23 wild travel experiences to add to your bucket list

Whether you’re following in the footsteps of grey wolves, swimming with manta rays in the Maldives or boarding down a volcano, these wild adventures will get your heart racing. Hold onto your hats.

From high-octane experiences in Abu Dhabi to the world’s most incredible hikes, these are the best wild adventures our amazing planet has to offer.

Add these experiences to your adventure travel bucket list and explore the deepest corners of the Amazon, wild pockets of Australia and the ochre-dusted desert of Arizona.

1. Tasmania’s Three Capes Adventure

From its wild and windswept landscapes to its curious critters, Tasmania was made for multi-day treks. So lace up your hiking boots and bring your sense of awe to Tasmania Walking Company’s new Three Capes Adventure.

The three-day fully-guided hike takes you 45 kilometres across the Tasman Peninsula. A wild adventure that will have you witnessing end-of-the-Earth capes, jagged coastlines and untouched forests.

While challenging during the day, there are nightly rewards and plenty of comforts. You’ll enjoy cosy private eco-accommodation at Crescent Bay Camp. Night two is spent at Crescent Lodge, where gourmet meals are prepared while you sip a flute of sparkling wine.

Tasmania Walking Company takes you on all manner of wild adventures across three capes
The Three Capes Adventure takes you from mountains to beaches © Tasmania Walking Co.

2. Walk in the footsteps of Yellowstone’s wolves

Goosebumps are guaranteed when you sign up for an exclusive outing to spot Yellowstone grey wolves in the wild with Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.

In collaboration with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris and Yellowstone Safari Company, the expedition offers insights into the complexity of this immense national park ecosystem.

The experience begins with a private flight over the greater Yellowstone basin, before you touch down to explore on foot with a naturalist guide. The Four Seasons ‘Day with the Wolves’ adventure accommodates up to six guests and includes a customised, full-day experience as well as all meals and drinks.

A portion of proceeds from each trip is donated to both the Yellowstone Wolf Project and Environmental Defense Fund in an effort to preserve and protect the grey wolf population of Yellowstone and the local environment.

Four Seasons Jackson Hole's 'Day with Wolves' is a truly wild adventure
Grey wolves © Raphael Riverst/Shutterstock

3. Explore wild Australia

AAT Kings has been taking adventurous travellers around Australia for more than a century. The company’s pioneering spirit remains today, offering some of the best wild adventures in Australia.

South Australian Outback Adventure (eight days) 

The South Australian outback humbles, with its prehistoric escarpments, vast salt plains and opal caves. Epic stargazing is guaranteed. This itinerary is as much about connecting you to the countryside’s attractions as it is about connecting you to Country. You have the chance to walk on Adnyamathanha Country in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges with its Custodians, the Yura people, while staying at Wilpena Pound Resort. Take in the eye-popping colours and shapes of Lake Eyre, sacred Ochre Cliffs and the moonscape surrounding Coober Pedy’s opal mines.

Outback Explorer: Uluru to Adelaide (four days) 

1,600 kilometres and countless wild adventures… This is your backdrop from the Red Centre to South Australia via Coober Pedy and Port Augusta. The colours of this countryside dazzle: pindan soil spiked with silvery eucalypts, horizon-bending blue skies, the glitter of parched salt lakes. It’s a landscape as harsh as it is beautiful. Look out for Giant ripper lizards and dinosaurs at Wadlata Outback Centre. 

Queensland Spirit: Heart of the Outback (seven days) 

Things are bigger in the Queensland outback, from the colours to the working stations, the dinosaurs and the country characters. The latter come with plenty of swagger, and just as many stories about life on the land. This itinerary takes a deep dive into Australian history, from the Qantas Founders Museum to Winton, where Banjo Patterson penned ‘Waltzing Matilda’. You’ll follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs and watch the Queensland countryside change on the Spirit of the Outback.

