5 adventure activities every backpacker should try

With every travel blog you read, every mate you talk to, the bucket list for your own trip is probably getting longer and longer. There are the classics – bungee jumping off New Zealand’s Kawarau Bridge, white-water rafting down the Zambezi, scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef – but here are several more unusual adventures that got our interest piqued…

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A deadly dip in Australia: At Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove, you will come face to face with Australia’s most deadliest predator: the saltwater crocodile. First, take a tour of the aquariums containing various reptiles, throw some food into eager, gaping jaws, maybe hold a baby croc… Once acclimatised, ask yourself if you’re ready for the ultimate crocodile experience: the Cage of Death. As your cage is lowered into the pool, steel yourself for fifteen minutes of terrified wonder as these prehistoric creatures, some measuring longer than five metres, circle hungrily…

A superhero’s descent in Bolivia: The altitude in La Paz, the world’s highest city, makes catching your breath tricky at the best of times, but try breathing deeply as you hang out of a 17th floor window. Would it be easier if you were wearing a Spider-Man costume? Abseiling face first – or ‘rap jumping’ – down a 50-metre wall, dressed as a superhero, is fast becoming the thing to do La Paz. Enjoy incredible views of the city before teetering over the edge, then gather speed as you run down the wall like something out of Mission Impossible before letting go of your rope around the sixth floor and freefalling back to terra firma.

Swinging through the trees in Laos: For the ultimate way to appreciate the incredible wildlife of the Bokeo Nature Reserve take to the trees at The Gibbon Experience. Here, you sleep in the tree tops and ‘fly’ through the canopy on a network of zip lines to meet the gibbons and their neighbours. The project also offers treks along the Nam Nga River, venturing deeper into the reserve.

Flying with vultures in Nepal: Paragliding in a magical place may be on your list, but have you considered doing it with a bird of prey as your guide? Taking to the skies with the Parahawking Project in Pokhara might just be the most amazing thing you will do. The project, which works to save Nepal’s vultures from extinction, has trained two of these magnificent birds to lead paragliders to the best thermals, to soar alongside you as you climb above the mountains and, astonishingly, land on your hand mid-flight to accept a food reward.

Hot air and mists in Myanmar: Not every adventure has to be an adrenaline rush. For a different kind of flight, but one no less breath-taking, hop into a balloon in Bagan for a magical trip. The watchword here is serenity: as gentle winds guide you over a carpet of ancient temples shrouded in mist, you will become lost in time.

One final word before you climb into your Spider-Man threads: don’t forget to check your travel insurance policy.

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