So much of the world is now within the reach of every traveler that exciting experiences, which were once the domain of the thrill-seeking adventurer, have now been packaged up for families and senior citizens. In one sense that’s no bad thing, but it is human nature to question, strive and challenge ourselves to explore new experiences and sensations. So, in 2017, what qualifies as an extreme holiday activity? Let’s look at a few travel opportunities that can still get the adrenaline pumping!
You may not be familiar with coasteering, it’s not yet really taken hold as a mainstream activity yet, but it is a fun challenge. As the name suggests coasteering is the exploration of coastlines from sea and land. It involves swimming in tough conditions close to cliffs where the sea can be rough and unpredictable and then climbing out to scramble or canyon in and out of accessible areas. This is often accompanied by a jump back into the water from a height to continue the journey. Coasteering originated in the UK, with the rugged coastline of Wales especially popular, but you can now book these activities in many parts of the UK.
2. Shark Cage Diving
There are many amazing wildlife spectacles all around the world, but the ultimate is being face-to-face with an apex predator in their environment. When that environment is underwater it becomes an entirely different experience which is why cage dives to see Great White Sharks in close proximity is still the most extreme animal experience. South Africa and South Australia are the most popular destinations with long-established operators with good safety records and ethical values.
Skiing and snowboarding are a perennial favourite for activity holidays, but if you want to take your snow-based adventures to the next level then perhaps it’s time to swap for the ski lift for a helicopter! Heli-skiing provides the opportunity to create your own unique route, by accessing slopes from the air. Of course, like any backcountry skiing, that freedom comes with the need for expert guidance and piloting to make sure that you choose a suitable area and have an awareness of current local conditions. But if you want to explore and ski away from the crowds and create unique memories then it’s a great option.
4. River Surfing
Another twist on an established travel activity is surfing rivers rather than ocean waves. It’s become a popular choice for visitors to Queenstown, New Zealand which is a globally renowned hotspot for lots of extreme sports but has extended to locations around the globe. Check out this map for a handy reference. River surfing has a key advantage over ocean surfing in that waves can be created by objects in the water and remain in a stationary position. No need to worry about where that wave is going to appear!
5. High altitude trekking
Walking holidays are always wonderful chance to get out in nature. But if you’ve done the Appalachian Trail or bagged your share of Munros in Scotland then you might want your next challenge to be trekking in even more spectacular locations. You might love the idea of conquering Africa’s highest mountains, exploring the High Inca Trail in Peru or walking through the unbelievable scenery of Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas. Just make sure you’ve prepared, the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes can catch out even experienced hikers.
Highlining is essentially the same activity as slacklining, walking along a length of webbing anchored between two points. But with highlining, the drop beneath the participant can be hundreds or thousands of feet of air. It’s been around for the best part of 30 years but has recently surged in popularity. It’s an activity you can try in an increasing number of US National Parks including Joshua Tree and the sport’s spiritual home, Yosemite. Safety is, of course, absolutely paramount with this activity so make sure you only try it with someone who is experienced at rigging lines and using safety equipment.
7. Extreme road trips
Using a vehicle on your travels doesn’t have to make you any less adventurous. It can be an incredible way to access some of the most spectacular regions on earth. Some of the most famous routes for extreme road trips are the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia, the Karakoram Highway (part of the centuries-old Silk Route) across Pakistan and China and the infamous Camino de la Muerte (Death Road) from La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia which no longer carries vehicle traffic but can be travelled by mountain bike.
8. Bungee jumping… into a volcano
The thought of bungee jumping over a river or canyon is enough to instill fear into a great many people but if you’ve been there and done that already and are looking for the next level of challenge then how about adding the location of an active volcano to up the ante? The Villarrica Volcano in Chile is one location where you can do this, it isn’t cheap and involves making the jump from a helicopter rather than a static platform but if you want the ultimate adrenaline rush then perhaps this is it!
9. Extreme Marathons
If the heat of a volcano isn’t your thing then perhaps you’d like a colder challenge? Marathon running is a pretty mainstream challenge these days, undertaken by thousands of people in major cities across the world every year. But taking that activity from the streets of London or New York to the icy wastes of Antarctica and attempting a full marathon at an altitude of 700m in temperatures of -20C? Different ball game! This is the challenge presented by the Antarctic Ice Marathon, which celebrates its thirteenth running in 2017. Sadly, you won’t be cheered on by penguins the course is too far south even for them!
10. Climbing Mount Everest
Scaling Everest, to the highest point on earth, is still the ultimate challenge. Since 1953, when Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay achieved the first confirmed ascent, only just over 4,000 individuals have managed to follow them. Achieving the ultimate challenge requires the ultimate commitment in terms of time (2 months in total in the area to acclimatize and make the climb) and money (likely in excess of $50,000). But it’s an exclusive club to belong to and you can’t really put a price on that feeling of completing the ultimate adventure and looking down on the world from its greatest viewpoint.
However far, however high your next adventure takes you, ensure you stay connected with home by using a Tep portable wifi device. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage, plus, you and your friends or family can all share one device (up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time). Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.