For more information visit aatkings.com

4. Meander with moose in Alaska

Anchorage might be Alaska’s largest city, but it has a small-town vibe. One you can enjoy with a wonderment of wildlife in your company. The city is home to 1,500 moose, which means you can be snapping photos of one of these antlered animals within minutes of arriving in town.

Alaska is the only place in the United States with black, brown and polar bears. At nearby Chugach State Park, you’ll be able to glimpse the former two, while Alaska Zoo guarantees a spotting of the latter.

Or soar in a seaplane over Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, inaccessible by road. You’ll glide over forest-clad volcanic mountains and watch as bears forage for salmon in gem-like turquoise lakes.

Eagles and ravens also call Anchorage home, while puffins can be spotted in Kenai Fjords National Park out of Seward, which hosts two types during the season: the tufted and horned, best spotted by boat. During the summer months, you can also spot humpback, minke and killer whales. Not to mention sea lions, seals and sea otters year-round.

Come back in winter to chase the aurora borealis. Many of the prime viewing locations are easily accessed from the city, and there are plenty of Anchorage guides with an eye for those magical Northern Lights.

See moose in Anchorage, Alaska
One of Anchorage’s 1,500 moose © Wayde Carroll

5. Wild adventures on Hong Kong Islands

Composed of more than 250 islands, Hong Kong offers so much more than just urban adventures. Travellers can explore a treasure trove of natural wonders on the islands including stunning beaches, hiking trails and mesmerising geological formations. 

Watersports enthusiasts will love sailing, kayaking, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, stand-up paddleboarding and windsurfing.

Visit Hong Kong’s smallest inhabited island, Ap Chau, to learn about its Tanka culture and take in the breathtaking sights of a UNESCO Global Geopark. Or see the world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha on Lantau Island, rock climb on rugged Tung Lung Chau and explore abandoned buildings on Soko Islands.

Wild adventures on Hong Kong Islands
Sai Kung East Country Park © HKTB

6. Take an Arizona road trip

Arizona has so much to see after cacti and the 445-kilometre-long Grand Canyon. Driving the iconic Route 66 is one of the best ways to experience the highlights of this nature-blessed southwestern state.

Set off on an incredible six-day road trip from Phoenix to Lake Powell through vast wilderness, stopping in quaint rural towns and at otherworldly landmarks. Don’t miss helicopter charters over dramatic red canyons and ziplining through pine forests. Then watching a Sedona sunset or paddling through emerald waters at Horseshoe Bend are wild adventures you won’t soon forget. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon © Tim Hart/Unsplash

7. Discover new frontiers with Abercrombie & Kent

From West Africa to Saudi Arabia and Antarctica, now’s the time to break out of your comfort zone and take that unforgettable Abercrombie & Kent trip. Here are some of A&K’s most wild adventures.

The call of Africa

Festivals are a vital part of Ghana’s colourful culture. On an Abercrombie & Kent small group tour you can join the Ashanti people at the Akwasidae Festival where you’ll experience the ancient rituals, storytelling, music and dance that make this place so vibrant.

A Saudi history lesson

The ancient Saudi city of AlUla has only recently opened to international tourists, but stretches back to the Stone Age. Travel north to see the honey-coloured tombs at Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. Then onwards to explore At-Turaif, Diriyah, home of the royal family.

Culture in Colombia

Colombia is a land of extremes. Join an Abercrombie & Kent guide and travel through lush rainforest, from the European-style capital, Bogotá, to the fertile coffee country. In the north, explore Villa de Leyva, then try a community cooking class in the vibrant port city of Cartagena.

Penchant for Polar Bears

One of the best ways to see polar bears in the Arctic is on a cruise with Abercrombie & Kent. Board a luxury expedition vessel to seek out these incredible creatures in the Svalbard islands. Discover the beautiful lava fields and ice caves of Iceland’s Westfjords and visit polar research stations.

