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A Beginner’s Guide to Skydiving in Australia
What is Skydiving?
Skydiving typically involves jumping out of a moving plane, helicopter or even a hot air balloon and free falling for 40-50 seconds before opening a parachute to glide to the surface.
Sounds dramatic right?
Well despite what may think, skydiving is actually really fun, exciting and a lot safer than many assume.
Types of Skydiving in Australia
Skydiving in Australia can be done individually, tandem or with a group of people.
The best type of Skydiving for beginners is tandem skydiving because you’re strapped to a professional who knows what they’re doing.
If you want to skydive on your own, do tricks or dive with a group, then you’ll need to get specific training and work up to it.
In Australia, most skydives are done from 12,500 – 15,000 feet.
I always suggest that people choose the largest height that they’re comfortable with. That way you get more free fall time (the most exhilarating part of the experience!).
Although beginners often freak out at the idea of free falling, it’s actually really fun. It also goes very quickly.
30 seconds is nothing! You practically blink and it’s over.
Skydiving in Australia is definitely a fun adventure sport to try, especially if you love the idea of flying and seeing incredible views from a height.
If you’re afraid of heights or would prefer less of an adrenaline hit, then you can also check out Indoor Skydiving too.
Is Skydiving Safe or Dangerous?
If I could eat a piece of chocolate for every time someone said to me “skydiving is dangerous”, I’d be able to eat the whole Cadbury and Nestle’ chocolate factories combined.
Oh please, if only that were real.
Like all extreme sports, skydiving definitely carries a certain amount of risk but despite appearances, there are many other things that you can do that are WAY more dangerous.
The key reason that people assume that skydiving is dangerous, is because whenever there’s a skydiver death it’s BLASTED all over the news.
Skydiving deaths seem to be a juicy story for the media. They LOVE nothing more than instilling fear to get your attention and improve their ratings.
Yep, news is definitely NOT my cup of tea.
So rather than listening to all the bias and hyperbole out there, let’s look at some facts….
According to the USPA, in 2019 there were 15 fatal skydiving accidents recorded in the United States. Sure, on its own it sounds terrible BUT that was out of 3 million skydives that year!
That’s one fatality per 220,301 jumps!
- The USPA also found that tandem skydiving (which is what I recommend for beginners) has even safer stats – one fatality per 500,000 tandem jumps!
- The British Parachute Association also recorded similar stats for tandem diving, with a fatality rate of about 0.12 per 100,000 jumps. That’s less than 2 deaths per 1 million tandem jumps!
- NCIS also discovered that of 3231 deaths from sport and recreation in Australia between 2001-2017, only 52 deaths were linked to skydiving and parachuting (Approx. 8 deaths per year).
They also summarised the following in this beautiful PDF:
- 2164 deaths (67%) were attributed to water sports and boating activities (particularly swimming, fishing and boating)
- 551 deaths (17%) were attributed to motor bikes, cycling and motor car racing
- 130 deaths (5%) were attributed to air sports including skydiving, gliding, etc.
- 114 deaths (3.5%) were attributed to horse riding
So, based off this, I think the numbers speak for themselves.
You’d have to be very unlucky for something to go wrong.
In saying that, I do recommend that you spend time researching companies before you decide who to go with and carefully consider the risks before you commit as they will always be there.
Is There a Weight Limit for Skydiving in Australia?
As my 6.4ft boyfriend recently found out…Yes there is a weight limit to skydiving in Australia.
For most companies, 100-115kg is typically the max weight limit per passenger (220 to 253 lbs)
Although this can be heartbreaking for some, safety must come first. The reality is that most parachutes can only carry a certain weight.
Therefore, it makes sense that weight is an important consideration, especially when tandem skydiving with an instructor.
Being overweight or ultra-tall can also prevent you from:
- moving freely inside the plane that you dive from (it’s quite small)
- finding a harness that fits properly (which becomes a safety concern)
- landing safely once you reach the ground
Although I am yet to experience this, I have heard that some companies may even charge customers who weigh more than 90 kg (198 lbs) an additional fee.
Just something to keep in mind.
Is There an Age Limit to Skydive in Australia?
