Melbourne might be a city known for food, art, AFL and coffee, but it also has a strong selection of activities for the more adventure-inclined among us. That is, if you’re willing to step away from the avocado smash and strong flat white for long enough to go looking for them.
And whilst we’ll admit that not all of the below are based in the CBD, they’re close enough that you won’t have to spend half a day in the car to enjoy them.
1. Go skydiving over the beach
Because you only live once, right? Often seen as the pinnacle of adventurous things a regular human (that is, not a professional athlete) can do during their spare time, a weekend skydive is sure to get the endorphins running. Now, don’t let the fear put you off. Throwing yourself out of a plane from 14,000 feet isn’t a normal thing to do, so feeling the fear is all part of it. Get in touch with Skydive Melbourne and they’ll make sure you’re well looked after. Once your feet touch the ground you’ll want to do it all over again – it happens every time.
2. Moonlight kayaking on the Yarra
The Yarra – particularly the section that winds through the CBD - might not be your first choice of location for a voyage. But the good people from Urban Adventures have done their part in making sure the big brown beauty doesn’t go unused.
Their moonlight kayaking tours, whilst ranking fairly low on the ‘adventure’ scale, are a pretty stellar way to spend a few hours. Whether you live in Melbourne or are just passing through, you’ll get to see the city from an entirely unique perspective.
3. Four-wheel driving through the country
Riddled with unsealed trails, river crossings, dales and hills, rural Victoria is a veritable wonderland for those who are four-wheel drive inclined. For a start, Dandenong Ranges, the Yarra Valley, Lederberg National Park and Wombat State Forest are all prime locations for a day, or a weekend, of testing your off-road skills behind the wheel.
It’s worth checking your desired tracks and trails are operational before you set off – for obvious reasons – but a quick chat with Parks Victoria (whom you can call on 13 19 63) will bring you up to speed. While you’re at it, take a peek at FWDVictoria.com for tips on the best routes.
4. Tackle the Great Ocean walk
Driving the Great Ocean Road is one thing, but taking on the Great Ocean walk is another thing entirely. From Apollo Bay all the way along to the 12 Apostles, opt to embark on the whole 104km slog (a bit much for a weekend, probably) or choose a shorter section that suits you.
Through forests and along deserted beaches you’ll hike, all the while experiencing the best coastal scenery and nature Victoria has to offer. It’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other and soaking it all up. Check out the Visit Victoria website for more detailed information.
5. Kite surfing lessons at St Kilda beach
For those who need a bit airtime with their surfing expeditions, a kite surfing lesson is just what the doctor ordered. That is, if the doctor in question specialises in adrenaline-charged waterborne therapy.
Offering a range of affordable packages to suit all skill levels, GoKite are a good bet for those dabbling in the art of taming both wind and water for the first time. Throw yourself into it and you’ll be tearing across Port Phillip Bay before you can say: “what does this lever do?”
6. Overnight hike in Wilson’s Promontory National Park
OK, this one’s a fair way out from the city, but a 2.5 hour drive for what is perhaps Victoria’s most iconic overnight hike is worth it. The Southern Circuit is the one you want, and it’ll see you completely immersed in the unbridled outdoor offering of the Prom. Over 59km, you’ll hike through mountains, forests, mud flats, swampland, beaches, sand dunes and much more besides. If time is of the essence, you can also choose to set off on a 20km return trip to Sealer’s Cove to spend a night and enjoy the surrounds at a more leisurely pace.
Whatever route you decide to take, you’re going to be trekking through some of Victoria’s most mind-bending landscapes. And Parks Victoria have all the information you need to make sure you're fully equippred for it.