Healthy adventure beyond the backyard
REVIEWED BY CHRIS JOHNSON
If outdoor adventure is what keeps your mind, body and soul healthy, then there is no shortage of places to go and activities to attempt across this huge planet of ours.
But discovering just what is on offer and where might be easier said than done.
So much to see. So many things to try. So little time.
A new release from travel publishers Lonely Planet provides a perfect snapshot of outdoor experiences to be had in more than 150 countries around the globe. How helpful is that?
Lonely Planet’s Atlas of Adventure is a beautifully produced coffee table book full of stunning photographs and inviting, succinct descriptions of outdoor romps to tackle from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
With maps, expert advice and interviews from those who have dared before, the atlas offers an inspiring and informative globetrotting tease of more places and adventures than can hardly be imagined.
Diving in Thailand, sea kayaking in Antarctica, cycling the Canary Islands, white water rafting in Canada, skiing in Switzerland, or climbing in Mexico are just a few examples of what’s on offer.
And that’s just for the faint at heart.
Why not also try parachuting in Pokhara or trekking around Everest (both in Nepal), kitesurfing off Mozambique, riding with eagle hunters in Mongolia, or surfing the deserted swells of Kiribati.
And everyone wants to know about dune boarding in Namibia!
This atlas is a fascinating read – all 336 pages of it – entertaining and engaging.
With a thorough 17 pages on Australia alone (one of the larger sections of the book), it also showcases some of the best outdoor adventures to be had in our own backyard.
Below are a couple of extracts from the book, just to whet the adventure appetite.
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. Best of all, you are never too far from a café au lait and croissant, while rest days can be sent touring the art galleries and museums of Paris.
There are few diving destinations in the world as magnetic as the Blue Holeon Belize’s Lighthouse Reef. Seen from the air this deep-blue 300m-diameter watery pupil, rimmed by a shallower aquamarine iris, is the visual icon of diving in Belize. The descent into the sinkhole is relatively deep – up to 40m – and inky dark, despite the clarity of the water. The nerve-racking but exhilarating part is gliding beneath the limestone overhang and along the underwater walls. Most dives are sub 10 minutes, but it’s an otherworldly underwater experience not to be missed.
Photographs and extracts reproduced with permission from Atlas of Adventure © 2017 Lonely Planet. www.lonelyplanet.com