Why does nature have the ability to get your heart racing in a way that man-made structures never could? Sometimes serene, sometimes furious, but always unpredictable: Mother Nature is a serious badass. Here are five of the most beautiful places to get a serious natural adrenaline rush...
Ok, it may be a while until you can set your inner pyromaniac free on the fiery tracts of the Volcanoes National Park, but in the meantime, you could find yourself at one of the best surfing beaches in the world. If you want to feel the overwhelming awe of this connection, head on down to Waikiki Beach, and find yourself a surf instructor.
If learning to surf is child’s play for you, then consider heading to Oahu’s North Beach to really test your mettle. The best time to discover your limits is between November and February, affectionately known as big wave season. Spend your days tangled up in surf, sea and salt and head out for a crisp beer after the action at one of the many bars and pubs dotted along the coastline.
Game of Thrones fans, your time has come. The perfect mixture of fire and ice does exist, and it lives in Iceland. You may also recognize the landscape from season 2 of the popular series, where the Vatnajokull Glacier was the backdrop of the show. The glacier is the largest and most voluminous ice-cap in Iceland, and one of the most breath-taking sights you can see on your trip.
It’s almost hard to believe it lives on top of a volcano. Power up a snowmobile and experience spine-tingling adrenalin mixed with epic views. There are many ice hikes and ice cave tours available in the south-east region of Iceland as well, just in case you didn’t get your fix riding the glacier.
Pamukkale is a natural site in the River Menderes Valley in Turkey. The snow white, terraced travertines filled with warm geothermal water look like they belong in a Dr Suess book, but the history behind this natural wonder is quite phenomenal. The ancient town of Hieropolis sprouted due to the health benefits of the mysterious pools, and, with a little help from science, we now know why.
It’s a perfect way to spend a Spring day (pardon the pun), but if you feel the need to turn your day into an exhilarating adventure, a hot air balloon ride is the best way to conquer your fear of heights. Defy gravity and float through the warm Turkish air where you will get the best views of the ancient city, as well as a birds-eye view of the natural wonder that is Pamukkale.
What is there to say about the Great Blue Hole in Belize that the famous explorer Jacques Costeau hasn’t already said? If the mystery of the ocean appeals to you, then this natural underwater sinkhole will blow your mind. The circular abyss is surrounded by gorgeous coral reefs and turquoise lagoons, so if your adventure seeking soul is a bit nervous about chilling with hammerheads and bullsharks, you can snorkel in the surrounding reef.
If, however, your fear of danger is overwhelmed by your desire to discover something quite incredible, scuba diving in the hole is an experience you won’t be able to repeat anywhere else. The history of the underground cave means that stalactites are one of the unique geological features you’ll come across during your descent in the deep blue, and the likelihood that you’ll be able to share a cool shark story is pretty high.
If I told you that fear of heights won’t affect you on a 100-metre abseil, would you believe me? It’s a fear of depths that really grabs hold of you when you descend into the dark caves in Waitamo, New Zealand. Your bravery is solidly rewarded when your eyes have adjusted to the darkness and you can appreciate one of nature’s most magnificent phenomena to the fullest.
Glow-worms (only found in New Zealand) light up the caves with an eerie blue-green glow, as the previous sound of rushing water has descended into a reverent silence. You must maintain the silence, or you will find yourself in a pitch-black cave with some very unimpressed glow worms. You won’t be sorry- the peace is overwhelming, and the experience is beautiful.
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