Adventure Travel Directory

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Top 5 list of why exploring new lands and cultures is more important than ever

Courtesy of  Irene Lane –

In the age of travel alerts, political uprisings and airport security lines, it is no wonder why so few people travel outside of their home regions.  A recent article posted on gave a grim view of Americans who prefer to not travel internationally for a myriad of reasons ranging from our general lack of interest and intense work culture to expensive airfares and logistics.

While some of these reasons may be legitimate, it does not mean that the sentiment should continue.  Now more than ever, Americans must brush aside their suspicions of international travel and, instead, begin a sincere exploration and discovery of nations and cultures.  This is because global issues of the economy, politics and environment will require more of us to do business with and learn the languages of other nations.

Traveling to faraway lands increases cultural sensitivity whereas fear and misunderstanding leads to upheaval.

Hence, my Top 5 reasons why it is imperative to travel internationally in this day and age are that:

  1. Travel enables us to make human (rather than social media) connections with one another and these connections are what will make the global economy mutually beneficial to all
  2. Travel empowers us to discuss and question our social customs and values
  3. Travel provides a different perspective on how regional subsistence issues affects international politics
  4. Travel allows for us to become more sensitive to other cultures whether it’s simply reading the local English language newspaper, tasting local delicacies or making a new friend who has a completely different viewpoint of the world
  5. Travel reveals to us a different outlook on the issues of poverty, race, and religion that is necessary in an age where political discourse within the media is so segmented

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Cyclone Yasi Comes Ashore at Mission Beach . . . . . . . . My Daughter Got Out Just in Time.

Today the centre of the eye of Cyclone Yasi came ashore at Mission Beach, Qld, with winds reported at 300km/hr.

My daughter Alison lived in Mission Beach from 2002 and ran Dunk Jet Sports, part of traveljunkies, running jet ski tours around Dunk Island until Cyclone Larry demolished Dunk’s Resort and put us out of business in March 2006.

In 2008 she moved to Coffs Harbour going  back to her work as a veterinary nurse, and returned to rent a house in South Mission for the past year and to have her baby.

She was due to move back to her own house in Coffs Harbour in December but was delayed because of the floods.

She eventually made the four-day drive to Coffs Harbour with her partner, her baby, her mum and two dogs, two weeks ago. Just in time!

Cliff Chapman

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Backpackers code

Yes, there’s actually an unwritten backpacker code all backpackers must follow. Whether you follow them or not, determines if you’re a true backpacker. The community is wide spread throughout the world. We share the common interest of travel itself. The code is simple and known by most backpackers without having to think about it.

Here’s the list:

You watch me, I watch you

You watch over me and I’ll watch over you. The idea is that we all look after each other in any given environment. An example of this is if you notice someone mistakenly left their wallet on their bed but the person is not in the room and you’re about to leave. Following the code, unless you know this person and guaranteed to see them again, hand it over to hostel front desk for safety. We as travelers need to work together.

Don’t eat my food

We understand that everyone has a budget and eating for as cheap as possible but at no given time is it ever right to steal food. Most hostels have a free food section provided by other travelers who did not want the food they had. Again we are in this together and surely if you need some salt, ask and it’s yours.

Be respectful to the culture you’re in

This code essentially should be followed by everyone regardless of being a backpacker or not however this definitely deserved a mention. Set a good example to locals of travelers passing by and be respectful to the culture of the country you’re at. A simple example is to take off your shoes entering temples within Thailand. Do a little research before you arrive and talk to fellow travelers on anything you need to know about the place you’re at. If you disagree to the way a culture does things that’s fine however you still need to be respectful. The same as you would with your parents.

Stay Chill

Don’t over heat in a bad situation. Thing’s will go wrong, it’s part of the journey. Learn from it and continue the travels. No matter how much you prepare at home, experience is the best lesson. Of course no one wants to be in a bad situation but it happens even at home. Understand that if someone doesn’t understand your language, they’re still taking the time to try to help you. No one likes to be with a traveler that gets angry. If you want to get angry, do that with your PowerPoint presentation at home, not with people.

