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Not all of the best outdoor adventures happen while the sun’s in the sky. Sometimes the coolest adventures start once the stars are shining. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting and unique things you can do after dark around the world so you can get a taste of all the fun that’s to be had. Here are some ideas for your first adventures to try at night:

Twilight hot-air ballooning: New Mexico, USA

Few sights are more magical than hundreds of tethered, glowing hot-air balloons illuminated in sharp contrast to the smoky night sky. For many, this image is the highlight of Albuquerque's International Balloon Fiesta, a week-long festival launched in 1972, which draws enthusiasts from all over the world. Festivities start after sunset and culminate with a spectacular fireworks display. If you’ve never seen fireworks from the sky before, this experience will amaze and impress. You don’t have to wait for the festival to jump in a hot-air balloon at night, and with more and more companies offering rides and excursions as the night sets in, there’s no reason to pass up the opportunity.

See Petra under the stars: Jordan

Petra is an undisputed world wonder and it would be incredible to see it at any time of the day, but now the monument is open in the evening so you are allowed to be in the space as the sun sets. The entrance to the old city of Petra is through the Siq (a narrow gorge between two towering cliffs) where you’ll walk along a candlelit path until you get to the main entrance. The stars will twinkle above you as you look up at the Treasury lit up by thousands of candles. You can sit under the star-filled skies, sip on hot tea and take in the full experience of the Treasury in the dim lighting while live music is played in the background. It’s a surreal night-time experience that is absolutely worth it.

The ancient city of Petra by night

Take a night safari: Singapore

The Singapore Zoo is home to the world’s first night zoo, where you can embark on a unique journey through the night with the critters and creatures who thrive in the dark. There are over 2,500 animals on display in their natural night-time habitats. Climb aboard the guided tram for a trip through seven geographical regions in the world with your tram guide who’ll share fascinating facts and stories about the animals you’re seeing. After the tram, take a stroll down the walking trails to see even more animals that weren’t visible from the tram. Fishing cats, leopards, flying squirrels and more are just inches from you the whole time. In addition, this amazing experience donates funds to help support conservation of biodiversity.

Night dive with manta rays: Hawaii, USA

This truly unique adventure can be enjoyed by anyone age 10 and up who feels comfortable wearing a mask and snorkel. Divers’ torches draw in plankton which in turn attracts massive manta rays. They swirl and twirl and spin through the water gracefully. They weave effortlessly around each other and you to enjoy their meals. You’ll see these incredible sea creatures extend to their full 4m width all around you in the water.

Admire the Northern Lights: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greenland, Iceland and Canada

The Northern Lights are a phenomenon that have been talked about since humans have existed and wondered where the bright, shimmering lights come from and how they seem to move across the sky. There are many places in the world you can look up at this unbelievable natural wonder, but one of the best ways to do it is to travel to Finland, where there are 24 hours of darkness in the peak of their winter season that puts time on your side. When you head out into the frozen dark terrain, it may be hard to believe that the effort and planning will be worth it, but then you will look up the breathtaking spectacle that are the Northern Lights twisting and rolling through the inky night sky, and you’ll forget everything else.

Now that your sense of adventure is piqued and you are ready to get out there and see what the world has to offer in nocturnal journeys, it’s time to think about one other important travel planning product. Travel insurance can save you if you find yourself in a tight spot or in need of serious medical attention while travelling internationally. Check out the adventure sports travel insurance cover from Cover-More New Zealand to see what sports and activities are covered so you can rest easy knowing your adventures are protected should anything go wrong.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Kyle Taylor