When creating a bucket-list of all of the spots you wish to visit during your lifetime, it’s quite common to have at least one of the natural wonders of the world on the list. It’s not really surprising though, considering the reputation that these places have made for themselves through word-of-mouth, reviews, documentaries and even movies.
Originally compiled by CNN, here are the seven Natural Wonders of the World:
1 – The Great Barrier Reef
The perfect destination for water-lovers, the Great Barrier Reef holds the title as the largest coral reef in the world. Located off the coast of Northern Queensland in Australia, it is easily accessible to tourists.
Actually made up of more than 2,900 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is so large that some say that it even be identified from space! According to the CRC Reef Research Centre, the newest additions to the reef are roughly 8,000 years old.
This collection of coral has paved the way for exquisitely colourful structures under the sea. They attract different marine life, which translates to thousands of brightly coloured fish, darting in and out as divers admire the underwater views.
Thousands of animals are dependent on the Great Barrier Reef for survival; including some 215 species of birds, 30 species of whale, endangered species and more.
2 – The Grand Canyon
Located in Arizona in the USA, the Grand Canyon is another very popular tourist destination; currently managed by the Grand Canyon National Park and several Native American tribes. The canyon spans a massive area of 18 x 277 miles and supports several major ecosystems, plants and animal species.
Apart from the spectacular views, tourists also visit the Grand Canyon to participate in such activities as hiking and water rafting. According to recent reports, five million people visit this natural wonder every year, soaking up the view and making the most of the attraction.
Considering its popularity, it isn’t surprising that tours to the canyon can be easily booked online.
3 – Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world’s tallest mountain, measuring an astounding 8,848 meters tall. It’s been the subject of many summit climbs, with the first successful achieved in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.
It’s interesting to note that Mount Everest is only considered the tallest mountain in the world, when the datum line is at sea level. When measured from the centre of the earth, it shrinks down to fifth!
Located in China, climbing Mount Everest has always been considered extremely dangerous. It attracts hundreds of climbing attempts every year, so route has actually been established to make the journey easier for climbers.
Despite the freezing temperatures at the high altitudes, some flora and fauna have been spotted residing in the areas.
4 – Victoria Falls
Often pictured in movies, the majestic Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest waterfall in the world. It’s not actually the highest or widest waterfall but with the calculated area of 184,464 meters, it definitely presents the most marvellous sheet of pristine falling water.
5 – Aurora
The Aurora is possibly the weirdest inclusion in the list. It is neither land nor a body of water but rather light formations; defined as natural light shows in the sky, often occurring in the Arctic or Antarctic. The colours are caused by emissions of photons, resulting in beautiful combinations of red, blue, green and various shades in between.
Since the causes of an Aurora have already been discovered, scientists are now able predict when they will occur. Unlike the others, Aurora tours aren’t really that common.
6 – Paricutin
Found in Mexico, Paricutin is a volcano shaped like a cinder cone with an elevation of 2,800 meters. Some people argue its’ inclusion due to the fact that Paricutin doesn’t seem to have the same aesthetic value as the other natural wonders.
A unique aspect of Paricutin is that it has contributed a lot to man’s knowledge of volcanoes, due to the fact that the whole life cycle of this volcano has been witnessed by humans, starting from creation, evolution and finally, extinction.
7 – Harbour of Rio de Janeiro
Like the Paricutin, some people aren’t convinced that the Harbour of Rio de Janeiro belongs on the list. However, those who have seen the view for themselves believe the spot greatly deserves the honour. The name Rio de Janeiro is Portuguese for “River of January”, also going by the name Guanabara Bay; considered to be the largest bay in the world (when judged on water volume).
The biggest attraction of the harbour is actually the mountains that can be seen from the shore. Of all the wonders on this list, this one is possibly the most tourist-friendly, thanks to easily accessible accommodation and transport nearby. The spot also boasts views of the popular Christ the Redeemer statue.
Note: The list was compiled by CNN, so there have been some questions about the correctness of the inclusions. In fact, there are numerous contenders for being a natural wonder of the world. This is possibly why lists like “New 7 Wonders of Nature” and “Seven Wonders of the Industrial World” have also been compiled.
Other strong contenders for this list include the polar ice caps, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Underground River in the Philippines.