Thomas Salzano – Best adventures to try in your lifetime

The world has never been more accessible. From the Great Wall of China to the Galapagos Islands, from Himalayan peaks to the Caribbean, from the jungles of Borneo to the “Lost World” tepuis of Venezuela and from the Northern Lights to a total solar eclipse. Not to mention the South Pole itself. What was once the realm of explorers is now within reach of all of us.

The Lost World and Angel Falls

Conan Doyle’s classic adventure novel was inspired by Venezuela’s “Lost World”, a region of dense jungle and rolling grassland dominated by immense sandstone table mountains known as tepuis. You’ll trek to the summit of Mount Roraima, a maze of blackened rock and babbling streams with unique plants and rare carnivorous frogs. Visit Auyán-tepui and see Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall, as it plunges 3,200ft.

Australia’s Red Centre

Opened in 2002, the 140-mile (225km) Larapinta Trail from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder through the West MacDonnell Ranges is one of the world’s great bush walks. The trail can be done in shorter stretches, but why not go for the full 14-day experience? There will be challenging stages of up to 20 miles on some days, but you’ll carry only your day pack.

Ladakh and Stok Kangri, The Himalayas

This tough trek requires stamina, but the rewards are immense. You’ll be eased in, acclimatising in Ladakh’s capital, Leh, and exploring villages and monasteries before building up the pace with treks over passes to Stok Kangri base camp in preparation for a night climb. Reach the summit in time to see one of the most spectacular sunrises in theHimalayas.

Polar bears in Spitsbergen

Journey to the high Arctic on this wildlife expedition around the island of Spitsbergen. Spot polar bears as they hunt or feed on a carcass. You’ll also see aerial displays by breeding seabirds and groups of walrus, as well as pods of ghostly white beluga whales.

A husky tour in Finland

Explore the Finnish wilderness by snowmobile northwards from Kittila to the Norwegian border. This is followed by a two-day husky safari taking charge of your own team of four or five dogs, cooking over open fires and sleeping in a tent or wilderness cabin. A final day of snowmobiling follows the Victoria Trail along the Swedish border.

Rafting and rock climbing in the Pyrenees

This mixed week of trekking, white water rafting, canyoning, rock climbing and abseiling in the stunning scenery of the Pyrenees will blow away any cobwebs lurking in your soul. Stay in a beautifully restored farmhouse in the medieval village of Berdun in the heart of the Pyrenees.

Motorbike across the Siberian wilderness

A motorbike adventure around the world’s deepest lake (Baikal) offers wilderness, sacred lakes, shamans, dips in gin-clear rivers, camping on silent plains, wild hills and empty valleys – not to mention Buryat culture, banyas, thermal springs and amazing wildlife.

Scaling Mont Blanc

Climbing Europe’s third highest, but most famous, mountain is a landmark in anyone’s life. You’ll need basic proficiency with crampons and ice axe, a good level of fitness and some luck with the weather, but bragging rights will be yours in perpetuity along with some great memories. Mont Blanc is a three-day climb with some training and acclimatisation around Chamonix beforehand.

Downhill mountain biking in the Alps

Explore the best downhill tracks of the Southern French Alps using bike lifts and vehicle shuttles to get you to the cols and passes to start your descents. The majority of the routes are on a mixture of single-tracks and mountain trails and the itinerary can be adapted to suit individuals.

Northern Lights, Iceland

Seeing the Aurora Borealis is one thing, but being given explanation of how and why you are seeing it by an astronomer gives this trip a special edge. Andrew Green also knows the best places to stay and observe. Along the way you’ll see the Gullfoss waterfall, explore the “Golden Circle”, including Thingvellir National Park and Strokkur geyser, visit lava fields and unwind in the Blue Lagoon.

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