The hottest outdoor and adventure activities of 2018 (so far) named

It's the end of the financial year, time for everyone, even our team of experienced Traveller writers, to audit their experiences and record their highlights and occasional low lights. Here, they describe their favourite outdoor adventures from the past 12 months.

1. SEA KAYAKING, RAJA AMPAT, INDONESIA

For sea lovers this one is hard to beat: 10 days of sea kayaking, swimming and snorkelling amid the 1500 tropical karst islands that make up Raja Ampat, off the remote (and safe) north-west tip of West Papua. You even get to sleep on the sea, aboard a traditional 42-metre Indonesian phinisi. See southernseaventures.com

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

 Photo: Alamy

2. THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE, UTAH

This adrenaline-charged tour starts with a 140-metre rappel into a spectacular slot canyon near Zion National Park. Once you're in, there's only one way out – by climbing a 472-rung via ferrata. The best bit? The canyon is privately owned so you'll be the only ones there. See zionadventures.com

3. TASMANIA'S SOUTH-WEST WITH WILD PEDDER

 
Mount Rugby, Southwest National Park, Tasmania

Mount Rugby, Southwest National Park, Tasmania Photo: Shane Pedersen/Alamy

Fresh-faced Wild Pedder takes small groups on four-day adventures – the Pedder Experience – hiking and kayaking the rarely visited peaks, plains, waterways, islands, rainforests and cave mouths of the state's south-west wilderness. The company's nature-passionate owners also guide trips. Remote lodge accommodation and meals prepared with premium local produce. See wildpedder.com.au

4. TREKKING CANADA'S NEWFOUNDLAND WITH WORLD EXPEDITIONS 

Green Point, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

Green Point, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada Photo: Tom Bean / Alamy

So many experiences now promise to get you back to nature or to challenge you, but don't quite succeed. World Expeditions' Long Range Traverse through Newfoundland's remote Gros Morne National Park really delivers. Think four days of hiking and wild camping, and finding your inner strength along with edge-of-the-world vistas, in this stunning corner of the country with zero crowds or phone signal. See worldexpeditions.com

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5. WINTER PARK EXPRESS SKI TRAIN

Reintroduced after a nearly a decade hiatus, the Winter Park Express Ski Train will be up and running again during the 2018-2019 ski season. Departing from Denver's Union Station, the train can whisk you to the foot of the ski slopes in under two hours, returning to the city again after last lifts close. See denver.com

6. HIKING LAUGAVEGUR, ICELAND

Camping along Iceland's Laugavegur trail  Photo: Alamy 

As well as walking the 54 kilometres of Laugavegur – "the hot spring trail" – over four days you can also soak in a warm creek, climb old volcanos, plunge into a glacial lake, walk through an ice cave and take a steam bath over a hot spring. Accommodation is hut-based and evening meals, for non-vegetarians, are Icelandic salmon- and lamb-focused. See utracks.com

7. THE POUAKAI CROSSING, NEW ZEALAND

Mount Taranaki seen from Egmont National Park, New Zealand

Mount Taranaki seen from Egmont National Park, New Zealand Photo: Alamy

The Tongariro Crossing gets all the one-day-walk glory in New Zealand but this 19-kilometre tramp in Egmont National Park is equally spectacular. Not only does it offer stunning views of Mt Taranaki, but you'll also see towering lava columns and the haunting Ahukawakawa Swamp. See topguides.co.nz

8. FLEXENBAHN GONDOLA, AUSTRIA

When this spectacular gondola opened last year, it transformed the already first-class Arlberg ski region into one of the world's top-five largest ski resorts by linking glitzy St Anton to more sedate, upmarket Lech and all the snowfields in between. You can now enjoy over 300 kilometres of interlinked runs. See Arlberg.net

9. THE CANOPY WALK AT THE HABITAT, PENANG HILL, MALAYSIA

The Habitat on Penang Hill has long been one of Penang's best nature attractions, but the opening of the Canopy Walk in January 2018 takes the experience to greater heights. With multiple viewing platforms across its 230-metre-length the walk delivers a birds-eye-view of the 130-million-year old virgin jungle – and you won't raise a sweat. See thehabitat.my

10. SOHO BASIN, CARDRONA, NZ

Skiing the Soho Basin

Located next door to Cardrona Alpine Resort, Soho Basin remains New Zealand's best ski secret. A maximum of 24 skiers can ski terrain accessible only by snowcat (that's almost equal in size to Coronet Peak ski field … at 264 hectares). And it's half the price of heli-skiing, with a gourmet lunch from Amisfield Winery thrown in. See sohobasin.com 

Contributers: Elspeth Callender, Ben Groundwater, Belinda Jackson, Brian Johnston, Ute Junker, Nina Karnikowski, Kristie Kellahan, Jamie Lafferty, Sally Macmillan, Rob McFarland, Steve McKenna, Catherine Marshall, Julie Miller, Sheriden Rhodes, Louise Southerden, Alison Stewart, Craig Tansley, Kerry van der Jagt, Guy Wilkinson

 

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