calm down and read : Six of Australia’s most relaxing ideology

FLY FISHING, SNOWY MOUNTAINS, NSW

To truly appreciate fly fishing, you have to abandon the mind of a hunter and become a Zen master, absorbed in the plop of the water and cloud-reflecting ripples. Or an artist, wielding your rod like a conductor’s baton, and making your line loop like a ribbon dancer. Wade into a crisp, clear Snowy Mountains river, allow your adrenaline to settle, and let the purling water soothe your soul. Before long your world is reduced to a riverbank, gum trees and a slash of sky, and time seems to slow until, suddenly, you realise dusk has arrived. See thredbo.com.au

STAR-GAZING, FLINDERS RANGES, SA

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Arkaroola Astronomical Observatory (credit Maxime Coquard)Photo: Maxime Coquard

Stare upwards into the distant universe, and all the troubles in the world seem utterly inconsequential. But while the heavens can make you feel awfully small, their spangled beauty is exhilarating too. Lie back and let yourself be uplifted by the glitter of a million stars in the Flinders Ranges, whose impeccably dark skies offering spectacular intergalactic panoramas, whether you’re camping or just stepping a few metres away from your hotel lights. The privately-owned Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary has astronomical tours and an observatory whose telescopes allow you a closer look at galaxies far, far away. See southaustralia.com

AIRBOATING, MARY RIVER, NT

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Mary River floodplains (credit Tourism NT)1

Admittedly airboats themselves aren’t relaxing but exceedingly noisy, yet they get you into corners of wetland far from human interference and, once the engine is switched off, serenity takes over as you drift between paperbark trees and vast carpets of purple waterlilies. The sense of Australia’s vast size and skies takes over, and the wildlife is staggering. Huge flocks of terns, cockatoos, magpie geese and egrets swirl above. Float at sunset with some popped champagne and watch the waters turn from orange to purple to moonlight-silver, and surrender yourself to a very special place. See bamurruplains.com

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WALKING, VALLEY OF THE GIANTS, WA

Valley of the Giants, Tree Top Walk
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Valley of the Giants (credit Tourism WA)1

Red tingle trees are native only to southwest Australia, which is also graced with several other sky-scraping tall trees such as jarrup and karri. Walk into a forest of these 400-year-old giants – some up to 90 metres tall – and you’d have to have a hard heart not to be seduced by their gnarly, tranquil beauty. Take to the Tree Top Walk and you get another angle on the trees from above the canopy, as the wind soughs and the sun sets trunks glowing. It seems the trees are aptly named: they will certainly produce a tingle. See treetopwalk.com.au

SNORKELLING, GREAT BARRIER REEF, QLD

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Great Barrier Reef (credit Tourism Queensland)2Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

This is an utter cliché, but even if you’re on the busiest of tourist-boat excursions your landlubber life disappears the moment your dip your head beneath water so blue it feels like you’re flying. The only sound is the slosh of sea in your ears and the incessant nibbling crackle of fish on coral. Your mind is transported into an alternative, almost hallucinatory universe of bold-coloured fish, waving corals and silent manta rays undulating their rubbery wings. Relaxation is about living in the moment, and you’ll surely be captivated, and filled with child-like joy. See tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au

KAYAKING, MURRAY RIVER, VIC

Canoeing on the Murray
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Murray River (credit Visit Victoria)3Photo: Visit Victoria

Rise early and take a kayak onto the Murray River for a meditative meander and you won’t be disappointed. The only sounds might be the splash of your paddle and the calls of wetland birds. Pelicans drift past, stately as Spanish galleons. Giant red gums soar into a sky that turns from delicate pink to blue as the sun rises. The Murray is a big river with a big history, but in these moments, before riverbank towns start to stir, you’re in your own little world of flashing kingfishers and turtles warming themselves on rocks. See visitthemurray.com.au

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