Adventure podcasts are the perfect way to escape the grind and psych up for your next trip. Amelia’s got the listening you need
Got a case of serious travel envy? Counting down the days until your next adventure? (I think we all are! – Ed) Well strap your ears in, because they’re about to go exploring.
We’ve compiled a list of the world’s best adventure and travel podcasts, including some to surprise even the most avid podcast listeners. We’ve included plenty of Australian and Kiwi podcasts, as some of the best adventure podcasts are homegrown, and often overlooked compared to the big North American shows.
These podcasts will do more than just tide you over until your next trip, they’ll transport you and inspire you to dream of bigger, better, adventures.
Binge-Worthy Adventure Podcast Series
1. We Are Explorers Podcast
We’re on the podcast train! The We Are Explorers Podcast celebrates the humans within Australia and New Zealand’s adventure community. Hosted by We Are Explorers’ founder Henry Brydon, the podcast aims to find out how adventure has shaped people’s lives and inspire you to live a little more adventurously.
Check out Changing the Future of Adventure Travel with Fuchsia Sims and The Psychologist Using Adventure Therapy to Transform At-Risk Teens with Andy Hamilton to get you started.
2. The Dirtbag Diaries
Bringing out the big guns first, this is one of the most popular adventure podcasts. Running since 2007, Dirtbag Diaries not only sounds great due to super high-quality production and editing, they also bring great stories to life.
Try starting off with Pedal Strokes and Perspective to hear a stereotype-smashing female adventurer talking about her experience cycling across America.
Then move on to Tales of Terror Volume 8, part of their regular series on fear and adventure.
Another well-known, high-tech set of American adventure podcasts come from Outside Online. No shortage of great stories here.
Dispatches Episode 19: an Amazingly Crappy Story
The ‘shittiest story’ the hosts say they have ever told, this episode tracks a Canadian researcher on a mission to figure out what to do with human waste in natural areas. Full of great quotes like ‘chipping frozen shit into my face’ and more poop jokes than you can poke a stick at. If you have ever taken a shit in the woods, you are morally obligated to listen to this.
XX factor: Vanessa Garrison Walks the Walk
If you’re just struggling to get off the couch, let alone tick off a casual 20km hike, this will inspire you to bring activity into your everyday life. This episode also hones into the importance of nature and adventure for self-care, and to help you live your best life.
4. The Call to Adventure
Not only does this British podcast bring you stories of adventure, but the hosts are also currently cycling from North to South America and producing a podcast. This show is more informal and not as highly produced as Outside or Dirtbag Diaries, but has seriously inspiring interviews nonetheless.
Season 1 Episode 9 – Dimitri Kieffer
This episode is an interview with Frenchman Dimitri Kieffer, an unstoppable human adventure machine, circumnavigating the globe using only different types of human-powered transport.
5. Girls Can Do Scary Things Too
The first Aussie podcast on the list, this show delivers quick bites of adventure. Although it’s marketed at girls, and is great for kids, the stories are relatable no matter your age.
In the very first episode, the show’s host Alyssa Azar tells her story, as the youngest Australian ever to climb Mount Everest at 19.
6. Australian Hiker
Good for instructional guides, this podcast is not as story-driven as the other shows on this list. Australian Hiker is great for Australian specific travel tips, like:
Episode 018: The Overland Track: Expectations vs Reality
Or Episode 049: Kangaroo Island Here We Come, An Overview
7. Off Track
Off Track sounds distinctly Australian. Not just because of the Aussie accents; this podcast focuses just as much on the distinctive sounds of the Australian outback, with bird calls, crickets and the rustle of gum trees. If you’re looking for a podcast to really transport you, this is it. Earworms from Planet Earth II brings you sounds from the Australian bush and all over the world. If you’re reading from overseas, this show will cure even the strongest case of homesickness.
Whether you’re commuting to work, in the car driving to your next adventure, or just need some inspiration to get off the couch, these podcasts will deliver the goods. Grab your headphones and buckle up for a sonic journey into the wild!
8. The Long Way Home
Whenua, Whakapapa, Whanau. Land ties to Community. Produced by Radio New Zealand, this excellent series follows actor Bruce Hopkins’ journey along the infamous 3000km Te Araroa track as he takes the ashes of his brother and father home to his birthplace.
9. She Explores
Episode 58: are you able to change your dream?
In a world full of motivational speakers, we are all under pressure to set and achieve goals. But we don’t often hear about changing or re-evaluating those goals. Listen to some inspiring adventurous women discuss changing their dreams, and why it’s so important.
10. Bad Boy Running
Are you a runner? This British podcast is for you, as 2 hosts take their post-run pub banter and transport it into your ears in podcast form.
EP 41- Danny Bent talks Project Awesome, Special Forces Hell Week and World Rely
In this episode the hosts talk to adventurer Danny Bent (once they get through their chatter). Bent is well-known in the UK for his stint on TV show Special Forces Hell Week, his creative adventurous fundraising, and setting up Project Awesome, an initiative to bring more fun to everyday exercise.
11. The Paul Kirtley Podcast
Another British podcast, with a solo host who’s an expert in wilderness survival, this podcast is a breath of fresh air. It straddles the line between the high-tech production of some of the bigger podcasts and the freedom of small startup podcasts. This has the best of both worlds, the professionalism and nuanced questions of a big podcast, but also the fun of a smaller podcast.
PK Podcast 017: Al Humphreys on Adventures Great and Small
Guest Al Humphreys cycled around the world for 4 years, and has written over 10 adventure books. Humphreys is best known for his book on Microadventures which inspired thousands to sneak adventurous moments into their 9-5 lives (and is a major source of inspiration for We Are Explorers).
