With its pristine lakes, manicured lawns, and cleverly constructed roadways, Canberra could easily be mistaken for a meek and sedentary city.
But peel back the layers and look a little closer; and you will soon realise that our nation’s capital is home to an abundance of adventure experiences – each one as glorious as the next.
And why wouldn’t it be? Its blazing dirt bike trails, wild rivers, and rugged mountains all scream adventure. And as the region has matured so too have our tastes when it comes to a hit of adrenalin.
Gone are the days of travelling interstate to enjoy some casual exhilaration. Local thrill seekers far and wide have honed their craft and set up shop right here on our doorstep. The good news is that the choice is all yours!
Whether you’re seeking a buzz from aerial acrobatics, the rush of a feisty warrior contest, or some wild aquatic thrills, our regions adventure activities are sure to get the heart thumping. For a sampler of our finest skydiving and adventure activities keep on reading below.
What makes a great skydiving and adventure activity?
The best skydiving and adventure experiences are simply unforgettable. They are a once in a lifetime moment that changes who we are for the better. These experiences are full of fun, have an element of risk, and get the adrenalin pumping. Here is what we think you should keep in mind while choosing your operator:
- Qualified, licensed, insured. As with any professional service your skydiving or adventure operator should hold all industry appropriate qualifications, licensing, and insurance. Take skydiving as an example, ensure all instructors hold an Australian Parachute Federation class E licence and adhere to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations. Due to the diverse nature of adventure activities, there are simply too many to mention here – but a quick search beforehand should offer all the information needed. Additionally, be sure to check on their level of public liability insurance, and any clauses that may require a waiver to be signed on your behalf.
- Industry accredited. Accreditations with peak industry bodies are a great way to assess operator professionalism and credibility. Naturally, each industry presents its own peak body. In the case of skydiving accreditation should be with the Australian Parachute Federation; for pilots with the Australian Federation of Air Pilots; and so on. If in doubt, research beforehand and check in on this with the operator.
- Smooth operators. While the adventure may be wild, it doesn’t mean that the operators should be. The best skydiving and adventure activities are run by highly experienced vendors backed by teams of smooth operators. These uber professionals have not only mastered the experience itself; they also ensure your encounter is equally as wonderful. Look for polished service from the first enquiry all the way through to booking and participating.
- Safety first. By their nature, all adventure activities present an element of risk. Whether it’s a calculated risk or an unforeseeable incident, proactive measures should always be front and centre of any activity. Indeed, many adventure industries are heavily regulated with safety standards embedded all the way through. Despite this, there are some things that operators simply can’t be liable for. In this case, be prepared for some light legal reading and to sign liability waiver or two. That said, only ever consider operators who not only adhere to, but embrace safety first. Look for properly maintained equipment to Australian standards, full safety briefings, and back up emergency plans. If the operator cannot give you peace of mind, swiftly move on.
- Bucket list worthy. The most thrilling skydiving and adventure activities offer a one in a million opportunity to do something new. Whether it’s a battle with the elements or a rollercoaster assault to the senses, look for bucket list worthy options. These are the once in a lifetime must-do experiences that carry some serious kudos. And the bigger the bragging rights, the better!
The best skydiving and adventure activities in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
As their name suggests, Capital War Birds provides a unique once in a lifestyle flight experience in a Yak 52 aerobatic craft. With a choice of scenic or aerobatic flight options, Capital War Birds offers adventure flights in an aircraft designed to dance in the sky.
Pilot Ian Eccles boasts over 35 years flight experience including military and commercial operations and can cater the flight experience from mild to wild to suit. To roll, loop, and turn through our capital’s skies look no further can Capital War Birds.
Tara Cruickshank shared her experience on Facebook, “Absolutely amazing experience! We will be back! Ian is very knowledgeable, a great communicator and lovely to boot. Thank you again Ian, you made this ladies year!”
Goulburn Airport owner and aviation afficionado John Ferrara opened Adrenalin Skydive back in 2011. Over the past ten years they have established a name as one of the regions best operators offering customers a unique skydiving experience.
With a choice of tandem, solo, intensive skydiving lessons, their qualified and experienced instructors are there to make your experience one of a lifetime. With optional overnight accommodation and a licensed bar and restaurant onsite Adrenalin Skydive are an excellent choice.
Lee Davy had this to say on Google, “Great staff and crew, incredible experience keen to do it again.”
Since first launching in 1998, Dawn Drifters have been synonymous with hot air ballooning in Canberra. With capacity to fly 42 passengers per day, Dawn Drifters ballooning fleet glazes over central Canberra year-round.
