Yawning at the thought of another rollercoaster? Has white water rafting got you rolling your eyes?
Well, adrenaline junkies, sit back and hold on tight. These aren’t your typical bungee jumps or run-of-the-mill zip lines.
We’ve searched for the tallest, the fastest and the wildest thrills out there that’ll unlock fears you never even knew you had.
Ranked in order from a little butterfly inducing to straight up death-defying, how many are you brave enough to do?
Disclaimer: We hope it goes without saying, some of these activities are pretty darn dangerous. So participate at your own risk, and don't go blaming us if you get yourself eaten by a bunch of hammerheads (we’re looking at you, number 4)!
10) Devil’s Pool – Victoria Falls, Zambia
Kicking things off with the world’s least relaxing infinity pool.
Take a dip on the edge of the third-largest waterfall on the planet, with over 500 million litres of water rushing past every minute.
CC image courtesy of METAL CIRCLE on Flickr
Located practically in the middle of the mile-wide falls, visitors have been braving the waters of Devil’s Pool for years—with the help of local guides, of course.
Despite the ridiculous height of 350ft, the pool is actually relatively safe, providing you’re a decent swimmer.
Although…just to spice things up, you do have the added danger of hungry hippos and stealthy crocs lurking up stream, but your guide should be keeping an eye out for those before you become a midday snack.
Since the pool isn’t anywhere near the river bank, you’ll need to take a boat tour to Livingstone Island and then wade downstream to reach it. You can book the boat tour alone, which starts from £100, and then opt in to include the swim anytime from August–December.
9) The world’s highest free fall – Johannesburg, South Africa
No bungee, no parachute…in fact, no harness at all.
Just you, a 30-storey drop and one big net.
The looming towers of the old Orlando Power Station are a prominent feature of the Soweto skyline. Decommissioned over 50 years ago, the towers now host a collection of extreme thrills and adventure activities.
Sure, the rock climbing wall and bungee jump look fun, but it’s the unique (and terrifying) SCAD free fall which earns a place on this list.
The SCAD, standing for Suspended Catch Air Device, is made up of a square net surrounded by air tubes, attached to break suspension. This contraption absorbs the force of your fall, allowing for a safe (yet intense!) landing.
At only £20 a go, it’s a pretty budget-friendly thrill to get the old adrenaline pumping. Not to mention, you get a free video of yourself hurtling towards the ground from multiple angles—meaning there’s plenty of footage of others braving the fall to check out before you condemn yourself.
8) The world’s ‘most dangerous’ hike – Mount Huashan, China
Traversing around a sheer cliff face with a 7000ft drop may sound like something reserved for professionals…but not at Mount Huashan! As long as you’re under 55 years old and over 4ft11, you’ve got the green light for this treacherous hiking trail.
Just be warned, although no official statistics have been released, this one is rumoured to have a death-toll hitting the hundreds.
Consisting of rickety planks and crooked iron stairs, it’s all down to you to safely navigate the route with the help of a small harness and 2 carabiners.
CC image courtesy of DoNot MissList on Flickr
Originally installed over 700 years ago by a Taoist priest, most planks have since been renovated by the government, who sadistically decided to keep them at a measly 1ft wide.
Until recently, the plank walk used to be a two-way thing! This meant hikers faced inevitable stand-offs where one of you needed to unclip your carabiner and crawl around the other.
Thankfully, these high-intensity crossings are no more since the update to a one-way route. Although, with hundreds of tourists flocking to the walk every day, it’s still pretty terrifying.
General admission to the mountain is £20, and those mandatory carabiners will set you back another £5. The total trekking time is around 3–5 hours, and we’d advise going between May and October. It gets pretty chilly in the winter, and you certainly don’t want numb fingers when you’re trying to reattach your harness.
7) The human catapult – Queenstown, New Zealand
Ever wondered what it would be like to soar through the clouds like a superhero? Well, if you’re ever in Queenstown, the Nevis Catapult will let you do just that–albeit a bit less graceful than Superman.
As you’re suspended in the air, near the edge of the mountain, you’ll get to watch your bungee stretch further and further across the canyon.
Then BOOM! You’re propelled 492ft through the sky, reaching speeds of 100kph in less than 1.5 seconds.
CC image courtesy of NZ TOUR on Flickr
This one isn’t the cheapest, costing £120, and you have to be over 13 years old to take part.
The Nevis Canyon is kind of a hot spot for daredevils, so if this doesn’t float your boat, there are tonnes of other scary thrills to try nearby. The Nevis Swing also caught our eye, as you get to take a friend along for the wild ride!
6) The Sky Bike – San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Coming in at number 6 we’ve got the cycling proficiency test from hell! Suspended 265ft above the Micos Canyon, it’s pedal power that gets you from A to B.
Unlike a regular zip line that’s over in a flash, here you’ve got over 700ft of cable to conquer, whilst doing your best to absorb the jaw-dropping views of the surrounding waterfalls.
CC image courtesy of The World by Road on Flickr
Gravity isn’t giving you any help across to the other side, so there’s no chickening out at the halfway point – once you start, you have to see it through.
On the plus side, this one’s pretty accessible to most. You don’t even need to know how to ride a bike, as balancing isn’t an issue – even your grandma could do it! As long as you’re over 8 years old and can reach the pedals, you’re good to go!
Currently, this sky bike seems to only be offered as a package with another ‘regular zip line’ (yaaawn), costing £45 for both.