Speak In The Same Tongue

Naturally, traveling creates friends from different parts of the world. Especially in a hostel environment where people are coming in from every corner of the globe under one roof.  Usually English is the common language amongst travelers though your native language may be something else. If you happen to meet someone from your country but you’re with a group of only English speakers at the diner table, it’s polite then to speak English. This goes for any common language the group may have. Speak in the language everyone can have a conversation in. It’s rude to leave off other people when there’s a common language everyone can understand and speak.

The Unwritten Backpackers Code Rules by Michael Tieso on January 2, 2010

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Is Australia still the ultimate backpackers destination?

Backpacking and Australia really is like fish and chips, or fush and chups for you weird people in New Zealand. Australia hit gold when backpackers started descending upon the country.

Everything about Australia made for the ultimate destination to travel to and backpacker tourism helped Australia’s economy to grow. Australia topped the lists of top destinations to visit time and time again but recent years have seen a shift in where backpackers are choosing to travel to thanks to economic fluctuations and evolving travel trends. This then leads me to ask the question, has Australia lost it’s shine for backpackers or will it always hold the crown and appeal of the ultimate backpackers destination?

Many factors contributed to Australia becoming a backpacker destination. It was really far away for most backpackers and in one country you could visit outback, rainforest, beaches, countryside and fashionable cities. The Australian relaxed lifestyle was what people were leaving their own lives for, and in Australia you could work and travel at your leisure, allowing backpackers to spend a year away rather than a few weeks holiday.

Most importantly backpacking was budget orientated and Australia offered backpackers cheap accommodation, drinks, food and activities. Australia’s success at creating a backpacking industry, resulted inevitably in many other destinations craving the same. It is amazing to think of the sheer number of places that have opened their arms to visitors and acknowledged that backpacking is here to stay and evolving on a daily basis:

  • South America – In one continent you can visit the World Heritage Sites of Macchu Picchu, the infamous beaches in Rio, the bustling city of Buenos Aries, ski the mountains of Chile, spot unique wildlife in Galapagos and take on adventure in Bolivia. Similar to Australia, got you get home with more stamps on your passport and have experienced the different culture of all South American countries. With Colombia a must see destination for 2010 South America is only set to increase in popularity and the big difference is that South America is still relatively much cheaper to visit.
  • Central America – The tropics, birds, turtles, dolphins, beaches and chilled out lifestyles will only become more and more popular and it only take half the time to get there. South East Asia – known to all backpackers as cheap, it still is cheap for most backpackers. South East Asia was once a top place to stop for a few weeks on route to Australia, but now it has become a backpacker destination in itself.
  • China – China has well and truly tapped in to the backpacker market giving backpackers that unique experience of really being in a different world and culture. Whereas Japan is still quite an expensive country to visit, China isn’t and can offer visitors everything other destinations can, from skiing, to adventure, to stylish cities, to remote countryside as well as fascinating scenery. The Great Wall of China still remains my favourite place to visit worldwide.
  • Africa – Each individual country within the continent offers most Westerners a new and exhilerating experience and with South Africa hosting the World Cup next year it is set to become a destination to visit.
  • New Zealand – Emerging from the shadows of Australia as a destination in it’s own right, New Zealand is know not just a country to do because you happened to be in the area evidenced when Lonely Planet named New Zealand as a top destination for 2010.

Thongs Australia Backpackers

With so much competition within the backpacking industry, each destination really needs to establish that unique selling point as a backpacking destination and here is why Australia still ranks as an ultimate backpacking destination:

  • The Working Holiday Visa. Pure backpacking genius. Backpackers can sample the sights, beauty and culture of the country over the course of one or two years. Sure there are a couple of other countries that do the same, but Australia is the only country to give you a little piece of everything.
  • Australia still remains that far away destination to escape to. You get your money’s worth with that plane journey.
  • It’s easy! The backpacking industry in Australia has been growing rapidly for years so that everything you need is right in front of you. The immense competition for backpackers business in Australia means that although Australia isn’t thought of as cheap as it once was – you can still get around very cheaply!
  • The Aussie lifestyle will always remain a favourite. People leave their homes to get away and the aussie lifestyle is the ultimate get-away.
  • You can’t find the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Great Ocean Road, Kakadu National Park and all the others anywhere else in the world, and they are all must -see places to visit.
  • It is the original big cheese. This factor we can’t ignore. If it wasn’t for Australia we wouldn’t be backpacking worldwide.

