If lounging by the pool at a beach resort doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, then these off-the-wall adventures are sure to satiate your adventure-lust!
Sure, bungee jumping, white water rafting and sky diving are all pretty radical ways to spend a holiday, but if you’re looking to really raise the adrenalin, then you can’t go past these extreme pursuits that will take you to the four corners of the earth and raise your endorphins into the stratosphere.
1. Carve tracks under a full moon - Queenstown, New Zealand
Many of us make the pilgrimage across the Tasman every year to take full advantage of New Zealand’s South Island wintery wonderland – but if you really want to up the euphoric rush, then leave your powder-carving till after hours – when you can ski to the sounds of DJs under the glow of a full moon. Snow lovers can get their fix at Coronet Peak, Queenstown New Zealand that offers well-lit twilight tracks and expertly groomed runs suitable for beginners and intermediates.
2. Extreme Whitewater Stand Up Paddle Boarding - Buena Vista, Colorado
It’s been the fastest growing sport on water, but if you want to test your core muscle strength – and your wits - experience the sports junkie’s next plateau – extreme stand up paddle boarding. Not content with flat lakes and beaches, experienced stand up strokers are now battling for rapids next to kayakers in Colorado’s flowing rivers. Dubbed the snowboarding of whitewaters, extreme stand up paddle boarding calls for boarders to navigate the treacherous white water of fast flower rivers. Novices need not apply.
3. Cage dive with sharks - Port Lincoln, South Australia
There aren’t too many animals that evoke bone-shuddering fear quite like the Great White Shark, so there’s no better way to get the pulse racing than to jump in the water with one. While you’re sure to be glad there’s a sturdy cage between you and these deadly predators, once you spend 45 minutes underwater with one, you’re guaranteed to walk away with a newfound respect for this awe-inspiring species. Every year, brave divers flock to Port Lincoln, on the rugged Eyre Peninsula, for the chance to get some time with incredible man-eaters, including the aptly named Big Mumma – a 5.5 metre monster!
4. Survive an extreme obstacle course - Derbyshire, UK
The sheer number of assault courses popping up all over the world are testament to just how far people will go to awaken the primal beast and see just how far they can push their physical limits. Whether you want to crawl under barbed wire, jump over flaming piles of peat, run through live electric wires or just don a silly hat, drink beer and run through the mud – there are obstacle courses to suit almost everyone. Our pick? Australia’s Tough Mudder or The X Runner in Derbyshire, UK where contestants can expect tightropes, tunnels, hurdles, giant walls, spider webs and lots of mud. There’s even a Zombie Apocalypse course, where contestants need to fight off the advances of the ‘undead’.
5. Snorkel with whale sharks - Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
There’s plenty of awe-inspiring marine wildlife at Ningaloo Reef that is sure to make snorkeling the aquamarine waters and unforgettable experience, but it’s the thrill of swimming with the world’s largest fish that really tops visitor’s bucket lists when they visit the Coral Coast. From March to July each year, up to thirty whale sharks come to feast on the nutrient rich waters, and Ningaloo Reef is one of the handful of destinations in the world where you are almost guaranteed to swim alongside one. While their size may be intimidating, it’s nice to know that they far prefer plankton to human for lunch!
6. Zorbing - Rotor, New Zealand
Ever wondered what it would be like to roll down a giant hill in a plastic ball hamster style? Wonder no more – almost twenty years ago, Americans bought Zorbing to New Zealand, and once The Amazing Race featured it as one of their big challenges, it’s popularity exploded and today tourists are still lining up to roll down a hill at break neck speeds encased in a spongy dome. And yes, it is as fun as it looks!
7. Dog-sledding - Mont Tremblant, Canada
High tech snow scooters are sure to raise the adrenalin, but if you want to know what it felt like 100 years ago to traverse this unforgiving winter wonderland, then gliding across snow trimmed pine forests with a team of specially bred sled dogs is for you. Once you’ve worn out your team of dogs cruising the snowy landscape, you can cozy up in a log cabin and warm yourself up by a wood fire.
8. Dive amongst a WWII shipwreck - Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea
With a coral-scape that looks like a hyperbolic screen saver and a bewildering variety of marine life, divers will soon understand why Papua New Guinea is dubbed the land that tourism forgot. Impenetrable jungle, hostile inhabitants and treacherous reefs mean that PNG was less than ideal for colonisation, and that’s exactly the reason why it remains so pristine - free from pollution, introduced species and run off. In fact, many of the reefs are still unexplored.
If you know your World War II history, Milne Bay will sound familiar - this was the site of the famed battle where the Japanese suffered their first land defeat. As a result, scores of coral-crusted ship and plane wrecks litter the area - a key reason why it has gained it’s reputation as a top destination for divers, naturalists, wreck fanatics and underwater photographers.
9. Zip line over alligators - St. Augustine, Florida
There’s nothing quite like the rush of zip lining, but navigating an aerial obstacle course over an alligator-filled swamp Indiana Jones-style, is sure to make you feel like the star of your own action-adventure movie. At St Augustine Alligator Farm Crocodile Crossing, on Florida’s northeast coast, experts train visitors before they spend 45 minutes traversing the skies with these ancient predators underfoot. The result? Your heart thumping out of your chest and some serious bragging rights.
10. Croc diving - Crocosaurus Cave, Darwin
If gliding above these lethal reptiles isn’t enough to get the hair on the back of your neck standing up, then there’s a solution much closer to home - Crocosaurus Cove, located in Darwin is the only place on earth that allows visitors to actually swim with one of Australia’s most dangerous reptiles. Brave tourists can swim fully immersed with the saltwater crocs – and there’s only a perspex tube ominously named ‘Cage Of Death’ to separate you.
11. Walk across the Trift Bridge - Swiss Alps, Switzerland
It was only a few years ago that the Trift Hut in Switzerland could still be reached by foot via the glacier, but by 2004 the glacier had receded so much that a suspension bridge was built. Now, there’s no better way to see the Alps than edging across one of the most spectacular suspension bridges in the world. Spanning over 170 metres, the remarkable bridge – which is fixed to the glacier polished stone walls on either side of the canyon, poised 100 metres above the Trift gorge - is now one of the major tourist draw cards of Switzerland. Having said that, you’ll still run into more locals than foreigners. Yodeling optional!
12. Fly like a bird - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ever wondered how Superman felt soaring through the skies? You may not go faster than a speeding bullet, but you won’t want to – the birds-eye view of one of the world’s most spectacular cities will make you want to slow down time and savour every second. Once your knees stop knocking at the thought of throwing yourself off a perfectly good mountain, the exhilarating adrenaline rush makes for an experience you’ll log into the memory bank for years to come.