Adrenaline Junkie? Here Are Seven Exhilarating Activities Within an Hour of the City

There’s more than a few thrills west of Sydney’s city streets. Expect high-speed racing, spectacular virtual realms to explore and whitewater rapids fit for Olympians.

You don’t have to go far to feed that yearning for adventure. Just a short drive from Sydney and you’re in the great western playground of Penrith. And there’s the perfect activity for every and any kind of thrill-seeker. Maybe you’d like to hit the water with a day of wakeboarding, battle against wild whitewater rapids or experience the wonder of flight with an actual, real-life jetpack.

Perhaps roaring along bitumen is more your wheelhouse? Take to the highways on a genuine Harley Davidson or race go-karts on a pro track. Or take fun and games to a more grownup level, hurling weaponry at targets in a mate-against-mate tournament; or, strap on a VR headset for an immersive digital experience of fighting, exploring and puzzle-solving against the clock. Whatever gets your blood pumping, you’ll find it in Penrith.

Fly high and live out your futuristic dreams.


89-151 Old Castlereagh Road, Penrith

Sure, we don’t have flying cars yet, but jetpacks are here, alright. Strap in and launch yourself into the clear blue skies with a water-propulsion jetpack. Since 2012, Jetpack Adventures at the Sydney International Regatta has been letting people realise their dreams of flight. You decide how long you’ll be in the air for but, once you’re up, you’ll be hand-steering two jet nozzles keeping you suspended up to ten metres above the water.

If that makes you dizzy, don’t worry: you’ll have an instructor in your ear for every move via your radio helmet. How very James Bond. If you’re more of a Back To The Future tech fan, there’s always the flyboard option instead. Your wetsuit, life jacket and helmet will be provided — you just have to bring your sense of adventure.

Image: Destination NSW.


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It’s time to go, go, go to the go-karts.


821-849 Luddenham Road, Luddenham

Luddenham Raceway is more than a motorsport complex for cars and motorcycles — it also has a world-class go-kart track. Book in for an Arrive and Drive session and tackle 600 metres of pro-circuit track with 12 flowing corners and varied elevation (basically, you’ll zoom up, down and all around, giving you a taste of the racing life). Each session is ten minutes, but if one hasn’t quite scratched the speedster itch, you can always book a few more.

Got a group of ten? Reserve for exclusive use of the track, complete with a private race and even a medal ceremony. Or, come for a night session and speed around a bright illuminated track. There’s no prior experience needed, and your special ‘Luddenham track licence’ — which you’ll need to purchase for $10 prior to hopping behind the wheel — is valid for 12 months, so you can come back again and again.


Here’s the spot for all your fun-fuelled aquatic thrills.


405 Jamison Road, Penrith

Did you know Penrith is home to one of the finest pro-standard wakeboarding facilities in Australia? It’s Cables Wake Park and the facilities are state of the art. Here, riders of all ages are pulled along at high speed by the cables high above, carving swift shapes in the water, taking jumps and — if they’re daring — even doing tricks from the ramps. There’s no prior experience needed (though you can book a lesson if you want some pointers), and everything you need is included in the session. All you have to do is strap that board on, hang tight and go.

If you need a break, there’s an onsite cafe, barbecue facilities and a staggering inflatable aqua park, as well as a playground and basketball and volleyball courts. There’s a lodge with rooms that sleep up to 24, plus a stay and ride package too. So if you’re looking for a fun-fuelled thrilling activity, it’s time to grab your gang and make a day (and night) of it.

Image: Destination NSW.


Vivid realities of all kinds are brought to life here.


123 Mulgoa Road, Penrith

If you’re more of an indoor thrill-seeker or fantasy is the realm that really gets your heart pumping, you need to scoot to FREAK VR in Penrith — stat. Here, you’ll experience the next generation of computer gameplay. If you’ve got a gang of four, get ready to choose your own adventure. As a quartet, you can roam freely in the arena, exploring your new reality at your leisure. Will you fight, dance, play laser tag, explore different worlds, solve mysteries, take on hordes of undead or hunt ghosts in an immersive experience of heart-stopping suspense?

