Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be about overpriced long stemmed red roses, crowded dinners, chocolates and whispering sweet nothing’s into your partners ear. Many people don’t even have a partner to share it with, many people think it is overrated and avoid it at all costs, whereas others jump in head first and get washed up with all the commotion and commerciality (is that even a word?) that comes along with it.
I personally think that if you can make it a fun day with your loved one or friends and forget all the ‘lovey dovey’ over the top hoo-ha that goes on, you can have an awesome day and strengthen your bond even more so by having shared something unique together.
Here are my top six adventures for you to try this Valentine’s Day – or next….
1. Hot Air Ballooning
This is one of the most relaxing ways to start your Valentine’s Day morning. Hot air balloons generally fly in areas that offer stunning scenery and more often than not, take flight at sunrise. Whether it be over lush vineyards, rural countryside landscapes or dry dusty plains, watching the sun rise from the air is truly spectacular as the land below you changes colours, with the sky morphing from glowing mauves to burnt oranges. It’s a great experience to share with your partner or friend as you simply float above the earth with not a care in the world. Silence surrounds you as you take in the beauty together – the views you witness from aloft are something you cannot experience any other way. An added bonus of a hot air balloon flight, is quite often they are complimented with a tasty champagne breakfast.
The underwater world is something truly spectacular and unique. Even if you have never dived before and are looking to take the plunge, there are diving options from beginners through to advanced qualified Dive Masters. No dive is ever the same, and for many people, once you have dived, you are converted. The underwater world takes hold and encapsulates your heart. The untouched beauty at the bottom of the ocean is an amazing site to explore and share with your partner. Pausing hand in hand as a giant sea turtle glides past you or discovering vibrant bursts of coral and marine life that darts around you is something truly special. For those looking for something a little more adrenaline fueled, many aquariums now offer shark tank dives – again a truly amazing experience to share with someone special in a safe, controlled environment.
3. Swim Under a Waterfall
Taking a hike through a national park with your partner is a great way to spend some quality time together. Even more so when you are hiking towards a waterfall that you can swim under! You would be surprised at how many waterfalls are actually safe swimming holes. With a little bit of research, I am sure there isn’t one too far from you. The beauty of swimming beneath cascading water in a shallow pool is that you are surrounded by 100% nature. The only sounds being the tumble of falling water, chirping of birds and clicking of cicardas. It is quite possible that you may be the only ones here too – so why not take a skinny dip? For you Sydney siders, click here.
4. Go to a Theme Park
Nothing is more fun than being a child for the day! So bring out your inner child and hit up a theme park with your partner. You can be guaranteed a day of fun and giggles as you challenge each other on water slides, see who can do the WHOLE roller coaster without holding on and have cheesy pictures taken of you whilst on the rides, not to mention with your favourite TV characters too!
Paddling alongside your partner taking in untouched scenery and witnessing wildlife. The only sounds the splash of your paddles and flit of a dolphins tale if your lucky. A great way to spend the day in the outdoors if you are a nature lover and looking for a new way to spend time with your partner. Quite often kayaking trips include a picnic lunch.
6. Sky Diving
For those looking for the ultimate thrill, and something to talk about for weeks to come with your partner, then sky diving is for you. There is nothing quite like being thrown out (ok, well yes, you jump – you are not thrown out) of a hovering plane 12,000ft in the air with your partner free falling besides you. Yes, I know the videos and photos can be unflattering (for those of you who saw the Australian version of The Bachelor, you will remember Laurina’s face), for those who didn’t, see below.
Ok, so not always super flattering, but it will give you a great laugh and plenty to chat about. Guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face by the time you land and take off that uncomfortable harness. Unless of course you are Laurina….
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.