BABY, IT’S A WILD WORLD
Twelve ideas for action-packed holidays for seasoned explorers to fresh-faced adventurers
What’s your idea of a perfect active holiday? A leisurely day’s ride past vineyards or a challenging week pedalling up mountains? A few days spent hiking some of Australia’s alluring peaks or a two-week, multi-sport adventure in an exotic location?
When it comes to adventure travel, the options are seemingly endless. How do you choose where to go and the type of activity to pursue?
WHERE (AND WHEN) TO GO
First, listen to your heart. Is a certain place calling to you? Is there somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go?
Also, “think about the type of experience you want to have,” suggests Brett Mitchell, Intrepid Travel regional director for Asia Pacific. “(Do you want) to reach the summit of a mountain, kayak, cycle, or go snorkelling?”
Then look at practicalities – for example, the best time of year to travel to a destination given your preferred activities.
If possible, plan ahead, adds Mitchell, as permits for experiences such as trekking the popular Inca Trail, for example, can book out well in advance.
ORGANISED TOURS VERSUS INDEPENDENT TRAVEL
Cost is one factor when deciding whether to join a tour, as they can be more expensive than independent trips. However, tours remove much of the hassle of organising an adventure. If you’re a solo traveller, a group tour can provide camaraderie as well as extra safety and security. And guides often offer insight into a destination’s history, flora, fauna, and culture.
Independent travel does tend to be more flexible, though. You and your chosen travel companion(s) decide what you want to do and when, where to eat, where to stay, etc.
Self-guided walking and cycling tours are another option. A travel company organises the logistics (transferring your luggage between destinations and booking accommodation, for example), and you – either alone or with your chosen companions – move from place to place without a guide.
AM I FIT ENOUGH?
This depends on the trip you’re considering. If you’re going with an adventure travel company or operator, they should provide guidance on the fitness requirements.
For example, the World Expeditions Travel Group has a trip grading system to help you choose an adventure suited to your interests and physical capabilities.
“Our gradings are a starting point to appreciate what the trip involves and should be consulted in conjunction with our detailed trip notes,” explains Sue Badyari, World Expeditions CEO.
“We also encourage clients to consult with our expert staff.”
If you’re embarking on a trip independently, research the requirements for the activity you’re considering. If your fitness isn’t where it needs to be, either take steps to increase it or look at a different type of trip.
ACTIVE TRIP INSPIRATION GUIDED GROUP ADVENTURES
HIKE THE WEST MACDONNELL RANGES (NORTHERN TERRITORY)
For first-time adventure travellers, Badyari suggests World Expeditions’ six-day Larapinta Classic in Comfort trip, which “covers highlights of the (223km) Larapinta Trail (west of Alice Springs) in iconic Australian country – think waterholes, gorges, mountain ranges, and wide, sandy, river beds. Our architect-designed camps (provide) somewhere comfortable to relax after the day’s walk, with hot showers and off-ground beds in permanent tents.”
Fitness: You must be able to walk five to seven hours a day over rugged terrain, with some steep ascents and descents.
When: April through September.
TREK TO EVEREST BASE CAMP (NEPAL)
For the seasoned travellers, Mitchell highly recommends Intrepid’s 19day Everest Base Camp & Gokyo Lakes trip.
Following a short scenic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, trek beneath the gaze of mighty Himalayan peaks to Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp, learning about the traditions and culture of Sherpa people along the way. After reaching the camp of mountain dreamers, head to your high point: Kala Patar (5545m), which grants the best view of 8848m Mt Everest.
IF YOUR FITNESS ISN’T WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE, EITHER TAKE STEPS TO INCREASE IT OR LOOK AT A DIFFERENT TYPE OF TRIP
Fitness: You must be able to trek four to eight hours a day, for 16 days, on hilly terrain; altitude is also a consideration.
When: April-May, SeptemberNovember.
TASTE AND WALK BRUNY ISLAND (TASMANIA)
Refuel with some freshly harvested local oysters and artisan cheese after ambling Bruny Island’s coastal and rainforest trails on this threeday adventure.
In the evenings, relax in a secluded campsite, sipping Tasmanian pinot noir as your guides prepare a delectable three-course meal. Getting there via a private cruise from Hobart is part of the fun.
Fitness: The walks range from 4-14km return, with three to six hours’ walking per day. You must be in good health and moderately fit.
When: Departs Tuesdays and Fridays, mid-October through April. A modified itinerary is available the rest of the year.
PEDAL THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY (US)
Hum a John Denver song as you cycle 755km along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic road that meanders along mountain ranges from Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains.
The 10-day trip includes eight days of biking and begins with a shuttle north from Asheville, NC, to the Parkway’s start.
Fitness: This trip is for avid cyclists who can cycle up to 145km a day on hilly terrain.
When: June and September.
CYCLE, KAYAK, AND WALK TASMANIA’S EAST COAST
You’ll use a few muscle groups on Tasmanian Expeditions’ six-day Cycle, Kayak and Walk Tasmania, which starts in Launceston and ends in Hobart.
Cycle through countryside and along coastline; sea kayak beneath Freycinet National Park’s pink-hued Hazards mountain range; and walk in Freycinet National Park, Maria