If you’re more puzzle-inclined, choose the VR escape room and race against the clock in an expansive realm that could include mysteries involving pirates, Egyptian tombs or even spaceships. For lovers of classic arcade games, book in for a solo session at the Virtual Arcade and take your pick from more than 30 universally adored games. There’s everything from Fruit Ninja to first-person shooters and fantasy archery — and the range is being updated constantly, so you’re sure to find a winner. If you’ve got a need for speed, hop into the racing simulators in FREAK Drive, which are complete with hyper-realistic cars and real-world tracks.


Exploring greater Sydney is better atop a Harley.


123 Mulgoa Road, Penrith

If your heart yearns for the freedom afforded atop a Harley Davidson on the wide open road, a motorcycle tour with Wild Ride will give you a taste. These trips have been roaring along Sydney’s spectacular roads — and those of its surrounds — for 20 years. Don’t worry about knowing how to ride: they’re all chauffeured tours. As a passenger, all you’ve got to do is hold on tight and enjoy the journey.

Fantastically, the team here offers custom tours in the Penrith region. You decide how you’re going to ride. Our recs? Cruise on out to The Rock Lookout to take in vistas across the Nepean River Gorge. Then, enjoy the ride to the country-town charm of Wallacia, perhaps stopping in at the heritage Wallacia Hotel for a feed. On your trip back, take in the tranquility of the Nepean River before being dropped at your chosen destination. On a hog, you’re sure to discover the wider Penrith region’s beauty a little differently — you’ll only regret the rides you don’t take.


Don your horned helmet and start hurlin’.


41-45 York Road, Jamisontown

Unleash your inner lumberjack (or viking) with an axe-throwing session at Throw Axe. Over two hours, you’ll get a tour and tutorial of this martial skill — perfect your stance and aim with a few rounds of practice, then battle it out in a full-on tournament. Just grab a posse of six or more and you’ll be throwin’ in no time.

You could don your civilian gear or dress up for the occasion — animal hides or a horned helmet could unleash the warrior within. Stick with a single axe throw or challenge yourself to hit the target with a double. It’s part workout, but mostly fun. Plus, you don’t need to be a pro-thrower or even particularly strong. Afterwards, beeline for the chillout zone that’s stocked up with refreshments — and BYO snacks. If you’ve got a real appetite for destruction, head to Smash Stuff afterwards. It’s here you can, well, smash stuff in the Rage Room. After all of that, you’ll have surely let off all of your steam.


Experience the same whitewater rapids Olympians did in 2000.


McCarthys Lane, Cranebrook

NOTE: Penrith Whitewater Stadium will be closed for activities until September, 2023 due to maintenance work.

Get the experience of riding wild river rapids, without the whole ‘wilderness’ bit at Penrith Whitewater Stadium. You’re sure to have a unique experience in and around the man-made river (which was the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics’ canoe and kayak events). These days, it’s open from September to June for all the rapids-loving adrenaline junkies.

Atop the water, you can choose to go rafting, kayaking or canoeing. Never rafted in your life? Never fear: the team offers both guided and self-guided sessions, so you’ll be in safe hands. Guided rafts are manned by an experienced team member, and all equipment is provided. If you opt to kayak, you’re tackling grade-three rapids over 320 metres of pure river adventure. Then when you’ve paddled to the end, just hop aboard the conveyor back upstream to do it all again. When you’re done rolling along that churning white water, stop in at Cafe Whitewater for refreshments and a mountain view. Oh, and it goes without saying: you will get wet.


It’s clear that Penrith is the place to be if you’re after a thrilling day out in the Greater Sydney area. For more information on how to experience the best of the vibrant locale, head to the website.

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