Mother Nature gifted us with a plethora of beautiful views, from the top of the Grand Canyon to the bottom of the Niagara Falls. Today more of these sites are open to the public than ever, and below is a selection of some of the lesser known but most breathtaking places that you can travel to.
Maori for ‘Sacred Waters’, Wai-O-Tapu is a stunning exhibit of geothermal activity. Crafted over thousands of years the wonderland is full of bubbling pools and erupting geysers notable for their vibrant and colourful appearance, and is located in New Zealand’s beautiful Taupo Volcanic Zone.
Having been the home of the Ngati Whaoa tribe for many years, the wonders of the Sacred Waters can now be accessed by tourists – including the Lady Knox Geyser, Champagne Pool, Artist’s Palette, Primrose Terrace and hot mud pools.
Phang Nga Bay
If you’ve ever seen Avatar and wished you could go to the floating Hallelujah Mountains then this is probably the closest you’re going to get.
Located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia, Phang Nga Bay contains 42 islands formed around uniquely shaped limestone cliffs, and 28 species of mangrove amid coral reefs and seagrass beds.
With tourism at the site booming, several individual cultures have thrived. From fishing, thatching and catering for visitors to filming famous James Bond scenes, the Bay experiences rich culture compounded by its 88 species of bird and 82 species of fish amongst other animals.
The result of almost 200 million years of nature’s influence, The Wave is a sandstone formation beautifully shaped and coloured by water and wind. When rain falls, lucky onlookers can see pools containing tadpoles and fairy shrimp form, and these can stay for several days.
The site does not give up its glory easily though, and a long trackless hike is required to reach it. Once there, the delicate ridges can break easily under foot and so careful walking is required.
You can see it for yourself in Arizona, and it’s absolutely breathtaking.
Coming from the Guarani or Tupi words for ‘Big Water’, Iguazo Falls is without a doubt one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Consisting of over 200 unique islands and falls the spectacle came within an inch of making it into the Seven Natural Wonders of the World list.
Legend tells that the falls were created when Naipi fled a god’s reach and into the arms of her mortal lover Taroba. In anger, the god sliced the river they sailed upon to condemn them to an eternal fall.
Today, walkways allow tourists to get closer to the majestic sight, hoping to see the lost lovers still sailing. The falls are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil.
Glacier National Park
With origins as far back as 170 million years, Montana’s Glacier National Park features 730 miles of stunning yet relatively unknown hiking trails. The park hosts a myriad of wild life, over 130 crystal alpine lakes and towering rock formations formed by the glaciers that gave it its name.
Whilst the Park has maintained almost all of its 1,000 species of plant life, global warming means that only 25 of the 150 original glaciers remain. It is estimated that these may disappear completely if climate patterns persist.
Rob enjoys writing about travel and sightseeing for Direct Sight – a leading destination to buy glasses online.