Mention New York as a holiday destination, and what springs to mind? Shopping: tick, sightseeing: tick, seeing a show on Broadway: tick, surfing…hmmm?! It may not seem like your average Big Apple activity, but holiday-goers are finding themselves more and more surprised by the unusual range of things to do in the more typical of holiday destinations. If you’re tired of following the tourist crowds and fancy breaking from convention, why not try your hand at this little lot:
Ice diving in the French Alps
If you’d rather experience what its like beneath the piste than on top of it, then ice diving in the French Alps could be right up your street. Whilst the area may be better known for its skiing opportunities than ice diving, visitors who are after something a little more extreme have the opportunity to be led by qualified divers through holes in the ice of the Tignes Lake. Brrrrrrr.
Sunbathing on a Paris beach
Forget the Eiffel Tower - Paris may be more famed for its status as the ultimate romantic hotspot, but in recent years it has become a different kind of hotspot altogether. Every year, the 3km stretch along the River Seine is transformed into a vibrant beach to rival the likes of the Cote D’Azur, complete with authentic looking sunbeds, parasols and palm trees. A perfect stop off while backpacking in Europe.
Skiing in Dubai
Famous for its 50 degree heat, it is a surprise to say the least that Dubai boasts its very own ski slopes! Okay, so it takes place indoors, but what better way of cooling off from the soaring heat than swishing down the faux mountainside slopes of ‘Ski Dubai’, complete with cosy log fireplaces and mugs of steaming hot chocolate. Mmmmm.
Surfing in New York
As the only shore in the New York vicinity where surfing is legally permitted, Rockaway Beach is one of the Big Apple’s best kept secrets. As well as soaking up all the sights and sounds of this iconic city, tourists and residents can grab their wetsuit, take the 50 minute subway ride to Rockaway Beach and surf the waves ‘New Yawk’ style. There are also plenty of surf schools for all you novices out there.
A day at the races in Australia (of the camel variety that is…)
Forget soaking up the sun on an Aussie beach or frying shrimps on the BBQ, head to Alice Springs for an entirely different kind of ‘down under’ experience. Camel Racing has been a popular event in Oz since 1971, and the annual Voyages Camel Cup allows you to have a flutter on one of 20 racing camels and other quirky races. Not quite Ascot so ladies, you may want to leave your headpiece at home, but a novel day out nonetheless.
Tour a sewer in Sydney
While you’re in the land down under, New South Wales’ iconic capital will undoubtedly feature on your list of places to visit. Once you’ve exhausted all the typical tourist attractions; Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, its many shops, etc, how about a trip to the city’s slightly more dark and quite frankly downright smelly underbelly…? Tours to the harbour city’s 19th century toilet tanks are run twice yearly and believe it or not are hugely popular with serious history buffs wanting a whiff of the action. Poo-ey!
Unwind in a Japanese (wine) spa
Renowned for their eccentricity, the Japanese have contrived the unique Yunessan Spa in Mount Fuji for visitors who enjoy their favourite beverage so much they are prepared to bathe in the stuff. Ingenious or simply tacky – you decide… Hiccup!
Crab Racing at the Courthouse Hotel, Newtown
As Sadhbh mentioned you purchase a crab for $2 and the first crab to reach the edge of the black circle is the winner! There are about 4 heats that take place and the winners of each heat go through to the grand final. The owners of the winning crabs receive bar tab vouchers as their prize – definitely a must if you’re in Sydney!
Bunny shearing at The Searing Shed, New Zealand
Sadhbh has also recommended bunny shaving in Waitomo, New Zealand. The Shearing Shed puts on a free “Angora Rabbit shearing show” 7 days a week, this is where people can watch the white German Angora Rabbits getting sheared and then see the products that are produced from their hair!
The mummified hand of St. Stephen, Hungary
Why not see the mummified hand of St. Stephen, the first Christian King of Hungary. The Holy Right is one of the most shocking and religious national symbols around. It used to be a complete right arm, and it is believed that the lower arm is kept in Ukraine, whereas the upper arm is in the Saint Stephen cathedral in Vienna. Budapest is home to a few strange things to see and do, Why not try living like a local in an apartment in Budapest for a long weekend or a week and try to fit them all in.
Adrenaline-pumping 4WD tours in Ayers Rock
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a must-see natural wonder of the world. The massive sandstone is famous for its colour changing hues at sunset and sunrise and adventurous travellers will be pleased to note that Uluru is accessible to hikers.This sacred landmark of aboriginal culture is located at the heart of the Northern Territory in central Australia, in the Kata Tjuta National Park, which is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it an ideal place to explore. Uluru tours provide a wide range of different ways to experience Uluru and the surrounding areas. The tours range from a Kings Canyon sightseeing tour to adrenaline-pumping 4WD tours, all of which will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture and experience the natural beauty of the area.
If you can think of anymore unconventional things to do in conventional holiday destinations, then let me know in the comments below and I'll add them to the list!