Budget can’t quite stretch to tickets to the London 2012 Olympic Games? With just over one week to go until the opening ceremony signals the start of TV lockdown in households across the world, avoid becoming a couch-bound patriot and go for gold with a decathlon of outdoor events in Queensland.
Diving (sans Speedo’s)
Olympic divers display acrobatic excellence while leaping from platforms of up to 10 metres, but in Tropical North Queensland you can take it to a whole new level with a 50-metre plunge at Australia’s only bungy experience - AJ Hackett Cairns. With a menu of 16 different jump styles including everything from a swan dive to a rooftop or BMX jump on offer; you can work your way up to the perfect 10 score.
Leave the SKINS and running shoes at home and feel the sand between your toes with a leisurely stroll around Lady Elliott Island. The island has a circumference of approximately 1500m and is home to some of the best sights Queensland has to offer. If you’re there at the right time of year you may even share the sand with hundreds of tiny turtle hatchlings as they make their way out to sea.
Swap the dressage and show jumping for a horseback adventure on Noosa’s pristine North Shore. Equathon, run by three-time Olympian Alex Watson, offer two-hour rides through surrounding bushland and along Noosa North Shore beach. For the true equestrian enthusiast, they also offer seven-day tours through south-east Queensland’s finest trails.
Sure, Olympic sailing has its share of thrills and spills, but nothing beats the feeling of the wind in your hair as you sail your way around the Whitsunday Islands. Sign up for an Intro Sail Course with Sailing Whitsundays and you might just hook yourself a new hobby while also exploring some of the best snorkelling spots and relaxing on famous Whitehaven Beach.
Boxing bouts don’t come any tougher than in Outback Queensland when Fred Brophy’s nomadic boxing tent comes to town. Travelling since the ‘70s, the iconic Mount Isa Rodeo and Birdsville Races are now two of only a handful of events where the boxing tent – the likes of which have been banned in all other states and the USA – makes an appearance.
Aussies don’t belong in chlorinated pools – they belong in the ocean, stroking through salty brine under a glorious sun. Challenge yourself in the Great Barrier Reef Swim, Heron Island (18-22 October) and instead of following a black painted line, you’ll swim amongst coral gardens and abundant marine life.
The backdrop to the triathlon at the London Olympics will be typically British, boasting a swim and ride through Hyde Park and a run past Buckingham Palace, but the Sunshine Coast gives the Queen a run for her money in November when the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival races into town. Entries are closed for this year but you can still cheer from the sidelines or take the opportunity to pace out the course yourself on any other weekend.
Not quite up to Olympic standard? Bunyip Bike Tours are all about taking your time and soaking up the scenery of the Gold Coast coastline and hinterland. Opt for a Beach Safari, Wild Kangaroo Experience or Wine, Worms and Waterfalls tour.
It’s not a race when it comes to canoeing or kayaking your way around Queensland. Enjoy a paddle at your own pace and discover Brisbane’s winding river on a kayaking tour with Riverlife. For a different spin (or stroke) try the popular Friday night Paddle and Prawns or Saturday night Paddle and Riverside BBQ.
Trampoline Gymnastics is a relative newcomer to the Olympic program but Cirque Espace at Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast has been bouncing around for years. Test out your gymnastic ability on the bungee trampoline and perform flips and tricks eight metres up in the air.