Happiness

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Magnificent 7 great adventures you must try before you die

NMTBP was quite surprised that the ambling along to the Durdle Door made it into Lonely Planet’s new book Great Adventures, but it just goes to show that not all adventures are about hanging off a precipice by your fingernails. From the sedate to the profoundly earth-turning, we present the Magnificent 7 great adventures taken from the beautiful coffee table book

Great Adventures, Lonely Planet, £29.99. Visit shop.lonelyplanet.com

Ice trek Argentina’s Moreno Glacier

Spilling down from the Chilean border on Cerro Pietrobelli, in the chilly heights of the Patagonian Andes, Perito Moreno Glacier is a pin-up of world ice. In tourism terms, it’s a phenomenon, drawing thousands of people every summer’s day, who arrive from the nearby gateway town of El Calafate. Most of them simply wander around the maze of walkways and viewing platforms on Peninsula Magallanes, watching and hoping for calving ice, but a few of the more adventurous types among them boat across to Lago Argentino’s opposite shore, to explore the glacier at much closer quarters

Take on the Tour du Mont Blanc

The Chamonix valley is arguably the European Alps’ most appealing and fashionable destination. It also serves as the springboard for one of the world’s finest long-distance hikes: the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). This international route has sections in France, Italy and Switzerland, and the views encapsulate the entire Alpine landscape, taking in the valleys, passes and mountains that crowd its rim

Today, the TMB remains a challenging route. Even the easiest variations mean you’ll be ascending and descending more than 8000m. If you take the most strenuous route, it becomes as much as 11,000m of climbing. That means you’ll be ascending and descending at least the equivalent of Mt Everest from sea level as you circuit this European mountain icon

Dive the Yucatan’s Cenotes

Formed by the erosion of calcium-laden rock in the shallow shelf that makes up the peninsula, cenotes are sink holes. What makes them unique is that these columnar caves reach far down into the freshwater aquifer, providing water in an area that, while lush and humid, often experiences droughts

Cenote diving is both interesting and dangerous: this is not an open-water dive. Layers of silt are easily stirred up and, without currents to wash it away, can turn crystal-clear visibility into zero visibility in seconds. Extreme pressures at certain depths trap toxic gases, which remain suspended or dissolved in the water but which are poisonous and can even eat away at diving equipment if precautions aren’t taken. Some cenotes have forests of dead trees at the bottom, which can tangle or ensnare the careless. So it’s vital to dive here with someone experienced not just in diving, but in all the various surprises each cenote may have in store

Raft the Amazon

Every river has to start somewhere and the mighty Amazon, the longest waterway on the planet, starts right here on the Río Apurímac, home to some fantastic white-water rafting. Located deep within the mountains close to the home of Peru’s Incan heritage, the Río Apurímac cuts a deep swathe into the earth, forming a canyon that’s twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Starting close to Cusco, it starts as a trickle and eventually grows to a torrent. In total, the river stretches over 1000km before it meets the Amazon, which continues for another 6500km before meeting the Atlantic Ocean. Safe to say, you won’t be rafting the whole thing

White-water sledge in New Zealand

If white-water rafting has you yearning for something more individual, white-water sledging might be just the ticket. Known variously as hydrospeeding, river surfing, riverboarding or white-water sledging, it’s rafting for one, clinging to the grips of a sledge as the river tries to have its wicked way with you

The classic white-water sledging river in New Zealand is the Kawarau (also the site of the world’s first commercial bungee jump), which flows midway between Queenstown and Wanaka after draining out of Lake Wakatipu. This river pitches sledgers through grade III rapids with inviting names such as Man-eater, Rollercoaster and Roaring Meg, the latter named for a prostitute who once worked the nearby gold fields

Walk Turkey’s Lycian Way

The Lycian Way opened in 1999, pioneered by Englishwoman Kate Clow. Taking France’s Grandes Randonées as a model, the trail links ancient footpaths and shepherds’ tracks, with red-and-white waymarks daubed on tree trunks and rocks to guide hikers. Starting from a point just east of Fethiye, between Ovacik and Öludeniz, the path winds, dips and climbs 509km to Hisar Çandır, 25km southwest of Antalya

Though lauded as one of the world’s best walks, with thousands of hikers taking to its rough limestone paths each year, it’s not officially maintained. Kate and her supporters refresh the waymarks and provide route updates, but walkers need to be alert to diversions. Hotels, pensions and simple guesthouses provide most accommodation, but in some spots wild camping or stays in village houses are the only options

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Unlike bigger peaks that are near-hidden amid towering ranges, Kilimanjaro stands alone, a Rift Valley beacon calling out to be climbed

It’s not lack of fitness that prevents a successful bid for Uhuru Peak – Kilimanjaro’s highest point. Couch potatoes should not apply, but you don’t need to be Superman, nor do you need technical climbing skills. No, it’s usually altitude that scuppers hikers here, insufficient acclimatisation causing dizziness, headaches, nausea – and worse. Most trekkers feel some symptoms; some are forced to descend

And as a bonus, here’s that Durdle Door amble…..

The Smugglers’ Way – that’d be a good name for it. Because the more prosaically titled South West Coast Path – which traces the outlines of Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset for over 1000km – only exists due to the ne’er-do-wells that once bothered these shores. In the early 19th century, when import duties were high, bootleggers were rampant. So, the coastguard service was set up to stop them. These law-upholding men created continuous patrol paths along the cliff tops so they could peer into every cove, cave and cranny (of which there are legion). Today, walkers do the same

This trail has everything. There are lighthouses and manor houses. There are rolling hills, towering cliffs, frenzied foam, sand dunes, nudist beaches, surf beaches and quiet creeks where smugglers must have hidden. There’s witchcraft, naval history and the possible location of Camelot – plus cream teas, pasties, pilchards and pubs. And, of course, the views are unremittingly spectacular

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