Lonely Planet's new adventure guide to global thrills

Dune boards: Tearing up the surreal dunes of Swakopmund, Namibia. Picture: Klaus Brandstaetter, Getty Images.
Dune boards: Tearing up the surreal dunes of Swakopmund, Namibia. Picture: Klaus Brandstaetter, Getty Images.

With 9 million Australians travelling overseas every year, there is no question we are always looking for the next best adventure. Lonely Planet, always respected in Australia, has just launched a new guide for the adventurous.

Lonely Planet’s Atlas of Adventure is an action-packed showcase of the best outdoor experiences in more than 150 countries across the globe. It features inspiring photography, maps, interviews and expert authors –  the ultimate introduction to a thrilling new world of adventure.

There are 18 pages of Australian adventures, including climbing, kayaking, skiing, surfing, road cycling, mountain biking, trail running, camel trekking and whitewater rafting (in the Barrington Tops). 

Here are some tasty excerpts of world adventures in the Lonely Planet guide.

Dune Boarding. The Namib is the world’s oldest desert, but there’s a new way to experience its dunes: on a board. Not far from Namibia’s coastal town of Swakopmund, one of southern Africa’s top adventure-activity capitals, there are mountains of sand that provide perfect slopes to carve down. When you first set eyes on the dunes towering hundreds of feet into the blue African sky, you’ll begin to buzz with anticipation, though it’s wise to conserve a little energy – your journey of joy starts with some hard work: a hike up to your launching point. With board, gloves and goggles in hand, you’re eventually staring down over some serious off-piste action.

Bog-walking. Mires cover a fifth of mainland Estonia, and play an important role in the country’s folklore. During summer, strap on a pair of bog shoes (like snowshoes) and enjoy an amble around these mysterious peaty domains, which are 10,000 years old and boast unique wildlife. Top bog walks include Lahemaa and Viru in the north, and Soomaa and Matsalu in the south.

EstoniaBog-walking: Walking through the Viru bogs at Lahemaa National Park. Anna Grigorjeva/Shutterstock

EstoniaBog-walking: Walking through the Viru bogs at Lahemaa National Park. Anna Grigorjeva/Shutterstock

Bouldering. An hour south of Paris is the best, most famous and historic bouldering area in the world: Fontainebleau. Imagine all the things that would make for a perfect bouldering area – flat, sandy landings, endless boulders, soft-on-the-skin sandstone, unique shapes, densely concentrated problems – and you find it here. Originally considered a training ground for the Alps, bleausards (local climbers) have been bouldering here for more than 100 years, and it’s considered a rite of passage to get burnt off by geriatric (but well-muscled) bleausard, who generally have all the classics wired.

Coasteering. An exciting combination of scrambling, jumping, wild swimming and free climbing, coasteering involves traversing the intertidal zone of a section of coast without using a boat, board or ropes. Participants expect to get wet and meet jagged rocks, and wear appropriate safety clothing: typically a wetsuit, helmet and footwear. The concept was coined in 1986 by Andy Middleton, director of TYF Adventure in Pembrokeshire, Wales. and now the pursuit is offered by hundreds of UK operators.

Canoe Safari. With each stroke of the paddle you’ll know that you are stirring a river where giants lurk in Zambia. And although the canoe is gliding ever-so-silently across the water’s still surface, you quickly get the feeling that you are being watched. Eyes of hippos and crocodiles pop up here and there, vanishing beneath the surface as swiftly as they appear. The mighty river’s banks in Lower Zambezi National Park are no less dramatic, with prowling lions, hulking elephants and a plethora of birdlife. Considering the closeness of the encounters, the experience feels as intimate as it does alarming. Unforgettable.

RunSwim. A Swedish invention, RunSwim is exactly what it says: you run to a lake, swim across it, get out, run to the next lake and so on. Based on a bet made in 2002 – now a sport that, like IKEA, is spreading across the world – the course for the original wager became the ÖtillÖ race and the World Championship event. The 75km distance is split into 65km of trail running across 26 islands, punctuated by a total of 10km of open-water swimming between them. One of the world’s toughest one-day endurance races (if only for the chaffing), there’s an even heavier-duty test in the new six-day Stockholm Archipelago Ultraswimrun Challenge, where competitors complete a total of 260km, of which 40km are swum between 70 islands.