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  • mix-adventure-travel-with-dash-luxury

    Mix your adventure holiday with a dash of luxury

    20 March 2018
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  • There’s definitely something to be said for backpacking around the world and having once-in-a-lifetime experiences every day to get your blood pumping.

    Get your adrenaline levels going by hiking up volcanoes. Jump out of a plane and skydive your way back to earth. But why should you have to slum it in hostels while you’re having these great experiences? Check out our favourite ideas for luxury adventure holidays. Mix thrill-seeking with five-star silk sheets, and you might just be onto a winner.

    Discover the wild side of Bali

    Indonesia’s most famous island seems to be exclusively populated by 20-something Australians looking for a break from their responsibilities. People love Bali for its exoticism delivered in a comfortable package. The island is very tourist-friendly, but there’s so much more to Bali than what you see on the surface.

    The jungles of Ubud aren’t far away from the main resorts, so it’s surprisingly easy to get lost in nature. Experience verdant tropical landscapes as you trek through the wilderness, marvelling at the wildlife you encounter. Pack sturdy shoes and buy a big water bottle to keep your energy up as you climb Mount Batur, an active volcano. Go white-water rafting down the Ayung River to see this beautiful island from a whole new perspective.

    In the evenings, when you’re tired out, return to five-star hotels just a stone’s throw from the ocean in Seminyak. Stretch out in the lingering sunshine, splash in the sea – or stick to paddling in the hotel’s private pool. Many of Bali’s top resorts emphasise spirituality and tranquillity, to go with the island’s rich religious heritage, so take in some complimentary yoga classes and feel closer to the real you. After all, holidays should be about rest and relaxation as well as exciting new experiences. Let top quality hotels deliver the pampering you deserve.

    Luxury holiday

    Explore all Ecuador’s secrets

    It might not be the first place you think of, but Ecuador has so much to offer as a destination for luxury adventure holidays. The South Pacific Ocean laps at the coast, while inland the highlands ascend into dizzying peaks. There’s steep slopes perfect for clambering up – and even better for racing down on dirt bikes. Take a professional tour to spend a few days wandering through the breath-taking Amazon rainforest. Book a hotel for a night in Otavalo town to coincide with their weekly craft market and haggle with locals for amazing homemade wares in-between treks.

    Step back from the action with a luxury hotel in Quito, the charming capital city. The colonial architecture gives an impossibly imperial vibe, as if the city is an antique from times long past. The rainbow-painted houses are stacked on sweeping hills, providing colourful views wherever your hotel window faces. Best of all is the snow-covered mountain that peeks up in the background, reminding you how close your refined Quito hotel is to the action-packed highlands.

    But what adventure to Ecuador would be complete without visiting the Galapagos islands? This region of the world offers a perfect microcosm of evolution. You can see why Charles Darwin was so fascinated with it in Victorian times: finches from only a few miles apart evolved differently, depending on what food was available. Snorkel with sea lions and turtles in the ocean, and enjoy getting up close and personal with all kinds of fantastic creatures. The islands’ hotels are very eco-friendly, so book a sustainable hotel and feel good about yourself for luxury that won’t cost the earth.

    Once-in-a-lifetime South African safari

    The Big Five game – African elephants, lions, leopards, black rhinos and cape buffalos – were originally hunted by poachers. But these days, the focus is instead on seeing them in their natural habitat. South Africa is full of national parks where you can spot these majestic animals.

    Rent a car to drive the famous Garden Route across the southern coast, party it up in the chic cities, or retreat to the snow-capped mountains for a taste of the quiet life. Tailor your dream trip to suit you – and in between sipping martinis by rooftop pools or kitesurfing at the Vaal Dam, that probably means going on safari.

    The best place for game spotting is Kruger National Park, tucked away in the north-east of the country next to the borders with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Stay in a top-end lodge only a stone’s throw from the park to make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your adventures. Then, let your expert guide pick you up and take you through the park on an afternoon game drive. Patience is a virtue here. If your waiting pays off, you’ll see some magnificent animals living in the wild. Nothing is more breath-taking than hearing the crack of branches and seeing a rippling lion emerge.

    You can check out even more animals at the Nkomazi Game Reserve, just south of Kruger in Mpumalanga. Stay in luxury tents that give a whole new meaning to ‘glamping’, with game drives twice a day and a canopy of stars to stare up at every night. If you need to return to civilisation after all this wilderness, then all of the trendy cities make ideal stopovers. Head to Cape Town and take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain – or hike up instead. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, and for a moment you will be.

    Planning your next adventurous getaway? Join the millions of people around the world protected with AXA Travel Insurance.