The Great Wall of China, the Roman Colosseum, Machu Piccu… some of the most recognisable and iconic landmarks this world has to offer. However, there is an array of alternative awe-inspiring world wonders that are sure to take your breath away. So lace-up your hiking boots, step off the beaten track and explore some of the lesser-known natural gems that are out there to be discovered.
Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo
Nestled in the heart of Borneo’s wilderness, Bako National Park offers the perfect escape for nature enthusiasts. Well-marked trails let curious explorers find their way through dense mangrove forests, unique cliff vegetation, pristine bays, sheltered coves and secluded beaches. The park offers everything from relaxing nature walks to intensive full day adventures to suit all hiking levels.
From the beginning of the adventure, you’ll find yourself weaving through the meandering river that brings you to the park’s entrance. The varied wildlife is as much of an attraction as anything that the scenery can offer. Overnight stay at the park is highly recommended and if you’re lucky, keep your eyes peeled for some of the locals… Borneo’s native Proboscis monkey, long-tailed macaques and maybe even a croc or two!
Waitomo Caves, North Island, New Zealand
This small village, just west of Hangatiki on New Zealand’s North Island, boasts an incredible network of underground caves, famed for its waterfalls and glittering limestone formations.
A magnet for explorers and thrill seekers alike, you will be surprised what these caves have to offer. Take a boat ride deep into the cave’s hidden corners to find some of the most fascinating and ancient creatures known to man, the glow worm. Countless native creatures will light up your route with an enchanting blue glow that will have you in awe. A definite must see!
For the adrenaline junkies, a 100m abseil into the abyss is sure to test your limits and shatter your comfort zone. Whether it’s caving, canyoning or rafting through darkness, it’s sure to be a mind blowing and unforgettable day out.
Schloss Neuschwanstein, Southwest Bavaria, Germany
Like something from a fairytale, Schloss Neuschwanstein will truly take your breath away. Originally a retreat for ancient kings, this castle is a must-do if you find yourself in the Bavarian mountains of Southern Germany.
A striking spectacle; visitors travel afar to witness its unique beauty. Walt Disney himself greatly admired the views, so much so, that Sleeping Beauty’s castle was modelled after Schloss Neuschwanstein. If you’re seeking that perfect picture or looking for that ‘wish you were here’ moment, hike the picturesque winding trails and across the gorge to find yourself faced with a panoramic view of the castle, looming over a spectacular backdrop of snow-capped alps and magnificent lakes.
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and dramatic cliff faces, visitors and artists have been inspired by the spectacular beauty of Giant’s Causeway for centuries. Rising out of the sea, the 40,000 layered hexagonal basalt columns create an intriguing landscape. The unique look of the causeway was formed by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. However according to Irish Folklore, the columns are the remains of a bridge to Scotland made by an Irish giant, Finn MacCool. Either way, Giant’s Causeway is truly an amazing sight to behold.
Visitors can enjoy well signposted walking trails. Climb the shepherd’s steps to begin your hike along the clifftop scenery and witness spectacular bird’s eye views of the Giant’s Causeway coast.
Wherever your adventure takes you this year, Blacks have the gear to help you on your way.