3-2-1, Bungee! The Ultimate Leap of Faith

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Forsaking Sanity in the Name of Fun

Nothing can really compare to the absurdly terrifying and absolutely exhilarating experience that is a bungee jump. There are other extreme sports that require you to plummet wobbly-faced from lethal heights but bungee jumping is the only one which allows you to do so alone, without the need for special training or qualifications. All you need is courage and an intriguing deficiency of common sense.

As you stand on the edge, staring into the dreadful void, every atom of your being will demand you to retreat. Urgently. Yet you must refuse. You must spurn the survival instinct handed down through millions of miraculous years of evolution and instead bestow your trust in an elastic band and an alarmingly nonchalant instructor.

To step off that platform is to win and lose a battle at the same time: your willpower gloriously victorious, your nature shamed and defeated.

Of course, you won’t be pondering metaphors. You will just be vaguely aware of the wind roaring in your ears, the adrenaline hurtling through

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Head to New Zealand and Inject a Dose of Adrenaline into Your Travels

That rush, at the bottom of your stomach, the one you only get when you do something that defies your instincts, is pretty addictive. Anyone who enjoys skiing, climbing, kayaking and similar pursuits can tell you that.

t’s the thing that keeps you going back to the kind of environments that make you feel small and vulnerable: the snow-covered mountains, the deep oceans, the labyrinthine underground cave systems; the high cliffs we ascend to hurl ourselves off in the eternal pursuit of flight.

The ultimate leaps of faith

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably someone who knows that feeling and loves it, perhaps even craves it. Now, of all the places in the world for these sorts of activities, there’s one that trumps them all – New Zealand.

Birthplace of one A.J. Hackett, the man who made bungee jumping famous by hurling himself off the Eiffel Tower back in 1987, and also the person who has taken bungee jumping from an

Hitting the Christmas Slopes in Japan

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The Festive Mountains of Japan

Hakuba was disturbingly deserted on first arrival. The rows of Swiss houses were all dark-windowed under heavy grey skies, outlined by the sharp white backdrop of the Japanese Alps. After arriving at our remote and slightly creepy Fawlty Towers-esque hotel, making snide cracks about The Glacier Hotel actually being a glacier, and bemoaning the lack of a kettle, we wondered where the life in the town was hiding. There was barely even a road near our hotel, but we were optimistic that there would be more life in the town centre.

First impressions

We had come to Hakuba, Nakano-ken, over the Christmas holidays, to avoid the homesickness that often comes with Christmas abroad. Skiing, snowboarding and partying would be our remedies for the lack of turkey, presents and family banter that we’d usually be having. Nagano Prefecture is best known for Nagano City, at which the 1998 Winter Olympics were held, though the prefecture has many other hidden highlights, far less well-known. Hakuba is one such place and despite its quiet first

How climbing helps people with traumatic brain injuries find their feet

Extreme sports perhaps wouldn’t be your first port of call when rehabilitating a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but then Sophie Charles isn’t the kind of person to let a little matter of height, exposure and intricate rope work dampen her enthusiasm for evangelising the therapeutic benefits of rock climbing for anyone, especially those living with specific neurological challenges. Together with the Castle Climbing Centre in London she, an experienced rock-climbing instructor, has crafted a series of sessions aimed at anyone who struggles with the activities of daily living many of us take for granted. “I love climbing because everyone can do it,” she says.”‘And what I like about getting other people into climbing – especially people who have physical and mental challenges – is showing them what they can do. I simply don’t like the word can’t,- and a lot of people with disabilities hear that word frequently.”

The sessions, which begin on 23 October, will run twice a month, with a maximum of four people per session and cost £30 a person for one-and-a-half hours’ instruction. There’s also the opportunity to progress to one-on-one customised “fun and therapy” sessions, combining climbing with input from a personal

California wingsuit flier dies after jump from Arizona cliff

A California man has died while wingsuit-flying among remote cliffs on the Arizona-Utah border, authorities said.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that it is devising a plan to recover the body of Mathew Kenney, 29, of Santa Cruz. It is trapped in a crevice about 600ft below where he jumped Tuesday in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness – a rugged, desolate landscape that is hard to navigate, sheriff’s Lt Bret Axlund said.

Kenney hit a wall after jumping with a wingsuit, but investigators said they’re not sure exactly how it happened. Once they reach his body, they will examine his equipment, Axlund said.