For an uninterrupted view through to the Brindabella’s this magical experience ascends at dawn giving light to an unmatched view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. For a tranquil experience at great heights look no further than Dawn Drifters.
Leena Terry shared this review on Google, “We used Dawn Drifters for my mums 70th birthday! She has always wanted to fly in one and the family decided to gift it to her. She had an amazing experience! We had the most amazing weather and we really could of not asked for a better experience for her.”
Axxe is Canberra’s home of urban axe throwing; today’s popular fast-paced lumberjack alternative that challenges physical strength and skill. Located in Fyshwick, Axxe hosts both public and private events with dedicated lanes and set times.
Perfect for a party or a friendly competition amongst friends, Axxe have built a cult following amongst locals who cherish the fun atmosphere and supportive environment. For an adventure experience reminiscent of the Norse gods, look to Axxe.
Ajitabh Jha shared this feedback on Go“What an amazing experience it was. Right from check in to explaining how this works and giving useful tips to throw the axe with more control and confidence, this agency ticks all…. One of the best experiences I had in Canberra.”
K7 Adventures specialise in in eco-tourism providing active adventures in and around Canberra. With over twenty years in business, their team of expert mountain guides have trekked, mountaineered, and explored the globe over.
With a specialisation in rock climbing, abseiling, caving and bushwalking, they offer programs to suit the needs of both individuals and groups. With half day, easy full day, or full day options there is something for everyone. For immersion in the wilderness look to K7 Adventures.
Belle McKasKill shared her experience on Google, "We did a half day climb at Eagle Rocks with Peter and Acacia as an activity on our honeymoon. It was FANTASTIC!!!!"
Skydive Oz have built a phenomenal reputation for their adventure dives. From 15,000 feet above Skydive Oz offers a range of dives for novice through to experienced skydivers.
With some of the nation’s most experienced instructors Skydive Oz offers tandem, solo, and learning based flights. Located just a two and a half hours from Canberra in sunny Moruya, divers will free-fall right over the picturesque Australian coastline. For an adrenaline fix at dizzying heights look to Skydive Oz.
Carolyn Lieschke shared her experience on Google, “Fun, professional, epic…. I totally loved every moment of my jump experience from getting ready at ground level, to boarding the plane, the flight (smooth and exciting), the actual jump and the landing.”
Alpine River Adventures offers high octane aquatic adventures and hands-on explorations in some of the most inspiring places in the ACT. With a strong commitment to soft-impact eco-tours they offer tours for both novices and experts all bound to the region’s bush scenery.
Offering an array of activities including kayaking and white-water rafting, along with camping expeditions that paddle through the wilderness. For an epic outdoor experience that brings you closer to nature look to Alpine River Adventure.
David Henshall shared this glowing review on Google, “This was a rich and meaningful experience that extended well beyond kayaking, which was absolutely awesome too. An opportunity to look, listen and learn for sure. Thanks Richard, Swirley, and Alison.”
For a dose of adrenaline in the everyday check out our articles on the best swimming pools, the best gyms, and the regions best HIIT classes. If you’d like to gift an experience to a friend or loved on check out our article on the best gift experiences or the best tours Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with skydiving and adventure activities in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the skydiving or adventure experiences listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How high are skydiving jumps and how fast do you go?
Most skydiving operators in Australia offer jumps up to an altitude of 15,000 feet. In terms of speed, freefall can reach an impressive 200km per hour for up to about 60 seconds. There are a few variables based on flying conditions so for specifics it is always best to check with your skydive operator.
What is the legal age for skydiving in Australia?
In Australia, the minimum legal age for a tandem skydive is 12 years, while solo skydivers must be at least 18. Anyone under the age of 18 will require their legal guardian to be present and sign legal indemnity on their behalf.
Is skydiving suitable for everyone?
Skydiving is suitable for almost everyone! Aside from minimum age requirements anyone who is pregnant or with an existing health heart condition may be advised otherwise. Moreover, weight restrictions may impede anyone over 100kg from skydiving. Those from 80kg and up or in moderate health may be assessed for fitness prior to diving. If in doubt, consult your operator for guidance.
Are adventure activities safe?
Any adventure activity carries with it an element of inherent risk. Whether it be white water rafting, skydiving, or horse riding, safety can at times be compromised. The good news is that most operations are within industries that are heavily regulated with safety as a core priority. That said, some adventure activities may come with an indemnity waiver, so do keep that in mind. Always consult your operator for a run down of safety measures; and if in doubt seek one that gives you the confidence to proceed.
What safety gear is used during white water rafting?
Aside from a personal floatation device, otherwise known as a lifejacket, there are a few other safety items typically used during white water rafting. These include a helmet, a brace, and a throw bag which contains a length of rope to guide you back to the raft.