While 2021 might be more similar to 2020 than we had hoped, don’t write off the year just yet- there is still plenty of opportunities to jam pack this year with fun, adventure and good times. In Australia, we’re blessed to have so many natural wonders and activities right here in our own backyard. So, as Morgan Freeman says, it’s time to “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.” To help you out, here are some “backyard” bucket list ideas to help scratch your travel itch this year.
There are so many iconic bridges around the world, but did you know there are only 4 bridges you’re allowed to climb? The good news is that three out of four are in Australia and New Zealand! They are:
Sydney Habour Bridge Climb (134 meters altitude)
Story Bridge Climb in Brisbane (80m meters altitude)
Auckland Bridge Climb (67 meters altitude)
If you’re even more of an adrenaline junkie and hiking at a height isn’t thrilling enough why not try a different type of climbing – Rock climbing! Even as a complete beginner all it takes is starting small and working your way up (literally). There are indoor climbing centers perfect for preliminary practice, such as Urban Climb at several locations across Brisbane. There are even outdoor cliff faces suitable for beginners and plenty of rock-climbing enthusiasts around who are willing to share their tips and tricks!
The most iconic outdoor spot in Brisbane is the Kangaroo Point cliffs. Riverlife Adventure Centre offers sessions with fully qualified instructors for anyone looking to try it out regardless of skill level. If you’d rather skip the climbing and go straight to the easy part, Riverlife also offers abseiling sessions where gravity and the harness do all the work. Once you’ve built your confidence you can branch out to some more rugged cliffs at the national parks in the Brisbane surrounding areas. The Glasshouse Mountains are less than a one-hour drive north of Brisbane near the Sunshine Coast.
Rock climbing is an extremely universal hobby so when the international boarders reopen you can take your newfound skill to the US or Europe where there are plenty of world-renowned national parks to conquer. Yosemite National Park, in California, is known as the “Mecca” of world rock climbing. To help you get inspired there is a great movie on Netflix called “The Dawn Wall” about a man and his climbing partner fulfilling their ultimate dream of free climbing El Capitan’s toughest wall in Yosemite National Park.
Rock climbing not only strengthens the body while not feeling like traditional exercise, but it also strengthens the mind and acts as mindfulness training. It’s hard to think about anything other than where your hand or foot has to go next, so your brain has to stay in the moment. This makes it the perfect distraction activity in times of uncertainty like these.
Of course, us Aussies love to flock to Bali for holidays but how often do we really explore the nooks and crannies of our own city? You might be surprised by what you find! And what better way to recreate the Bali feel than by hiring a scooter for a zippy day out.
There are plenty of quirky café and bustling markets in the West End & Southbank area right near Brisbane CBD. The Collective Markets at Southbank are open all weekend or the Vegan Markets at West End are open twice a month. There’s also the Riverside Sunday Market in the Botanic Gardens with clothing stalls, crafts & international food plus, best of all, live music! All of these markets are only a quick Urb-E ride away from each other and the seated scooter lets you save your energy for more shopping. The central Queen Street Mall has six major shopping centres if you’re ready for a serious shopping spree.
Looking for a magical island retreat away from the bustling city? Craving crystal clear water, white sand, sounds of nature? You won’t find beaches anywhere in the world better than those right here in Australia. With the lack of tourism allowed due to the pandemic, the beaches are less crowded than ever. This is especially noticeable if you venture further from the popular coastal cities to separate islands only a short trip away from the mainland. Queensland has the luxury of having several islands so close – Stradbroke, Morton, Whitsundays, Tangalooma, Fraser, Bribie… the list goes on. They’re so convenient that even if you’re short on time you can go for as little as one day and still come back feeling refreshed. If you’ve got the time stay longer and take advantage of the endless island activities on offer – kayaking, boat cruises, fishing, tandem bike riding… just to name a few.
Australia is famous for our snorkeling thanks to having the planet’s most diverse marine life, flora and fauna. If that’s not enough, there are snorkeling locations with extra novel attractions such as the Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island. Historic shipwrecks add a whole new level of intrigue and can captivate even the most distinguished traveler.
What better way to finish off the day and unwind than with a massage at the Resort Day Spa followed by a relaxing sunset cruise while enjoying a selection of nibbles, drinks and music.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to revamp your buck list with these awesome ideas. Take a page from Jack Nicholson’s book and make you motto for this year; “More Good Times.”