They say life begins outside of your comfort zone and the LGBTQ+ community has never been one to back down from a challenge.

There's nothing like a little gay adventure tourism to take you diving, climbing and soaring into the unknown. So, for those who like to run towards experiences –  instead of away from them – join us as we look at the most adrenaline-pumping activities to do around the world and the best gay-focused tours to do them on.

Image credit: max_the_dog98 from flickr

Bungee Jumping and Hang Gliding – New Zealand

New Zealand is the mother country of extreme sports and Queenstown the adventure capital of the world. As such, thrill-seekers flock to the island in the millions every year looking to take a plunge into the unknown – both metaphorically and literally.

Experienced gay travel operators Out Adventures’s ‘Active South Island Expedition‘ tour every February is an epic 10-day quest of self-discovery from Christchurch to Queenstown, hiking through the vast mountains, gorges, and rainforests of New Zealand. However, it is the climax – isn’t it always – that is the most thrilling part of the trip. Upon reaching Queensland, Out Adventures presents the unmissable opportunity to bungee jump off Kawarau bridge, where you can customize your jump to simply graze the water or to be fully submerged upon impact – just the tip or all in, as it were.

Furthermore, the next day after a climb up to Bob’s Peak, which overlooks Queenstown, the brave can glide down part of the mountain to soar over the city. The experience is further heightened – pun intended – due to sharing it with your fellow gays, who you will have had time to make a bond with over the trip.

Image credit: Gay Tours Cape Town

Shark Cage Diving, Paragliding and Helicopter Rides – South Africa

If Queenstown is number one for extreme sports, then Cape Town in South Africa is a worthy runner-up. Cape Town Gay Tours provide bespoke adventure day tours all year round – perfect for those who like their thrills packed into one day. One of the most popular – and terrifying – tours being shark cage diving, which involves getting up close and personal with one of the most dangerous predators on the planet – no, not your average WE Party attendee – the Great White Shark. Gansbaai beach – just outside of Cape Town – is the shark capital of the world, so you are guaranteed to be within arm’s reach of the sublime creatures for the whole dive, safely within your cage while under the guidance of experts of course.

From the water to the skies, Cape Town Gay Tours also offer tandem paragliding trips off Lion’s Head and helicopter flights with stunning views over the city and nearby beaches.

Image credit: Out of Office

White Water Rafting – USA, Colorado

If you like both rivers deep and mountains high, then head to Colorado for a white water rafting experience with HE Travel. Their Gay Group Trip: Grand Canyon Rafting Adventure sets out from Las Vegas for a wet and wild nine day adventure in July or August through the famously epic Grand Canyon.

You’ll raft down the Colorado River, navigating rip-roar rapids with your fellow gay adventurers – including the challenging ‘Hence Rapids' with its gut jumping 30-foot drop. By night you’ll camp on beaches alongside the river to preserve your strength for a hard day’s rafting, and other activities on the tour include contrastingly calm hikes to ruins in remote canyons and climbs up cliffs to enjoy the awesome views of the canyons below.

Caving, Rock Climbing and Zip Wiring – Colombia

We’ve had air and water but what about the earth? Caving is the act of hiking, crawling and swimming beneath the earth through – yes, you guessed it – caves. Most definitely not an activity for the claustrophobic!

HE Travel’s Gay Travel Colombia Adventure Tour takes attendees to Colombia for a seven-day action-packed adventure in late January through the wilds around Medellin. The tour includes a lot of the aforementioned adventure tour activities as you explore the Colombian forest – like paragliding and rafting – but it is the caving experience that really gives it that unique edge. On the fifth day you’ll swim and crawl along a stream within a marbled walled cave – for the better part of an hour no less! For further thrills, you’ll zip wire across the top of a forest canopy and rock-climb to high above the forest below. Less “extreme” activities on the tour include mountain biking through farms and cultural activities made to enjoy the famously warm hospitality of the locals in Medellin.

Image credit: Tourism Whistler

Snowmobiling, Zip Wiring (in the cold) – Canada

Winter might be coming, but it never really leaves in Canada. Technically an LGBTQ+ skiing and snowboarding event, Whistler Pride nonetheless is also one of the best places to try out a few more “extreme” winter sports. Daily tours run during the event, two of the most interesting being for snowmobiling or zip wiring. Snowmobiles – for those not in the know – are motorized vehicles on skis, which are a hell of a lot of fun to drive and jump around the snow on. At Whistler, there are a range of snowmobiling tours at different difficulty levels, so if you take a liking to it, you can work your way up to more challenging tracks.

Zip wiring on the other hand requires no training and only a plucky spirit. The ones at Whistler will send you soaring over the pines and snow slopes below from dizzying heights – most especially “The Sasquatch”, which is the longest zipwire in North America! Whistler Pride takes place in late January and is one of the biggest LGBTQ+ parties and events in Canada, period. So, come nightfall you can hit one of the parties and boast to all your fellow gay attendees of your daily exploits from the safety of a reassuring comfort zone – or a bar, as we like to call it.