Our planet is a wonderfully made masterpiece riddled with fascinating natural wonders. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. Still, there are countless other stunning sights that didn’t make it to the list but are rightfully deserving of recognition and appreciation. From seemingly endless pits of crystal clear turquoise waters to shimmering, bioluminescent caves and shorelines, here are the best scenic geological wonders that will surely take your breath away.
Often referred to as Paradise on Earth—and rightfully so—Mauritius is a tropical haven famed for its beautiful, pristine beaches, unique flora and fauna, marine biodiversity, expansive stretch of coral reefs, and sculptured volcanic mountain scenery. But perhaps it is most known for having such as bizarre phenomenon—because it looks as if the entire island is being sucked in by a giant drain. Countless tourists go on trips to Mauritius just to witness its magnificent underwater waterfall. This incredible phenomenon can be seen just off the coast of Le Morne. However, it is really just an illusion of the ocean floor’s sand and silt running down the crevices in such a way that it can be perceived as though they are pouring down like a waterfall. Although the underwater waterfalls are just an illusion, it is a spectacular sight to behold nonetheless.
Waitomo Glowworms Cave, New Zealand
The Waitomo Glowworms Cave is among New Zealand’s best tourist attractions, and it is not hard to see why. Gazing at the ceiling of this magical cave as you cruise the waters on a gondola is a truly unforgettable experience of a lifetime. It’s like staring at the starry night sky as you hear the pitter-patter of the water dripping down its stalactites. It is hard to imagine something more tranquil and relaxing than this experience.
This otherworldly cave has been around for 30 million years and was known to the Maori people for decades, even before it was opened to the public in 1889. This is perhaps the reason behind its name. “Waitomo” is derived from the Maori words wai, which means water, and tomo, which translates to hole or entrance.
The glowworm that makes the spectacular lights display is called Arachnocampa luminosa, a species of fungus gnat endemic to New Zealand. Gazing at these wonderful creatures as they brighten the surroundings with their bioluminescent bodies is made even better by the storytelling of the tour guides, who are direct descendants of the Maori tribe who first explored this glowing cave. To learn about the interesting history and legends surrounding this mystical natural wonder, add the Waitomo Glowworm caves to your travel bucket list.
The Enchanted River, Philippines
In the island of Mindanao—the southernmost region of the Philippines—lies a mystical river famed for its crystal clear turquoise waters that seemingly goes down to a bottomless void—the Enchanted River. Also known as the Hinatuan Sacred River, this is but a short stretch of river, but it goes down 80 feet deep. So, when the sunlight shines down on it, the river’s crystal clear waters glint and glisten like a sapphire gemstone. The lush greeneries of vines and orchids surrounding it also add to its beauty. It is so strikingly beautiful that it inevitably lures one to take a swim in its calm waters. However, as alluring as it may seem to take a dip, take precautions because there are mysterious legends that surround this mystical river. Legend has it that the Enchanted River was called as such because it is home to “engkantos,” or enchanted beings like faeries, nymphs, and mermaids. It is said that these magical beings cast an enchantment on the river to give its sapphire and jade hues. Local fisherfolk also tell tales of catching a glimpse of fishes that inexplicably cannot be caught by any means.
The river is open to tourists, but you cannot go down and explore the underwater cave because of how dangerous it is. Many people have already drowned there while trying to explore it, and legend has it that it is because the mermaids and nymphs are luring them to their demise in an attempt to protect their sacred home. To this day, the underwater cave system in the Enchanted River remains largely uncharted, with only 200 feet of deep, dark tunnels mapped since its exploration began in 1999.
Antelope Canyon in Arizona
Molded by centuries-worth of years of water and wind erosion, the magnificent Antelope Canyon in Arizona is famed all over the world for its wave-like patterns and tall sandstone walls. This geological wonder was named as such because of the sheer number of herds of pronghorn antelopes that once roamed the area.
This popular tourist attraction is divided into two zones: the upper and lower portion. The upper part of the Antelope Canyon is more popular among tourists because more sunlight enters the canyon, making it the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot. In fact, it is among the world’s most photographed natural sites. On the other hand, the lower Antelope Canyon is just as impressive, as this is where you will really be immersed in the swirling embrace of sandstone walls. Take note, though, whichever route you choose, it would require considerable amounts of hiking. So, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and attire, and pack lots of stamina before you visit this natural wonder!
Fly Geyser, Nevada, USA
The Fly Geyser found in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA is a happy accident that resulted from human error and Mother Nature’s geothermic force. The geyser was formed when a geothermal energy company opened a test well but failed to reseal it because the immense geothermal heat forced the water upward in the geyser. They let it gush out, thinking that it would soon cease to spurt water, only for it to continue for the past 40 years and counting. Since its accidental opening 40 years ago, the water brought minerals to the surface, accumulating and becoming the geyser’s distinct mound.