If you’ve got an adventurous spirit, you probably won’t be satisfied with a coach tour that rushes you through 10 cities in five countries in a week. You need travel experiences that set your spirit free; experiences such as the top bucket list adventures.
We’re talking about crazy adventures that, for most people, would be once in a lifetime events that offer an adrenalin rush second to none. Some of them demand physical fitness and stamina, while others require courage and determination. There also are bucket list travel adventures that simply ask you to have a willing spirit and an open mind.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in adventurous things to do before you kick the bucket, look no further. You’ll find them on our list.
Top Bucket List Adventures
Bloukrans Bridge Bungee Jumping, South Africa
The Bloukrans Bridge near Plettenberg Bay in South Africa offers the world’s highest bungee jump from a bridge, and that’s an incredible 216 metres. For the highest jump in the world, you’ll need to head to Macau Tower in Macau, China, or if you’re looking to leap in North America, to The Rock, Canada’s highest bungee jump.
Aside from the height, one of the best things about the Bloukrans Bridge jump is the setting. The bridge’s arch bridge spans Nature’s Valley at the bottom of which flows the Bloukrans River. The beauty will take your breath away and the bungee jump even more so! For thrill-seekers, the experience deserves a spot on any list of adventures.
The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu, Peru
The old Incan mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu should be on any travel bucket list, adventurous or otherwise.
If you really want to do your visit justice, however, you should hike the Inca trail to get there. You would literally be following in the footsteps of the Incans who built the place 600 years ago. After Machu Picchu was abandoned during the Spanish conquest, its location was known only to locals. This remained the case until it was publicised by a historian in 1911. The citadel has captured imaginations around the globe ever since.
Ascending to the saddle between the mountains known as Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu from the Sacred Valley is a Peruvian pleasure you’re sure to treasure.
Rafting In The Grand Canyon, Arizona
Whitewater rafting is thrilling enough to warrant a spot on just about any list of adventures. Take it to the next level by rafting on the Colorado River in Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
The experience offers you a totally different view of the natural wonder than what most tourists would enjoy. There are different packages available, some of which are suitable for beginners, while others are aimed at experienced rafters.
Depending on how serious you are about having a crazy adventure, you can raft or a few hours, or you can do the full 443km from Lees Ferry to Lake Mead.
Hike The Milford Track, New Zealand
Formed over millions of years by glaciers, New Zealand’s Milford Sound fiord was called the eighth wonder of the world by Rudyard Kipling. Its magnificent natural beauty makes it one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
See it the adventurous way by hiking the Milford Track, one of the New Zealand’s Great Walks. The 53.5km hiking trail will take you through forests, past lakes and waterfalls, over ice fields and up to the Mackinnon Pass. The trek from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound should be on every outdoor bucket list as the views have to be seen to be believed.
Dive The Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole has got to be one of the most fascinating places on the planet. Part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, it is a giant marine sinkhole that measures 318m across and 124m deep.
The depth of the hole gives it a dark blue colour that contrasts with the turquoise water that covers the relatively shallow reefs that surround it. Your bucket list adventures at the Great Blue Hole can include viewing it from a helicopter, cruising over it in a boat, or the incredible experience of scuba diving in it. Once underwater, you can marvel at 12m long limestone stalactites and at coral, fish and other marine life.
Trek To Everest Base Camp, Nepal
It takes an extraordinary level of fitness, courage and willpower to summit Mount Everest. However, you can still pay a visit to the world’s highest mountain without any intention of summiting it.
If the legendary mountain fascinates you, add an Everest Base Camp trek to your bucket list adventures. You’ll depart from the Nepalese town of Lukla and arrive at Sagarmatha National Park. Then, over the next two weeks, you’ll trek to Everest Base Camp and back again. It’s an incredible 5,340m ascent for an amazing photo opportunity, and although you won’t sleep at the base camp, you will spend the night at Gorak Shep nearby.
Take The Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia-China
A trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway may not be an adventure that will get your heart pounding, but it’s a bucket list vacation you’ll never forget. It offers you the chance to travel the 7,621km from Moscow, Russia, to Beijing, China, in relative comfort.
