Written by Brian Johnston
If relaxing on a tropical beach isn’t your idea of holiday fun, here are five destinations where you can raise your adrenalin levels with plenty of adventure activities.
Queenstown, New Zealand
The holiday capital of New Zealand’s Southern Alps doesn’t offer just scenic hiking and skiing but a plethora of high-adrenalin activities such as jet-boating, zip-trekking, and bungy-jumping; Kawarau Bridge, opened in 1988, was the world’s first commercial bungy site. The latest addition to the adventure scene is the 110km Queenstown Trail for mountain bikers, a four-day ride through incredible scenery, with some sections suitable for all levels of fitness.
Auckland, New Zealand
Distance: 14,518 km
Flight Time: 16 hours, 20 minutes
Frequency: Beginning February 5, 2017, Qatar Airways will operate a daily non-stop service from Doha
Safaris are the ultimate adventure in South Africa, and there’s no end of ways to add to the thrill: take to a plane, a hot-air balloon, or – if you care for a real adrenalin rush – to your own two feet for a walking safari on the trail of rhino. Some may want to push the limits even further, in which case you can be lowered in a cage into coastal waters and have a swim with great white sharks.
Durban, South Africa
Distance: 6,392 km
Flight Time: 10 hours, 50 minutes
Frequency: Four flights a week
Cape Town, South Africa
Distance: 7,427 km
Flight Time: 11 hours, 25 minutes
Frequency: 4 flights a week via Johannesburg
Johannesburg, South Africa
Distance: 6,750 km
Flight Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Sailing, hiking, and cycling are only a few of the ways in which to appreciate the stunning alpine scenery and rolling countryside of western Switzerland; those who dare can take to a hang-glider above Montreux or a hot-air balloon at Château d’Œx (a world centre for the sport) for even more expansive panoramas. The fun doesn’t end when winter closes in either: the eastern end of the lake is home to world-class ski resorts such as Crans-Montana and Verbier, and kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails unfold near Bern.
Distance: 4,490 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 25 minutes
Distance: 4,629 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes
Away from the tourist beaches, the rugged centre and east of Bali provide plenty of adventure, including white-water rafting and kayaking on the Ayung River and the more challenging Telaga Waja River, and tubing down the rapids of the Pakerisan and Siap rivers, where monkeys peer down at you from the trees. Explore the countryside by quad bike, buggy, or even by elephant, or join hiking tours through terraced rice paddies with views of volcanoes. Offshore, you can snorkel and dive; the wreck of USS Liberty off the coast at Tulamben makes for a great underwater excursion.
Distance: 6,930 km
Flight Time: 12 hours , 10 minutes
Frequency: Daily via Singapore
Chiang Mai, Thailand
This northern Thai town is an epicentre for adventures in the surrounding highlands, ranging from cycling, elephant riding, hot-air ballooning, and kayaking to white-water rafting or more relaxing river trips by bamboo raft. Jungle trekking is very popular, often combined with overnight stays in the villages of ethnic groups such as the Karen and Lisu.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Distance: 4,946 km
Flight Time: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Frequency: Beginning December 16, Qatar Airways will operate five flights a week.