7 adventures in highly irregular locales

7 adventures in highly irregular locales

Diving in Pennsylvania? Skiing in Dubai? Yep it's possible -- here’s how

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, snowboarding in Aspen, bicycling in the Alps, safari in Tanzania.

Yawn. Millions been there, millions done that.

To some people, alternative actually means alternative.

That's what makes this collection of activities in offbeat locales weird. And special.

But mostly weird.

1. Scuba diving: Pennsylvania, United States

Scuba Diving PennsylvaniaDiving in Pennsylvania? Don't hold your breath. Until the 1970s, Dutch Springs, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, was an active limestone quarry. Now it's a 50-acre, 100-foot-deep lake.

Aquatic life may be limited to freshwater fish like perch and bass, but the big attraction is the submerged machinery, which includes a bus, bulldozer, airplane, tanker truck, fire engine, helicopter and trolley car.

Dutch Springs, 4733 Hanoverville Road, Bethlehem, Penn., United States; +1 610 759 2270; dutchsprings.com

2. Surfing: Alaska

Time for someone to invent a heated dry suit. When we think surfing, we think warm weather and sandy beaches.

Not so for the folks from Homer-based Ocean Swell Ventures, who will take you out on a 50-year-old fishing boat to surf the frigid waves and tidal bores of the Gulf of Alaska.

Ocean Swell Ventures; +1 907 398 7749; oceanswellventures.com

3. Skiing: Dubai

Ski DubaiWinter hits the Middle East ... everyday. Dubai is a manufactured fantasia, existing, in no small part, to thwart convention -- why else build a destination resort in a location where temperatures range from unbearable to infernal?

So it should come as no surprise that the Emirate is home to this 25-story-tall indoor ski slope, capable of serving 1,500 guests and covered with a constant three-foot pack of manufactured snow.

Ski Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, exit 39, 4th interchange; www.skidubai.com

4. Ice golfing: Greenland

Greenland Ice GolfingAnd where exactly is the "green"? Greenland is white, covered with a thick layer of glacial ice. But every March since 1997, a golf course has been cut in the ice and lunatics play through in temperatures that may drop to -50 C with the wind chill.

Golf balls need to come in bright, contrasting colors.

World Ice Golf Championship, Uummannaq; www.greenland-guide.gl

5. Urban rafting: Bologna, Italy

Bologna Urban RaftingWhy they invented bottled water.

Beneath and around this ancient Italian city is a system of canals built in medieval times but largely paved over during the postwar reconstruction of the 1950s.

Now, you can jump on a raft and float down these charmingly murky waters, learning about the city’s history.

Just be sure to keep your mouth closed.

www.vitruvio.emr.it (Italian) or www.hotelmetropolitan.com (English); +39 051 229393

6. Spelunking: Jerusalem, Israel

Spelunking IsraelYou have to go down to go back in time.
In order to better fight the invading Roman army back in the first century BC, Jewish rebels dug a series of tunnels beneath their villages outside Jerusalem.

Now, the less claustrophobic among us can squeeze through pencil-wide passageways that lead to ancient olive presses, weapons storage rooms and pigeon breeding grounds burrowed deep into the hills.

Tiuli; +972 (0)777 333 4555; www.tiuli.com

7. Zip-lining: Various cities, India

Zip-line over an Indian PalaceNot the most regal entry, but fun nonetheless. India visitors bored with market haggling can strap on a harness, don friction-resistant gloves, sit through a detailed safety briefing and then fly free, whizzing through five zip lines over an incredible 15th-century Indian royal fort compound in the country’s culturally rich Golden Triangle region.

Flying Fox, 86/1 Shahpur Jat, New Delhi; +91 (0)11 6648 7678; www.flyingfox.asia

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Elite Escapes

Grab your Barbour jacket. The Land Rover Discovery tour includes castles, horse shows and plenty of off-roading