Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that my recent trip to Sydney was quite an interesting one. The city really has a lot to offer, especially if you’re looking for something really exciting that will get your blood flowing. You might think that doing some incredible aerobatics and jumping from a plane (with a parachute, of course) was enough for me, but since I was in Australia for several weeks I needed more. That’s not to say that the city is boring, quite the contrary, but I simply wanted to enjoy myself to the fullest and grab every opportunity that presented itself. Therefore, when I came across Rally School Australia there wasn’t really any doubt – I made an appointment in a matter of minutes. This turned out to be another great decision.
The location of the track I went to is Colo Heights, about two hours away from the city, so if you only have one day in Sydney you may not have much time for sightseeing if you opt for this. What will reward you if you do go is the fact that the track is located inside Colo National Park, so you will be able to enjoy some really beautiful sceneries as you’re coming here. Do keep in mind that Rally School Australia has six tracks in different parts of the country, so you don’t necessarily have to come to this one. But setting some time aside for some rallying really is worth it, especially if you’re a car enthusiast, because the service you get here is impeccable. First and foremost, everything is very easy to set up: the website is very easy to manage, with a simple contact form, plus you can even chat with one of the staff to set things up. And once you get to the track, the very friendly people working there will point you in the right direction and help you get started.
What is very interesting about these guys is that they’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. Naturally, all the people working on the track have experience in professional rally driving, so you are in good hands no matter which option from their offer you choose, and trust me when I say that there is plenty to choose from.
First, cars. If you know anything about rally driving, you’ll know that Subaru Imprezas are very much appreciated by people who do this kind of thing on regular basis, but Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 are also in the offer. Naturally, all cars are modified for off-road driving, so you will have the best possible conditions at your disposal. I, however, was fortunate enough to hop into Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, which is a truly magnificent machine. Apart from a great selection of cars, however, there is also a wide selection of packages you can choose from, “experiences” as the company calls them. You can drive yourself, you can be driven by one of the instructors, change cars and much more. Packages are defined, sure, but if you want to combine features from several of them you can easily do that – these guys will gladly accommodate you.
What was particularly interesting to me was the fact that you don’t need a license to enjoy this. Sure, you can’t drive, but you can book the so-called hot laps, where a rally pro shows you how it’s done. You simply strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. As a matter of fact, the guys there told me that this is quite popular as a birthday present and that even children come here to experience the thrill (although they have to be older than 10). So, if you want to surprise a friend with something they won’t expect, bring them here and watch them enjoy it!
After a short briefing from my instructor Jack about the potential traps this track has, I took off. Right away, I was extremely impressed with how my Mitsubishi behaved – it was extremely responsive and I felt I was in complete control of the car. Still, that does not mean that the ride was a stroll in the park because you have to be aware of the terrain and how mud can play tricks on you. So I decided to do my first lap slowly and then gradually add speed as I become more and more familiar with everything. But I must confess, after the second lap the adrenaline started kicking in and I started pushing that pedal really hard. Very soon I was thrilled by the experience and could perfectly see why people love this sport – the speed, the roar of the engine powering you, the sliding of your car as it passes a bend… It was absolutely perfect!
After my eight laps were up (that’s how much my package allowed me to stay on the track) Jack took the wheel. And let me tell you, you may feel excited when you’re driving, you may feel the rush as you’re trying to give it your best to complete another lap, but when a pro takes the wheel that’s a whole different ballgame. The way he drove was mesmerizingly fast, every bend was simply zooming buy, and I had to feel a bit awe-struck since I had just completed the same track myself. It was really an incredible experience to sit in the co-drivers seat. After two laps, we had some time to take a picture and for a bit more chit-chat, and Jack was really great and patient every step of the way. Thanks to him, my day was truly a fantastic one. I stayed on the track for about half an hour after finishing my ride to watch other drivers and then went back to Sydney with a big smile on my face.
My experience with Rally School Australia was nothing short of great, there’s no other way of putting it. I was able to set everything up very quickly, so after that I only had to appear at the track at the designated time. I must once again emphasize the number of choices you have with these guys across the board, with their willingness to compromise coming on top of that. For example, I was able to exchange some laps of my own driving time for an additional hot lap with Jack.
And since I’m mentioning Jack here, I will once again say that he was exceptionally kind and patient with me and that he gave me loads of useful advice which helped me enjoy the track more. As a matter of fact, every member of Rally School Australia’s staff I encountered was very helpful and very professional, from the people taking my reservation to the people on the track itself. In the end, I can honestly say that I had a blast and can recommend this to anyone who is looking for something fun and exciting, be they tourists or locals. So, if you want a very special way to spend a day around Sydney, especially if you like cars, pick one of Rally School Australia’s tracks and get really to enjoy some serious rallying.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).