Skydive your way around the world.
Picture this. You’ve just jumped out of a aircraft 15,000 feet above the earth’s surface and endured 60 endless seconds of turbulent, bum-clenching free fall. Thankfully, you’re now enjoying the five or so minutes of blissful drifty-ness, where you’ve got plenty of time to (a) confirm that your gravity-bashed body has remained intact, (b) gain a new perspective on life and (c) most importantly, survey your surroundings with the wisdom of someone who has defied an unfortunate mishap.
So whether you’re jumping to tick off a bucket list entry, win a spur of the moment ‘face your fear’ bet or simply wanting to impress your new girlfriend (who, by the way, sounds a little high maintenance), the massive ‘adrenalin dump’ skydiving gifts us with can be made even sweeter with a beautifully scenic DZ (that’s drop zone to the amateurs).
Note – Online Travel Insurance does cover skydiving activities if you purchase the ADVENTURE PACK with the Comprehensive, Domestic or Multi-Trip Plans by paying an additional premium. Tandem parachuting, tandem sky diving, tandem hang gliding, tandem gliding and tandem paragliding is covered, but you must be with a licensed instructor for all these activities. See more at the Product Disclosure Statement!
For an urban view, sky larkers should head to Cape Town, for a 10,000-foot drop with views of the Mother City’s Cape Winelands, Robben Island and her iconic flat-topped Table Mountain. Or for a saltier experience, head for the coast and Plettenberg Bay, where you can soar over a windswept coastline before enjoying a pillow-soft landing on the beaches below.
Further north in Kenya, check out coral reefs and the fringes of the Shimba Hills National Reserve before touching down on your Diani Beach DZ – a large swathe of sandy stuff at the edge of the Indian Ocean.
Climb to 10,000 feet for an exotic birds-eye view of Victoria Falls (the world’s largest waterfall) in Zambia or experience the polar opposite of lushness with a desert skydive in Namibia.
Take in the stunning coastline of the Atlantic as you soar above the eerie beauty of shadow-shifting sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see (which is quite a distance at this height).
Renowned as a picture-perfect paradise overflowing with azure coloured waters, stunning coastline and sub-tropical rainforests, a dive from the idyllic seaside shores of Byron Bay offers a full minute of free fall (you’ll drop from one of Australia’s highest available altitudes), so you’ll have ample time to spot the Lighthouse and the most easterly point of Australia.
Keen to see the only living organism visible from space (now that there’s some bragging rights)? Then head to Cairns and the double whammy of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef), for a 14,000 feet-high plummet, where you’ll view rugged coastal fringes, lush deserted islands and an ocean of endless blue (spot the wildlife!).
Cop a glittering eyeful of this city’s bigger-than-ginormous offerings as you enter the Palm Drop Zone in downtown Dubai. From 13,000 feet, gaze on down at its shimmering coastline, sparkling Arabian Sea and gargantuan metropolis that rises like a zenith from one of the most inhospitable landscapes on the planet. Oh, and its luxurious man-made island (The Palm Jumeirah) and the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa (at only 829.8 metres high) are probably worth a gander at too.
Fancy getting high? How about 23,000 feet high? If scaling Mount Everest is a wee bit outside of your physical limitations, then how about jumping out of an AS350 B3 helicopter and skydiving over the top of it? A once in a lifetime adventure for cashed-up (tandem jumps start from $25,000), adrenalin-addicts only, this dive will have you pirouetting from the highest jump zone in the world to land at the Ama Dablam Base Camp (which is a mere 15,000 feet above sea level).
Not much can visually smash the breathtaking beauty (apart from probably Nepal) of skydiving over one of Kiwi Land’s finest natural attractions, Fox Glacier, with its backdrop of subtropical rainforests, the Tasman Sea, NZ’s highest mountains and the largest glaciers in the Southern Alps.
However, if you’re more of a ‘been there, done that, got the T-shirt’ type, head to the self-prescribed Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown, where you can exit at 15,000 feet and take in views of the remarkable Remarkables and the icy blue waters of the country’s third largest lake (Lake Wakatipu for the closet limnologists out there).
Tumbling waterfalls, glacial lakes, and snow-capped mountains … there’s nothing quite like a helicopter ride over the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau summits in preparation for a 14,000 foot swoop of Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss Alps.
Or for equally sweeping panoramas, they don’t come much more dramatic than a dive from Interlaken, where you’ll zip through wispy clouds and snowy mountain peaks to land delicately between a couple of stadium-sized frozen lakes.
San Diego provides jumpers with views of the Pacific’s expansive waters and a unique cross-border peek into Mexico, Utah offers up a 14,500 foot look at the area’s flaming rock canyons and for a spot of greenery (and views of Pennsylvania’s lush forests), head for the Pocono Mountains, where you’ll be in the safe hands of Don Kellner, who holds the world record for the most parachute descents (only around 41,000.. wow!).
Space Coast in Florida will be a bit of thrill for would-be astronauts with its incredible views of the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida Keys offers a panorama of coral reefs, the Gulf of Mexico and (possibly) a frolicking dolphin or two and for a soar above one of the world’s most glorious natural wonders, the Grand Canyon and its surrounds can’t be beaten.
Embrace a bit of island time as you say aloha to an unforgettable 13,000-foot experience with a jump in beautiful Honolulu (pounding surf beaches and jagged volcanic cliffs are a bonus), or hit terminal velocity above Denarau Island before floating lazily down to the awe-inspiring views of Fiji’s surrounding archipelago.
A jump in Mauritius offers glimpses of the sugar plantations and dense jungles of one of the most bio-diverse environs in the world and turn up the heat with a visit to Russia, where you can jump from a plane in Kamchatka within the territory of an active volcano. Yep, soar past a bubbling crater or two before landing beside a hot spring where you can take a post-thrill drip to calm the nerves. Suffice to say, you’ll need a license for this madness.
For more mountain time, head to Empuriabrava in Spain, for a DZ idyllically nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees, land in the perfect spot for a calming Italian vino with a bracing jump over Marche and finally, for a unprecedented glimpse of Brasil’s most unmistakable landmark (Christ the Redeemer, peeps), head to Rio de Janeiro.
So forget dodgy ‘you’ll see it all!’ tourist traps and lame sightseeing tours and dive headlong (not literally of course) into the leap of a lifetime!
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