Australia and New Zealand’s distance from the rest of the world, along with their unique geography and wildlife, make them fascinating and seemingly exotic destinations for many. So it’s not a surprise that both countries feature on many travellers’ bucket lists. The possibilities for one-of-a-kind adventures are limited only by your imagination, so we’ve summed up our top 17 of our favourite unique experiences in Australia & New Zealand to get you started. Enjoy!
1. Swim with Whale Sharks | Western Australia
Between April and June each year, whale sharks migrate past Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. This is one of the few places in the world where whale sharks appear regularly in large numbers. During this time you can swim with these gentle, slow-moving giants of the sea as they feed on plankton and krill. Dive under the water and marvel at the magnificent grace and sheer size of these majestic beasts. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Stay at the gorgeous Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef to really make the most of this amazing experience.
2. Camel Riding in the Desert | Northern Territory, Australia
For the ultimate in unique outback adventures, why not join a camel train in Australia’s Red Centre? Journey along the rustic, dusty trails of red dune country on the backs of camels, and enjoy the unique landscape and views of the famous Uluru and Kata Tjuta. For a more dramatic backdrop for your photos, take the popular sunrise or sunset tours.
Stay at the ultra-luxe Longitude 131° to immerse yourself in this outback adventure.
3. Hydro-Attack | South-Island, New Zealand
Brace yourself for the ultimate adrenaline rush in New Zealand. Take the ride of your life inside the Hydro Attack as you scream through a whirlwind tour of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu. The semi-submersible machine, made to look like a shark, accelerates from 0 to 80 kph in under 4 seconds. Be jolted around as it dives 5 feet into the lake before leaping 18 feet out of the water. On the surface, it does 90-degree side rolls and tight turns. It’s like an extreme rollercoaster ride, only on water!
Start the adventure at Commonage Villas.
4. Heli-fishing | South-Island, New Zealand
Gain access to remote and hard-to-reach rivers and streams in New Zealand’s South Island. Blanket Bay offers helicopter tours to take you to these pristine and virtually untouched waters where you can catch wild Rainbow and Brown trout. You’ll also get a fishing plan along with gear and tackle if you don’t have your own. Blanket Bay’s guides and helicopter pilots are very experienced ensuring you the best fishing experience in the country.
Book Blanket Bay to experience this unique fishing adventure.
5. Air-boat Safari | Northern Territory, Australia
Glide through the wetlands of the Mary River on an airboat and relax as you catch the wind and the verdant scenery. This natural feature teems with thousands of Magpie Geese, Ibis, Egrets, and many other bird species. And as you zip across the flood plains on your airboat, look out for crocs swimming among the grass. But don’t forget to also look up and admire the canopy of melaleuca trees. Guides provide demonstrations of the many uses of the flora from the wetlands.
Stay at Bamurru Plains to experience Australia’s Top End.
6. Electric Guitar Making Course | Victoria, Australia
If you’re a budding musician or you simply want to learn how to craft an electric guitar, head to Hepburn Springs and enjoy a two-day guitar building course over the weekend. Conducted by Wildwood Instruments, you’ll be carefully guided through the crafting of an electric or bass guitar in a fully equipped workshop. All materials are provided and you can take home your awesome customised instrument at the end of the course.
Stay at the award-winning Clifftop at Hepburn to complete the experience.
7. Hot Water Beach | North Island, New Zealand
Fancy digging your own spa pool in the sand, lying in the hot spring water and relaxing? Check out Hot Water Beach on The Coromandel Peninsula. Rated one of the world’s best beaches, Hot Water is named as such because of the heated water (complete with steam) bubbling through its golden sands. But the beach is also great for surfing. The best time to visit is during low tide when there is more sand to enjoy. Spades are available for rent at nearby cafes.
Stay at the beautiful 970 Lonely Bay which is only a 15 minute drive from the beach.
8. Puffing Billy Steam Train | Victoria, Australia
Journey through the magnificent Dandenong Ranges aboard the Puffing Billy, one of the finest preserved steam trains in the world. Steam through its original 25-kilometre track from Belgrave to Gembrook and enjoy verdant, lush forests and fascinating fern gullies along the way. Add a bit of thrill to your ride by dangling your feet over the open-sided carriages, or bask in luxury in their enclosed dining carriages.
The Homestead at Moulton Park is the perfect base for enjoying Puffing Billy and exploring the Dandenongs.
