5 summer aspirations to kick off the new year

We all have things on our “must-do” life list, some of them wildly unlikely (ascend Everest), some more possible (ascend The Eiffel Tower). But there’s no time like the start of a new year to start tackling your bucket list, particularly if it includes aspirations based around the sea, warmer weather and clear blue skies. Here are some goals you may be able to kick in 2017.

Start ocean swimming

For many of us, there’s an instinctive fear about swimming in deep water, out beyond the breaking waves and the safety of crowds. But thousands of Australians swim laps at the beach every morning, everywhere from Currumbin to Cottesloe. A suggestion? Try meeting up with other swimmers to overcome your initial reluctance – get a group of friends interested or introduce yourself to regular swimmers at your beach. You could also try one of the big ocean swims hosted in your city, as there’s nothing quite like freestyling with a couple of thousand people to make you feel safe in the water.

Learn how to scuba dive

Thanks to a couple of extra degrees in ocean temperature, summer is the perfect time to take the plunge and learn how to scuba dive. And don’t think you’ll be diving to 40-metre depths in your first week. Most scuba-diving schools start their lessons in a pool where you’ll earn your certification card, which will then allow you to dive. You don’t need to be Michael Phelps, but reasonably good swimming skills and good general health are essentials.

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Swim with dolphins

We’re fairly sure that swimming with dolphins features on bucket lists the world over – there’s something deeply appealing about cavorting with these super-intelligent, curious mammals in the wild. And we’re so lucky in Australia to be able to do just that at sites across the country: from Rockingham in Perth and Glenelg in Adelaide to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula and Forster and Port Stephens in NSW. If being in the water is a bit too close for comfort, dolphin-watching cruises are a great alternative, and are offered in plenty of locations nationally. 

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Go stand-up paddle boarding

Admit it, you’ve wanted to do this ever since you watched those videos of dogs effortlessly paddle boarding like pros. The great thing for the amateur is there are now hundreds of places to take stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) lessons, in both still and ocean water. Or, take the plunge, buy yourself a board (or put it on your wish list to Santa) and teach yourself – just don’t expect to get it right first time. An added benefit? SUP gives you a great core and cardio work-out.

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Try parasailing

Soaring a couple of hundred metres above the water in a modified parachute attached to a speeding boat is not everyone’s cup of tea – but it makes for a great summer thrill ride. And parasailing is not only heart-pumping fun, but in Australia at least, you get to take in some extraordinary vistas, from the NSW coast, to the Whitsundays to the Coral Sea. Plus, if you go tandem, you can share the experience with a significant other and both get to tick off something from that bucket list.

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