As a general rule of thumb, the minimum age is 12 years old for tandem skydives. If you’re under 18, you must have a parental guardian present on the day of your jump to give consent.
If you want to dive by yourself, you need to be over 18.
Currently, the “Guinness Book of Records” holder for the oldest skydiver in the world is Al Blaschke. He was 103 years and 180 days old when he went diving.
If you are older in age or have critical health conditions, it’s always important to check and get the go ahead from your doctor.
How Long Does Skydiving Take on the Day?
Based on my experience, you should allow a full day for the activity. This is because skydiving in Australia is very dependent on the weather.
It’s not uncommon for your flight time to be pushed back and delayed because of too many clouds, rain or wind or air traffic control.
If everything runs smoothly without delay, you can expect the entire process to take around 3-4 hours.
What Should I Wear When Skydiving?
Loose casual clothing is good, or even exercise gear such as stretchy pants and runners.
It can get cold up at 15,000 feet, so you may want to wear a long sleeve top, jumper and pants (depending on when in the year you will be skydiving).
Avoid wearing any accessories that could fall off during your dive.
Given that you’ll be landing on your feet, it’s important to wear closed toed shoes.
No high heels, thongs (flip flops) or hiking boots.
Honestly, if you choose to wear thongs (flip flops) to go skydiving, you’re a nufty and deserve to lose them haha!
What is the Cost of Skydiving in Australia?
The truth: It really depend. In general, Skydiving is a pretty expensive extreme sport. However, in my opinion, money is just money.
The once in a lifetime experience that you gain from taking the leap is worth it 100 times over.
- Tandem Skydiving: anywhere from $270-$600 AUD (depending on location, company & height of the dive)
- Photos & Video: Are usually an additional cost
- Legit Solo Skydiving course: up to $2,000 AUD
If you try it once and LOVE it, getting a licence or completing a proper diving course can be a good way to go. In some cases, it may even allow you to skydive for cheaper at certain locations.
The Best Places for Skydiving in Australia
The Best Skydiving Locations in Victoria (VIC)
Victoria is known for its diverse natural regions and attractions including mountains, sweeping coast lines, national parks, wildlife, lakes, pristine surf beaches and wineries.
It’s capital city, Melbourne, is renowned for its 19th-century alley ways, entertainment hubs and incredible food. An incredible place to walk and explore at leisure.
Outside of Melbourne, you can venture west along the Great Ocean Road. This 664km scenic ocean drive starts in Torquay and finishes in Allansford.
The scenic diversity of Victoria provides a lot of location opportunities for skydiving.
The most popular locations for Skydiving in Victoria are:
- Melbourne (St. Kilda beach)
- The Great Ocean Road (Torquay)
- The Yarra Valley
- Barwon Heads
- Latrobe Valley
The Best Skydiving Locations in New South Wales (NSW)
New South Wales is located in the south east of Australia.
Its capital, Sydney, is probably the most recognised Australian city globally. Particularly due to its iconic structures including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
New South Wales also boasts numerous natural wonders including the Blue Mountains (only an hour or so drive from the city), endless golden surf beaches, wine regions, outback towns, opals and rainforests.
Like Melbourne, this makes Sydney a great place to skydive.
The most popular locations for Skydiving in NSW are:
- Byron Bay
- Coffs Harbour
- South Coast
The Best Skydiving Locations in Queensland (QLD)
Queensland, also known as the adventure capital of Australia, is a state located in the northeast.
It has a coastline that stretches for almost 7,000km and is recognised globally for its ancient tropical rainforests (eg. The Daintree), having the largest coral reef system in the world (The Great Barrier Reef), golden sand beaches, and warm sunny weather.
That is why many enjoy skydiving in Queensland as they get to see picturesque views of the ocean and surrounding beaches.
The most popular locations for Skydiving in Queensland are:
- Gold Coast
- Sunshine Coast
- Airlie Beach
The Best Skydiving Locations in South Australia (SA)
South Australia is another great place to go skydiving in Australia.
Although the majority of the state is uninhabited due to its arid nature, Adelaide is known for its long summers, stunning beaches and award-winning vineyards.
Supposedly, there’s more than 200 cellar doors within an hour’s drive of the capital city. This makes skydiving over wineries a popular option.
