July 03, 2007
Leaping out of a plane 15,000 feet above the Earth. Swimming with great white sharks. Scaling the sheer face of a thousand-foot cliff. For most people, the thought of these activities conjure feelings of terror and dread. For adventure lovers and thrill-seekers, they sound like the perfect holiday getaway. With adrenaline junkies in mind, Hostelworld.com has compiled the following holiday destinations for those who prefer bungee jumping off bridges to picnics at the beach.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Renowned as the worldwide epicenter of adventure tourism, the resort town of Queenstown offers daredevils of all breeds a buffet of heart-thumping activities that are guaranteed to keep the blood racing. Resting on the shore of lightning-bolt shaped Lake Wakatipu, and within sight of the Southern Alps, Queenstown provides a stark backdrop for the myriad of adventure activities at tourists' whim. Those who crave the excitement can bungee jump more than 300 feet above the Shotover River in Skippers Canyon or tandem skydive out of a plane at a dizzying altitude of 15,000 feet and within 60 seconds reach a screaming 200 miles per hour. Once the sun sets, those who haven't collapsed from exhaustion can experience the raucous nightlife that earned Queenstown the nickname "Vegas by the Lake."
Hostelworld recommended Hostel: YHA Queenstown Lakefront
Rates start at €14/day
Nestled between the unforgiving heat of the Namib Desert and the cool relief of the Atlantic Ocean lies the fog-laden summer capital of Swakopmund. Home to an eclectic mix of artists, hippies and game rangers, Swakopmund offers a desolate playground for adventurers of all extremes looking to test their sand savvy. Thrill seekers flock to this seaside town not only for the cool water and big waves, but also for the fierce challenge presented by the relentless terrain. Quad-bikers can feel the burn of the roasting dunes emanate beneath their wheels as they twist and turn through the endless sand, passing the Gravel Plains and the Horses' Graveyard, while sandboarders carve their mark on the dunes, riding the constantly shifting waves of sand under the broiling desert sun. When a reprieve from the blistering heat is required, travellers can retreat to the palm tree-lined streets of downtown for a leisurely afternoon in one of the local pubs.
Hostelworld recommended Hostel: Dunes Backpackers Lodge
Rates start at €11/day
Mission Beach, Australia
A year-round tropical paradise perched along the shores of the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a small village on the frontier of untamed wilderness and excitement. Explore an ancient shipwreck in the warm, clear waters that teem with rainbow-coloured life as you scuba dive along the Great Barrier Reef. Leap into the Aussie heavens as you skydive above ancient rainforests, clear volcanic lakes and towering, blue waterfalls. Tame the raucous Tully River as you go whitewater rafting through the frothing waters of this turbulent waterway. In the midnight hours, those still standing can toss back a handle of grog with fellow party-goers at one of Mission Beach's famous night spots.
Hostelworld recommended Hostel: Scotty's Beach House
Rates start at €15/day
Resting on the northwestern coast of the Malaysian peninsula lie the sun-kissed beaches of Penang, also known as the Pearl of the Orient. An outdoorsman's dream, Penang offers endless activities that take advantage of the natural beauty of this tropical paradise. Parasail across the warm Penang sky alongside the isolated beaches of the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve or snorkel and scuba dive in the waters of one of the leading dive destinations in the world. Those who enjoy a good fright can start their heart racing by exploring the deeper mysteries of local folklore, including the ominous Snake Temple, dedicated to a Buddhist healer-priest, filled with the smoke of burning incense and swarming with pit vipers. The vipers, with fangs intact, are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke. The most important rule: Don't pick up the snakes!
Hostelworld recommended Hostel: Ali's Ferringi Guest House
Rates start at €8/day
Hermanus, South Africa
Sink your feet into the endless stretches of glistening white sand of Grotto beach or stand atop the stark cliffs that gaze over the shark and whale infested sea. Located along the shores of Walker Bay near the southern most tip of Africa, is the tourist destination of Hermanus, famous for viewing southern right whales, dusky dolphins and Cape fur seals that call the waters off South Africa home. However, for those travellers who prefer to be participants rather than spectators, the serenity of this once-small fishing village can be erased with a splash into the cool waters off of nearby Dyer and Geyser Islands, fondly known as "Shark Alley." Once in the cage, adventurers are lowered into the great white shark infested waters while those safely in the boat "chum the waters" with a mix of fish ingredients designed to attract the sharks. Those too timid to enter the water can watch the spectacle of the famous "flying sharks" as they blast out of the waters of False Bay.
Hostelworld recommended Hostel: Hermanus Backpackers
Rates start at €9/day
Famous for its clear alpine lake of the same name, Bled offers daredevils a cornucopia of extreme activities that are not for the faint of heart. Whether skydiving among the majestic peaks of the Julian Alps or paragliding past the iconic Bled castle that towers over a sheer cliff overlooking the glacial lake, risk-takers of every breed can find their sought-after adrenaline fix. Those who prefer to share their rush with friends can engage in a game of survival, stalking each other through the lush wooded terrain armed with paintball guns and clad in head-to-toe camouflage - a game of teamwork, stealth and strategy that is sure to have its participants looking over their shoulders and peering precariously around every corner.
Hostelworld recommended Hostel: Jakelj Backpackers House
Rates start at €15/day
Hostelworld.com is a leading provider of online reservations to the budget, independent and youth travel market. It offers confirmed online reservations for over 12,000 hostels and budget hotels in 165 countries worldwide. The site also offers budget travellers free podcasts, customised city guides, a travel social network and more. Hostelworld.com is headquartered in Dublin and is fully owned and operated by Web Reservations International Ltd (WRI).