Top 5 Places to Overcome Your Fear of Heights

by Melissa Shearer

Imagine yourself standing on the ledge of a bridge 200 metres above white rapids below, with nothing but an elastic cord strapped around your ankles.  What do you do next?  Close your eyes, take in a deep breath and jump out into the unknown!

What is it with us humans and our desire to challenge our limits?  A recent study in the Journal of Affective Disorders examined the phenomenon of wanting to jump from high places, and they found, paradoxically, that the urge to jump is an affirmation of our will to live. Travellers have many opportunities to affirm their will to live and overcome their fear of heights when globetrotting—from hang gliding to skydiving and everything in between.

Toronto’s Edgewalk

Toronto is home to the iconic CN Tower; the former titleholder of the world’s largest freestanding structure and current home of one of the city’s great adrenaline activities: Edgewalk. Participants are strapped into safety harnesses and venture onto the roof of the CN Tower’s revolving restaurant—356 metres above the ground. From there, they enjoy a walk along a 1.5-metre-wide ledge around the circumference of the pod. There is something to be said for feeling the fresh air on your face and having an unobstructed city view from over 350 metres up.
Fear Factor: 3/5

Gorge Swing at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

In Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, you may find yourself high atop the Zambezi gorge looking off the edge of a platform more than 75 metres above the rushing rapids below. Connected to a bungee cord, you launch yourself off the end of the platform and after a terrifying free fall you swing out over the gorge. It takes the idea of a playground swing and injects it with all the adrenaline a person can handle—and does it all next to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World!
Fear Factor: 4/5


Credit: Melissa Shearer

Hang Gliding in Interlaken, Switzerland

What’s it like to fly like a bird? Those who have had the opportunity to hang glide probably have a good idea.  And where better to fly like a bird than in Interlaken, Switzerland’s adrenaline capital?  The takeoff site is one of the highest commercial sites in the world and once you’re soaring through the sky, you get to enjoy the beautiful views of the Swiss Alps all around you!  They can tailor the flight to be as calm or extreme as you’d like—accommodating every level of thrill seeker.
Fear Factor: 2/5

Skydiving over New Zealand’s Bay of Islands

There’s no greater adrenaline rush than throwing yourself out of an airplane and feeling yourself hurtle towards the ground at over 200 km/h!  And if there’s one place in the world that will provide you with spectacular views in the process, it’s New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. Skydive Ballistic Blondes is the only Kiwi operator who is licensed to land on the beach.  Whether you go solo or tandem, you are sure to never forget the rush that skydiving gives and you will always long for more!
Fear Factor: 5/5

Credit: Melissa Shearer

Credit: Melissa Shearer

Bungee Jumping off Macau Tower

If you find yourself with the urge to throw yourself off a building just for the thrill of it, you might as well follow the old adage “go big or go home, ” especially if that urge hits you in Macau, China.  Macau Tower is home to the world’s highest bungee jump—meaning you can launch yourself into sweet oblivion from 233 metres above solid ground. The attraction opened in 2006 and since then they have been allowing thrill seekers to experience the ultimate urban adrenaline rush day or night!
Fear Factor: 5/5