Winter’s quickly creeping up on us (in the northern hemisphere), and it’s about time to start planning where we’re off to this winter. Whether you’re planning to get active or simply enjoy the >winter sun, we’ve come up with a short list of great places to spend the end of the year.
Cape Town, South Africa
Nestled in the curve of Table Mountain at the start of the hook-shaped Cape Peninsula, Cape Town is one of 6 regions which comprise the Western Cape. Known for its majestic mountains, pristine coastline and proximity to the arid semi desert Karoo, the Cape offers adventurous travelers a number of ways to escape for some adrenaline-fueled fun.
Abseil from Table Mountain, bungee jump over the Gouritz River and dive with Great White Sharks where the azure waters of the Atlantic meets those of the Indian Ocean. Mountain bike along the trails through Cape Town’s neighboring forests and wine country, paraglide off Lion’s Head and surf the beautiful waves of local’s favorite Glen Beach.
A tropical paradise of weaving palms and sandy beaches Kerala is well known for its backwaters, mountains, spices and coconuts. A narrow strip of the Malabar Coast Kerala is home to the beautiful Blue Mountains of the Western Ghats, the historic ruins of Cheraman Parambu and numerous spice plantations.
Those with the desire for adventure can bypass the sedate pace of the backwater house boats and head out on a cycling excursion through this region of India’s fertile south. The hills of Kolahalamedu offer a superb place to partake in paragliding and those keen to challenge themselves can trek the Vellari Malai Vavul Malai to the summit of the highest peak in the region.
Flickr photo by Sylvianism
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Known also as the Valley of the Moon, the towering sandstone walls of Wadi Rum are home to the Zalabia Bedouin. If you’re feeling adventurous you can hike the 800 steps up to the top of Al-Dier, explore the 13 story tomb portrayed as the final resting place of the Holy Grail in the 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and discover the Thamudic petroglyphs depicting humans and antelopes etched into the cave walls.
Join Bedouin guides who’ll take you rock climbing, canyoning and camel trekking, and show you the beauty of the monolithic rocks which rise above their red desert. Afterwards you can stay the night in a Bedouin style camp and fall asleep underneath a blanket of stars.
Blessed with fertile plains, untouched rainforest and deep azure blue coastal waters Bali is a paradisiacal haven for adventurous travelers. Join an elephant safari in the cool jungle shade of Taro or grab a paddle and raft the 33 Rapids of the Ayung River.
Cycle through lush valleys, beside rich green rice fields and past Balinese villages and century-old temples. Hike through wild unspoiled rainforest, towering gorges and magnificent rice paddy terraces. Get your head under the crystal clear waters of the coast and explore the world’s richest marine biogeographic zone via scuba or with a snorkel. Soak up the island from a different perspective and sky dive for the ultimate adrenaline high in paradise.
Northland, New Zealand
A vibrant subtropical environment the far north of New Zealand is a veritable playground for the adventurous traveler. Home to unique Māori heritage, flat expanses of sandy shores and a colorful marine paradise there are countless hidden gems to discover.
Take a trip out to dive the Poor Knights Islands and explore one of the world’s most pristine marine reserves or discover the wreck of the rainbow Warrior now an artificial living reef. Hike down into the Wairere Vallery and marvel at the gargantuan boulders, climb Tokatoka Peak or cycle the Twin Coast Trail to soak up some spectacular rural views. Come face to face with the iconic little Kiwi bird and witness the true majesty of the country’s famed natural landscapes.
Flickr image by A Perfect Day