12. Adventure Science
Want to understand the world you’re exploring? This Canadian podcast merges the best of adventure life with science. So you’ll learn something and be inspired!
Ep 2: Will Gadd
A Canadian adventure powerhouse, Will Gadd is an ice climber, paraglider and kayaker. In this episode, he details his journey into adventure, and how growing up with a geologist for a father helped him better understand the world in which he was adventuring.
13. Our Changing World
Another science-based podcast, coming from New Zealand, Our Changing World focuses on the changes to world around us. Listen to Turnaround in takahē’s fortunes, an episode about conservation efforts to protect New Zealand’s endangered flightless takahē bird.
14. Wild Ideas Worth Living
Sponsored by REI, Wild Ideas Worth Living is another well-known, highly-produced podcast.
Episode 063 Brendan Leonard – How to Run 100 Miles, Get Paid to Write Books and Blogs and Make Movies and Cartoons about Adventures
What a title! Sign me up now! Guest Brendan Leonard is the creator of Semi-Rad, and the adventure community’s favourite cartoonist
15. Diaries of the Wild Ones
‘Tales from the road, recorded on the road.’ How’s that for a tagline? Aaron Shanks is an adventurous Aussie from Australia’s East Coast who moves between adrenaline-fuelled overseas adventures and off-grid living in Northern NSW.
As you can imagine for such a cool bloke, he’s pretty interested in other cool people. Diaries of the Wild Ones is an adventure podcast that focuses on ‘the weird, wonderful and sometimes scary elements of adventure travel. Check out Ep 4 – In Hospital In Korea, Police Rides In Mexico, Running from Bandidos in Peru, title says it all hey!
16. Terra Incognita
Compared to the adventure podcast above, Terra Incognita takes itself pretty seriously. Its byline is, in fact, ‘The Adventure Podcast’.
Luckily Terra Incognita – The Adventure Podcast lives up to its name. Heck, nearly everyone they’ve chatted with recently is wearing snow goggles in their pic. With a mix of household names and slightly more under-the-radar explorers, this UK-based podcast is worth sessioning, ice-axe and whiskey in-hand.
17. The Layback
The Layback is about Australian rock climbing. That’s it. The founder was listening widely and felt that there was a gap right where Aussie climbing should be. With big names like Simon Carter, Neil Monteith, Kim Carrigan, Olivia Page and Lucy Stirling, this podcast is an asset to the home-grown climbing scene.
18. The Rich Roll Podcast
The Rich Roll Podcast is hard to sum up. At its core, it’s about wellness and how to get there. Themes like meditation, endurance sport, time in nature and veganism keep popping up and Rich’s undying stoke will leave you amped to be your best self. Heck even the ads get you inspired. To a degree, this one’s more about the adventure of life, and adventures into the mind – not that there’s anything wrong with that!
19. Watershed Chats
Patagonia Australia’s latest podcast series, Watershed Chats, speaks with a bunch of experts who are doing their darndest to create a more healthy and habitable future for the planet. Now that’s something everyone can agree on! One episode even chats with Alice Forrest, a long-time We Are Explorers contributor and pal.
20. Born To Kick Arse
Matthew Tommasi interviews total legends from across the adventure sphere in this grass-roots podcast. From blind Everest climbers to back to back marathoners and the fastest known hiker of the Pacific Crest Trail you’re in for a wild look into the minds of the world’s most hardcore.
Episodes stopped in 2017 but with 65 to dig through there’s more than enough to get stuck into.
21. The Hidden Athlete
Much like Born To Kick Arse, The Hidden Athlete podcast focuses on epic athletes and adventurers who avoid the mainstream media. There are some incredible personalities and stories to dig into; the most recent ep interviews Matthew Falconer, a 4 x Transcontinental Bike Race Ultra Endurance Cyclist who used to weigh 120kg and chain smoke cigarettes. Nice turnaround!
One-off Podcast Episodes
These are the podcasts you might have skipped over as they don’t scream ‘adventure’ from the title. But don’t tune out! Some of the best adventure stories we’ve ever heard have been from these shows.
Conversations is one of Australia’s highest-rated podcasts, and for a very good reason. This podcast has a focus on great storytelling. Each week, hosts Richard Fidler or Sarah Kanowski interview someone with a unique story. Filder is one of the best interviewers in the world, and each episode never fails to leave you enthralled.
Hiking while blind? Best of 2017: Daniel Kisch, tells the story of Kisch, who uses echolocation to hike, bike and adventure, all without seeing.
Listening to trees: nature’s magnificent networkers is all about the amazing ways trees communicate, and Biologist David Haskell’s work to decode their messages.
When adventure goes wrong, helicopter pilot Jerry Grayson will be there to rescue you in Royal Navy Helicopter rescue pilot Jerry Grayson.
23. Death, Sex & Money
Why Jeb Corliss Jumps Off Cliffs
This ep of Death, Sex & Money focuses on famous BASE wingsuit jumper Jeb Corliss reflects on his near-death experiences while adventuring and why he keeps going back. Jeb’s adventures just scrape in on the safe side of lethal, and are at the very edge of what is possible in extreme sports.
24. Stuff Mom Never Told You
‘Women should be careful traveling on their own. It’s just not safe.’ This podcast busts that stereotype wide open, looking at the experiences of solo female travelers from early 19th Century explorers, to modern-day eat-pray-lovers. Stuff Mom Never Told You smashes gender norms and is a must-listen regardless of your gender.
If you’re enjoying the theme of old-school adventure women, listen to Pocahontas and the Indian Princess Myth.
Season 8 episode 1 ‘Science’s greatest journeys’
These self-confessed Aussie nerds come with a language warning, and a warning that you might learn something cool. This episode focuses on some amazing historical voyages, starting with Charles Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle.