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    Top 10 Places To Visit

    10. Glow worm cave, New Zealand

    The Waitomo Glowworm Cave is a famous attraction at Waitomo on the North Island of New Zealand. It is known for its population of glowworms, Arachnocampa luminosa. You can find this species exclusively in New Zealand. They are as small as an average mosquito. The Waitomo Caves system also includes the Ruakuri Cave and the AranuiCave.

    At the Waitomo Cave there is a modern visitor center at the entrance, designed in wood.You can grab a tour to see glowworms up close. The Waitomo Glowworm Caves should be definitely on your vacation wish-list.
    Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their magnificent luminescent light which creates unbelievable atmosphere. Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveler. Book a boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history.

    9. Fingal’s Cave, Scotland

    Fingal’s Cave is an unbelievable sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is formed entirely from hexagonally joined basalt columns within  a Paleocene lava flow. Who could think that lava can create those wonders? Mother Nature is truly creative!

    The ancient Scottish Celts and the Irish have long since held this important sits in their legendary tales. The Celts refer to the cave as Uamh-Binn or “The Cave of Melody”.The same well defined basalt columns can be found in a similar site in Ireland called the Giant’s Causeway, legend says that they were the end pieces of a huge bridge build by Fionn mac Cumhail, an Irish giant. He was said to have built the bridge to Scotland where he was to fight his gigantic Scottish counterpart; Benandonner.

    The legend is in fact partly true. Possibly not the giants roaming the Earth, but both the Giant’s Causeway and Fingal’s Cave were actually created by the same lava flow, which may have indeed formed a bridge like structure between the two areas. This was approximately 60 million years ago, long before any human being was around to witness it. Just for reference dinosaurs had already been extinct for some 5 million years at this point. The deductive reasoning of these ancient people did manage to find a link between these sites however – remarkable!

    08. Hvitserkur, North Iceland

    The 15m Hvitserkur  extends from the sea in the western part of the Huna Bay located near the coast, only a stones throw from the farm, Suluvellir. The shape of a monster has been sculpted out, as if on purpose, by sea erosion.

    A few different bird species live on the precipice, which can be seen by the guano. To keep the foundations secure they have been reinforced with concrete. If visiting this remarkable structure please be careful when navigating the steep steps that lead down to the pebble beach which sits opposite the cliff.

    Once the plug of a volcano, over the years the craters surrounding the rock plug gave way to the pounding Atlantic Ocean leaving only the unusual outcropping Hvítserkur behind. Curiously Hvítserkur itself would have given way to the ocean as well, had its foundations not been shored up with concrete some years ago.

    Icelandic legends say that this rock was formed as a troll who neglected to escape from the light and when the sunrise came, was turned to stone. An Icelandic stamp features the rock in 1990.

    7. Lake Hillier, Australia

    Lake Hillier, in Australia, could easily be confused with a giant pool of pink bubble gum if you are viewing it from afar. On closer inspection, it’s colour does become more translucent and “watery”, but the distinctive pink colour still remains!

    There are other lakes nearby that have the same strange colouring, for example the Pink Lake and Senegal’s Lake Retba, however these lakes the reasoning behind the pink tint is known – Lake Hilliers still remains a mystery. One potential theory is that the pink color comes from the fact that the lake as a high salt content, this combined with the presence of an algae species that really enjoys to live in salty conditions (Dunaliella salina) and a pink bacteria called halobacteria. Lake Hillier differs from your standard pink lake in the sense that it remains pink all year round, even with changes in temperature – this makes it very unusual. The water even retains its pink hue when bottled!

    Whatever the actual scientific reasoning behind it is, the water does not seem to cause any harm to humans. Unfortunately, it’s forbidden to walk on Middle Island in Western Australia where the lake is located – so we can only see this natural beauty from the sky!

    6. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

    The Antelope Canyon is more certainly one of the most visited and photographed canyons in the American Southwest, this is due to it’s outstanding natural beauty and radiant colors. A word of warning to budding adventurers – you can only visit the site with a guided tour, this is due to the extreme danger that is posed by frequent flash flooding.

    This canyon was formed over millions of years by water and wind erosion slowly wearing down the rocks into the shape we see today. The Antelope Canyon’s awesome smooth and flowing sandstone shapes has made it into one of the most famous canyons in the entire world.

    The Antelope Canyon can be found within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. It is actually split into 2 distinct canyons; referred to as the upper and the lower. The Navajo people call the upper part the  Tsé bighánílíní – the place where water runs through the rocks. It is a very thin passage winding through the 120 foot tall canyon walls. The lower part is referred to as the  Hazdistazí – spiral rock arches, and is a more shallow, V shaped canyon that is more difficult for visitors to traverse.

    5. Illuminated Caves , Okinawa, Japan

    The beautiful Gyokusendo Cave is the second largest series of caves in Japan. It is located in the southern park of Okinawa and well worth a visit, you should not allow a rain or dark clouds to stop you from visiting this place if you ever get the chance!

    The cave winds through 5km (approximately 3 miles) of limestone, deep under the steaming earth above it. Visitors to the cave actually have access to 890 metres of well lit and safe passageways. However, there are warning signs that instruct visitors not to shout or whistle there, this is most likely as to not disturb some of the extremely fragile and sensitive stalactites (stone features hanging from the ceiling of caves that resemble icicles) that number in their thousands and could fall!

    Blessed with crystal clear water, magnificent coral reefs, and hundreds and thousands of colourful tropical fishes, the islands of Okinawa offer a variety of scuba diving sites. Even if you have never dived before, do not be afraid. Many local dive shops operate tours suitable for the beginners.