Patches of ice and steep terrain atop the canyon walls kept a helicopter from landing Tuesday to try to reach the body.

Wingsuit flying is one of the most extreme forms of Base jumping – Base being an acronym of the different platforms, “building, antenna, span and earth.” Wingsuit fliers glide frighteningly close to cliffs and trees in their suits that resemble flying squirrels. It is illegal in national parks but not in the wilderness area where Kenney jumped.

Kenney’s close friend, Matt Frohlich, said Kenney was an

With the Thrills Come Extreme Risks

Despite several well-publicized accidents, like the death last year of the snowmobiler Caleb Moore, just 25, the popularity of extreme sports has soared in recent years. Participants in the X Games and other sporting events regularly perform heart-stopping tricks on skis and snowboards, skateboards and mountain bikes, all of them endlessly replayed on YouTube and television for a growing audience of thrill-seekers.

Unfortunately, many young people eager for an adrenaline rush are trying to copy their extreme sports idols, putting themselves at terrible risk. Filled with overconfidence, many participants lack the skills and training for these stunts. And often they fail to use safety equipment that could reduce the risk of serious injury. Amateurs without referees, coaches or medical personnel around can end up with broken bones, crushed skulls, severe concussions, ruptured blood vessels or lifelong disability — if they survive.

More than four million injuries attributed to extreme sports occurred from 2000 through 2011, according to data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. In the first-ever study of the nature of these injuries, Dr. Vani J. Sabesan, an orthopedic surgeon at Western Michigan University School of Medicine, and

Discover the Heart of the Himalayas

The Annapurna base camp (ABC) trek takes you into the heart of the Himalayas, to the base camp for Annapurna I, the tenth tallest peak in the world (8091m) and one that has been summited fewer times than Everest.

It’s not as famous as the Everest Base Camp trek, but I found it every bit as scenic and challenging. Here’s everything you need to know about doing it for yourself.

How long does the trek take?

The trek will take between 7 and 12 days. Some people practically run it to save days, but this time frame will allow you to enjoy the scenery, stop whenever you want, and spend an afternoon at some lovely hot springs.

Within this timeframe you can add on the additional trek to Poon Hill. This treated us to a magnificent Himalayan sunrise.

Will I get altitude sickness?

You can get altitude sickness anywhere above 2500m, and from 3000m it’s recommended to only sleep 300-500m higher each day. Ascend slowly and drink plenty of water; if you get a persistent headache then you should descend.

Altitude sickness doesn’t care if you’re super fit. In

Enjoying a Tiger Moth Joy Ride on the Gold Coast

Enjoying a Tiger Moth Joy Ride on the Gold Coast

Day two; the great roller coaster ride in the sky

They call it ‘the great roller coaster ride in the sky’. Despite rolling and tumbling to the ground at 80 mph in a two-seater Tiger Moth plane, with me hurtling towards the earth, I couldn’t have felt more alive. The nose dive was quickly followed by a series of loop the loops, equally as gut-wrenching and sphincter-testing as falling from the heavens. If you really want to get the blood pumping then there aren’t many better ways than going on a Tiger Moth Joy Ride.

As someone who’s a bit of a self-professed adrenaline junkie, I have to admit that I’ve been to more than my fair share of theme parks around the world… and this experience topped the lot.

Run by the effusive Geoff Stillman (who’s also your pilot for the day), you get to see the Gold Coast and the surrounding area in a beautiful little 1940s Tiger Moth. These things were originally used to train fighter pilots in WWII and you can’t help but think you’re in a Spitfire in a

Bungee jumping

Bungee jumping ,”Bungy” jumping, which is the usual spelling in New Zealand and several other countries) is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The tall structure is usually a fixed object, such as a building, bridge or crane; but it is also possible to jump from a movable object, such as a hot-air-balloon or helicopter, that has the ability to hover above the ground. The thrill comes from the free-falling and the rebound.When the person jumps, the cord stretches and the jumper flies upwards again as the cord recoils, and continues to oscillate up and down until all the kinetic energy is dissipated

Earlier tethered jumping

The land diving” of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu is an ancient ritual in which young men jump from tall wooden platforms with vines tied to their ankles as a test of their courage and passage into manhood. Unlike in modern bungee-jumping, land-divers intentionally hit the ground, but the vines absorb sufficient force to make the impact non-lethal.The land-diving ritual on Pentecost has been claimed as an inspiration by AJ Hackett, prompting calls from the islanders’ representatives for compensation

