Top Five Natural Wonders
Living root bridges of Nongriat
In a far flung corner of North-East India down a steep jungle path are a series of quiet villages. This is the rainiest place on earth where rivers flood each year as up to 80 feet of water rushes down from the Khasi hills to the plains of Bangladesh. In these villages the locals have harnessed the roots of living fig trees to cross these rivers and form bridges that grow stronger as they age. The roots are guided across the waterways to where they take root on the other side, a process which sometimes requires fifty years to complete. The longest of these bridges are made by crossing the roots from two trees on opposite sides of the river to double the strength. The surrounding jungle is lush and full of fruit trees while huge boulders in the rivers create natural pools of turquoise mineral rich water.
Gorges of Karijini
Testaments to the power of water the red gorges of Karijini snake downwards through deep fissures in the ancient rock. Descending into the gorge reveals shallow waterways, eventually leading to cool, sheltered pools. Looking up, the colourful tufts of yellow and green brush adorning the sloping walls of the gorge remind travellers of the desert above. The textured, layered walls make for excellent climbing and no self-respecting rock climber would be able to keep their feet on the ground in this national park.
Expansive, wild and rugged the coast of Western Australia was one of the most beautiful places we experienced on our trip. Sheer red cliffs plunge to the ocean where seabirds rest on offshore rock formations. Step onto one of the many hiking trails and this sparsely populated part of the world feels like it belongs just to you. This is a land of unforgiving sun and crashing waves.
The Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park
19km of ever-changing landscapes, this hike takes you through moonscapes, lava fields, past brightly coloured sulfur pools and dark red steam vents. The volcanic peaks here are iconic and active with the most recent explosion of Te Maari volcano in November 2012. The hike is of moderate difficulty and can be made more challenging by taking a side trip to the top of Mount Ngauruhoe, the black peak more famously known as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings film.
The Canadian Rockies
Miles of winding mountain roads reveal range after range each with it’s unique peaks and folds, time caught in a geological crush. Punctuated by small towns and clear glacial lakes in vibrant turquoise and blue, the Canadian Rockies are among the most beautiful mountain ranges that we visited. What is so interesting about these mountains is the different geological formations visible, from layered rocks to sharp mountain peaks and deep valleys caused by glaciers. They are very photogenic, this photo of lake Moraine speaks for itself.