New Year’s on the edge of the Earth

Fancy ringing in the New Year on the edge of the Earth – literally? In 2023, you can embark on a Christmas and New Year’s Eve festive expedition cruise. Spend 15 nights onboard an exclusively-chartered luxurious mega-yacht. Christmas Day you’ll be sipping cocktails in South Georgia, New Year’s is on the Scotia Sea, and the first day of 2024 is spent on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Go beyond with A&K
Go beyond with A&K

8. Wild adventures in Taranaki

There aren’t many places in the world where you can be on the beach in the morning, digging your toes into dramatic black sand then traversing a mountain in the afternoon. Taranaki on the North Island of New Zealand is one. 

Taranaki is bursting with wild adventures. Drive Surf Highway 45 for scenic and surf drama, pausing at Cape Egmont Lighthouse and stopping for green rooms and beach swims. Explore Mount Taranaki, a dormant volcano that is so pretty it was the backdrop of the 2003 film The Last Samurai. Then cool off in one of the waterfalls in the surrounding Egmont National Park. 

Wander the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway. The 13-kilometre promenade stretches along the seafront dotted with public art to admire. You can spot wildlife in one of Taranaki’s three marine reserves, or scale the 156-metre Paritutu Rock for sweeping views over New Plymouth and the Sugar Loaf Islands. 

Drive to Tongapōrutu to take in the drama of the White Cliffs and Three Sisters rock formations. Don’t miss mountain biking around Lake Mangamahoe. Mount Taranaki presides over the lake, which makes for a serene backdrop on your cycle.

For a more low-key adventure, stroll through Taranaki’s many seasonal gardens, including Pukekura Park, Tūpare, Pukeiti, Hollard Gardens and King Edward Park. Or, hit the culture trail at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, New Zealand’s only dedicated contemporary art gallery.

9. Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef

With a new floating pontoon to sleep on, Lady Musgrave Experience‘s tours offer a window to the watery world of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. This innovative wild adventure experience holds Advanced Eco Certification and includes a visit to turtle-inhabited Lady Musgrave Island.  

Beginning in Bundaberg, this day tour allows guests to snorkel, explore untouched dive locations and visit the Lady Musgrave HQ pontoon. The three-level pontoon has a zero-carbon footprint and is brilliantly set up for reef exploration and relaxation. Guests can stay overnight, sleeping in a queen glamping bed under the stars or in the underwater observatory.

The humpback whales that migrate through the area from July to October are best seen with the two-day ‘Reef and Whale’ package. While whales are only in the area for a few months, turtles are year-round, and Lady Musgrave Island is one of the best places in the world to glimpse them. Green, loggerhead and endangered hawksbills call this postcard-perfect part of the world home. 

Stay on the Lady Musgrave HQ pontoon between November and January to witness mother turtles nesting on the beach. While from January to March, marvel at the sight of thousands of turtle hatchlings busting out from their sandy nests and racing toward the sea. 

Ocean enthusiasts can sign up for a two-night, three-day learn-to-dive course. Yoga and wellness retreats are also held here on occasion, with Mother Nature sure to ease you into a Zen state.

10. Hiking in Hong Kong

Beyond Hong Kong’s bright lights a host of hiking opportunities await. Away from the cityscapes hugging Victoria Harbour, more than 70 per cent of Hong Kong is made up of nature reserves, parks, beaches, wetlands and marine reserves.

Hong Kong’s rustic hiking trails weave through lush countryside and along pristine beaches. Dragon’s back is Hong Kong’s best urban hike, offering soaring views across the city skyline. Hike The Peak and you’ll be rewarded with epic vistas over Victoria Harbour, while Sunset Peak is best for end-of-day drama. Then test your legs with the 495-metre climb up Lion Rock, or tackle High Junk Peak for an enviable outlook over Clear Water Bay.

The best part? All of these incredible walks, and more, are on Hong Kong Island, easily accessible by public bus.

