Sunday Herald Sun - Escape
M AN vs WiLD
Craig Tansley reveals going on an off-grid adventure is a mind, body and soul experience
Has there ever been a better time to take an off-the-grid adventure and leave reality in the rearview? Well, there are few better countries on Earth than Australia to get away from it all. Nature begins at the outskirts of our cities and by the time you hit the outback, it’s one of the wildest places on the planet.
Studies have shown that over the past five years Aussies have become some of the most stressed people in the world – and Covid-19 sure hasn’t helped. But getting active off the grid can provide a temporary fix that may just lead to a permanent change. Leave your phone, computer and tablet behind – they won’t work out there.
There’s any number of adventures you can choose, from hiking to fishing, kayaking to golf – all of which can reinvigorate your mental state, help you establish new friendships and provide you with a sense of achievement you mightn’t find at home. After all, sometimes humans just need to go back to being humans.
One man who knows this all too well is rugby international turned TV adventurer Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins. The alltime Aussie larrikin hosts Off the Grid with the Badger and takes men out into nature for a reboot with his Rogue Gentlemen’s Club. Nick reckons we all should get off the grid to keep us sane. Here’s how.
What could be better than flying east from Darwin with your friends to Arnhem Land for the best barramundi fishing on Earth? At Barramundi Lodge you’ll have exclusive access to pristine rivers surrounded by sandstone plateaux and escarpments in an area frequented by Australia’s First Nations people for around 65,000 years. There are 12 safari suites at the lodge completely surrounded by bush, with access limited by dodgy roads and flooding. Flying in might be your only option. barralodge.com.au
Don’t underestimate the power of golf to bring you back to nature. Each round gives you five hours surrounded by your mates and the soothing sounds of the green. Take a four-day air and golf adventure through Tasmania and its islands – playing some of Australia’s best golf courses. You’ll fly to Tassie’s northeast to play on Australia’s third-best and fourth-best courses at Barnbougle on links-style courses you’d normally only see in Scotland, then fly to King Island in Bass Strait to play Ocean Dunes and Cape Wickham, the secondhighest ranked Aussie course in the world’s best courses in 2020. airadventure.com.au
Walk your way around the world’s largest sand island, Queensland’s Fraser Island, where you won’t cross a single bitumen road. Either opt to do it yourselves, or book a guided hiking tour and travel 90km in six days, from the top of Fraser Island to the bottom. You’ll travel along beaches and old logging roads cut through wild rainforest, stopping to cool off at freshwater lakes like Lake McKenzie, which is so pristine and blue you can’t wear sunscreen when you swim in it. Camp in tents along the way, and get away from the world. fraserislandhiking.com
Lake McKenzie is so pristine and blue you can’t wear sunscreen when you swim in it
Take a three-day, two-night Far North Queensland mission with Nick Cummins’ Rogue Gentlemen’s Club to Dunk Island and the Family Group of Islands off Mission Beach. Kayak and boat between the tiny uninhabited islands of the largely unheralded group, stopping at hidden beaches along the way, swimming under waterfalls and discovering little-seen ancient Indigenous rock art. You’ll be removed from your everyday from the moment you leave the mainland. roguegents.com
Want to step up your hikes to another level? Try a four-day running tour of the famous Overland Track in Tasmania – you’ll run with a group of like-minded adventurers through some of Australia’s most pristine alpine areas, sleeping in tents and running along 45km of highcountry hiking trails. If you’re not ready for that sort of distance, take a discovery tour for new runners through various parts of Tasmania, such as Bruny Island or the Freycinet Peninsula. findyourfeet.com.au
Train like an Australian Army SAS soldier – doing the toughest training available anywhere on the planet. You’ll be like a contestant on Channel 7’s SAS Australia series, with training that takes in the skills US Navy Seals learn – testing mental strength as much as physical. You’ll undertake a number of military-inspired, outdoor group personal training exercises on a program you can select – from 12 to 72 hours, depending on how much you can take. bootcamp.com.au CONTINUES