Gap years are the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and try your hand at anything. For a lot of people this can mean any, or in some cases all, of the following: abseiling, bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, jet skiing, kitesurfing, climbing, quad biking, ridge walking, skydiving or/and surfing.
Getting the adrenaline pumping on your gap year is all part of the crazy fun of travelling for a good while on your own terms. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand offer loads of fun and adventure for the adrenaline junkie. You could dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; sky dive the adventure capital of the world in Queenstown, New Zealand; cage dive with great white sharks in South Africa; and zip-line through the jungle in Thailand. And that’s just for starters...
Adrenaline Sports Around the World
Sailing in the UK
Thanks to the winds surrounding the UK sailing is one of the top sports here. You need to head to the likes of Southampton and the Isle of Wight for the best conditions and the biggest sailing festivals. Dublin, the Isle of Man, Belfast and Edinburgh all have great sailing opportunities too.
More extreme adventure in the UK.
Hang gliding in Brazil
Thanks to the mountains surrounding Rio it’s one of the best spots for running and jumping off with a massive kite strapped to your back. The stunning scenery below may make you feel like a bird for a while as you look down on the crazy goings on, but thankfully unlike a bird you won’t be flying alone. Tandem hang gliding from the Sao Conrado neighbourhood is one of the most popular spots to enjoy the view from.
More extreme adventure in Brazil
Surfing in the USA
Hawaii 5-0 and all that has made the likes of Hawaii, Southern California and Florida top surfing spots for all the world to get gnarly on. All standards from complete beginner to pro can make the most of the waves here with plenty of surf schools dotted up the beach.
More adventure in the USA
Bungee jumping in New Zealand
New Zealand is well known as the extreme adventure capital of the world and you can do pretty much anything your mum might consider crazy right here. Check out these top New Zealand activities for adrenaline junkies if you don’t believe us. Most people who want to do a bungee jump will save up the opportunity to do in Queenstown. AJ Hackett’s jump site was the world’s first and has been in business for almost 20 years. Let’s hope it holds out a bit longer hey?!
More adventure in New Zealand
Snowboarding in Canada
Canada is well known for its ski and snowboard resorts, because they’re absolutely incredible. The slopes, the vistas and the whole experience in general is something that all adrenaline and adventure lovers need to experience at least once in their lives. You could get a job in one of the ski resorts on your gap year and really become awesome at slicing down those slopes.
More adventure in Canada
White water rafting in Australia
You’d better be a top swimmer to board one of these inflatables. If you decide to go white water rafting in Australia you need to be ready for big waves, waterfalls and getting out of the boat to swim a bit when it gets too rocky. All in the name of good fun though, enjoy!
More extreme adventure in Australia
Expeditioning in the North Pole
This may be the most epic of the lot but top gapper Jacob Davies accepted the challenge and had a great time in -27C glacier hiking, ice climbing and snow holing among other things. If you really want an adventure to impress the folks back at home, this is definitely one to think about. Check out Jacob’s review of his icy adventure in the North Pole here.
Adventure Sports Facts and Tips
Where can I find the craziest, most adrenaline-fuelled adventure ever?
Bolivia: Cycle the Death Road
New Zealand: Shotover Canyon Swing
Space: Sky dive like Felix Baumgartner
Norway: Ski flying
Nicaragua: Volcano boarding
India: Limbo skating
Australia: Crocodile bungee jumping
Russia: Volcano diving
Norway: Kite skiing
5 Top Extreme Adventure Tips
Before booking any backpacker travel insurance make sure you’re definitely covered for all the stuff above, phone them and speak to a real person if you have to, just make sure you definitely are.
Make sure you’re physically fit to carry out the task. Dodgy ticker? Don’t jump. Never been colder than a walk in freezer? Don’t attempt the Arctic. Super fatty that’s terrified of heights? Don’t bother with the hang glide. Only do what you feel your body can cope with, or bad things happen.
Having said that a gap year is a chance to go nuts, to try all these things and really put yourself out there. Statistically you’re more likely to die in a traffic accident than launching yourself off a platform attached to a bungee, so just do it.
You definitely don’t need to buy all the bamph they try to sell you at the end of an extreme adventure – the video will just be you shouting obscenities and the photo will look fake. You have the memories, save yourself £20 and hold on to them.
Be careful, and only tell your parents after you’ve done it. It’s just not worth the worry to pre warn them, trust me.