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On a hit-and-run visit to Wollongong, Elinor Sheargold discovered NSW’s third largest city can keep you busy from 14,000ft to sea-level.
I have never had a burning desire to throw myself out of a perfectly good plane. So how I found myself fronting up for a tandem jump with Skydive the Beach, I’m not sure.
It seemed a matter of minutes before the five of us donned our harnesses, ran over the jump and landing with our personal instructors, and were whisked away to our sturdy, if small, plane.
As the aircraft circled higher, the sparkling beaches of the Wollongong coastline stretched below as far as the eye could see, with the forested mountains of the Illawarra Escarpment providing a rugged backdrop to the city.
Before I knew it we had reached 14,000ft and with barely time to think about full body casts and incomplete wills, we flung ourselves out of the plane, freefalling at an exhilarating 250kms towards the blue but unyielding Pacific for the ultimate IMAX experience. A very long minute later I felt a reassuring jolt as our parachute opened and the views could once again be appreciated as we glided down to an unexpectedly smooth landing on target.
Wallowing in my sense of achievement, I refuelled with breakfast by the beach, before picking up my DVD and photos from Skydive the Beach - to relive the thrills indoors and prove to doubters I had jumped.
Wollongong is less than 2 hours drive south of Sydney. Take the train from Central Station.
Skydive the Beach offer FREE return transfers from Sydney for YHA members.
Skydive the Beach, Sydney
Book via YHA Travel and Tours, at your YHA front desk or when you arrive at your Sydney or Wollongong YHA.
YHA Members get $30 off Rockstar DVD photo package when you show your YHA membership card at the drop zone on the day of your skydive. Located at Stuart Park, North Wollongong, an hour south of Sydney, this is our primary drop zone and has been in operation for over 14 years. This is Sydney's only beach skydive and offeres 14,000ft and 15,000ft tandem skydives. Terms & conditions: Not available with any other offer. One per person. Must show valid YHA card to receive the discount. Available through YHA and direct bookings only.