Mother Nature has no shortage of tricks up her sleeve. In every corner of the planet she puts on a fascinating show. From plummeting red-ochre canyons to twirling lights that appear on a whim and soaring snow-encrusted peaks cloaked in cloud, the world is a smorgasbord of natural sights worth travelling to see. While there are many more dazzling displays of natural triumph, these Seven Natural Wonders of the World are an absolute must on your bucket list.
A sweeping and soaring red beauty of gigantic proportions, while the Grand Canyon may not be the deepest gorge in the world, it is certainly the most spectacular. Amazing for all its sandstone canyons, pine and fir forests, volcanic features, mesas and plateaus, it’s nearly two kilometres deep and runs 446 kilometres long. With many ways to soak up the sights, you could take a guided hike, a helicopter flight or head to one – or all – of the lookouts overlooking this mighty canyon.
You simply can’t top the views that come with the highest peak on Earth. A mighty 8,848 metres tall, Mount Everest is the stunning snow-capped centrepiece of the Himalayan mountain range that trails the border between Nepal and Tibet. Famously first conquered by Hillary and Tenzing in 1953, you don’t have to scale it to witness the staggering beauty. A breathtaking scenic flight over the Himalayas will leave you in awe of this wonder that intrigues all those who set eyes on upon it.
The astronomical wonder of the Aurora Borealis is one that has mystified travellers for years – due partly to the fact that catching sight of these dancing fluorescent lights is half the wonder. A rainbow fusion of colourful illuminations fluttering and twirling in the sky, while they can be spotted in the southern hemisphere, your best bet is in the auroral zones of northern Scandinavia and Canada. The magic is still there by day, but you can only really glimpse it at night, against a dark moody sky, and only in the right conditions.
The world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of incredible underwater discoveries. Encompassing over 2,900 separate reefs and 900 islands, it’s also home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Running along much of the east coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is the only natural wonder that can be recognised from outer space. Explore the awe-inspiring marine life and corals on a snorkel or dive excursion, or take a scenic flight or boat ride to glimpse it from above.
Tumbling down on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa, Victoria Falls has no shortage of spray, mist and rainbows. The largest waterfall in the world, based on width and height combined, the water surges nearly 100 metres down into the spectacular gorge and runs for nearly two kilometres. It’s no wonder its other name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, means “smoke that thunders”. Protected by two national parks, lush forest rich with native flora and fauna create the perfect setting for the show
Surrounded by distinctive mountains and formations made famous over time, the harbour of Brazil’s famed city Rio de Janeiro sets a magnificent backdrop for the urban sprawl it’s now home to. Also known as Guanabara Bay, the exotic landscapes were created by erosion from the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the same spots that make the scene so dramatic are the best lookouts to admire the view from, including the imposing Sugar Loaf Mountain, the mesmerising hills of Tijuca, and Corcovado Peak, home to the infamous Christ the Redeemer statue.
Paricutin is a cinder cone volcano in the Mexican state of Michoacan. What makes it so incredibly unique is how it came to exist. After first appearing in 1943 as a small hole billowing smoke and steam in a corn field, within a week it had grown to 100 metres tall and kept growing. Today, Paricutin stands nearly three kilometres tall! Having last erupted in 1952, you can safely explore the lava fields, sandy banks and buried village homes on a hike or horseback adventure through the surreal setting.
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