Ice climbing

Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water.[1] For the purposes of climbing, ice can be broadly divided into two spheres, alpine ice and water ice. Alpine ice is found in a mountain environment, usually requires an approach to reach, and is often climbed in an attempt to summit a mountain. Water ice is usually found on a cliff or other outcropping beneath water flows. Alpine ice is frozen precipitation whereas water ice is a frozen liquid flow of water. Most alpine ice is generally one component of a longer route and often less technical, having more in common with standard glacier travel, while water ice is selected largely for its technical challenge. Technical grade is, however, independent of ice type and both types of ice vary greatly in consistency according to weather conditions. Ice can be soft, hard, brittle or tough. Mixed climbing is ascent involving both ice climbing and rock climbing.

A climber chooses equipment according to the slope and texture of

An Adventure Canyoning in Dalat

Vietnam’s Biggest Washing Machine

In Vietnam it’s tempting to hug the Eastern coastline and trot along the traditional tourist spots, but don’t forget to dip inland to Dalat, the capital of Lam Dong Province, where you can have a crack at canyoning like I did.

Canyoning safety the Vietnamese way

After negotiating a $30 fee (but somehow feeling like I’d been ripped off) and with South East Asia’s somewhat relaxed attitude to safety firmly pushed to the back of my mind I was soon dangling off the top of a cliff.

As I slowly shuffled back towards the edge I glanced over towards my guide(for guidance). Although he was friendly enough, his distinct lack of English did not fill me with confidence. My instinct was to grip the rope for dear life but I soon realised the trick was to relax and let it slip through your fingers; the further you lean back the easier it is to attempt a clumsy rapel down the cliff face.

After negotiating the first obstacle we paddled, waded and swam through various depths before reaching a small batch of rapids. ‘Let’s go around it’ I

Taking the Leap: Skydiving in New Zealand

What happens when you jump out of an airplane at 15,000 ft?

It takes a certain kind of person to leap from an aircraft into thin air. It takes guts, and courage. You won’t be alone, though; most likely you’ll be harnessed to an experienced ‘jumpmaster’ – some of whom have skydived over 21,000 times. However, you will be fighting your most basic instincts of self-preservation. “For some 60 seconds you plummet toward the ground at 124 miles per hour,” says NZONE Skydive’s Ann-Louise Riddell. “That’s terminal velocity!”

Luckily, when you go skydiving in New Zealand you’re not merely thrown out of a plane without training. Riddell explains that when you sign up to skydive with her company you’re assigned a tandem instructor, attend a pre-jump briefing and are talked through a demonstration outlining what happens from aircraft exit to landing, as well as what procedures will be completed even before you make your way onto the plane – all very reassuring.

What actually happens on the skydive itself? “It takes approximately 25 minutes for the ascent, as the plane circles the surrounding area providing spectacular views of the entire region,” explains Riddell. “Upon reaching

Sandboarding in Peru on a Gap Year

Get Acquainted with Peru’s Dunes

After hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu and in and out of the Colca Canyon in the space of a week I was more than ready to see what else Peru had to offer. Hiking was out, R and R in the sun and the sand were definitely in. My prayers were answered when I stumbled across the tiny oasis town of Huacachina, four hours south of Lima. Here the sole activities consisted of sunbathing and – more intriguingly – sandboarding!

From sun, sea and sand to sun, boards and sand

With every hostel boasting a pool of its own and scorching weather virtually a given, it was clear that topping up the tan would take care of itself. After spending a day lounging by the pool watching energetic souls try their hand at sandboarding in the dunes around me, I was ready to give it a go myself. With the minimal research duly conducted it was clear there were two ways to approach my new pastime.

Skiing and Snowboarding in New Zealand

Guide to New Zealand Snow Sports

Skiing and snowboarding usually stir thoughts of Swiss mountains, but the amazing rocky, high-altitude landscapes of New Zealand make the country an ideal destination for hitting the slopes.

Running from June to October, New Zealand’s ski season sees mountains come alive with skiers and snowboarders heading to the hills. So once you’ve done your bungee jump and sky dive, head to the snow-capped peaks to try something different.

For beginners

Snowboarding down an active volcano may not sound like something for beginners, but Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National park offers perfect slopes for skiers and snowboarders lacking in confidence.

