8 Unusual Activities To Try When You’re On Holiday

The world's best places to have a go at something new.

24/05/2017 11:45 BST

Making friends with huskies, or watching a manta ray ballet? Riding a jungle railway, or bungee jumping off a bridge? From one-of-a-kind wilderness thrills to city tours you’ve never heard of, the world is stuffed with opportunities for adventure. Don’t just dream about it – get packing, hop on a plane and make it happen.

  • 1 Drive a husky team in Lapland, Sweden
    jpa1999 via Getty Images
    Dog-sledding is the ultimate winter wilderness experience. You can opt to sit on a guide-driven sled, wrapped up in thermals and mittens, but why not take things a step further and have a bash at driving your own team? You’ll glide through snowy landscapes, silent apart from the whoosh of your sled and the sound of paws on snow. Resilient and good-natured, huskies are born to run – and they love a good cuddle at the end of the trek.
  • 2 Ride up to the hill country of central Sri Lanka by train, Sri Lanka
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    If you’re so tired of your daily commute that the joy of train travel is a distant memory, here’s a surefire way to recapture the magic. Sri Lanka’s famous route from steamy Colombo to the cool highland tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya is one of Asia’s classic railway journeys. For an extra special experience, book a seat in the observation car at the rear for fine views of temples, neat rural stations and jungle-clad hillsides.
  • 3 Go hot air ballooning over the city of Melbourne, Australia
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    Think the best way to go city sightseeing is to trundle around in an open-top bus? Think again. Sophisticated, style-conscious Melbourne has a super-cool alternative – it’s one of the few major cities in the world where you can float over the rooftops in a hot air balloon, for fascinating aerial views of the River Yarra and the forest of buildings on its banks.
  • 4 Swim with manta rays in an Indian Ocean lagoon, Maldives
    Bernard Radvaner via Getty Images
    Whether it’s their graceful movements, their ghostly presence or their frankly sci-fi appearance, there’s something intriguing about manta rays. Each year, from June to October, they assemble in large numbers in the calm waters of Hanifaru Bay, part of the Maldives’ Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This protected area is world one of the world’s best places to swim or snorkel with these gentle giants. It’s even possible to sign up for a “manta on call” service, which will alert you when rays have been spotted so you can jump straight in a boat.
  • 5 Climb up to Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue before the crowds arrive, Brazil
    Flavio Veloso via Getty Images
    It’s been voted the most spectacular urban view in the world. With panoramas this special, why risk having your sightlines blocked by a jostling mob? Join an early morning VIP tour, and you’ll be one of the first to arrive at the summit of Corcovado Mountain. Take your place at the feet of Cristo Redentor, 700 metres above Brazil’s most effervescent city, and savour the peace.
  • 6 Explore Florida’s lakes by seaplane, USA
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    Soaring over Florida’s Lake County in a seaplane is a wonderful way to recapture the intimacy and romance of flight. With its old-school styling and low-tech-looking controls, the Piper J3 Cub Floatplane is an absolute classic. You’ll find plenty of aircraft like these buzzing around Tavares, self-styled seaplane capital of the world. For stunning views of the lakes, book a sightseeing flight or, for a real taste of adventure, treat yourself to a flying lesson.
  • 7 Invent the perfect cocktail on a whisky tour of Toronto, Canada
    Brian Macdonald via Getty Images
    With a host of distilleries and strong links to Scotland, whisky-drinking is a Toronto tradition. To tap into the scene, book a whisky-themed tour of the city. Visiting classic and cool whisky bars, you’ll hear about their colourful history, from the scandal-filled prohibition era to the 21st century organic micro-distillery revolution. You’ll also pick up tasting terms, cheese and chocolate pairing tips and cocktail ideas galore.
  • 8 Bungee jump off the Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa
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    Spanning a mighty gorge, the Bloukrans is the world’s highest bungee jump from a public road bridge. As you leap from the arch beneath the highway – a dizzying 216 metres above the Bloukrans River – buses, cars and trucks may be crossing the gorge above you. Feeling a little wobbly after your stomach-churning feat? Nature’s Valley, nearby, is the perfect spot to chill out – it’s a lovely coastal hamlet, nestled between Tsitsikamma Forest and a wild, empty Indian Ocean beach.