in the surf
. Australia has seemingly endless sandy beaches. Follow the crowds to the world famous Bondi Beach
in Sydney, or Surfers Paradise
on the Gold Coast. Or find a stretch all for yourself (but beware of dangerous rips on beaches, it is considerably safer to find a patrolled beach). The surf is smaller and warmer in the Tropical North, where the reef breaks the swell, and larger and colder in the south with waves rolling in from the Southern Ocean. (And yes, in the middle it is just right
in calm tropical oceans
. Cable Beach in Broome
is swept pristine daily by the tide, has perfect sand, and warm water - go in winter.
in thermal pools. South of Darwin there are many natural thermal pools such as Berry Springs & Mataranka, surrounded by palms and tropical foliage. The most expensive resort in the world couldn't dream of making a pool this good.
in freshwater lakes
. Inland Australia tends to be dry, but there are freshwater lakes where you would least expect them. Explore inland of Cairns at the Atherton Tablelands, or head outback to the Currawinya National Park
in rivers. If its hot, and there is water, there will be a place to swim. Wherever you are, just ask around for the favourite swimming spot, with a waterhole and rope to swing on.
in man-made pools. The local swimming pool is often the hub of community life on a summer Sunday in the country towns of New South Wales and Victoria. Many of the beachside suburbs of Sydney have man made rock pools for swimming by the ocean beaches.
on the beach! Find your spot by the water, and get out the towel. Tropical north in the winter, down south in the summer. As always when in Australia, protect yourself from the sun.
Bushwalking is a popular Australian activity. You can go bushwalking in the many National parks and rainforests.
take a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef
on the Queensland coast, or the Ningaloo Reef
off the coast of Western Australia. Or take a trip out to Julian rocks off Byron Bay
, or just dive in off the beach to see the tropical fish in Bundaberg
. Try the trails in the Snowy Mountains
or black mountain in Canberra, or cycle for days along the Munda Biddi Mountain Bike trail in Western Australia.
Horse Riding. The horse has a rich tradition in the settlement of Australia since the arrival of the first European settlers. Relying on the horse to travel the vast distances and harsh environments of Australia was the foundation of a strong and lasting relationship between Australians and their horses. Today horse riding in Australia includes many recreational and occupational activities from cattle musters on vast stations, to the multi-million dollar racing industry. On the outskirts of towns and cities and out in the rural landscape, you will see the many pony paddocks and much loved horses that are a testament to the ongoing passion and commitment Australian horse owners have to their horses and the enjoyment they bring.
Skiing. New South Wales and Victoria have well developed ski facilities. Tasmania can also have skiing for a few months of the year, given the right weather.
See Winter sports in Australia
Sky Diving, all around Australia
Hot Air Ballooning
, in Canberra, Brisbane or in the Red Centre
It has been said that if there are two flies crawling up a wall, then you just need to look around to find the Aussie who will be running a book.
. Crown Casino in Melbourne is Australia's largest, located at Southbank, but there are others scattered in every capital city as well as Cairns, Launceston
, the Gold Coast and Townsville
Day at the races
. All capital cities have horse racing every weekend, with on-track and off-track betting available. They are usually family occasions, and fashion and being seen are part of the event. Just about every pub in New South Wales will have a TAB, where you can place a bet without leaving your chair at the bar. Greyhound racing and trotting happens in the evenings, usually with smaller crowds, more beer, and less fashion. Smaller country towns have race meetings every few months or even annually. These are real events for the local communities, and see the smaller towns come to life. Head outback to the Birdsville
races, or if you find the streets deserted it is probably ten past three on the first Tuesday in November (the running of the Melbourne cup).
The unusual. Lizard races, cane toad races, camel races, crab races. Betting on these races is totally illegal and you'll find the TIB (Totally Illegal Betting) around the back of the shed.
Two up. If you are around for Anzac Day (25 April), then betting on coins thrown into the air will be happening at your local RSL club, wherever you are.
Australia has almost a quarter of all the slot machines (locally known as "pokies" or "poker machines") in the world, and more than half of these are in New South Wales, where most pubs and clubs have gaming rooms (labelled "VIP lounges" for legal reasons) where one can "have a slap" and go for the feature.
If none of this appeals, and you just have too much money in your pocket, every town and suburb in Australia has a TAB. Pick your sport, pick a winner, and hand over your money at the counter.
Gambling is illegal for under-18's. This can often restrict entry to parts of pubs, clubs, and casinos for children.