The Ultimate Bucket List Activities for Thrill-Seekers

Our ultimate checklist for thrill-seeking adventures includes kayaking through the rapids in Fiordland, New Zealand
Our ultimate checklist for thrill-seeking adventures includes kayaking through the rapids in Fiordland, New Zealand | © Witold Skrypczak / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Luke Bradshaw
Sports Editor19 August 2020

If your interest is piqued by whitewater rafting in Chile, cliff diving in Italy or heliskiing in Alaska, read on. Culture Trip curates the ultimate bucket list for thrill-seekers.

Go rafting on the Futaleufú River, Chile

Looking for that ultimate whitewater rafting adventure? The Futaleufú River, in northern Patagonia, is the place to do it. This 5km-long (3mi) stretch of water, which includes rapids dubbed the Wild Mile and Terminator, is pretty exhilarating. Mind, you’ll need some whitewater rafting experience before you take to its waters.

River rafting on Chile’s Futaleufú River is an exhilarating option for those with experience | | © Folio Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Hike in Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia

Taman Negara National Park is a tropical rainforest thought to be 130m years old. There are loads of short walks you can do to discover it, but serious adventurers can head upstream and into the jungle. If you’re up for the challenge, prepare for all-day hiking and setting up camp for the night in a “bumbun“, a traditional Malaysian huts. Sights you’ll see include beaches, streams, canopy walks – and even snakes.

This suspended bridge is part of the canopy walk in Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia | | © Abdelrahman M Hassanein / Getty Images

Cliff-dive in Porto Venere, Italy

Porto Venere, in northwest Italy, where the poet Lord Byron once lived, is a small village where you can cliff-dive. Before plunging into the Ligurian Sea, ensure the water is deep enough, do it with a friend and do not jump head first.

Jump off a cliff in Porto Venere, Italy – but do it with locals | | © Mitch Diamond / Getty Images

Climb Table Mountain, South Africa

At around two hours, reaching the summit of Table Mountain is fairly quick compared to some mountain hikes, but at 1,085m (3,560ft), it’s still a decent climb. On your way up, you’ll run into some of South Africa’s wonderful wildlife and be met with a spectacular panoramic view of Cape Town below.

Hike to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town | | © Eric Nathan / Alamy Stock Photo

Heliski in Girdwood, Alaska

First things first, heliskiing should only be considered by strong skiers, as it’s completely off-piste. If your skill is up there with the pros, get the ultimate thrill in Girdwood, Alaska. A helicopter will drop you off at the mountain summit, then it’s up to you to navigate your way down.

Surf the swell in Maui, Hawaii

Surfers will have you know that Maui is the ultimate place to catch a wave – but it’s not for beginners. These waves and breaks have a habit of escalating rapidly. The biggest waves on Maui are on the North Shore, with an exposed reef and only two entrances to the surf. For a less crowded spot, head to Honolua Bay, where it’s possible to surf the infamous Cave wave.

Brave the large waves in Maui | | © David Olsen / Alamy Stock Photo

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Now, Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t for inexperienced hikers: reaching the summit can take 5-9 days, so adequate preparation needs to go into this challenge. There are six well-trodden paths up to the summit, including Marangu, Machame and Lemosho, with each varying in length.

Get above the clouds at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro | | © Trevor Booth Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Take a kayak in Fiordland, New Zealand

Fiordland, in the south-western corner of New Zealand’s South Island, is a Unesco-protected place of exceptional beauty. It’s best discovered on kayak from Milford Sound, which journalist Rudyard Kipling once described as the eighth wonder of the world.

Kayaking is the best way to reach Fiordland National Park in New Zealand | | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

Go rafting on the Zambezi River, Zambia

There are two ways of seeing Victoria Falls: from up above, or down below If you’re drawn to the latter, hop in a raft and meander down the Zambezi River – but bear in mind, there’s whitewater all the way and some of the biggest rapids in the world, such as the Devil’s Toilet Bowl and Oblivion.

Try rafting the rapids on the Zambezi River | | © steve bly / Alamy Stock Photo

Trek the Himalayas, Asia

Home to mountain ranges including K2, Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest, the Himalayas have the biggest and baddest peaks in the world. Sprawling across five countries, the Himalayas are designed to push the limits of any climbers, trekkers or hikers worth their salt.

Trekkers hike to Everest Base Camp trek in the Himalayas | | © dave stamboulis / Alamy Stock Photo

Soar across the Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia

The Sossusvlei dunes, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia, were designed to be enjoyed from up above. For those not afraid of heights, hop in a hot-air balloon and soar like a bird.

A ride in a hot air balloon is the best way to see the Sossusvlei sand dunes in Namibia | | © Chris de Blank / Alamy Stock Photo

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