Life & Style

Australia’s Top Paragliding Locations

Paragliding over Blackheath in NSW. Image: Slow Walker / Shutterstock.com

Nothing beats flying above a picturesque location, with your feet dangling down as you take control of the canopy hovering above you – but that’s only if you’ve got the training and experience. If you don’t, then you can always do tandem paragliding, where an experienced pilot will fly you around – no experience necessary! Amateurs unite! Learning to fly solo will set you back around $2,000, depending on where you go, and that doesn’t include equipment. It’s all in your hands!

For wild ones seeking tandem paragliding, ask your pilot nicely for some thrilling aerial acrobatics, they may show you a trick or two. And for those who are a little nervous, you can always rely on the crew to perk you up before you fly.

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The world’s top paragliding location for me is in Pokhara, Nepal, where at the right angle (and clear skies), you can get a once in a lifetime view of Mt Annapurna, the world’s tenth highest mountain, gathered among a small portion of the Himalayas. Check out our selection of Australian top spots, from the east to west coast, to the northern tropics down to the cool south.

And remember, if you don’t have experience, you should check out the first seven on this list for tandem paragliding.

Stanwell Park, NSW

This is a popular location for paragliding, whether in tandem or by oneself, where you get ocean and sprawling landscape. Below your feet, you can see and hear the crashing waves and maybe catch a glimpse of a car between the thick forest below. If you are an experienced paragliding pilot, or if you are capital N for Novice, you are cautioned to not land in the sea! You will need to be a member of the Stanwell Park Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club in order to fly here.

Bright, VIC

About 3-and-a-half hours inland from Melbourne is the town of Bright, hidden among sprawling mountains and dense forest. The wind can get quite uplifting here, which, as you see above, can take you up, up, up and away. Recent tandem flyers have noted that if you suffer from motion sickness, you should take a tablet before flying to get a non-queasy experience (could you imagine up-chucking mid air?). For experienced pilots, check out North Eastern Victoria Hang Gliding Club to apply for membership.

Rainbow Beach, QLD

For $200, the team at Rainbow Paragliding will take you way up in tandem with the eagles above Rainbow Beach, 180km north of sunny Brisbane. Get a birds-eye view of the southern peninsula of Fraser Island, then treat yourself to a refreshing swim in the pristine waters. For experienced professionals, join up with Sunshine Coast Hang Gliding Club for your own personal flying (strict conditions apply).

Manilla, NSW

Manilla is a town far north of Sydney, 50km north of Tamworth to be precise. It is laden with unimposing mountain ranges, valleys and flora’n’fauna spread out along the sweeping plain. Feel small again by flying tandem, or by training yourself at Manilla’s very own training company. For those who have experience, head over to Fly Manilla and follow the links.

Bells Beach, VIC

On one side you have a never-ending sea, while suburbia stretches out on the other. Below is the sound of crashing waves and the sight of a perfectly-jagged edge of the world. There’s nothing holding you back except your own volition. And, of course, inclement weather. Here you can fly in tandem or go off on your own if you’re experienced. Head over to Paragliding Victoria for more details.

Albany, WA

Let’s face it, Australia will forever be known as the land of stretching coastlines and spectacular beaches, and here’s one for paragliding. Western Australia’s Paragliding Academy is the most notable host of paragliding in Western Australia and will not only give you tandem flights, but also will teach you all there is to know about paragliding, including looking after and repairing your equipment. For experienced pilots who just want to take to the skies, I’d chat with these guys.

Mt Blackheath, NSW

Take a tandem trip down the side of Mt Blackheath, over 90km west of Sydney. Or, if you chat with those at the Blue Mountains Hand Gliding Club, you can book a spot for yourself. For those undertaking the airspace alone, check out the recent website for details on nearby airports and airspaces. And for tandem passengers, make sure you pack a coat. It gets nippy up there.

From here on, it’s only places that can take experience paragliding pilots.

Mt Wellington, TAS

Tasmania has long been the mystery place of Oz, but thanks to the internet finally making it down South, we’re starting to learn all things Tasi. The Tasmanian Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association offers some of the most Bucket-List worthy flights we’ve ever seen, you can find their contact information here. Where better to paraglide than off the edge of Mt Wellington, overlooking the city of Hobart.

Seaford, SA

If you’re after a bit of height, this is perfect as a beach-side glide. Hover near the cliff edge, scrape near the sandy beach below, and take in the local scenery.

For South Australian and Northern Territory sites, visit South Australian Hang Gliding, Paragliding and Microlighting and get in touch with local paragliders via the website. Paragliding tends to be limited in both these states, as there is no known club or organisation providing launching sites. Launch sites rely on local land owners to allow gliders to launch, and from what we gather, it can be hard for solo flyers to gain permission!

Happy flying!

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