Destinations

Travel trends: The changing nature of adventure travel

Ali Coulton

Adventure travel usually conjures up images of daredevil figures in Kathmandu gear, scaling mountains and eating scorpions.

But what people often ignore is the subjective nature of feeling adventurous.

For us, it’s adventurous to buy our morning coffee from anywhere that isn’t our local. But for you, it could be anything from four-wheel driving through the bush, to trecking through Bolivian mountain ranges.

This is why adventure travel is so difficult to characterise. Lucky for us, The Intrepid Group have given it a red hot go in their Adventure Travel Index, which aims to challenge stereotypes of adventure travellers and redefine the growing sector.

“In the past 29 years, we’ve seen the word ‘adventure’ used in many different contexts – from adrenaline to ‘soft adventure’.” Intrepid Travel co-founder Darrell Wade said.

“We also encounter people daily that declare they’re “not adventurous” – when in fact, it is completely relative to an individual. What’s adventurous to one person isn’t necessarily adventurous to the next.”

The Adventure travel index asked 1,000 Aussies who they define adventure travel. Here’s what they said:

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According to Intrepid, adventure travel caters to all appetites, and ideas of adventure range from mild to wild. The survey asked respondents to name their most adventurous holiday, and for some, the most adventurous thing they’ve done was simply getting on a plane to go overseas. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents answered that trekking through Africa or hitchhiking through Asia was their idea of adventure.

For Aussies looking for adventure in our own backyard, the Northern Territory was by far the most frequently mentioned, specifically Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kakadu and Alice Springs.

China also rated high for Aussies, with many walking the Great Wall, eating crickets and climbing a mountain.

Many people also rated trying new foods and taking public transport as the most adventurous thing they’ve done.

Living in Sydney and dealing with Cityrail on a regular basis, we can sympathise with this one.

Survey respondents were also looked at what motivates us to go book adventure holidays. Here’s how Aussies responded:

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An overwhelming majority of respondents said they book adventure travel as a way to recharge and relieve stress, followed by the age-old classic; itchy feet.

“Anecdotally, we are experiencing more travellers booking an Intrepid adventure with us to mark a special occasion like a milestone birthday or anniversary,” said James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Group.

“This makes total sense as doing something new, and in some cases getting outside of your comfort zone, is the perfect way to put a stamp on personal occasions.”

To smash any generalisations you had left, the survey also married Intrepid’s top destinations to three Australian age groups (18-29, 30-45 and 46 and over) and found that popularity of adventure destinations is fairly equally spread.

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SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

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