5) The world’s longest commercial abseil - Maletsunyane Falls, Lesotho
Descending a sheer cliff face all alone is no easy feat. Factor in the 670ft drop between you and the ground and the cascading flow of water plummeting right next to you, and now you’ve got a real challenge.
After working up the courage to make it over the cliff edge, enjoy a moment of peace to take in the views. Being over 4 times higher than Niagara Falls, you can see for miles on a clear day.
CC image courtesy of rajarajaraja on Flickr
As you start your descent, the reality of just how exposed you are kicks in! With mountain birds swooping overhead and the immense spray of the water soaking you through. You really get up close and personal with nature in this one.
Operated by Semonkong Lodge, this is part of a two-day course where you’ll get trained on smaller rock walls before the big finish.
It costs £70 in total for the course, which includes a fair amount of hours hanging off cliffs, so you definitely get your “money’s worth”, time-wise.
Once it’s over, and you’re all euphoric from the adrenaline, what better way to continue the surreal vibes then with a donkey pub crawl. Bizarrely operated by the same company who run the abseil—and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
4) Shark Island - Malpelo Island, Colombia
The bleak Malpelo Island may look like an isolated place, but just beneath the waves hides an eerie secret…swarms of over 500 hammerhead sharks.
CC image courtesy of Manfred Thalmann on Flickr
You’ll have to join an organised tour to enter their watery world. On a typical dive, you’ll see schools of 300 hammerheads along with reef sharks, silky sharks and whale sharks. Sorry to keep hammering it home (excuse the pun) but it’s a whole lotta sharks!
The scenes look like something from an aquatic horror movie, with endless silhouettes of looming predators gliding silently past.
Despite hammerheads being ferociously aggressive hunters, they’re pretty chill to humans, so this one’s safer than you might think.
It takes an average of 32 hours to reach the island from the mainland, so trips usually last 7–10 days to make it worthwhile. Currently, there are only 4 dive live-aboard boats operating tours here, and they cost around £4500 to charter…so maybe save this one for when you win the lottery!
3) Hell Hole Caves—Santa Cruz, California
Ahh spelunking, everyone's favourite subterranean, claustrophobia-inducing pastime. And…with a friendly name like Hell Hole, what could possibly go wrong?
Not to be confused with the other Hell Hole in West Virginia (who knew there were so many?!), this complex cave system is far more secretive.
Hidden in the Wilder Ranch State Park, the narrow entry shaft is easily missed. So, here’s a guide if you’re crazy enough to go looking for it.
CC image courtesy of B Heliker on Flickr
Once you’ve wriggled inside, the daylight fades and the floor immediately steepens. Ahead are a series of endless passages, some barely 1.5ft wide.
We hope you’ve got a good sense of direction, because this is one suuuper disorientating labyrinth.
The most popular ‘room’, if you can find it, is one called the Hall of Faces. Aptly decorated with a collection of sinister clay masks, likely made by previous explorers or the monsters from The Descent (who knows?).
But…before reaching the demonic face room, you’ll have to overcome a bunch of other passages with equally appealing names, such as ‘the man-trap chute’ and ‘the birthing canal’.
Oh, and did we forget to mention the spiders?!
Ending on a positive note, it is completely free to enter!
2) Surfing at Praia do Norte - Nazare, Portugal
Surfing is probably something most adrenaline junkies have tried at least once in their life, but the unique oceanography around Praia do Norte makes these waves a little different.
CC image courtesy of Rafael Riancho on Flickr
Due to an underwater canyon, the incoming swells are occasionally funnelled into some of the world's biggest, monster waves.
Seriously, they're humungous – just watch Sebastian Steudtner break the world record here for the largest wave ever surfed!
Ok…so this one certainly isn’t for the average Joe. We’re not kidding, if you’re not a professional, it’s kind of a death wish. Buuut for those with experience, you can get up close and personal with some gnarly waves anywhere from 50 to 80ft high.
If you’re down for spectating, visit in the winter, when the colossal waves are at their largest. The lookout spot on Sitio da Nazare is the best seat in the house.
1) Bungee jumping from a helicopter into an active volcano - Pucon, Chile
Yep, you read that right. Someone has honestly decided that bungee jumping + active volcano = a perfectly logical activity.
So, since it really doesn’t get much more extreme than this, we just had to make it our number 1 craziest thrill. And trust us, from start to finish, this is one heck of a ride.
Beginning the journey, you’ll be perched on the edge of a helicopter reaching speeds of up to 130kph and a height of 10,000ft. You’ll then be flown into the caldera of Villarrica Volcano, which is still very much alive and kicking.
CC image courtesy of luke sergent on Flickr
Now it’s bungee time, where you’ll leap into the abyss, falling within 700ft of actual molten lava. Just to emphasize, that is literally a pit of bubbling fire, hotter than 1200 degrees Celsius!
After completing this death-defying bounce a few times, you’re left hanging…literally. Since you can't exactly be hoisted back up to the helicopter, you've now got a 35-mile ride back to the base, again reaching speeds of 130kph, but this time flying through the air suspended by a bungee.
Since it’s not really an everyday kinda thing, this is a made-to-order activity from bungee.com, with one hefty price tag of £12,000 - ouch! So until we all get mega rich, we’ll just have to live vicariously through others-like this guy, who went full James Bond and jumped in a 3-piece suit.
So there we have it, adrenaline junkies…we hope you feel equally inspired and petrified.
Were you insane enough to try any of these? We demand the pics, or it didn’t happen! Or do you know any spine-chilling activities we missed off our list? Let us know!
And if we could end on one final piece of advice – never skimp on travel insurance!