Every beginner will be pointed to the ‘Happy Valley’ at Whakapap. Here, amateurs can practice their balance and improve their techniques down wide slopes.

Tekapo is another great spot for boarders and skiers who are trying to find their feet without getting in the way of the speedy regulars. This resort in the South Island is a lot quieter, which offers a stress-free introduction into this epic winter sport, allowing you to take your time and face plant the snow as much as you like without feeling

A Whole Host of Hair Raising Activities From All Over the World

Ticking off an adrenaline adventure on your gap year appears to be just as necessary as accommodation and trying the local cuisine. The wild activites featured in this article will make your trip more memorable, increase bragging rights, and justify the cost of that travel insurance.

The Bloukrans Bungy in South Africa

Our number one white-knuckle thrill is the world’s highest bungee jump: the Bloukrans Bungy, in South Africa.  Jump off the third-highest bridge ever built, which is a massive 216 metres above the ground. That’s more than one-and-a-half times the height of the London Eye!

Secured in a harness on the end of a long, elastic cord, you’ll freefall head-first, reaching a speed of up to 120 miles per hour, before bouncing up and down before being winched back up. That is what we like to call a thrill ride!

You’ll find the bridge just outside Tsitsikamma in southern South Africa, located on the most popular of South Africa’s backpacker trails, the Garden Route.  Now, isn’t that convenient?

Skydive over Lake Taupo in New Zealand

Jump from 12,000 ft, freefalling at 120mph before opening your parachute to gently float back down to earth,

There’s More to Canada Than Just Skiing

So, Apparently It Doesn’t Always Snow in Canada. Who Knew, eh?

Don’t get me wrong; the skiing in Canada is, indeed, awesome. The world-class resorts and seemingly endless backcountry provide a bounty of opportunities for skiers and snowboarders alike. But if you only go skiing during your working holiday and see nothing else, then you’re missing out. I say this having recently finished three winter seasons in Canada. Maybe you’ve never considered travelling Canada or picking it over Australia for a working holiday because skiing or being cold just really isn’t your thing.  Let me explain to you why there is a lot more to Canada than that.

Some of the best scenery in the world

Those incredible views from the slopes that the skiers and snowboarders are always raving about…well, the good news is that you can see them in the summer too. The snow and ice melts come late spring to reveal thousands of trails for hikers to explore. If you’ve never really thought of yourself as a hiker, that’s OK. Some of the best sights are easily accessible, such as the picture perfect emerald coloured Peyto Lake in Banff National Park. You

A Scuba Diving Adventure in Madagascar

The End of a Long Education

After spending 14 years educating myself I decided to take a gap year. I felt that I deserved some time off! I spent some time in my final year of school deciding what I wanted to do. It wasn’t easy, so I ended up writing down a few criteria. It had to be remote, worthwhile, impress people when I told them where I went (hey, we’re all guilty of it) and, most importantly, it had to include scuba diving!

With this criteria in mind, I stumbled across an amazing diving company which included scuba diving, teaching English and pirogue sailing, all in the exotic location of Madagascar.

Madagascar is a wonderful country and I was impressed by the scenery and the vibrancy of the capital almost as soon as I left the airport. I stayed near the coast just next to a small fishing village. The locals were incredibly friendly and loved having their pictures taken as well as beating us at football.

Into the deep blue sea

Once I had settled in and accustomed to the authentic Madagascan hut I was staying in, the scuba diving

6 Adventure Activities on the Gold Coast

A Dose of Adrenaline in Australia

With its abundance of theme parks, amazing natural scenery and seafront location, you’ll find adventure activities at every turn on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Jet boating

Jet boating is a lot of fun, especially if you haven’t eaten a three course meal before boarding. You’ll skim across the ocean at speeds of up to 90kph and perform ridiculously reckless manoeuvres.

Skypoint Climb

If you have a head for heights you’ll enjoy the Skypoint climb. Located atop the Q1 building – the tallest skyscraper in the Southern Hemisphere – you’ll be harnessed and given the opportunity to climb outside the tower right to the top.

Theme parks

The Gold Coast is full of amazing theme parks. Whether you’re riding the roller coasters at DreamWorld or plunging down water slides at Wet n’ Wild, you’ll have a great time.

Skydiving

The Gold Coast is one of the best places in Australia to do a skydive. You’ll have a birdseye view of everything: the city, the beach, the sea and the hinterland. Just make sure you open your eyes. And shut your mouth.

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