Air Sports and Adventure

An aerial adventure is an exhilarating way to experience the breathtaking beauty of NSW. Whether you’re seeking a glorious sunrise in a gentle balloon ride above rolling vineyards, or a thrillseeker after an adrenalin rush from skydiving over the coast, NSW is the air sports capital of Australia.

In addition to hot air balloons and jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet, you can try hang-gliding, paragliding or soaring in a sailplane. There are vintage biplanes, military jets, seaplanes, helicopters and microlights. Check out the exciting range of tours, from tandem jumps to scenic joy flights.

Parasailing, Port Stephens

Enjoy spectacular air shows, too. The Canowindra International Balloon Challenge in Canowindra charms spectators every April. You’ll marvel at incredible aerobatics in the Wings Over Illawarra in Albion Park in May. The Temora Aviation Museum in Temora hosts regular vintage warplane events.

Just south of Sydney is Stanwell Park, an internationally acclaimed hang-gliding and paragliding location where Australian aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave first flew in a box kite in 1894. If you’re driving from Sydney, take the Grand Pacific Drive through Australia’s oldest national park.

A hang-glider soaring above Stanwell Park, near Wollongong

A little farther south, join Skydive Sydney – Wollongong for a jump above the beautiful beaches of Wollongong. You’ll freefall at more than 200 km/h before the parachute opens and then float to the ground. There are other great jumps along the South Coast, the Central Coast and the North Coast.

For a gentler adventure, try the oldest means of flight - hot-air ballooning. The tranquil experience usually begins before dawn to catch the sunrise. Along with gliding, hang-gliding and paragliding, it is one of the quietest modes of flight. Popular locations for balloon flights in Regional NSW include:

  • The Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region
  • Byron Bay for World Heritage rainforest and ocean views
  • Canowindra, known as the balloon capital of Australia

Want the chance to spot dolphins while soaring above sparkling blue waters? You can with Port Stephens Parasailing in pretty Port Stephens, home to wild dolphins. Secured to the back of a boat, take in the splendid view as your parachute lifts you effortlessly into the air, up to 100 metres high.