Not content to spend your holiday just chilling out and sipping cocktails? Seeking adventure? Looking for a little bit of both? From swimming with whale sharks to exploring volcanoes, these amazing adventures will make your next getaway next-level cool...
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Snorkel shark-infested at a luxe Maldives resort
When we hear ‘swimming’ and ‘sharks’ we’re not always the first in the water... except when it involves the chance to meet whale sharks, the gentle giants of the sea. The biggest fish at up to 12 metres long, whale sharks aren’t interested in munching humans and have a real thing for the South Ari Atoll of the Maldives. Local guides at the Mirihi Island Resort will find you a prime position to strap on a snorkel, dial down the Jaws soundtrack in your head and scan the depths (feature image). If you’re not lucky enough to spot one? Hey, you’re still in the Maldives!
Fall into an Icelandic volcano
Even when you know a volcano hasn’t erupted in 40,00 years, it’s still a leap of faith to jump inside it. But if your relationship is one that thrives on thrills, then descending 120 metres into Thrihnukagigur, just outside Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, is real Journey to the Center of the Earth type stuff. First, there’s the 50-minute hike across a lava field to get there (although, you can also take a helicopter – and we do love to arrive by helicopter). An open elevator (yes, like the kind used to clean the windows of skyscrapers) then lowers you down the claustrophobia-inducing 4x4-metre opening. It only takes about six minutes to make the descent but what a memorable six minutes it is! And finally, what could be more fortifying after a hard day’s volcano trekking than a traditional Icelandic meat soup. Yummy.
Don’t miss the next big thing in Egypt
The pyramids were worth the wait and so is the latest mind-blowing monument to grace the Giza Plateau. After more than 20 years of planning and construction, the Grand Egyptian Museum – a modern marvel that’s (literally) fit for a king – is slated for a soft opening in 2018. Beyond a striking triangular facade, almost four football fields of exhibition space will house over 100,000 artefacts, including the complete Tutankhamen collection. Never before shown in its entirety, this detailed insight into the ‘Golden King’ is a bonafide drawcard. But it’s the sheer scale and clever design, showcasing views to the pyramids of Menkaure and Khufu, that make GEM worth the wait.
See the new New Mexico
Albuquerque in northwest New Mexico is one to watch. Creating buzz is Hotel Chaco, in the heart of the historic Old Town and a stone’s throw from creative hub, the Sawmill District. Celebrating the area’s rich indigenous culture, the hotel features local sandstone, Native American art, sculpture and textiles, and a cracker view of neighbouring Sandia Mountains. Linger at the World Heritage-listed Pueblo ruins (circa 850 AD) at Chaco Canyon, explore the vibrant shopping/dining/ museum scene or nab a seat at the hotel bar and drink in the landscape. Oh, and a sled-style coaster ride with a breathtaking vertical drop of 380 feet is on the cards for 2018.
Hunt auroras on a dog-sled or sleigh-ride adventure, Norway
Norway is so abundant in adventures it’s hard to know where to start. But the opportunity to go sledding with huskies, sleigh-riding with reindeer and whale-watching in Arctic fjords has us honing in on the Northern Lights city of Tromsø, where you have one of the best chances of spotting the fabled skyscapes. Experience the unique 24/7 darkness of a ‘polar night’ from November to January or just snuggle up with the one you love in a beautiful Scandinavian wonderland.
Skipper your own sea adventure in Queensland’s Whitsundays
Ocean breeze in your hair. Sweetheart by your side. Navigating the tropical Whitsundays waters on your yacht, then dropping anchor to swim, snorkel or soak up the sun on Whitehaven Beach. And with no boat licence, you say? On a ‘bareboating’ (no captain or crew) adventure you play skipper, cruising to your own pace and itinerary. The folk at Cumberland Charter Yachts will sort you out with a fully-equipped catamaran or yacht and a four-hour briefing before waving you off to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. And don’t worry about veering off course, as the team keep in touch twice a day.
Experience slow indulgence in Piedmont, Italy
How fitting that the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement is also the perfect place for a leisurely gastronomic cycle. Bordered by Switzerland and France and flanked by the Alps, Piedmont is seriously pretty. Think rolling hills, sun- soaked hamlets, and snow-capped mountains punctuated by medieval castles and lovely wineries. While regional capital Turin is car-manufacturing central, we prefer traffic-free country roads on two wheels with a self-guided Gastronomic Barolo Cycling tour.
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