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8 Heart-Pumping Experiences to Make You Feel Alive

Rebecca Ellwood, Staff Writer

There’s something about being held back from the world that makes you want to experience it in more glorious technicolour than ever.

Because there’s nothing like being confined to your sofa for weeks to make you want to plunge yourself headfirst swinging into a ravine, right? Here’s our roundup of the most exhilarating, hair-raising experiences the world has to offer, from bungee jumping to cage-diving with crocodiles. Our advice? Book your spot now before you lose your nerve…

1. Bungee jump from 134 metres high in Queenstown, New Zealand

You simply can’t have an adventure roundup without including the mecca of extreme sports: Queenstown. Adrenaline junkies from the world over flock to this New Zealand city in search of the wildest, most terrifying experiences, and indeed – they find them. One of which is AJ Hackett’s Nevis bungy, the highest in New Zealand at 134 metres with a freefall of 8.5 seconds. If you don’t think you can stomach the leap, at least stop by to watch from the sidelines. Image: Bungy.co.nz

2. Dive with crocodiles in the Cage of Death, Darwin, Australia

The famous song from Disney’s Peter Pan movie advises ‘never smile at a crocodile, never tip your hat and stop to talk awhile’, but we don’t play by the rules, do we? Laugh in the face of fear at Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove, where you’ll be suspended underwater in the evocatively named Cage of Death (a perspex cylinder that fits two people) and come face-to-face with a five-metre saltwater crocodile. Although they may look positively terrifying, the residents here are called Leo, William, Kate, Wendell and Axel. Image: Crocosauruscove.com

3. Tandem skydive over the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of leaning over the open door of a plane, seeing an expanse of nothingness beneath you and taking that leap of faith, tumbling and freefalling with nothing but the roar of the wind (and your own screams) in your ears. Once the parachute opens, it’s time to enjoy the view: on this front, Dubai delivers the goods and then some. An architectural wonder sat over the waters of the Persian Gulf, the Palm Jumeirah is best admired from the sky, where its revolutionary palm tree design is fully visible. How does from 13,000ft sound? Feel the adrenaline as you freefall at more than 120 miles per hour over this world-renowned landmark. The things we do for Instagram…Image: Shutterstock Skydivedubai.ae

4. Reach 150km/h along the El Monstruo zipline, Puerto Rico

The clue’s in the name for this one: El Monstruo. ‘The monster’, located in Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, is one of the world’s longest ziplines (the biggest of the Americas) at 2.5km long, with brave riders reaching speeds of up to 150km per hour. This one is undertaken in a horizontal position, so it literally feels like you’re flying through the air with nothing but the rainforest flashing beneath you. Hold on tight. Image: Toroverdepr.com

5. One step at a time on the Tianmen Mountain skywalk, China

If you have an issue with heights, look away now. Still here? Then you must have the stomach for the glass skywalk – the original ‘walk of faith’ on Tianmen Mountain in China’s Hunan Province. At an altitude of more than 1,400 metres, and clinging to the edge of the mountain, this hair-raising glass walkway is sure to get your heart pumping at the sight of the sheer drop beneath you. The best day to visit here is a clear one, where the view beneath is unveiled in its full glory. Image: Shutterstock

6. Take a leap of faith in Las Vegas’ SkyJump, USA

The Strat Hotel describes its SkyJump – a Guinness World Record holder as the highest of its kind – as ‘iconic and holy sh*t’, which is probably a fair assessment. You’ll unleash some words you didn’t even think you knew as you’re hurled from a wire connected to the side of the building (829 feet high) into obscurity at a speed of up to 65km/h, with nothing but the glittering neon lights of the Las Vegas strip beneath you. It’s a good job you’ll be surrounded by bars, as you’ll need a stiff drink after this one. Image: Thestrat.com

7. Experience a next-level rollercoaster in Yukon Striker’s ‘dive coaster’, Ontario, Canada

It may be old school, but there are not many experiences that can match the thrill of a seriously hairy rollercoaster. Relatively new to the scene is Ontario’s Yukon Striker in Canada’s Wonderland, the fastest, longest and tallest ‘dive coaster’ in the world. What is a dive coaster, you ask? A rollercoaster that descends into an underwater tunnel – and this particular one offers a 90-degree, 245ft drop, reaching up to 130km per hour. If you don’t lose your stomach over that, the following 360° loop will surely do the job. Image: Canadaswonderland.com

8. Take the plunge on a zero-gravity flight, USA

If you ever harboured a childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, this is the experience for you: a zero-gravity flight, one of the coolest, up-and-coming extreme adventures in the world right now. You’ll feel like you’ve truly departed earth as you somersault around the cabin, spinning and floating as if in space. The ZERO-G Experience® offers the opportunity to experience true weightlessness aboard G-FORCE ONE (an adapted Boeing 727), which is achieved through acrobatic maneuvers called parabolas, performed by highly trained pilots. Image: Gozerog.com

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