9. Lip Balm & Perfume Making | Western Australia
Enjoy a getaway in the heart of the idyllic Margaret River Region in Western Australia. Enhance your holiday by learning how to create your own lip balm and perfume from trained experts at nearby Vasse Virgin. Discover how easy it is to make a natural balm using locally-sourced organic ingredients such as virgin olive oil and sweet orange or lavender essential oils. You can also take a two-hour workshop to learn the basics of perfume making.
Stay at Sophie’s Vineyard to complete this unique experience.
10. Swim with Seals and Dolphins | Victoria, Australia
For an amazing experience you’ll always remember, join a 3-hour snorkelling adventure with the friendly bottlenose dolphins and cheeky Australian fur seals in Victoria’s Port Philip Bay. Discover a colourful underwater world as wild dolphins and seals frolic around you. Or you can watch these undersea residents from the comfort of the boat while enjoying the best of Port Phillip Bay’s The Rip and Popes Eye Marine Park.
Stay at Nord House on the Mornington Peninsula to make the most of the experience.
11. Picnic on a Deserted Beach | Queensland, Australia
One of qualia resort’s signature luxury experiences takes you to one of the beautiful and secluded local beaches in the Whitsundays. Enjoy a gourmet feast while on the beach, swim, or just sit back and enjoy the marvellous views and weather. Drop off and pick-up times are pre-arranged, but you can set your preferred time if you wish to stay longer.
Book a luxe getaway at qualia on Hamilton Island to start the adventure.
12. Glow Worm Tour | New South Wales, Australia
Take a guided night walk through a dark canyon surrounded by thousands of dazzling Glow Worms. Be amazed at the spectacular display as you’re led into the heart of a glow-worm colony in the Blue Mountains. It’s a rare opportunity to observe these bio-luminescent insects in their natural habitat. And it’s a can’t-miss experience for anyone who visits the Blue Mountains. Small, private tours can also be arranged.
Spicers Sangoma Retreat is the perfect base to discover the majestic Blue Mountains.
13. Jungle Surfing | Queensland, Australia
See the ancient Daintree Rainforest from a different perspective – among the treetops! Jungle surfing is for those who enjoy nature and are not afraid of heights. Not to worry, highly trained guides ensure your safety as you zip through the forest canopy on flying-fox zip lines. This exhilarating adventure is located north of the Daintree River and can be accessed by private transport.
Stay at Silky Oaks Lodge to discover the Daintree Rainforest.
14. Swim with Sea Dragons | Victoria, Australia
Jump into the opportunity to see one of the most amazing sea creatures that thrive in the waters of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. In particular, go scuba diving to see the rare Weedy Sea Dragon Colony in Port Phillip Bay, and to learn about the local marine life. If you’re a novice diver, friendly dive instructors will teach you the basic skills so you can enjoy the remarkable residents of the ocean without worries.
Book a stay at Amagansett to be close to all of the action on the Mornington Peninsula.
15. Night vision walk | New South Wales, Australia
Explore the Australian rainforest at night and discover how the nocturnal animals live in their natural habitat near Byron Bay. But first, put on military-grade night vision goggles and make your way easily through the bushes without disturbing the wildlife with bright torches. Get ready to spot the possum, pademelon, tawny frogmouth, bandicoot, melomys, and leaf tailed geckos. For more sightings, go when there is less moonlight. After your night vision walk enjoy a hot chocolate as you gaze up at the starry night skies.
For somewhere indulgent to lay your head after your walk, check out The Villas of Byron.
16. Swim in Pristine Rock Pools | New South Wales, Australia
On Lord Howe Island, away from the main tourist locations, there are some amazing hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The Herring Pools at the north of the island fit this bill. These natural phenomena are like your own private piece of the ocean. Swim in one and be amazed at what you’ll find – a diverse range of fish and ocean creatures that you can discover without even needing your diving gear!
Base yourself at Arajilla Retreat to discover the Herring Pools and this breathtakingly beautiful island.
17. Stay at the McLeod’s Daughters homestead | South Australia
There’s nothing more exciting than saying you’ve stayed in the set of a famous movie or TV show. Especially one that’s as popular as McLeod’s Daughters, which aired more than 200 episodes and was screened in 41 countries. At Kingsford Homestead, you’ll get to enjoy that, plus a host of luxurious amenities and services. Carefully restored, the Homestead’s farm still runs and the design and decor have stayed faithful to the original homestead.
Book your stay at Kingsford Homestead in the beautiful Barossa Valley.
For more information on any of these experiences or to book your stay at one of these luxurious retreats, contact a Getaway Specialist. Looking for more inspiration? Check out this list of the 100 Best Things To Do In Australia.