10 of the best adventure destinations in the world
English children’s television presenter Naomi Wilkinson is a regular face within the CBBC Children’s presenting team, and has also presented the Channel 5 kids show ‘The Milkshake!’ and the award-winning ‘Live ‘n’ Deadly on BBC2, alongside Steve Backshall.
Naomi also has her own show – Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature – for CBBC, in which she travels the world to come face to face with weird, wonderful and deadly dangerous animals. And here she shares her 10 greatest adventure destinations in the world.
Jungle surfing in Queensland, Australia
For full on fun, I recommend Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours, Daintree, Queensland, Australia – you get incredible views of the rainforest and fly through the trees on the longest and fastest zip wires I have ever had the good fortune to whizz down. You obviously need a head for heights (and a decent Tarzan cry) but it provides a thrilling adrenaline rush and you even get the chance to hang upside down… if you have the nerve.
Sea kayaking in Monteray Bay, US
To get the ‘aaah’ factor head to Monteray Bay, California. I had the best time on ‘Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature’ when we paddled out on kayaks to find southern sea otters with Adventures By the Sea – sea kayaking is pretty new to me, but it is straight forward to master and is a fantastic way to get close to wildlife without disturbing it, plus you get a good bicep work out at the same time. Sea otters are super cute and I was able to observe these adorable creatures engaging in their natural behaviour whilst inquisitive sea lions kept a keen eye on me.
Eagle rafting tour in Haines, Alaska
For bird lovers, wrap up warm and enjoy a day out on the Chilkat River in Haines, Alaska for a bald eagle rafting tour. Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful and the flight from Anchorage to Haines is simply stunning. Once there, we joined the charming and knowledgeable Joe Ordonez – for a gentle paddle down the river. During our short trip, one of the most quiet and peaceful boat rides I have ever been on, I reckon we spotted about 200 bald eagles. Knowing that grizzly bears are never far away certainly keeps you on your toes throughout too.
Hand gliding in California, US
I had a more extreme adventure in California when I was taken hang gliding to try and emulate the flight of the condor with highly skilled pilot Rob McKenzie – talk about exhilarating, I can’t think of any other activity that would make you feel more like a bird in flight. The take off and landing require the most courage, but the jelly legs are worth it for the sensational birds-eye view. Hang gliding is exciting and petrifying all at once and I loved every nail-biting second of it.
Snorkelling in The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
For pure enchantment you need to snorkel in The Great Barrier Reef. We were taken out by the first class crew of Wavelength – who enabled us to safely explore the wonders of the turquoise reef. I hadn’t seen anything like it before and was totally in awe of this magical underwater world, surrounded by fish of all sizes and in every colour of the rainbow, I even had the privilege of swimming alongside a green turtle. The marine biologists on board are so informative and their passion for the reef oozes out of them, they are some of the nicest people I have ever met.
Snorkelling with manatees at Crystal River, Florida, US
I had an equally magical encounter snorkelling with manatees at Crystal River, Florida – I was enraptured by these peculiar, gentle creatures, their huge mass just seems to hang in the water with their wrinkly faces & small eyes melting your heart. I couldn’t believe how close they came to investigate us. The hardest part of this trip was tearing myself away from them when it was time to leave. It was a truly wonderful experience.
Dangling in a portaledge, Costa Rica
Sleeping on a portaledge is an adventure and a half. I have now spent two nights of my life dangling on one… once on the side of a cliff in Tenby Wales where I had to spend the night like a Gannet protecting some eggs, and the other was up a tree in the Costa Rican jungle in an attempt to be a leaf-nosed bat. It is the most bizarre feeling being harnessed up and suspended from ropes all night and so long as you don’t need the loo you’ll have a great time!
Surfing in North Devon/Cornwall, England
If you love the beach as much as I do then get a wetsuit on and have a go at surfing or bodyboarding, I cannot recommend it highly enough and you don’t have to travel the world to give it a try. I was set a challenge to surf in 2005 when I was presenting Milkshake and I have been hooked ever since. I love North Devon & Cornwall so my top three surf spots that I love to visit are Saunton, Croyde and Fistral. In my opinion this has feel good factor written all over it!
Swimming with sharks, South Africa
If it is a ‘test your nerve’ experience that you are looking for then you need to attempt snorkelling with sharks, without the cage. I got the chance to swim with blacktip sharks thanks to Gail and Mark Addison, a fabulous couple waving the flag for sharks at Blue Wilderness in Durban, South Africa. Your trip begins and ends with the most exciting boat trip out to the shoal, being launched high off the waves. Once the sharks are present, there were around 30 in the water with us, the subsequent snorkel adventure is one that you will never forget. Particularly if you have had a life-long shark phobia, like me!
Dunny Derby at Winton Outback Festival, Australia
For a totally bonkers adventure enter the Dunny Derby at Winton Outback Festival, Queensland, Australia. I took part in this race for ‘All Over The Place: Australia’ (CBBC) and as the name suggests, it is a race of home-made portable toilet cubicles on wheels. You begin by running to sit on the loo with a comedy pair of pants around your ankles then a team of four push you around the course, stopping off to collect a newspaper, toilet roll and loo brush along the way. My team was called ‘Dr Poo’ and Ed Petrie was on team ‘Plop Gear’! It really was as crazy as it sounds and a bloomin’ good laugh.
Naomi Wilkinson presents Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature, which aired in June, Marrying Mum & Dad Wild and guests presents All Over The Place (all CBBC shows) which are all back this summer. For news and updates on Naomi’s projects follow her on twitter: @Naomi_Wilkinson
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