Hiking in Sai Kung East Country Park
Rock formations in Sai Kung East Country Park © Andrew Lao

11. Explore Kakadu

One of Australia’s largest national parks, Kakadu is home to dramatic landscapes, abundant wildlife and cascade-laced gorges ripe with the promise of wild adventures. Explore this outback paradise and enjoy unrivalled birdwatching, scenic billabong cruises and some of Australia’s most spectacular sunsets.

Kakadu is also home to significant First Nations cultural sites, which visitors can explore with the guidance of Traditional Owners. Kurrung (dry season) is a great time to visit if you want to see wildlife at its most prolific. The waters have receded, offering the best viewing of crocodiles, buffalo, brumbies, wild pigs and even giant snakes. 

Or, travel during wet season to see the Kakadu of the postcards. Kakadu’s raging waterfalls and brimming wetlands filled with water lilies, and the savannah grasses are lush and verdant. A variety of unique accommodation options & experiences can be found at kakadutourism.com.

Overlooking Kakadu, an incredible place for wild adventures
The Kakadu ultimate outlook © Emilie Ristevski

12. Wild adventures in Hawaii with Kailani Tours

Looking for treks through wild volcanic landscapes and lush cloud forests? How about sampling tropical drops on a brewery visit? Kailani Tours offers a wealth of experiences on Hawaii’s Big Island that are sure to ignite your spirit of adventure. 

The ‘Deluxe Volcano Experience’ takes you to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) at dusk to witness the fiery glow of the lava lake at its most visible. You’ll enjoy a three-course dinner at Kilauea Lodge before trekking to the molten lake. 

For those on a tight schedule, the ‘Big Island Circle Tour’ covers the entire island. This wild adventure offers the perfect teaser of the different districts and micro-climates that make up this tropical paradise. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, lunch at Volcano Winery and a visit to the scenic Rainbow Falls are among the highlights. 

Go off the beaten track with Kailani’s ‘Wild and Scenic Volcano Adventure’. You’ll cruise along the rolling hills of Waimea to Akaka Falls and Onomea Bay via the Hamakua Coast. Then to HVNP to explore some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes. 

Craving a culinary adventure? Embark on the ‘Coffee, Cloud Forest and Brewery Tour’ where you’ll walk the grounds of ancient fishponds and linger on the misty trails of the Kona Cloud Forest. Visit a local coffee farm before winding down the mountain to taste local brews.

No matter which tour you choose, you’ll travel in total comfort. It’s the little luxuries that make a tour with Kailani special. Hot and cold towel service, snacks, beverages and rain jackets are all included. Kailani’s incredible guides are specialists in five-star service, combining years of industry experience, local knowledge and a passion for sharing the history and culture of The Paradise State.

Exploring the Hapuna Coast with Kailani Tours
The Hapuna Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island © Max Font

13. Adventure in Abu Dhabi

With soaring dunes and impressive sand valleys, Abu Dhabi’s desertscape is a natural adventure wonderland. Adrenaline-seekers should add this UAE gem to their travel bucket list. Dune bashing is a highlight – the ultimate thrill-inducing way to explore the depths of the Empty Quarter desert. 

The Yas Marina Circuit is another must-see, the location of the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and one of the world’s most technologically advanced tracks. The Circuit offers thrilling drive experiences, as well as go-karting and tours.

At the base of Jebel Hafeet mountain in Al Ain, Wadi Adventure is the first whitewater rafting, kayaking and surfing facility in the Middle East. Hook on to the zipline and take a ride over the park, traverse the climbing wall and get a little wild at the wakeboarding terrain park.

Explore Abu Dhabi’s underwater world at the largest coral reef in the UAE, Ras Ghanada. Or embark on an island safari at Sir Bani Yas, home to 17,000 free-roaming animals. Head to Reem Island to experience the world’s largest indoor snow park, bookmarked to open later this year.

Read: 14 awesome things to do in Abu Dhabi

Dune bashing in Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter © Katiekk/Shutterstock.