Only time will tell as to what the backpacker movement will do in the ever-changing backpacker industry and whether or not Australia will retain its title as the ultimate backpacker destination. For now, however, Australia can remain proud of its title as the ultimate backpackers destination.

About the Author: Cheska is a keen traveler who has visited many countries in the past few years, including China and much of South America. She’s currently undertaking an internship for Nomads based at Nomads Auckland backpackers hostel, New Zealand

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The world’s top 10 rollercoasters

The world’s top 10 rollercoasters

The rollercoaster has come a long way since it was first patented in 1885, with the first amusement park ride of this kind appearing at New York’s Coney Island measuring 600 feet long and 50 feet high.

Travel website has come up with a list of the top 10 fast, fierce and ferocious rollercoasters.

1. Behemoth, Wonderland Park, Toronto, Canada

Built in 2008, this US$26 million project turned out to be the fastest and tallest roller coaster in Canada. Starting with an 85-degree descent and speeding up to 130kmh in 3.9 seconds, this ride has eight drops and double-banked horizontal loops.

2. Eejanaika, Fuji-Q Highland park, Yamanashi, Japan

Opened in 2006, this “fourth dimension” ride has seats that can rotate 360 degrees forward or backward in a controlled spin. It’s the second of its kind on the planet, (the first lives at Six Flags in the U.S.) but Eejanaika surpasses its predecessor in both height and speed, rising 249 feet in the air, and zooming a quick 78.3 mph.

3. Tower of Terror, Queensland, Australia

Shooting straight up into the sky on an L-shaped track, this magnetic induction shuttle coaster runs on linear synchronous motors, which propels it into a free-floating position, and then forces a drop to retrace its route backwards. At 100 mph, it’s one of the fastest roller coasters on the planet.

4. Steel Dragon 2000, Nagashima Spa Land, Nagashima, Japan

Steel Dragon 2000 boasts an impressive speed of 95 mph, but what’s most remarkable is that it gets to that speed by using only a traditional lift hill. It rises 318 feet in the air and at a length of 8,133 feet and a time span of four minutes, this ride is the world’s longest.

5. Furius Baco, PortAventura, Spain

The seats on this rollercoaster are placed on either side of the track, so passengers are totally exposed on three sides and if you’re the one on the outer edge, you get an extra thrill of being completely out in the open, rushing in at an average of 84 mph.

6. Megafobia, Oakwood Coaster Country, Pembrokeshire, Wales

One of the most respected wooden roller coasters, Megafobia runs on a twister-style layout. Coming in at 100 seconds in time, standing at 85 feet tall and running at 2,956 feet in length, Megafobia shows passengers that its old-time wooden frame isn’t something to be scoffed at.

7. Nemesis, Alton Towers, England

Nemesis has bragging rights for being Europe’s first inverted roller coaster. Dangling riders in its ski-lift-like seats, it loops and twists without mercy. Fun fact: This ride won a world record in 2004 for having 32 passengers ride it without wearing any clothes.

8. Formula Rossa, Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi

Scheduled to open in October 2010, this is quite literally a ride of the future. It’s anticipated to go from 0-100 mph in less than two seconds and peak at 149 mph making it potentially the world’s fastest rollercoaster once it opens. It will climb 171 feet and shoot from indoors to outside the park.

9. Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey

Kingda Ka is technically the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in the world. The ride begins with a launch that rushes its passengers into 128 mph acceleration up 456 feet in the air and the descent is the 90-degree plunge.

10. Bizarro, Six Flags, New England, Massachusetts

Racing at 77 mph and giving as much free-falling “air time” as possible, Bizarro also happens to offer some of the most picturesque views of the Connecticut River. This ride stands 208 feet tall but boasts a 221-foot drop by descending from its high point into an underground tunnel after the first hill.

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Top 10 Bungee Jumps in the World

Experience the thrill of jumping from a platform hundreds of metres in the air, while catching glimpses of amazing scenery: this is Bungee. Once the bungee cord reaches its limit and springs back, you repeat the fall, albeit at a slower pace. As the adrenalin rush starts to fade you are lowered to safety; now all that is left, is to think when and where your next jump will be.

The creation of the first permanent platform by A J Hackett at Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand in the late 1980’s saw bungee jumping take off as an extreme activity. Variations on fixed-platform jumps are now also popular, as are leaps from hot air balloons and helicopters. Listed below are ten top bungee jumping locations.

1. Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, Canon City, Colorado

The highest suspension bridge in the world is 321m (1053ft) above the Arkansas River. Bungee jumping from the bridge takes place during the Go Fast Games once a year, making advance booking a necessity. Adding to the dizzying effects of the height is the walk across the wooden boards to the jump site; looking straight down through the gaps you can see the river below. Take in the majestic view of the canyon walls, the distant river and the trains passing below before leaping into the air.

2. Nevis Highwire Bungee, Queenstown, New Zealand

Set between two hills and suspended on steel cables, the jump pod can only be reached by cable car. The drop looks much further than 134m (440ft) when viewed through the car’s glass floor. Take a minute to enjoy the scenery while your safety equipment is checked. The canyon you are about to jump into is wide at its top but narrows dramatically. There is also plenty of time to enjoy the scenery on the way back up too.

3. Colorado River Bridge, Costa Rica

A tropical rainforest with lush green vegetation as far as the eye can see, this is one of the most beautiful bungee locations. The bridge is 81m (265ft) high and has been closed to traffic for many years. As you stand at the edge of the bridge, heart-in-mouth, waiting to jump, you get to really appreciate the majestic nature of the rainforest. The site is a real must for adrenalin lovers, as once you have completed your jump you can try also rock climbing as well as paragliding.

4. Verzasca Dam, Val Verzasca, Switzerland

The dam is 220m (721ft) high with the huge Lake Vogorno as its backdrop. Since James Bond was filmed jumping here for the film ‘Golden Eye’, this has become one of the most popular bungee destinations. Now you too can be an undercover agent – if just for a few seconds. Courage and determination are needed for this one, as well as real faith in your equipment – beginners should think twice.

5. Volcano Bungee, Pucon, Chile

Not for the faint hearted, this jump involves leaping from a helicopter into an active volcano. The jump itself is about 106m (350ft) from the helicopter to the furthest reach of the cord. Be prepared to feel the heat, as you come within 200m (700ft) of molten lava. The excitement doesn’t end there: You then dangle from the cord beneath the helicopter as it returns to base, over 35 miles away. Jump and ride.

6. Blue Thunder Bungee, Centre of Gravity, Edmonton, Alberta

Located at a the World Water Park in the West Edmonton shopping mall and at 32m (106ft) above the wave machine, this is the highest indoor bungee in the world. Once you have committed to jump, you then get to select a full or ankle harness and can also opt for a full body dip in the pool’s 1.8m (6ft) of water. With shoppers stopping to look through huge glass windows and swimmers in the neighbouring pools, this must be one of the most intimidating bungee audiences.

7. Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa

Bloukrans Bridge is a single-span arch in the Western Cape above the Bloukrans River. As part of the Tsitsikamma national park it guarantees fantastic views. You can walk under the road to the top of the arch or use the Flying Fox, a zip wire, which will deliver you at speed to the jump site. After the countdown the jump of 216m (710ft) is smooth, as it utilises pendulum technology. After conquering your fear of heights, perhaps enjoy the rest of the Garden Route from the water in canoes, or take a walk into the mountains.

8. Ledge Urban Bungee, Queenstown, New Zealand

Imagine the fear moments before a jump, now imagine taking a running jump: the Ledge Urban Bungee takes you to this place. A runway leads to the edge, allowing jumpers to run, then leap out into the sky above Queenstown . If that isn’t terrifying enough, do it at night with the town’s lights twinking 400m (1312ft) below.

9. Bhote Kosi River, Himalayas, Nepal

A steel suspension bridge connects two sides of a valley through which the Bhote Kosi River races. Here, freefalling for 160m (524ft) is an exhilarating experience, made more intense by the view across the Himalayas. To keep the adrenalin pumping and see the river from a different angle, why not later raft its white-water rapids.

10. Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe/ Zambia

On the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is a spectacular sight, and stretches more than 1.6km (1m). The bridge is roughly 152m (500ft) above the Zambezi River and commands an awe-inspiring view. Plummeting towards the fast-flowing water, you soon appreciate the expertise of the safety crew and their equipment. A crew member retrieves you after the jump, then you are winched back up – all the while probably asking for another go.

