snorkel or dive sites. This is a place you need to visit at least once in your lifetime and perhaps, after experiencing its beauty for the first time, you may want to make the annual trek to North Queensland to explore different parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

Experience the Great Barrier Reef
Elderly couple holding light on Ghost Tour

4. Go on a Ghost Tour

At first thought, you may think a ghost tour is something to do only at Halloween or never at all. On the contrary, a ghost tour is a great way to uncover a piece of history and hear the stories of times gone by of the city, town or historical site you are visiting. They’re not all about murder or scandal, nor are they scary… however, if that’s what you are seeking there are paranormal investigations to satisfy your level of thrill. You may even learn some interesting tidbits about your own city.

Notable mentions are the Port Arthur Ghost Tour where you’ll grab a lantern and tour off limits areas of the convict site which is rumoured to be one of Australia’s most haunted sites. The Rocks in Sydney have a sordid past and if the cobblestone streets and walls could talk they would share with you a bounty of tales. Luckily, there are passionate tour guides to do that for you with well-researched itineraries. The Q Station, commonly known in the early 20th Century as the Quarantine Station is open to the public for a 2.5 hour ghost tour where you’ll learn all about what hopeful migrants were confronted with when they arrived on our shores.

You don’t need to be interested in the paranormal to enjoy an evening on a ghost tour. This experience is equally enjoyable for the history buff or the curious soul with interesting tales to uncover. An unexplained spooky sighting is an added bonus.


Dad and daughter on Roller Coaster at Theme Park Gold Coast

5. Feel Your Heart Race on a Roller Coaster

Roller coasters aren’t for everyone but you won’t know until you give it a try. If you are feeling skittish, don’t worry you are in good hands with a huge selection of world-class rides available in the Gold Coast theme parks. From Movie World, Wet’n’ Wild and Sea World to Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, you could easily spend an entire week just exploring all the Gold Coast theme parks with a multi-day theme park pass.

There are plenty of squeal-inducing rides to get your heart racing and they come with various levels of thrills to suit all ages. From junior rides for the family right through to the world’s tallest, fastest and longest HyperCoaster in the Southern Hemisphere - you’ll never ever forget your first time riding a roller coaster. Share you first time on a rollercoaster here in Queensland and make memories to last a lifetime at the Gold Coast theme parks.

Experience Theme Parks
Couple in Helicopter looking out the window

6. Go on a Heli Tour Above Your Own City (Feel Like You’re in an Action Movie or a Celebrity)

Think that flying in a helicopter is out of reach? Think again with a selection of scenic helicopter flights available right across Australia including journeys over the famous Heart Reef and Uluru or your own city. Feel like a rockstar as you take to the skies and see your city like you have never seen it before. Best of all, this is an experience that you can share with loved ones and with just the right amount of thrill to get anybody excited. If you do want to work it like a rockstar though, then we’ve got the ultimate luxury helicopter tours that will see you being whisked away for a spot of wine tasting and a vineyard landing to make all the other travellers envious.

Experience Scenic Flights
Couple on Hot Air Balloon looking over wine vineyard

7. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

A hot air balloon flight is one of those unforgettable experiences to tick off your bucket list and try for the first time. It may sound cliche, but a peaceful hot air balloon is a once in a lifetime experience floating above Australia’s beautiful landscapes. It’s an early wake up call but flyers are rewarded with a beautiful sunrise as you float above vineyards, rainforests and beaches of Australia. You can even get involved in the inflation of the balloon if you wish before you take flight.

A few tips for the first timer: no need to dress to impress, dress for comfort and wear runners or flat shoes to help you get in and out of the balloon easily. You’ll need to bring your camera so you can relive your hot air balloon flight memories and many experiences even include a champagne breakfast following your hot air balloon flight. You’ve got plenty of choice when it comes to selecting a hot air balloon flight location too. Flights are available in the Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne, Yarra Valley, Hunter Valley, Launceston, Sydney, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra and even Port Douglas.

Experience Hot Air Ballooning
Whale Breaching

8. Be Mesmerised Watching Whales Play in the Ocean Up-Close

Every year, glorious Humpback Whales take an annual vacation into Australia waters to escape the colder temperatures of Antarctica. The creatures also use this time to mate, birth and nurture their young before making the gruelling journey back to Antarctica in summer when the temperatures are a little more palatable. Passengers can witness this natural phenomena and annual pilgrimage by joining a whale watching cruise along the Humpback Highway between Sydney to Cairns.

The whale watching season varies depending on the location, however, an estimated 30,000 strong population of humpback whales can be spotted splashing about in the ocean between May to November. You’ll never forget the first time you go whale watching as these graceful creatures slide on up to the boat and if you are extra lucky, leap out of the water to breach.

It’s hard to understand just how massive a humpback whale can be until you see them up close and personal. Silence descends on the boat and you can’t help but be in awe as a humpback whale is spotted. Shouting ‘wow’ is a natural response and there are plenty of ‘wow’ moments on a whale watching cruise. If you have never been whale watching, then why not try it for the first time with various locations across Australia to choose from.

Experience Whale Watching
Man in shark cage with White Pointer

9. Go Swimming With Sharks

The pinnacle for any scuba diver is the sighting of marine life and that includes sharks. While most people are fearful of these mighty creatures (and rightly so), you can safely jump in the water and do a age dive with the Great White Sharksc off the coast of South Australia in Port Lincoln. A shark cage dive is part adventure, part educational with the opportunity to look these creatures in the eye for an almighty face off from the safety of the cage.

You don’t need to travel too far to dive with sharks though with this underwater experience offered at a variety of aquariums across the country including the SEA LIFE Melbourne and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Great White Sharks are the largest predator of the ocean and can grow to an average of 15 feet and weigh 2.5 tonnes which is the equivalent of a small bus. If you’ve ever wanted to go swimming with sharks then make your dreams a reality and book in a shark dive for the first time.

Experience Shark Dives
Couple drinking wine at vineyard

10. Sit in a Winery & Become a Connoisseur

Whether you consider yourself a wine connoisseur or simply want to test your tastebuds and try something new for the first time, a winery tour and cellar door tasting is something you need to add to your travel bucket list. Wander through the vineyard, picnic on the green or sit down for a gourmet lunch paired with delicious wines. Australia is blessed to have so many critically acclaimed wine labels dotted throughout the country in the Barossa Valley, Yarra Valley, Hunter Valley and Margaret River and we’ve got the very best winery tours available for an epicurean adventure. There is nothing better than sipping a glass of wine fresh from the barrel or tasting a vintage from your birth year overlooking the vineyards where the wine was lovingly made. If you are yet to experience a winery tour then jump in the car and treat yourself to a delicious wine tasting experience in Australia for the first time.

Experience Winery & Brewery Tours

Australia is filled with spectacular landscapes, alluring beaches, secluded tropical islands, vast outback adventures, curious wildlife and world class wine regions to rival any international destination. And, best of all you don’t need to travel abroad to chase that first time feeling. Reignite your passion for travel and seek adventure right here in Australia with a variety of extraordinary experiences close to home to tick off your must-do travel list.

What will you try for the first time? Tag us on Experience Oz socials & keep us posted on anything you try for the first time.

Use the hashtags #myfirsttime & #experienceoz for a chance to be featured!

Explore First Time Experiences