These days, there is an enormous amount of experiences you can enjoy.

In 2006, when we started Thrill Experiences (then Gifts That Thrill), we had less than 100 experiences and that was the norm.

That figure has now climbed to over 3000, of which we regularly list 1000 on the Thrill Experiences website.

There a lot of decisions to make and noise to sift through when choosing which ones to list.  Which will make the grade? 

In this post, I want to show you some of the experiences that have made it but are off the beaten track yet close enough to Sydney that you can return home at the end of the day.  No need for the added expense of accommodation.

Indeed, I’ve kept it to within an hour and 40 minutes from Sydney CBD on a weekend drive or roughly 120 kms.

And with Autumn arriving, the hot heat from the sun fading away, now is a perfect time for would-be thrill-seekers and action heroes to venture out into the great outdoors.

Here we go…

Spectacular Express Canyon, Abseil and Canyoning in the Blue Mountains

Just 1 hour and 40 minutes outside of Sydney, along the Great Western Highway lies the town of Katoomba.

Katoomba may have a population less than 9,000 but nestled in the beautiful Blue Mountains National Park, it’s the ideal base for getting close to nature.

One adventure that’s a must-do for the bucket list – this spectacular canyoning adventure.

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With professional instruction and at your own pace, you can learn to abseil and nurture your canyoning techniques.

Imagine jumping into cool water and wading through to a creek that descends into a narrow slot-like canyon.

Within a few minutes you can be jumping into a rock pool, circumnavigating water slides and abseiling out of a canyon and up a waterfall.

Yet canyoning and abseiling isn’t just about the fun and adrenaline.

It’s a full senses overload offering incredible scenery, uplifting aromas and the sounds of nature.

So, engage your best outdoor spirit and jump right in.

No words can ever portray what you are about to experience and the memories you can make.


Horse Riding at Peats Ridge

Spend an hour in the car from Sydney and travel north to Peats Ridge, a beautiful suburb in the Central Coast region of New South Wales.

Peats Ridge offers a huge variety of adventure from quad biking, abseiling, kayaking to horse riding.

And with 200 horses available, it’s perfect for the nervous beginner and those more experienced horse riders.


For beginners, a 2-hour Guided Horse Ride led by a pro gets you out and about exploring acres of lush green valleys and ancient rain forest trails.

The 2-Hour Free Range Horse Ride is for the more experienced rider.

On this ride you’re on your own after a short introduction and there’s an amazing 3000 acres. Choose your trail well.

Will it be shady rain forest, a river stroll or a lush green valley canter?

The choice is all yours but one things for sure, you’ll fall in love with the place, it’s abundant wildlife and endless, unspoilt wilderness.


Tandem Hang Gliding at Stanwell Park

Travel south down the M1 for a little over an hour and you’ll arrive at a picturesque coastal village at the northernmost point of the Illawarra coast.

Stanwell Park, is perfect for hang gliding and paragliding with activities from Bald Hill down to its beach, which lies nested between high sea cliffs.

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Hang gliding is an exhilarating sport.

An almost silent flight means it’s the closest you’ll get to flying like a bird, if indeed you want to fly like a bird.

After all, you could be flying with the Australian Freestyle champion himself.  With 34 years of experience behind him, he knows how to fly.

Soaring through the skies, judging the wind, this experience is a thrill of a lifetime.  It’s made all the more thrilling as you can take the controls of the hang glider for the first time and swoop effortlessly through the sky.

Down below there’s beautiful beach views, views of the Sea Cliff Bridge, the Royal National Park and the Illawarra Escarpment.

What more could you ask for?


Life Under the Sea

If the thought of putting the full scuba apparatus on fills you with dread, but you like the idea of finding out what lies beneath the waves then this adventure could be just your thing.

Located just a hop, skip and a jump away from Sydney CBD, you can snorkel and skim through the water using an underwater scooter.


Sounds like something from a James Bond movie?  Well it is a bit like that.

Grab the power scooter in both hands and using the controls, travel at a pedestrian speed of 5kph.

Sounds slow?

Well it’s ideal when what you really want to do is explore the seabed.

The selected location is chosen for its diverse marine life and tranquil waters.

There’s Big Blue Gropers, sting rays and octopus.  Or is that octopuses or octopi?

With a snorkel and power scooter the ocean is your oyster.

Glide along the surface and dive deep to see the underwater world up close.  Just look around you, right here on the ocean floor.

The Underwater Scooter Tour is great fun and comes at a price lower than you think.  Definitely worth checking out.


Fly in the Air in a Beautiful Balloon

Possibly the closest Hot Air Balloon Flight destination to Sydney, the Camden Valley balloon flight has all the trappings for a great day out.

A bright, colourful balloon, picturesque landscape and a champagne buffet breakfast.

But it comes at a cost.

Hot air balloon flights rely on calm weather.  And that means they take place in the wee, wee hours of the morning at sunrise.

Yet a flight is only 1 hour from Sydney, so we think it’s very doable and well worth the cost of missing out on a few hours of sleep or going to bed a little early.

Hot air ballooning is the oldest form of flight.  Isn’t it time you enjoyed the spectacle – it’s an incredible, romantic adventure.



What have you done that’s adventurous and a little off the beaten track?