The most popular locations for Skydiving in Western Australia are:
- McLaren Vale (one of the famous wine regions in SA)
- Langhorne Creek (another wine region)
- Goolwa (a small Aussie town on the south coast)
The Best Skydiving Locations in Western Australia (WA)
As the name suggests, Western Australia occupies the western part of Australia and is made up mostly of the arid outback, rugged landscapes and desert.
Despite the size of the state, the majority of its population live within one small concentrated area – the south west corner (from Margaret River to Perth – its capital city)
Similar to the East, Western Australia has a stunning coastline of beaches and bays. This is where most of the sky divers gravitate to for exciting skydiving experiences.
The most popular locations for Skydiving in Western Australia are:
- Perth city
- Rottnest Island
- Jurien Bay
The Best Skydiving Locations in Northern Territory (NT)
The Northern Territory is renowned for its outback desert landscapes and arid Red Centre containing various natural masterpieces including:
- Uluru (Ayers Rock)
- Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) – red rocky formations
- The sculpted cliffs of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park.
Apart from the north coast, the Northern territory is a relatively landlocked state. There’s also not too many places that do skydiving.
Not from what I’m aware of anyway.
In saying that, one magnificent skydiving experience you can do is at Ayers Rock (Uluru).
Imagine the brilliance of jumping out of a plane from 15,000 feet whilst taking in all the beauty of Uluru and surrounds from above.
What an incredible activity to tick off your bucket list!
The Best Skydiving Locations in Tasmania (TAS)
Similar to the Northern Territory, there’s not many options when it comes to skydiving in Tasmania.
From what I’m aware, the only place you can skydive in Tasmania is over Wynyard from Burnie Airport.
Although restricted in where you can skydive from, the scenery in Tasmania is truly first class! Skydiving here could be well worth a spot on your bucket list.
Additional Skydiving Tips for Beginners
Skydiving can be a very frightening (but also exhilarating!) experience for first-timers.
If you’re considering making the jump, here’s some additional tips that you may want to consider.
1) Eat Before You Go
Obviously, you don’t want to eat an excessive amount before skydiving, however, having a small meal before you go or packing some snacks can be well worth it.
Given skydives are regularly delayed due to bad weather constraints, it’s not uncommon to be sitting around for an hour or so before you get picked up.
Being ravenously hungry before your dive can ruin the experience, especially if all you can think about is food the entire time.
Avoid getting “hangry” (as I typically do) with some simple pre-dive planning.
2) Pick a Good Season
If you want to skydive in Australia, you should try to organise your dive during a season where the weather is most predictable (eg. Summer or Spring).
This reduces your likelihood of having to wait around on the day or even having your dive delayed over consecutive days.
Generally, December – February are the best months to go skydiving in Australia.
3) Sleep Well the Night Before
The best time to skydive is usually early / first thing in the morning. Therefore, it’s likely that you’ll be expected to be up bright and early.
Having a late night beforehand or rocking up hungover is definitely not the best way to go.
Not only will you feel ill the whole time, but it’s unlikely that you’ll truly appreciate and immerse yourself in the experience if you’re tired.
Get a good rest the night before. Trust me, it’ll worth it!
So there you have it….
A Beginner’s Guide to Skydiving in Australia
Let’s do a quick recap of what we covered in this article and the main points to remember:
- Skydiving typically involves jumping out of a moving plane, helicopter or even a hot air balloon and free falling before opening a parachute to float safely to the ground.
- There are 3-4 types of skydiving in Australia: on your own, tandem, group or even indoors.
- There are very little deaths from skydiving each year compared to the number of successful dives completed. Despite the obvious risks involved, I think skydiving is relatively safe (because it HAS to be).
- Yes, there is a maximum weight limit to go skydiving. You must be under 100-115kg (220 to 253 lbs)
- Yes, there is an age limit. You must be a minimum of 12yo to tandem dive and a minimum of 18yo+ to dive on your own.
- Wear comfy clothes, possibly a jumper and close toed / enclosed shoes
- Tandem Skydiving can cost anywhere between $270-$600 AUD, not including video footage.
- We also outlined the best skydiving locations in Australia, as broken down by state.
- Eat before you go, pick the right season and have plenty of rest the night beforehand