South Africa - Family Adventure Destination
Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
From what I'm picking up on the travel grapevine, South Africa is the new New Zealand for adventure tourism. But it's not all about adult hedonism, there are some seriously uni Due family adventures to be had here. From cage diving with sharks to abseiling down Table Mountain. From bungee swings to cable gorge swings. From pro surfing to white water rafting. And when you've finished scaring the wits out of yourselves and the kids, you can calm it all down by visiting the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, or taking in the sights of Cape Town. And it doesn't have to be five star hotels all the way; you can sleep in everything from budget hostels to tree houses. Of course, you can't visit without going on safari; the stars of the South African national parks are the lions, elephants, zebras and giraffes, but there are also hundreds of species of birds and smaller mammals to spot. Kruger National Park alone covers almost two million hectares. We hope to get out there next summer, so watch this space. For more ideas, information and inspiration check out the South African Tourist Board's site.
2 Slovenia - The Country Small Enough to Go Electric
Bled Lake Slovenia
Slovenia is a relatively small country with all regions easily accessible from its capital Ljubljana. It's blessed with rivers, caves, mountain biking tracks and ski trails galore, and there are only 2
million inhabitants sharing its bright green paradise. (To put this in perspective, the English Lake District has more than 10 million day trippers alone every year.) The Adriatic Sea provides the water sports, the Mediterranean climate provides the sunshine, and for this year only, The European Basketball Championship for men provides the testosterone. But that's not the big draw. I'm up for trying out one of their new electric cars. With the newly launched Egozero project, Slovenia is the first country in the world to promote itself as being entirely in range of one of these neat green machines. Responsible tourism that's fun for all the family ... and you can even take Granny along for the ride!
3 Japan - Skiing and Culture in Asia's Adventure Playground
Lake Shikotsu from Rusutsu Ski Resort Japan
Tired of the same old, same old when it comes to skiing holidays? Fancy immersing yourself in a totally different culture? It doesn't get more different than Japan. Japan specialists Samuraisnow.com recommend three resorts for family skiing; Hakuba, Myoko and the hidden gem of N iseko. A traditional ski town; attracting plenty of English speaking tourists and guides, the main draw is the powder. But there are plenty of natural volcanic hot springs for a family to relax in at the end of a hard day's outdoor fun. "Skiing in Japan is a level up even from skiing in Canada," says Samurai Snow's Kelvin Shaikh. "Whistler is enormous but crowded, and while it's comfortable, you always know what to expect. A ski holiday in Japan is about immersing yourself in a totally different experience." Getting there from Tokyo is easy on the bullet train, or an internal flight, and one thing is for sure; you'll be guaranteed an adventure.
4 Argentina - Pack your Ski Boots and Dancing Shoes
Ok, so Japan is a culture too far for you. Then how about skiing in Argentina, South America? Cerro Catedral, in Argentina's Lake District is the largest winter playground for skiiers in South America; with 1200 kilometres of skiing and 3000m of mountains on tap. The South American ski season coincides with Western summer holidays and if you go in August, you're going off peak as well as off piste. The tourist board recommends a two week cultural adventure with a mix and match of nights in up to eight different ski resorts. And you can begin or end your Latin adventure in Buenos Aires. Argentina's capital city only truly comes alive at night, so save some energy for dancing. We took a tango lesson which was supposed to spice up our romance but ended in a row when Stuart was better at it than me.