1. PARASAILING, ACAPULCO, MEXICO
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.
2. MOTORCYCLE-TAXI RIDE, THAILAND
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.
3. ROCK CLIMBING, YOSEMITE VALLEY, USA
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.
4. BIG SHOT RIDE, LAS VEGAS, USA
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 (160 ft 10 in) tower in just over two seconds. It’s on the boulevard, on top of the Stratosphere Hotel.
5. ZAMBEZI RIVERRAFTING, ZAMBIA & ZIMBABWE
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. Commercial operators like Safari Par Excellence operate on both countries’ shores. July to January serves up the best water conditions.
6. RUNNING WITH THE BULLS, PAMPLONA, SPAIN
Ever since Ernest Hemingway popularised the event, running with the bulls through the narrow streets of Pamplona has come to symbolise 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.
7. SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE CLIMB, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
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. Book online at bridgeclimb.com; choose to climb day, night, twilight or dawn on the first Saturday of each month.
8. SWIMMING WITH SHARKS, DYER ISLAND, SOUTH AFRICA
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.
9. ‘EDGE OF SPACE’ FLIGHTS, RUSSIA
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.
10. SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS, NEW ZEALAND
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. Tours leave from Kaikoura.