Our planet has some areas of staggering natural beauty. Impressive man-made structures, bustling cities, and architectural achievements compete for our attention. It can be easy to overlook some of the natural wonders that surround us. These powerful places and occurrences can remind us of the world’s preciousness and fragility. They also keep our own power in perspective. The world regularly shows us that it is capable of great beauty and spectacle, with or without our interference. If we have traveled widely, we can tend to emphasize man-made spots like towns, cities, and wonderful buildings. But if we want a truly unforgettable experience, perhaps our next spot should be somewhere or something natural. The selection below is just a small taster of some of the world’s natural beauty that we shouldn’t hesitate to explore.
The Northern Lights
Perhaps one of the most well known natural phenomena, the Northern Lights is famous with good reason. This magical and otherworldly light show dances across the skies and is almost impossible to predict. The occurrence depends upon highly charged particles in a solar wind colliding with particles in the atmosphere. So their exact time and location is often a mystery. This makes for an even more magical experience if you do happen to be one of the lucky few to see this wonderful spectacle. In spite of prediction difficulties, Scandinavia is frequently named as the best place for the Northern Lights. Finland, Iceland, and Norway all report a relatively high level of sightings. But Northern Canada and Scotland are also popular spots. Many visitors even opt to stay in accommodation with a glass or ice ceiling to maximize their chances of seeing the lights!
The Swimming Pigs of the Bahamas
Few people know that pigs are excellent swimmers. But any doubters need look no further than the wonderful swimming pigs of Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island of the Bahamas. The feral pigs live freely on the sandy beaches and swim in the ocean to cool off, in the same way that more conventional pigs would roll in mud. They have become a popular tourist attraction and are often fed by local fishermen and visitors. The pigs have even inspired their own song and children’s book! There are many legends that surround the pigs’ arrival. Some say they survived a shipwreck and swam to safety when no-one else could. Others say that they were placed here as a food source for sailors or pirates who never made it back alive. Whatever their origin, the pigs have their own place of paradise and put smiles on the faces of anyone who sees them.
The Rainbow Trees Eucalyptus Trees of Hawaii
These spectacular trees occur in a number of locations but are most popularly visited in Hawaii. Although their trunk begins as a conventional green shade, the bark gradually peels away to reveal fiery oranges and reds. A whole forest of them together makes the barks appear aflame, like an installation of modern art. But they occur entirely naturally.
The “Door To Hell” of Turkmenistan
This spectacular burning cavern may have been first ignited by a man-made accident. But it has been naturally and continuously burning ever since! In 1971, a drilling mishap caused the cavern to ignite. Since this time, visitors have traveled to see the mysterious long-burning gateway with their own eyes.