1. Survive on a Tongan desert island
Once you’ve tackled the bush survival course, you might want to step it up a notch by trying to survive on a Tongan island. Over almost two weeks, you’ll spend your time…um…surviving, mainly. We figure that’ll take up a fair amount of time. At times you’ll be thirsty, hungry and uncomfortable and it’ll probably be pretty, all told. But you don’t sign up for a desert island survival situation if any of those things are likely to bother you, do you? Go
2. Cycling through Tanzania
Spending two weeks cycling through one of the world’s most wildlife-rich and expansive landscapes sound like the kind of thing you might like to do? Good.You’ll complete a loop taking in some of the area’s most renowned spots, including the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, and you’ll be camping and sleeping in guesthouses along the way. How many of your friends can say they’ve ridden their bike through the real-life set of the Lion King? None, I bet. 2017 sorted.
4. A bush survival course
There’s taking an adventure away from your current geographic location, and then there’s taking an adventure away from your current way of life entirely. The Adventure Merchants’ bush survival courses fall into the latter category. Whether you want to undertake a one, three or seven-day course, you’ll learn enough about bush survival to rival Bear Grylls himself – no urine drinking required. Whilst this style of trip won’t be for every traveller, for those who want to get back to basics and become equipped with the skills to survive, this is most certainly the ticket.
5. Sri Lanka
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean, as it’s affectionately known, offers up a perfect slice of sub-sub-continental adventure for the Australian traveller. Whilst India lends itself to longer trips, Sri Lanka is small enough to get around in just a couple of weeks. From the southern beaches of Galle and Arugam Bay to the hill country of Nuwara Eliya and Kandy, the tea plantations, national parks and everything else in between – every turn reveals a new landscape.
On top of all that, the food is some of the world’s most delicious and the people some of the world’s friendliest. Even the northern town of Jaffna – one of the worst affected areas during the civil war – is gradually opening up to tourists (the bombed-out and bullet-riddled buildings line the roads approaching the town).
7. Roadtripping Tasmania
Yes, that little speck of land off Australia’s southeastern coast really is spectacular enough to compete with the rest of the exotic destinations on this list. Boasting some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, wide open roads, world-class food and more stunning coastline than you can shake a digital camera at, there’s no good reason not to go here in 2017. We recommend hiring a camper van (a Hippie camper should do the trick) and hitting the road. With beauty around every turn and plenty of spots to pitch up for the night, you can’t go too far wrong.
8. The Philippines Sailing Challenge
The Philippines Sailing Challenges is an adventure we can get behind. Taking place over nine days in April and November, the challenge will see teams of two or three people race their way around some of the country’s most pristine and untouched beaches, all whilst aboard a locally-made (and thankfully, locally-skippered) paraw boat.
10. Husky sledding in Norway
Bucket lists were invented so you could write ‘ husky sledding’ on them. Head into the Norwegian wilderness, get trained up on the art of mushing, and join your pack as you embark on one of the most unique experiences imaginable. There’s even an option to spend a day with a reindeer herding family, if that’s your thing.
11. Searching for snow leopards in Ladakh
Sounds like the adventure of a lifetime; is the adventure of a lifetime. How many times have you been out looking for snow leopards? Not that many times, right? Intrepid Travel – a small group tour operator specialising in adventures led by locals – would like to change that by taking you on a two-week expedition (this is a brand new trip for 2017) into the high mountain passes of Ladakh. There are only 200 of these cats living out there, so eagle eyes and binoculars are essential.
13. Raft the Zambezi
If just going to Africa isn’t enough of an adventure for you, you could always spend eight days rafting along the Zambezi River. You’ll tackle “the biggest and best” rapids the river has to offer and even find time for some wildlife-spotting in Chobe National Park. You’ll sleep in beach campsites and even get to take a helicopter flight over the epic Victoria Falls. How’s that sound? The next departure leaves the shore in July.
14. The Amazon Challenge
From the team that brought you the Philippines (also on this list), Lanka and Cambo Challenges comes The Amazon Challenge – an Amazing Race-style trip that’ll put your resourcefulness to the test in one of the harshest (and most beautiful) environments in the world. In teams of two or three, you’ll complete daily challenges and reach checkpoints to accrue points and camp, stay with local communities and post up at some unique jungle accommodation along the way.
There’ll be canoeing, Indigenous Olympics, piranha fishing and more besides. If it sounds too intense, fret not, you’ll be travelling with a crew who have been running these types of trips without a hitch for years. The first ever Amazon Challenge flags off in March 2017. This is what people talk about when they talk about those ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences, you know.