TOP 10 TREKKING ADVENTURES
I am completely obsessed with getting off the beaten track and into nature, so this blog is a little hit of inspiration based on some of the adventures I’ve taken, plus some I’d really like to. Just in case March has you feeling in need of a hit of wanderlust. Do yourself a favour and Google every one of these to check out some breathtaking images!
1. KOKODA TRAIL, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Trekking Kokoda was one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life so far and if you knew me, you’d realise how big a statement that was! There’s something about Kokoda that’s really special. Arriving to our first campsite was surreal…I felt like we were on a set of the Jurassic Park movie. Everywhere I looked was jungle. Mountains, trees and blue skies; no sight of cars, houses or anything from the ‘Western world’. Had we crossed to a parallel world, another dimension? This didn’t seem to be real! If you’ve never been, you just have to go, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
2. MOUNT BLANC, ALPS ACROSS FRANCE, ITALY AND SWITZERLAND
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 170 km trail that covers the whole of the Mont Blanc Massif; with nearly 10, 000m of cumulative descent and ascent and the most beautiful scenery in Europe. You can choose various adventures here, anywhere between four to twelve days as well as a variety of accommodations along the way, from hotels to mountain huts. You can spot chamois, deers, eagles and a range of beautiful alpine flowers. If you’re an experienced trekker and love your freedom, you can do the trek completely self-sufficiently and carry all your food and camping gear with you. Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), the most prestigious and difficult trail ultramarathon, is held on this trail each year. While the best runners complete the loop in slightly more than 20 hours, most runners take 30 to 45 hours to reach the finish line.
3. AMAZON JUNGLE TREK &KAYAK, IQUITOS TO CABALLOCOCHA, PERU
The Amazon rainforest spreads across a large territory that belongs to nine nations, with the majority in Brazil, Peru and Colombia. It represents over half of the planet’s remaining rain forests and constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world. While there are thousands of tours through the Amazon jungle and along the Amazon River to choose from, the Iquitos City to Caballococha trek is one of the few untouched areas that’s not overcrowded with tourists, so that’s my pick. Those who complete this 311km trekking and kayaking journey describe it as the one part of the world man hasn’t ruined. It’s truly beautiful, but truly dangerous too – you’ll be watching out for predatory creatures such as the black caiman, jaguar, cougar, and anaconda. The Amazon River is a home to piranha and electric eels too!
4. COTOPAXI. ANDES MOUNTAINS, EQUADOR
Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanos in the world. It’s erupted over 50 times since the 18th century resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by mudflows around the volcano. The mountain has an almost perfect conic shape and the most amazing colours of red and artic blue. It is part of the chain of volcanoes around the Pacific Plate known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. Being 5,897 m high, you can conquer the volcano in one day but you have to use a licensed tour guide. Despite being at a high altitude, climbing Cotopaxi is not very difficult. Although, it is considered a technical climb that requires technical climbing gear such as crampons, ice axe and crevasse rescue gear.
5. GREAT WALL OF CHINA, CHINA
The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest wonders of the world listed as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. It winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 13,170 miles (21,196 km) from east to west across China. Despite of being commercialised, it is still one of the most amazing trekking experiences all around the world due to its architectural magnificence and historical meaning. Choose to trek the more remote sections, away from all the tourist crowds and stay in the villages along the way for the most authentic experience. It will take you around six days. If you are hardcore, sign up for the Great Wall Marathon with 5,164 historic steps!
6. THE ARTIC CIRCLE TRAIL, GREENLAND
Discover the Artic tundra in one of the most remote parts of the world. The Artic Circle trail is 160km long trail and one of the largest ice-free parts of Greenland, between the international airport at Kangerlussuaq and the western seaboard at Sisimiut. Having no provisions available along the way makes this easy trek tough as you have to carry all your supplies. If you are lucky, you can spot a polar bear. There’s no nightfall in the summer and no daylight in the middle of the winter, so stay away around Christmas time. If you get sick of walking you can kayak along a lake for one full day…if you are lucky to get one of the very few kayaks available. Feeling super tough? Attempt the Polar Circle Marathon, the coolest marathon on earth. Running on ice sheets and snow covered roads is a truly unforgettable running experience.
7. ANCIENT PETRA, JORDAN
This challenging and beautiful nine-day trek will take you through stunning desert and jagged mountains rising to 1400m, and to ancient archaeological sites among the oldest in the Middle East. Travelling with a local Bedouin and sleeping under the stars will make you feel like you are on a set of a fantasy movie. You will see various historical ruins and villages while crossing sand dunes, mountains and canyons but arriving in Petra, the Rose City, will take your breath away. Enjoy a float in the Dead Sea at the end of the journey; you will need it after walking mostly on steep rocky hills and soft sand. The Dead Sea is eight times saltier than the ocean, creating a perfect natural ‘float tank.’
8. TREK WRANGELL-ST. ELIAS NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, ALASKA
Spreading across 14 million acres (10 million acres being wilderness), the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in North America with the largest number of glaciers and mountain peaks, often referred to as the, “Mountain kingdom of North America” and characterised by remote mountains, valleys, wild rivers, and a variety of wildlife. You can trek on your own or choose from large offer of trekking tours of different lengths and difficulty levels. Brush up your navigation skills before you go as all backpacking trips inside the park involve off-trail travel, meaning map reading and navigation skills. With paper white mountain peaks and grizzly bears, this place is so wild and remote it will make you feel like you are at the end of the world.
9. COPPER CANYON/TREKKING TOUR-CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO
Explore the trails of the Tarahumara Indians, the famous running tribe. Being 600km long and 250km wide, the canyon is much bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon with lots of greenery and unmarked trails. Get a certified guide and make sure you see Piedra Volada (Flying Stone), Mexico’s highest waterfall that can only be reached by foot. Plan your trip carefully. As beautiful as this part of the world is, it can also be very dangerous and violent due to Mexico’s drug cartels operating in the area. Read the book, Born To Run for some inspo before you go!
10. SKIPPERS HELI HIKE, NEW ZEALAND
You don’t have to travel across the globe for an amazing trekking experience. New Zealand’s Queenstown offers some of the best trails in the world, Skipper Canyon being one of them. Hosting the Shotover River (a gold-bearing river), this Canyon is a 22km long historical and scenic spectacle. You will only need one day to do the Skippers Canyon Heli Hike involving a scenic helicopter flight into the canyon with amazing views of the Shotover river. If you get bored of walking you can take a 4WD ride and go mountain biking or white water rafting. Once you get a taste of New Zealand you might be keen to try some of the more difficult multi day hiking adventures such as Milford Trek. If you are into running, you can’t miss the Shotover Moonlight Marathon, one of the most spectacular marathon races in the world!
Vee is a resident Exercise Physiologist and strength and conditioning coach @ Agoga Gym Bondi. She's a keen runner and loves a good ultra marathon trail run! She's also Co-Founder of Chief Bar, Australia's first meat based protein bar. Follow Vee on instagram @veronikalarisova.