14. Explore culture in Wilpena Pound

Remote, ravishing and deeply spiritual, Wilpena Pound is the kind of place that humbles – in the best possible way. A visit to this pocket of South Australia’s Ikara-Flinders Ranges will put life into perspective.

540 kilometres north of Adelaide, Wilpena Pound boasts 90,000 hectares of red peaks, gorges and valleys. Here, mind-bending striated rock formations create an enormous natural amphitheatre (the Pound), providing a window through 800 million years of the Earth’s history.

This is Adnyamathanha Country, and its Custodians are rightfully passionate about it. Visit Wilpena Pound Resort to truly immerse yourself in the history, culture and mystique of this awe-inspiring place. 

As one of only a few First Nations-owned and -operated resorts, Wilpena Pound Resort’s hallmark feature is its Aboriginal cultural experiences.

With 50,000 years of knowledge, the Yura guides provide an unrivalled insight into their land and one of Australia’s natural wonders, on a range of walking, helicopter and 4WD tours.

Read: Uncover the history of Wilpena Pound with incredible Indigenous cultural tours

15. Raft Bighorn Sheep Canyon

You’re guaranteed a wild ride at Colorado’s Bighorn Sheep Canyon. This foamy stretch along the Arkansas River is a hot spot for whitewater rafting.

A popular choice for beginner and intermediate rafters, it has class I-III rapids dotted with peaceful areas of crystalline water where you can take in the majesty of the river canyon.

The area lives up to its name with ample opportunities to see Colorado’s state mammals as well as red-tailed hawks and mule deer. Combine your thrilling trip with a glass-domed train ride on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, or an overnight riverfront camp.

A wild adventure is guaranteed when you raft Bighorn Sheep Canyon
The spectacular Royal Canyon © Eve Nagode

16. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Blue Mountains

Seeking a fresh perspective? Enjoy a picnic in the sky at Scenic World – an experience that is at once exhilarating and serene.

Perched above the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains National Park, the Beyond Skyway experience takes four guests out on the iconic Skyway cable car. Climb through the hatch and onto the roof of the cabin to soak in views of Katoomba Falls, Mount Solitary and the Three Sisters.

If the sights leave you light-headed, sit back on the picnic rug, signature mocktail or toasty hot chocolate in hand. Back in the cable car, toast to your unforgettable outlook with a glass of bubbly.

17. Canary Islands Surfari

Heralded as ‘the Hawaii of Europe’, the Canary Islands have long been a top choice of surfers worldwide. The region offers balmy waters, volcanic reefs and plenty of breaks to suit all levels and tastes.

The best swells here can be found from October to April and wave seekers can make the most of them with an exhilarating Surfari experience.

Soak up the Spanish sun aboard a luxury catamaran for Europe’s first and only all-inclusive surf charter. Guided by local surfers, you and up to 10 surfers will discover the wildest parts of the Canaries, chasing the forecasts and lingering at secret surfing spots accessible only by boat. Fuel comes courtesy of a private chef and a 24-pack of Canarian beer.

18. Stay at Canada’s Arcana nature retreat

To connect with nature is to reconnect with the soul. Do just that at Arcana, a self-directed nature retreat hidden in Toronto woodland. Designed for minimal environmental impact, the mirrored stainless-steel exterior renders the cabins practically invisible in the wilderness.

No luxury is spared in your forest abode which features a queen-sized bed, generous bathroom, enormous custom windows and chef-prepared meal kits for you to cook in the cabin’s kitchenette.

A short wander through the woods, you’ll find a cedar sauna and cold plunge pool. Your stay is enhanced by wellbeing rituals – think sound therapy and a device-free Analog Pavilion – sure to leave you feeling grounded, inspired and restored.

Arcana's invisible cabins blend in with the wild
Immerse yourself in nature at Arcana © Andrew Latraille

19. Mountain highs with Aurora Expeditions

If imposing mountain ranges, cascading rivers, glittering glaciers and azure lakes sound like your recipe for wild adventures, Aurora Expeditions‘ treks through the Patagonian wilderness are the perfect bite.

