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Table Mountain is a perpetual favourite of adventure travellers in South Africa

If you are content lying on a beach or visiting museums for your entire holiday, then it may be time to stop reading. If, however, you prefer riding rapids and hiking mountains and swimming with sharks and trekking across tough terrain, keep reading. This is a beginner’s guide to the Top 5 destinations for adventure travellers. Each of these locations has plenty to offer the active traveller and in some cases has so much to do, you’ll have to go back to experience all of them. Pick and choose your adventures and hit the road knowing you’ve got exciting and exhilarating memories just waiting to be made right ahead of you.

New Zealand

Don’t have to travel far, huh? Turns out your own backyard and country is one of the best places in the entire world to be daring and explore. The incredible natural assets that New Zealand has will encourage the laziest of people to get up and get active. Extreme sports are found all over and unlike some other locations, these sports are often incredibly well organized. If you enjoy skydiving, mountain biking and trekking, you’ll have plenty of company to do these activities with you. Adrenaline-pumping events always have an element of risk and the perception of danger is a large part of the thrill, but you should always consult your travel insurance PDS to ensure you know which events are covered and which are excluded before you partake.

Scotland

If environmental adventures are more your speed, then head to Scotland. There is no shortage of natural beauty in this country and if you know where to look, you’ll be able to walk through and experience some of the most incredible national parks in Europe. Wildlife and scenery abound and if you’ve got a sturdy pair of shoes and are committed to reconnoitre, you’ll be treated to a spectacle of flora and fauna like otters, eagles, whales and dolphins. The Highlands and Northern islands offer up wild mountain scenery and the Outer Hebrides feature a sparkling seaside show. If you want to mix a little adventure into your wildlife tour, try white-water rafting in the Cairngorms National Park on the mighty River Findhorn.

South Africa

If you want a little bit of everything in your adventurous holiday, consider travelling to South Africa. The geographical diversity of the country alone is mindboggling and trying to narrow down your itinerary to just a few experiences may prove impossible. There are the deserted plains of the Kalahari, the endless fields of wildflowers in Namakwa’s countryside, the iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point. Not to mention the savannah of Kruger National Park that is full of wildlife such as lions, buffalo, crocodiles, and zebras. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park alone has five distinct ecosystems, attracting both zebras and dolphins. So, whether you take a traditional safari across the savannah or if you stick to more modern spots like Cape Town, South Africa serves up enough adventure and diversity for any traveller.

Canada

Canada has grand adventures waiting year-round. Whether it’s taking advantage of the slopes at Whistler, surfing the swells in Nova Scotia or hiking along the Appalachian Trail in Newfoundland, there are outfitters that are willing and able to help you gear up for it. There are lower-impact adventures to be had as well, like visiting the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, swimming around Prince Edward Island or ice skating in Ottawa. There are also a ton of sports here that are hard to try elsewhere around the world like walleye ice fishing, snow-kiting and even dog-sledding. Unlike the common perception of Canada as a perpetually frozen tundra, this massive country has an endless variety of landscapes, like piercing mountain tops, glaciers, rainforests, prairies and more.

Madagascar

Outdoor lovers and animal lovers will rejoice when they holiday in Madagascar. It’s said that 5% of all known plant and animal species can be found here, and here alone. The remarkable diversity of landscapes is made even more incredible for how quickly they can change from one to the next. In less than 300km you can go from lush rainforest to stark desert. Off-road driving here is one of a kind and if you are along the coast there is superb snorkelling and diving opportunities (if you’re a licensed scuba diver, that is). Try sailing or jump on a whale-watching boat to catch a glimpse of the majestic humpbacks that live off the coast.

This enormous world of ours has a never-ending ability to provide exciting and new things to try and to see. If you have the option to take a holiday where you’ll explore, discover and enjoy the natural world around us (even if you are bungy-jumping off a bridge to get a closer look at it all), take the opportunity and run. Before you leave, determine what events you’d like to do, and buy an adventure travel insurance plan from Cover-More New Zealand. Be sure to read through the PDS thoroughly to understand what activities are covered and which are exempt from your policy. If you have any questions about what is acceptable and what is not, contact our customer service team by calling (0800) 500 225 and our travel insurance experts will be happy to help.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ken Doerr