Showcasing the best expeditions for Canadians from around the globe.

Australia

Scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef

It’s still there! As the largest coral reef in the world, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef gives divers an unmatchable submarine experience. The first coral reef system recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1981, it is home to countless species of plant and animal life from colourful corals, sea squirts and anemones to marine turtles, dolphins and dugongs.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular snorkeling and scuba diving locations in the world, with dive tour operators offering options for all skill levels, from novices to professionals.

Great Barrier Reef via WikiCommons

North America

Heli-skiing in the Canadian Rockies

For those who have exhausted every other downhill option, heli-skiing offers an exciting way to get exceptional height. With helicopters departing from resorts such as Whistler Blackcomb, the Canadian Rockies host 90% of the world’s heli-skiing.

A ski guide choses the best location depending on the weather. Afterwards a helicopter carries adventurers to the drop zone, where they begin their descent through alpine territory that would otherwise be untouchable.

Heli-Skiing, Whistler, British Columbia

Tidal bore rafting, Nova Scotia

This one should be on everyone’s bucket list! This is a unique experience in the world. You follow the raging tide as it goes out from the Bay of Fundy into the Atlantic Ocean…and it’s a wild muddy, exhilarating experience of a lifetime! The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, which is why they’re so powerful. Check the Tourism Nova Scotia site.

You’ll experience 8-20 foot high waves as you rush along in a zodiac down the Shubenacadie River in the south of the province. This is of course, a summer experience from late June to early September. Afterwards, you can go mud sliding which everyone loves! Just be sure to bring a change of clothes!

Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. Image courtesy Tourism Nova Scotia

Europe

Ice climbing the Jostedalsbreen in Norway

Nearly 600,000 people visit Jostedalsbreen National Park in southern Norway each year to enjoy its varied terrain, including a climb of the eponymous Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in mainland Europe. Water melting from the glacier creates beautiful rivers, a well-known attraction of the Park.

Climbing the Jostedalsbreen is noted for being tough but rewarding, with enchanting views that cannot be found elsewhere on the planet. You can find guided tours, which is recommended if you don’t have any or much climbing experience.

Blue Ice Caves, Norway

Hiking the Landmannalaugar in Iceland

Located in the Fjallbark Natural Reserve, this series of hiking trails in Iceland’s interior is considered one of the top hiking trails in the world! Incredible vistas, fresh water rivers and stunning skies!

The best time to visit is summer of course and usually July or August. There are guided tours and camping is allowed. You’ll still need warm clothing, but the temperatures can be quite nice.

Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Central America

Sandboarding the Cerro Negro volcano

Surfing the dunes may have gone mainstream in the recent years, but zipping down the slopes of Nicaragua’s youngest volcano is an adventure of a lifetime. Named Cerro Negro, or “Black Hill,” this volcano is covered with black ash. While it often smokes, its last true eruption was almost 20 years ago.

Sandboarders, also called volcanoboarders, frequent this site for its otherworldly landscape and for bragging rights—to say they have personally boarded down an active volcano.

Cerro Negro, Nicaragua

Africa

White water rafting the Zambezi river

One of the longest rivers in Africa, the Zambezi forms a barrier between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. After flowing through Victoria Falls, it passes through a large basalt gorge where many come to enjoy white water rafting.

As a grade 5 river, the Zambezi provides a wild ride for rafting enthusiasts. To qualify, guests must have previous training in manoeuvring. You’ll definitely want to go with a guide though. This is quite a river and unless you have a lot of experience, going it alone isn’t recommended.

Zambizi River Rafting

Oceania/Zealandia

Sailing the Bay of Islands off New Zeland

With 144 islands waiting to be explored, the Bay of Islands attracts adventurers of every age to sail the azure waters of New Zealand. Wildlife in the area includes whales, gannets and even penguins.

There are many charter sailing tours to choose from with hubs at Russell, New Zealand’s first capital, and Paihia, sometimes called the “Jewel of the Bay of Islands.”

Bay of Islands, New Zealand (Courtesy: Tourism New Zealand)

Middle East

Hiking through Wadi Bani Awf in Oman

Oman boasts some of the best hiking and rock climbing locations with unique geological formations and a mountainous, dry terrain dotted with palm trees. The rugged cliffs of Wadi Bani Awf are a great place for a trek with accommodating descents for less practiced hikers.

Guides are recommended when traversing this rocky and dangerous region. This part of Oman is generally quite safe as it is a popular tourist destination.

Wadi Bani Awf, Oman (Courtesy Tourism Oman)

The ancient ruins of Petra in Jordan

Located in Jordan next to Israel, the ruins of Petra are famous worldwide. You may even remember them from the first Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie?

The ruins are stunning and you can hike around the surrounding area. You’ll want a guided tour for safety and due to the government’s efforts to protect the ruins. Best to go in the cooler winter months from January to March before it gets super hot!

Petra, Jordan

South America

Paragliding over the Lima coastline

From the Miraflores district of Lima, paragliders take flight to enjoy the expansive views of Peru’s capital. The sheer cliffs along the Pacific from which the best aerial views can be attained are lush with greenery.

For a gentler launch, you can also take off from the sandy shore of the Costa Verde beach at the bottom of the cliff. Some days, the skies are filled with paraglider and their brightly coloured sails!

Lima, paragliding. Image courtesy www.airpano.com

Chile and the Patagonia region

With stunning mountain landscapes, humpback whales and amazing trails, Chile has a lot to offer. The Coyhaique region has some of the world’s most stunning trails and incredibly delicious dishes too!

The autumn is an amazing time to tour here, but remember, the seasons are flipped! So autumn there is April to June which is spring in Canada. Summer is November to January, when it’s lush and much warmer. If you go in the fall it can be quite cool, getting down to just +1C at night and +1-C in the day. There are many excellent tour companies in Chile.

Patagonia region, Chile. Image courtesy Travel Chile

Asia

Horse trekking through Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia

The horse is an important figure in the history of Mongolia since the time when nomadic peoples crossed the country primarily on horseback. We often think of Mongolia as an arid landscape, but this part of the country is lush and filled with trees!

The Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, featured as one of the destinations in the 10th season of /ITCThe Amazing Race/ITC, is one of the most visited locales for horseback trekking. It is also a great spot for camping. You can also take part in the building of a traditional ger, commonly known as a yurt.

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia


Cliff jumping from Railay Beach in Thailand

Widely known for its limestone cliffs and accessible only by sea, Thailand’s Railay Beach was named one of the Top 25 beaches in Asia by TripAdvisor. Adventure-seekers come in droves each year to tackle the towering ridges.

Aside from climbing, jumping from these hillsides into the ocean below is another option, though some areas can be rocky beneath the waves and caution must be used. There’s even the Laguna Phuket Marathon if you want to try an exotic running event!

Railay Beach, Thailand

More Inspiration: Maybe you’d rather a Wellness Vacation this year? Check out our Top 9 Wellness Vacation spots!

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