These two 10-day itineraries dovetail seamlessly with the award-winning company’s Antarctic sailings. The guided journeys are limited to 20 hikers, allowing you to immerse yourself in the vibrant alpine environment.

The ‘Patagonia Discovery Trek’ takes in two of the region’s national parks and the famed Perito Moreno Glacier. The ‘Torres del Paine Explorer’ itinerary will have you traversing the renowned W Trek and the lesser known Lazo-Weber trail. Keep your eyes peeled for rheas, flamingos and guanacos.

Hiking Torres del Paine is a wild adventure
Torres del Paine © Aurora Expeditions

20. Camp along the historic Trans Bhutan Trail

Follow in the footsteps of royals, monks and merchants as you traverse the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail. The breathtaking walkway recently reopened after 60 years of disuse and is now the focus of the 11-day ‘Camp the Trans Bhutan Trail’ with G Adventures.

Beginning and ending in the historic town of Paro, this modern-day pilgrimage will have you winding through diverse landscapes and villages untouched by time. The beauty of joining such a responsible tour company is the authentic glimpse you’ll get into rural and spiritual life in the tiny mountain kingdom.

Spend your time between picturesque camping spots and authentic homestays along the 403-kilometre track. So, lace up your hiking boots – the world’s happiest country and the Trans Bhutan Trail are ready whenever you are.

Tiger's Nest monastery in Bhutan
Discover hidden monasteries on the historic Trans Bhutan Trail © Ugyen Tenzin/Unsplash

21. Swim with manta rays

The InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is the backdrop for a new conservation quest, set around the untouched Raa Atoll. This special location is mere miles from Hanifaru Bay – the largest known manta ray feeding spot in the world.

In collaboration with the resort-based Manta Trust organisation, the luxury property is hosting a ‘Manta Retreat’. It will feature a thoughtfully curated, hands-on program to educate, explore and raise awareness for manta rays in their natural habitat.

Guests can get personally acquainted with manta rays while gaining exclusive insights into the work of the Manta Trust. After a day of talks, workshops and snorkelling, sink into the luxurious king bed of your Overwater Pool Villa.

You’ll also enjoy a welcome cocktail, a house reef night snorkelling experience, daily breakfast, sunset cruise on a luxury yacht with champagne and canapes and return seaplane transfers as part of the experience.

Swimming with manta rays is one of the most incredible wild adventures on the planet
The InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort

22. Volcano boarding in Nicaragua

Boarding down a volcano? This experience isn’t for the faint-hearted. From the Nicaraguan city of Léon, you’ll travel to the region’s most active volcano.

The awe-inspiring slopes of Cerro Negro rise out of the steamy tropical jungle, beckoning thrill-seekers with the promise of wild adventures. Following an hour-long hike to the summit, you’ll be rewarded with an adrenaline-charged slide down the ash-covered slopes, hitting hair-raising speeds. Protective gear, transfers and a celebratory beverage are all included in your tour. 

Volcano boarding in Nicaragua is a wild experience
Preparing to slide © Ben Turnbull/Unsplash

23. Uncharted waters in the Amazon

Venture into labyrinthine waterways fringed by rainforest on Rainforest Cruises’ traditional riverboat designed to explore the deepest parts of the Central Amazon Conservation Complex.

The sustainable Tucano motor yacht embarks on sunrise paddles, hikes and visits to local villages. Want to explore on your own terms? You’ll have access to kayaks, paddleboards and snorkel equipment to get a taste of this uninhabited wilderness.

But the spectacles don’t stop when the sun sets. At nightfall you’ll set out in search of night-blooming flowers and nocturnal creatures lurking in the waters and in the trees. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive caiman and great potoos. These are just two of over 4,000 species of fauna that inhabit this spectacular biome.

Wild adventures abound on the Amazon River
Sail the furthest reached of the Amazon River © Nathalia Segato/Unsplash

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