    Blue lamps concealed underwater and external flood lights accentuate the rock features that are formed by a steam that is twisting it’s way through the caverns, as you can see from the fantastic  picture above!

    The caves were apparently discovered back in 1967 by a research team from the mainland Japan University. However, this fantastic location has been known by many of the local Okinawans many many years before it became a popular tourist site. The need for tourism and sensitivity to the wildlife of the caves have been taken under consideration well by the designers and planners. When visiting, prepare to see a marvelous display of reptiles, bugs, fish, bats and many of cave-dwelling creatures.

    4. “Capilla de Marmol”,  Chile

    The Capilla de Marmol is a fantastic geographical formation, an elevation cliff made fluvial erosion with marble that is bright white colour. The caverns which are close by to this location, Puerto Tranquilo, make Caprilla de Marmol a natural sanctuary and an area of great environmental significance.

    For you would be visitors out there, Capilla de Marmol is located 2 kilometres southeast of Puerto Rio Tranquilo, 171 kilometres southwest of Puerto Puerto Ibáñez and 220 kilometres southwest of Coyaique. The weather at this site is generally quite cold, with an average anual temperature of around 9 degrees celcius – so make sure you pack warm clothes when visiting here! Expect rain also, with 600 to 4000 milimetres of it here per year. Having said that, do not let this put you off seeing this unique natural beauty! Well worthy of visiting.

    3. Great Blue Hole, Belize

    The Great Blue hole, this astonishing aqua feature is located just 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the coast of Belize. It is in fact an underwater sinkhole, researchers believe that this is the largest sinkhole of its kind in the world. A circular shape, easily identifiable with its dark blue coloring. It is over 300 meters diameter and 125 meters deep. It sits in the center of an atoll referred to as Lighthouse Reef, the shallow, light turquoise colored water of the lagoon is circled by a ring of coral . The water is so shallow here that parts of this ring surrounding the sinkhole are known to rise above the surface during low tides.

    The sinkhole was originally formed as a limestone cave that came into existence during the last glacial period. At this time, sea levels were far lower than they are today, so the area would have looked much different in comparison to how it does today. As sea levels rose, the cave was flooded, causing it to collapse – this leaves a “vertical cave” in the ocean itself. The site is very popular with divers, who gather in the area to see these interesting geological formations that now have found a resting place at the bottom of the ocean.

    The site was declared one of the top ten best diving locations in the world by an undersea explorer, Jacques Cousteau, back in 1971. It was Cousteau that confirmed the origins of the sinkhole’s formation. Large stalactites and stalagmites can be seen under the surface of the water, some of them even reaching a massive 12 metres in length!

    Divers today can still go and view these beautiful geological formations. It is sad the deeper you dive, the water becomes clearer, and the the formations more intricate. The Great Blue Hole is a part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System and is a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

    2. Machu Picchu, Peru

    In the centre of a tropical mountain forest, Machu Picchu stands proud at 2,430 meters above sea level. It it located in an extraordinarily gorgeous setting and is quite possibly the most amazing creation of the Inca Empire at its greatest era. The giant walls,terraces and ramps all appear as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous  rock faces. A rich diversity and quantity of flora and fauna spreads over the area on the eastern slopes of the Andes, adding to the natural beauty of the site.

    Around AD 1400 was when the Incas began building the structures. However, it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca leaders a century later during the Spanish Conquest. The site was unknown to the outside world until it was brought to international attention in the year 1911 by Hiram Bingham, the famous American historian.

    Just up the hill is the famous Sacayhuaman complex of massive stones perfectly aligned by Incan engineers. A very nice place to stay in Cusco is the Hotel Monasterio, which is actually a hotel in restored monastery, currently run by the Orient Express. Well worthy of doing in its own right is the train ride to Machu Piccu. 

    As you travel along you can see the ecosystems change before you very eyes – following fantastic rivers (in particular the Urubamba, which is so powerful and relentless that even to this day it has never been kayaked). Upon viewing this site you will simply be blown away at the way the Incas managed to master these mountains they way they did. We often judge the ancient Greek and Romans on their excellent architecture, progressing humanity in terms of productivity, skill and intelligence – but it is the Incas that surpasses everyone in their reverence for stone and water.

    1. Tanah Lot, Bali

    Just off the Indonesian island of Bali lies the rock formation, Tanah Lot. Here lies the home of the pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tannah Lot (Literally translated as “Thanah Lot Temple”), and is a very popular place for tourism and a cultural icon. Tanah Lot is an important element in Balinese mythology and spiritualism, and is said to have been the work of the revered Hindu priest Nirartha, in the 15th century. It is one of the most important temples in Bali.

    The area is often quite busy as it is an extremely popular tourist destination, in particularly in the late afternoons. The area that lies between the 5,000 car car park and the beach which adjacent to the temple is awash with souvenir shops, selling just about every type Balinese trinket you could possibly imagine! Once you have successfully navigated your way through these sellers down to the beach, you can see the awe-
    inspiring temple perched upon a rock just a few metres away from the shoreline. There is footpath to the raised cliff site just to the south, where the views of the temple and the sunset will take you breath away. Epic photo time!

    During low tides visitors can actually walk to the base of Tanah Lot. For a small donation to the temple you can be blessed and then walk the 20 or so meters around the side on a little path that will eventually take you up to the temple. However, you will have no superior view than that on the sand, the only advantage there is that you will be standing on the base of Tanah Lot itself.

    A large scale restoration project began in the 1990s when it was discovered that the supporting rock was seriously eroded and in danger of collapsing. This resulted in the temple itself being out of bounds for quite a long time, however this can not really be seen as the key attraction of the area as opposed to the natural beauty of the surrounding area itself. Make sure to book a trip to visit this wondrous place!

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