As amazing as a relaxing beach holiday can be, for me, nothing beats an adventurous week away full of times at which you genuinely question your safety and your sanity.
An obvious choice for me when it comes to adventure, especially the water-based kind, is Australia. As soon as you step off the plane, the country delivers danger even if you aren’t looking for it just by throwing numerous deadly animals at you. From there, in my opinion, you should head for the coast and experience all that Australian beaches have to offer. You can go surfing (my attempt was cut short by sharks in the water), snorkelling (watch out for the sting rays which seem to appear from nowhere) or scuba-diving (who knows what creature will come and say hello, for me it was an overly friendly Maori Wrasse). Or, if you really feel up to it, you can go cage-diving. I chose to spend a morning in a Perspex tank surrounded by a 5m saltwater crocodile and loved every second of it, despite my incredibly raised heart rate as he decided to hit into the tank with as much force as his 750kg self could muster. Of course, as well as the amazing water-based activities, there is plenty to do on land. A lot of the hiking which I did as I travelled around was breath-taking in both a literal and physical sense. Why not start the morning at 5am in order to beat the heat and test your fitness by hiking through King’s Canyon which starts with a 500 step climb aptly named ‘Heart Attack Hill’ by locals?!
If you are in fact searching for a more adrenaline inducing holiday, I cannot recommend South Africa enough. In my opinion, the two challenges to get your heart racing the most are bungee jumping and extreme caving. My experience of bungee jumping or ‘aiding death’ as my brother so kindly put it was an interesting one to say the least. We were at the fourth highest bungee jump in the world, on a random bridge which still had cars driving over it, there was a live DJ playing, and apart from when you actually jumped off the bridge, you weren’t attached to anything. Despite the slightly unsafe feeling which came with the whole situation, it was incredible, and I would highly recommend for anyone who wants an insane spike in their adrenaline levels. If heights aren’t your scene, then why not go the opposite direction and go extreme caving. Cango Caves is South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction and an awe-inspiring experience from start to finish. Who wouldn’t’ want to climb through the Devil’s Chimney and the Devil’s Letterbox which is less than 60cm in height. With a constant humidity of >80% this adventure is guaranteed to get you sweating before you even start exerting energy. If these two things seem a little too much, then there are some amazing tree-top zip-lining routes you can go on, as well as plenty of big animals to come face-to-face with. Nothing gets your heart racing like being stared down by a 7-ton elephant.
If you are looking for something a bit closer to home, then Slovenia is a real favourite of mine. I am yet to go to a country where the views are so awe-inspiring no matter which direction you look, with mountains, lakes and forests. These forests are home to the highest density of bears in the world which I was not aware of until my tour guide dropped this fact after we had walked through them. There are also opportunities to go canyoning, white-water rafting, mountain climbing or even more caves to explore, look out for the ‘baby dragons’.
All in all, no matter where you go, there is always an adventure to be found, but for me, these three countries really do tick all the boxes!
Photography by: Sophie Little