On November 12, 1988, 28 people made history in Queenstown, New Zealand. These adventurers all walked to the edge of a bridge outside the city and jumped hundreds of feet to the Kawarau River with nothing between them and death save rubber cords tied around their ankles. This was the first ever commercial bungy jump in the world, and it was a resounding success.
The organizer ( now a well known bungy jump company owner) AJ Hackett was given a bungy jump licence to operate from the Kawarau Bridge for only 30 days; little did anyone know that those few tentative steps over the edge would become a popular sport today.
Today, there are thousands of bungy jump sites all over the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of thrill seekers every year. In fact, Queenstown plays host to more than 80,000 people who come to jump each year. The small ski village has become essential to adventure in New Zealand.
The Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand is just one of the many places you can visit for a thrilling adventure, but if you would rather have lots of options to choose from, here is a list of our top 7 thrill seekers adventure destinations for 2019.
Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world
Queenstown has earned its stripes as the adventure capital of the world due to hundreds of adventures and thrilling activities in the city. When you get to Queenstown, the question changes from “What will I do?” to “When can I do it?”
Bungy jump is still one of the major attractions of the area and the famous AJ Hackett Bungy Company is still in operation. If jumping off the edge of a bridge or a ledge with only a rubber cord between you and safety is your idea of fun, then you will find lots of it in Queenstown.
The city now boasts three jump sites – the 43 metres Kawarau Bridge bungy jump site, the 134 metres Nevis bungy jump site and the new 150 metres Nevis Catapult, which is a cross between a slingshot and a bungy jump. The catapult launches people 150 metres across a narrow valley at 100 kilometres per hour, before they plummet down to the floor of the valley. The 3G force when in the air is indescribable.
But that is not all there is to New Zealand. There are other adventure activities, such as water boarding, rafting, skydiving, paragliding, zip lining, mountain biking, and skiing. In fact, the list cannot be covered in this article.
Swim in shark infested water in Cape Town
If you feel that bungy jumping in New Zealand is too tame an activity, then head to Cape Town in South Africa for a swim in shark infested waters. There are many places all over the world where you can swim with these fearsome creatures, but Cape Town is the most popular. Cape Town has the highest population of white sharks in the world and a dip in one of the waters will definitely make for a fireplace story.
So if you think you are brave enough, get into the steel cage and join these monsters for a swim. Fortunately, death by shark is not as common as most people think. The movie “Jaws” painted a rather scary picture of these fish but the reality is there are only several shark related deaths in a year, a very small number compared to the large number of deaths from dog attacks or even electric toasters. That being said, getting up close and personal with a shark is something that should definitely be on your bucket list if you are truly an adrenaline seeker.
White water rafting at Victoria Falls
Also known as the Smoke that Thunders, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world. White water rafting at Victoria Falls in Zambia is one of the most popular adventure activities in the whole of Africa.
For an exciting white water rafting adventure, the trip starts near the base of the waterfall at Batoka Gorge and twists through 19 really scary rapids. These rapids are not just scary in how they turn and churn, they also have scary names, such as Gnashing Jaws of Death, Devil’s Toilet Bowl, and so on. These rapids, rated as grades IV and V rapids, are some of the wildest you will find in the world.
But white water rafting is not all that Victoria Falls has to offer. There are countless numbers of adventure activities such as a 111 metre bungy jump, skydiving, swimming among the crocodiles in a steel cage or zipping across the Zambezi River in a flying fox. You will definitely find something to sink your gut or boil your blood when you visit Victoria Falls, or at the very least, you can enjoy the sight of the water descending rapidly into the river at the bottom.
Spend some time in a volcano in Iceland
Even though it has been about 4000 years since the volcano last erupted, this does not diminish the novelty and adventure of descending hundreds of feet beneath the earth. The Thrihnukagigur Volcano in Iceland has been welcoming visitors for the past 6 years, affording thrill seekers the opportunity to see what the inside of a volcano looks like.
Descending via a special list, you will go 120 metres beneath the earth to the core from where the magma once boiled. If this colourful cavern could talk, it would tell the story of how it once ruled the surrounding areas.
If you are claustrophobic or uncomfortable in damp and narrow spaces, this one may not be for you.
Climb the 3 Peaks in the UK
If you don’t fancy travelling out of the UK for your adventure and fun, no problem, there are hundreds of adventure destinations and activities in the UK that will fulfill your cravings. Most popular on the list is the National Three Peaks Challenge. This means climbing the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales—Scafell Pike (England), standing at 978 metres; Ben Nevis (Scotland), standing at 1,345 metres; and Snowdon Mountain (Wales), standing at 1,085 metres.
Often organized to raise money for charity, the National Three Peaks Challenge is done within 24 hours. Rather than participate in the 24-hour challenge, you can take your time and enjoy the view as you climb each peak one after the other.
Visit Costa Rica, the most bio-diverse country on earth
Costa Rica is known to have the most diverse eco system on earth and for a good reason too. The Corcovado National Park, a popular destination in Costa Rica, is home to diverse species of animals. There you will find poison arrow frogs, sloths, monkeys and a large number of wonderful and exotic creatures. But that is not all. There are almost two dozen beaches in this area as well as campsites, hiking trails and virtually everything a person needs for an outdoor adventure.
But if you would rather do something more adventurous, then you should definitely head to La Fortuna.
La Fortuna became a tourist attraction in 1986 after the Arenal Volcano erupted, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Out of the ashes rose a region rich in opportunities and adventure. Some of the thrilling activities to do in this area include water rafting through the grades 3 and 4 rapids of Rio Pacuare, crayoning and hiking around the lava fields that surround Cerro Chatto, a mountain close to Arenal Volcano ( it is illegal to climb the volcano). There are also ziplining, bungy jumping, and a host of other adrenaline pounding activities.
Yosemite National Park, USA
Not many people are aware that there are many other things to do in one of the most popular parks in the US besides looking at rocks and waterfalls. Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains is known for its ancient, giant sequoia trees, beautiful granite cliffs and stunning waterfalls but one less shared secret is that this park is a rock climber’s haven. If you are into rock climbing and hiking, the Yosemite National Park is a place to visit sometime in the coming year. The park has more than 1000 kilometres of hiking trails including the iconic Half Dome hike. And if hiking and rock climbing are not your idea of fun, you can raft down the grades 3 and 4 rapids of the Merced River, just by the park. While you are there, remember to pay a visit to California’s oldest ski lodge (Badger Pass), located inside the park. Badger Pass boasts 150 kilometres of cross country ski trails and more than 10 kilometres of bike paths.
If you prefer to make history while others watch, the above 7 adventure destinations may just be what you need. As 2019 approaches, you will definitely need a place to go where you can blow off excess energy and have great fun, if you happen to visit any of the places on our list, don’t fail to share your experiences.