The journey will take you past groves of birch trees, across the verdant steppe, past gleaming Lake Baikal, through the Gobi Desert, and past herds of camels and yurt camps that dot the countryside. This bucket list travel adventure requires careful planning as hop-on hop-off tickets are not available. Instead, if you want to disembark to explore a town or the countryside, you’ll need to purchase separate tickets for each leg of your journey.
Swim At Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
One of the biggest waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls is also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or ‘the Smoke that Thunders’. The roar created by the mighty waters of the Zambezi River tumbling into the chasm can be heard more than 30km away. Once seen, the sight of the curtain of white water is never forgotten.
It’s not exactly thought of as a swimming spot, but if you’re brave enough, you can add taking a dip in the Devil’s Pool to your bucket list adventures. The naturally formed pool is right at the edge of the falls and is accessible between August and January only.
See The Northern Lights, the Arctic
One of the most spectacular additions to your outdoor bucket list is a trip to see the Northern Lights. Also known as the Aurora Borealis, the lights are caused by solar winds disturbing the earth’s magnetosphere. They appear as sheets of colour that dance across the night sky and are simply mesmerising.
The best place to see the Northern Lights is above the arctic circle and getting there can be a travel adventure in itself. The best time of year to see them is between April and August, and they’re visible in the northern regions of Canada, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Climb Mount Rinjani, Indonesia
The world’s second highest active volcano, Mount Rinjani is an incredible bucket list vacation destination. If you have the stamina, you can hike the 34km trail to the summit, which is 3,726m above Lombok Island, Indonesia.
2,000m up, you will find Segara Anak, a crater lake in a caldera. In the caldera, there are pockets of hot springs where you can relax and warm up your muscles for the trek ahead. The guided hikes take three days, which means you get to spend two nights on the volcano, which last erupted in 2015. Not only is the hike a challenging one, especially as you start approaching the summit, it also offers the thrill of knowing that you are climbing an active volcano!
Enter Thrihnukagigur Volcano, Iceland
For a volcanic bucket list adventure that’s possibly even more exciting than hiking up one, head to Iceland, where you can be lowered into one. Thrihnukagigur volcano last erupted 4,000 years ago, and it features a magma chamber that no longer contains any magma.
Tour operators will attach you to a basic lift structure and then lower you 120m into the multi-coloured chamber that could pass for something out of a fantasy novel. Be sure to check that tours are available before planning your trip. The operators announce dates on an annual basis, just in case the volcano becomes active again.
Drive The Pan-American Highway, Alaska – Argentina
Driving the Pan-American Highway is arguably the ultimate bucket list travel adventure. If you travel north to south, the almost 30,000km journey begins in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. It will take you through Canada and into the USA, where you will see towns and cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego.
After passing through San Antonio, Texas, you’ll cross the Mexican border and join the original Pan-American Highway in Laredo. When you get to the Darien Gap in Central America, you will need to fly from Panama to Colombia, while your car is sent by ship. The 80km stretch is the only part of the route you cannot drive across.
Once you’re reunited with your vehicle, you can travel through Ecuador, Peru and Chile, before entering Argentina. To reach the route’s southernmost point, you will need to cross to the island of Tierra del Fuego. It’s the ultimate road trip bucket list adventure and it requires plenty of time – and a good set of tyres!
As you can see, there’s an experience to thrill even the most ardent adrenalin junkie. Enjoy life-changing experiences as you tick off items on your list of adventures and see the world in a whole new way.
Tom’s travel writings are a testament to his insatiable curiosity and love for the road less traveled. Eschewing the typical tourist spots, Tom has built a reputation for uncovering hidden gems known only to locals.
From secluded mountain villages in the Himalayas to untouched beaches in the South Pacific, his adventures have taken him to the world’s most undiscovered corners.
Jump To a Section Below
- Top Bucket List Adventures
- Bloukrans Bridge Bungee Jumping, South Africa
- The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu, Peru
- Rafting In The Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Hike The Milford Track, New Zealand
- Dive The Great Blue Hole, Belize
- Trek To Everest Base Camp, Nepal
- Take The Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia-China
- Swim At Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- See The Northern Lights, the Arctic
- Climb Mount Rinjani, Indonesia
- Enter Thrihnukagigur Volcano, Iceland
- Drive The Pan-American Highway, Alaska – Argentina