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Embarassing Language Mistakes When Travelling

Part of the fun when visiting foreign lands is trying out the local language. In most places, folks will be delighted that you’re making an effort and will support your halting attempts.

However, some common mistakes often trip you up.

To save you from being accidentally hilarious, here are a few of  most frequent errors …

I’m so pregnant!
You’re sure gonna miss me.
Let’s drink some genitalia!
Condoms for breakfast
Time for a nice, refreshing…errr…

See the full article here . . .

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Travel Experts Predict More Travelers Asia Bound in 2011

Small Group Journey Specialist Travel Indochina Ready with More Than 800 Departures

Leading experts agree: travelers in 2011 expect genuine experiences and life-changing journeys, making Asia destinations like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam among the top choices for travel in 2011 for even the most discriminating travel junkies. Read more …

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Wallabies rescued from Queensland floods

Adventure Travel Thrills: world’s top 10 heart-pounding experiences

Courtesy of

Take a deep breath, get strapped in and feel the buzz. Lonely Planet brings you the thrill-seekers’ list, from its 1000 Ultimate Experiences book.


This ride, atop the 110-storey Stratosphere observation tower in Las Vegas, has incredible views. The Big Shot runs on compressed air, which, with incredible force, rockets you in your harness from the ride’s base to the top of the Big Shot’s 49 metre tower in just over two seconds. It’s on the boulevard, on top of the Stratosphere Hotel.


Motorcycle-taxi riders bob in and out of endless lines of cars at alarming speeds, often mounting pavements, and wipe-outs occur with shocking regularity. Often the injured rider or passenger is carted off to hospital in a passing tuk tuk. Look for the orange vests worn by licensed taxi riders, who are legally required to carry a spare helmet; motorcycle taxis are usually down the alleys just off the main roads.


They say Yosemite Valley is climbing mecca, with climbs coveted by ‘rock heads’ far and wide, and a degree of difficulty that has necessitated many technical innovations. Even today, as the most demanding ascents have crumbled, aficionados still point to El Capitan, Yosemite’s 915m granite wall, as the planet’s greatest rock climb. Be prepared to self-rescue: it is illegal to camp at the base of any wall.


Parasailing was invented in Acapulco and that’s no surprise: it’s an absolutely prime location for floating upon the air, with a spectacular, panoramic view of the city, the hills and the islands beyond Acapulco Bay. You take off from the beach and you land on the beach. Operators abound at Contesa Beach and are easy to arrange except during the busy spring holiday season.


The British Canoe Union classes this white-water run as an extreme Grade V: violent rapids, steep gradients, massive drops. One of the rapids is called ‘Oblivion’ and is said to flip more canoes than any other on the planet.


Ever since Ernest Hemingway popularized the event, running with the bulls through the narrow streets of Pamplona has come to symbolize some kind of macho pinnacle. Bull runs start at 8am every day from 7 to 14 July; runners must enter before 7.30am. Once you start running it is technically illegal to stop.


Follow in Aussie comedian Paul Hogan’s footsteps, prefame – he worked as a rigger on the ‘Coat Hanger’, the world’s largest steel-arch bridge; its summit is 134m above sea level. The climb takes over three hours and it’s a hairy thrill, with cars and people below like ants, and lovely Sydney Harbour before you. .


Dolphins not edgy enough for you? Try swimming with a great white off Dyer Island. All you have to do is jump in a cage and be lowered into a school of hungry sharks. As they peer in helplessly with those dead black eyes, you might think ‘this is soft!’ Think again. Smaller sharks have been known to butt their way through the bars. From April to August most operators can almost guarantee the sharks will appear.


This must be the ultimate high for mainline adrenalin junkies: strapping yourself into a MiG-29 fighter jet and submitting to speeds of Mach 3.2 at a height of 25km – the edge of space – where the sky is black and earth spreads out beneath you. The pilot might even let you take the controls, but make sure you’re not too jittery and bank too far, otherwise you might be forced to draw upon that ejector-seat training they put you through.


These graceful and playful creatures are guaranteed to quicken the pulse of anyone lucky enough to get near them, with their undeniable intelligence and exuberant personalities. They get frisky and acrobatic only if they feel like it, so a new trend has taken root: swimmers sing not only to attract dolphins, but also to get them in the mood. Apparently Elvis tunes do the trick nicely.

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