What is a Bucket List?
For those not in the know, a bucket list is a list of things you’d like to do before you ‘kick the bucket’ (die). My own bucket list is far more than a simple list of places to visit and things to see, however: I’ve packed it full of life experiences, sexual conquests, and even items of rugged manliness that I’d like to someday achieve.
Some items, such as giving a eulogy, are obviously not ones I aspire to – but ones I think are part of a life well lived. Others, such as the ten items you’re about to see, are indications of a life lived on the edge.
When ‘leaping from a plane with only fabric between you and death’ is the tamest item on the list, you know you’re looking at some pretty crazy stuff.
10 Extreme Bucket List Ideas
Below you’ll find ten bucket list items that I think firmly straddle the line between being extreme while still being feasible for the average Joe to aspire to. Apologies in advance if you’re so damned extreme that nothing short of the threat of dismemberment will get you out of bed in the morning.
Without further ado, let’s (bungy) jump into it.
#10 – Skydive over Victoria Falls, a Glacier, or a Freaking Volcano
If throwing yourself out of a plane at 10,000 or so feet doesn’t seem extreme enough for you, why not amp up the thrill factor a little by giving yourself something spectacular to plummet towards.
Skydiving in Zambia gives you the opportunity to not only see the stunning Zambezi River unfurling below you as a shimmering ribbon, but also the majesty of the Victoria Falls.
Summer proving too hot to handle? You can do more than just climb a glacier in New Zealand, you can also throw yourself out of a plane and hurl yourself towards the Fox Glacier if you’re looking for a way to cool off.
For real adrenaline junkies, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia offers you the chance to dive over an active volcano. If the threat of being burned to a crisp inside Mother Nature’s furnace doesn’t do it for you, you’re a hard person to please!
#9 – Volcano Surfing in Nicaragua
If falling towards an active volcano is too much for you, perhaps something a little more sedate will be up your alley? How about riding a piece of wood down the side of a volcano at high speed with the constant threat of being ‘cheese grated’ by sharp volcanic rock?
I thought that might get your attention.
Just outside the town of Leon in Nicaragua, crazy people have the opportunity to hike up a volcano and then make a rapid descent down its side on the kind of sled your parents would think twice about letting you take out in the snow.
But hey, cuts and bruises are just hickeys from the universe, right?
#8 – Ice swimming
All this talk of liquid hot magma has me wanting to chill off, so let’s head to Finland now to take a look at something those crazy Fins wouldn’t even consider extreme any more. Some of them even do it as a daily wake up routine. Beats the hell out of luke warm coffee and a splash of water to the face.
The practice of lowering yourself into icy cold water takes balls, which is unfortunate given yours are likely to retreat up into your abdomen at the first touch of the water. Whether you’re one to do it for holistic reasons or just want to reenact your favourite scene from Titanic, ice swimming is on the safer side of the extreme range.
#7 – Diving with Saltwater Crocodiles in the Cage of Death
If predators that have survived the event that wiped out the dinosaurs don’t excite you just a little bit, you’re clearly going to be receiving a call from The Avengers soon for their upcoming battle with Thanos.
The ominously named ‘Cage of Death’ isn’t quite as frightening as it sounds, but does allow you to scuba dive with saltwater crocodiles – arguably Australia’s second most frightening tenant after the Great White Shark.
While the dive takes place in a tank under close supervision, there’s something thrilling about seeing the closest thing we still have to a dinosaur up close and personal as it devours whatever hapless creature the attendants have thrown to it.
#6 – Go cliff-diving at Wolfgangsee
If skiing and sailing aren’t your thing, this crystal clear lake in North Western Austria offers up something a little more death-defying. Cliff-jumping is so popular at this picturesque lake that it not only hosts the Red Bull Cliff Diving Competition, but it even has a purpose built dive board 30m (100 feet) above the lake so you can practice your springboard or closed pike.
Too high (and cold) for you? The Kimberly Gorge region of Australia offers up a number of opportunities to throw yourself from sun-baked desert stone into isolated freshwater gorges along the Ord River.
#5 – Drift dive the Clutha River
Drift diving is the practise of scuba diving in an area with strong currents, giving the impression of flight while letting you see a whole lot more than you might on a ‘normal’ scuba dive.
While there are plenty of places to catch a current and ride it out in the ocean, the place that introduced me to the concept of drift diving was the Clutha River on the South Island of New Zealand. Promoted as the fastest drift dive in the world, parts of the Clutha River reach up to 12mpb and see the diver whisked underneath rapids and whirlpools.
For those who want a more serene experience, Descend Diving also offers the opportunity to scuba dive in stunning Milford Sound.
#4 – Scuba dive the Sardine Run
Sticking to the underwater theme, how does the idea of taking part in a kind of aquatic safari sit with you? Each year, millions of sardines migrate along the coast of South Africa in a shimmering cloud so immense that it can be seen from space.
Sardines? That’s boring!
Well, what about the hundreds of predators that the migration attracts? Much like its terrestrial equivalent across the Serengeti, the Sardine Run draws predatory fish, thousands of hungry birds, and (of course) an abundance of sharks to feast upon the bounty of the sea. There’s dolphins too, but they’re not quite as bad-ass as mother-flippin’ sharks!
If you’ve got a spare $4,300 US lying about, you could be in the water watching it all take place with nothing more than a wet-suit and a camera between you and the ravenous hordes of sharks.
#3 – Go bungy jumping from Macau Tower
The temptation is there to include one of New Zealand’s many spectacular bungy jumping sites here, but I’ll go with something different and instead nominate the towering pinnacle that is Macau Tower in China.
The highest building jump in the world, leaping from Macau Tower offers you a startling view of Macau and the distant mainland before you throw yourself 233 metres towards the bustling metropolis below.
If gambling with your money in the city’s many casinos isn’t for you, maybe gambling with your life will get the job done.
#2 – Completing the Huashan Cliffwalk
One I’m disappointed not to have attempted in the two and a half years I called China home, Huashan’s infamous rickety cliff-walk is not as dangerous as it is made out to be – as China’s all seeing, all knowing government has been quick to capitalise on the mountain’s reputation and turn it into a tourist haven.
That doesn’t mean that climbing one of China’s 5 Sacred Mountains isn’t without its perils. The Cliff Side Sky Path (a rather fancy name for a rickety bridge of wooden planks) still exists and for a measly 30rmb ($5) you can put your life in the hands of Chinese safety regulations and teeter precariously thousands of feet above jagged rock.
As climbing each of China’s Five Sacred Mountains was already on my list, climbing Huashan would be a great way to check off two birds with one lofty stone.
#1 – Get Wingsuit. Wear Wingsuit. Fly
Not one you can just pick up and tackle for the fun of it, learning to fly a wingsuit has been likened to learning to fly an F18 Hornet. It’s probably as close as you’ll get to being a superhero without being bitten by a radioactive spider or exposed to gamma radiation, but you’ll have to earn it. Wingsuit training usually takes several years of sky diving experience (a minimum of 200 dives) as well as specialised training.
Still, the prospect of soaring through the air with literal wings spread does make it sound worth the work.
Most (if not all) of the above come with a certain degree of risk associated. Even if you’re the kind who always travels with travel insurance, be sure to check that your policy covers such extreme pursuits before signing up.
For Australians, it’s worth noting that AusPost now offers travel insurance as well.
Have you done any of the above?
What are your own extreme bucket list suggestions? Maybe I’ve missed a few!
Featured image courtesy of ToddonFlickr