6 Most Unlikely Retirement Activities: You Better Believe It! - Traveller - Brand Discover

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6 Most Unlikely Retirement Activities: You Better Believe It!

From bungee jumping to mountain trekking and cycling tours, there is no shortage of extreme action out there to get the blood pumping. But if you thought these adventures were reserved for the young, think again.

According to new research, the top ‘bucket list’ activities Australians have planned for their retirement are anything but the norm. The research, conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of ING DIRECT, polled over 1,000 people and shows that 44% of Australians plan biking and trekking adventures, 22% will join an archaeological dig and 12% have their eyes set high with bungee jumping and skydiving. So how are they going to fund these great activities? Well, while 43% plan to use their superannuation, worryingly, less than 20% intend to top up super before retirement. That easy extra money could just be the difference between hot air ballooning over African jungles, or not. So what are some of the ultimate bucket list activities? Ready, set, jump!

  1. Bungee Jumping

    Yep, you better believe it. What could possibly be better than plummeting off a bridge with 134 meters below? At the birthplace of bungee, Queenstown, New Zealand, you can do just that. This high-adrenalin activity is not for the faint-hearted and you’ll possibly need a few years to build up the courage and savings for this adventure. Jumpers can choose from multiple options. Queenstown’s Kawarau Bridge Bungy is a 43m jump, taken from the rock-face above the magnificent Kawarau Gorge – enjoy the views while you’re stationary! New Zealand’s highest leap, The Nervis Bungy, is 134 metres high with 8.5 seconds of free-fall – just enough time to plan your next adrenalin-pumping activity. Or, for night owls, the night jump off The Ledge, which is located 400 meters above Queenstown, has stunning panoramic views.

    Cost: Flights from Melbourne to Queenstown from approximately $600 return. Bungee jumps from approximately $305.

  2. Cycling Tours

    Who needs four wheels when you can get around on two? Yep, Australians are putting the pedal to the metal and saving their pretty pennies to cycle their way through life’s great adventures. One of the hot picks is cycling through France’s stunning countryside and vineyards while having a tipple at each winery pit stop, then doing cooking classes and wine appreciation, while visiting the Chateaux in between. The beauty of cycling and wine tasting tours of course are that you can get fit, enjoy nature’s best, experience the heart and soul of the regions, meet the locals and explore at your own pace.

    Even better, they’re suitable for different fitness levels. You can tour de vines in group tours in both France and Australia’s wine regions, choosing the destination and the level, from easy cycling to more arduous summits like Mount Ventoux in France. On your marks…

    Cost: Flights from Melbourne to Paris from approximately $1,500 return. 7 Day cycling tours through France approximately $4,900.

  3. Digging For Dinosaurs

    Ask anyone who’s ever dug up a dinosaur bone or pieced together historical artefacts about their most memorable life experiences, and I’m betting these make the cut. The very personal contribution to history, volunteering, discovering and learning makes this trip unbeatable. Volunteers of all ages can join archaeological projects all over the world to dig for artefacts from ancient civilizations and piece together history.

    Closer to home is Australia’s Dinosaur Trail in outback Queensland, where you can discover, dig up and work on dinosaur fossils that are 40-100 million years old. You’ll be trained on how to prep a dinosaur and can even stay all winter (great for Southerners!), while you piece together prehistoric fossilised dinosaur bones, some weighing 20 tonnes or more. In your spare time, visit the dinosaur stampede where the dinosaurs have been trapped in the land, listen to the famous bush poets at night, visit the Waltzing Matilda Museum, where the poem was penned, and stop by the Tree Of Knowledge, where shearers advocated for labour changes.

    Cost: 3 Night Prep-A-Dino onsite stays cost from $367, 10 Nights from $1,015. Two and three week Dig-A-Dino experiences from $2,600-$3600.

  4. Hot Air Ballooning

    Hot air ballooning may seem like a passive activity, but for anyone who’s experienced one of those bumpy landings, they’ll tell a different story! Combining adventure, action and an air of romance, hot air ballooning soars high on the list of activities, with 37% of Australians planning to soar to new heights. The hot picks are a sunrise lift off complete with sparkling wine over Australian wine regions including South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Victoria’s Yarra Valley and Tasmania’s sparkling regions.

    But for a wilder experience, Australian’s are signing for hot air ballooning over the Maasai Maria in Africa to see ‘the big five’ – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinoceros. With picturesque views of the Maasai Mara below, along the Mara River and its adjoining forest, and over the open plains beyond, the experience is thrilling, nerve wracking and unbeatable. Don’t mind the bumpy landing over a few termite mounds while being dragged in a basket by a deflating balloon!

    Cost: Return flights from Sydney to Kenya cost approximately $1,700. Hot Air Ballooning over Maasai Mara with Angama Mara cost approximately $648.

  5. Sailing The Seven Seas

    Ahoy there, matey! Those with an aversion to landlocked locations are hitting the high seas on a tall ship, with 22% of Australian’s planning a sailing adventure on the high seas. And with so many incredible destinations to ship into, it’s no wonder. There are oodles of ‘learn to sail’ courses all around the world, but the hot fave is sailing aboard a clipper ship. Clipper ships carry about 200 passengers, but are small enough to dock into small coves that big cruisers can’t get to, exploring fantastic out of the way places. The unique itineraries include the Mediterranean, Cuba, Caribbean, Thailand and Indonesia. You can island hop the Greek Islands and Turkey while visiting the hidden treasures within the breathtaking Aegean Sea, with seven night sojourns from Istanbul to Athens where you can explore gems of coastal towns. For something a little more grand, people are hitting the decks for Grand Mediterranean 10 and 11 night cruises from Rome to Sicily, Malta and Tunisia which provide action packed destinations, history, culture and sights. Then there’s a Cuba and Caribbean exotic sailing experience with a neoclassical twist, visiting a collection of historical structures from Cienfuegos to St Maarten. The ultimate transport to navigate the high seas, beautiful harbours and quayside restaurants while snorkelling, swimming, diving and more.

    Cost: 11 Night Star Clippers Grand Mediterranean tours start from approximately $4,739. Flights from Sydney to Rome cost approximately $1,330 return.

  6. Exploring Ancient Cities

    If history and culture is more your thing, you’re not alone. From Egypt’s great pyramids to Roman ruins and the great discoveries of Turkey, venturing far and wide to discover ancient artefacts is big on the bucket list of activities. Rosemary and her husband Bernard, both 73, say their trip to explore the extensive excavation work and immerse themselves in the daily life in Turkey was phenomenal. “I love ancient history, so visiting the Aegean coast of Turkey and Kusadasi was an incredible experience,” explains Rosemary, who lives in Sydney. “We spent eight days exploring the beautiful ruins at the magnificent Roman city of Epheus, including the temple of Apollo and Athena, but you could easily spend weeks there. You can touch and feel the ruins, and the local guides’ knowledge and stories are fascinating. Immersing yourself in the culture and history really allows you to appreciate things. We watched Turkish folk dancing shows and performers, did belly dancing, visited local cafes, meandered through markets and littles shops and enjoyed Turkish delight! It was certainly one of life’s more rewarding trips – I just wish we stayed longer and visited Gallipoli in the north of Turkey too.”

    Cost: Flights from Sydney to Istanbul cost approximately $1,500 return. Highlights of Ephesus Tour day tour costs approximately $228 for two people.


    ING DIRECT has a range of simple superannuation solutions for every lifestyle.  For more information and to learn how you could make the most of your super in the lead up to retirement, visit ING DIRECT.

    ING DIRECT, a division of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292 AFSL 229823, Australian Credit Licence 229823.