Do you like your travels to include a healthy slice of WOW factor? From active volcanoes and surreal salt pans to deep underground rivers and thundering waterfalls, this round the world adventure is packed full of incredible landscapes and jaw-dropping natural wonders that have to be seen to be believed!
If you’re travelling the world in search of mind-blowing natural wonders, Africa is a great place to start. The 20k wide volcanic Ngorongoro crater is home to about 30,000 animals. Get spectacular views from the comfort of a lodge on the crater rim, and then take a dawn safari through the basin. Prime your camera; the crater is home to one of the densest populations of lions in Africa as Jeremy discovered on his visit.
If you’re after a challenge, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro awaits. With its 3 volcanic cones, Kili is the highest peak in Africa and reaching its snow-covered peak is a real achievement. No previous experience is needed to climb but altitude sickness can be a real problem; so advanced planning and knowledgeable guides can be invaluable.
No trip to Africa would be complete without seeing Victoria Falls, whether you decide to make your own way further south, or join a small group tour. The kilometre-wide waterfall forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and you can hear the noise of Victoria Falls from 40km away, hence the moniker “the smoke that thunders”.
Catch your direct flight to Perth, Western Australia. Hire a car and drive through the sleepy seaside towns of Albany and Esperance, the gateway to the magnificent scenery of Cape Le Grand National Park. Where you can enjoy bushwalks, fishing and camping all year round and most amazingly – spot kangaroos sunbathing on the beach!
Ever wondered what a Martian landscape could look like? The limestone spires of the Pinnacles rise out of yellow sand dunes in the Nambung National Park. Visit at sunset for an experience like no other.
The south-west coast is home to some of the finest beaches anywhere in the world. If you get bored of perfect white sand, head to Shell Beach in Shark Bay. Made up of countless cockle shells, the beach can take on the most intense green and blue colour on a still day.
If you want to discover more of this vast state’s wonders (and time and distance aren’t an issue) you could hire a campervan like Milly did, or fly north to Learmonth and be amazed by the Ningaloo Marine Park. Home to over 500 species of fish and a 260 km reef, you can access the warm waters straight from the beach, swim with gigantic whale sharks and surround yourself with a kaleidoscopic underwater world.
Home to ten thousand islands, Indonesia’s diversity spans the Equator from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific.
A short boat ride or flight from Bali; the rugged island of Lombok reveals an unpolished side to Indonesia. With wild beaches, plunging waterfalls and the awesome peak of Mount Rinjani begging to be climbed, you’ll feel a million miles away from busier Bali as Emily found out.
Sacred Mount Bromo pokes through the clouds; photogenic from a distance, but also fantastic to climb as Adam discovered. Capture the best scene of the day at sunrise over the smouldering landscape of Central Java.
The southern islands of Thailand are magical. With palm fringed beaches, pristine marine parks and sheltered lagoons, there’s plenty to explore. Kayak through the turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay, past sheer limestone cliffs, and through pitch black caves to discover spectacular hongs (hidden lagoons). Only Vietnam’s Halong Bay has a similar appearance.
Only accessible by boat, Railay is home to some of the best rock climbing in the world. The twisted rock of limestone cliffs looms over the jungle backed beaches below. (Phra Nang Beach is considered one of the most beautiful).
Recently named “Best Island in the world”, Palawan is a 90 minute flight down from Manila. This idyllic island is one of the last unspoilt island paradises on earth with miles of white beaches, clear turquoise waters, jungle-covered peaks and limestone caves. Visit the 8km long Puerto Princesa subterranean river – the world’s longest navigable underground river. Your journey will pass stalactites, stalagmites and waterfalls gushing through cave walls.
Most volcanoes occur near the Earth’s plate boundaries, but the Hawaiian Islands have been formed over millions of years by a magma “hot-spot”, thousands of miles from the Pacific plate.
The Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. Prolific Kilauea is where you’ll see lava flowing into the sea - a sight not to be missed!
Head to Kauiai’s West Side and visit Waimea Canyon - dubbed the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. It stretches for 14 miles and you’ll get some of the best views from one of the varied hiking trails. Sit atop the Waipo’o Falls for truly out of this world views. If you’re not feeling active, you can still enjoy breath-taking vistas from Pu’u O Kila Lookout at the end of Highway 550 (clouds permitting).
After landing in LA, you could hire a campervan like Chris did and explore the magnificent national parks. From the giant redwood trees of Northern California to Death Valley’s heat, this is a country full of super-size proportions and extremes. Yosemite’s El Capitan is 3,000 feet of sheer granite rock – a must see wonder and one of the world’s ultimate challenges for climbers. Get the best views from El Capitan Meadow or Tunnel View.
East of Las Vegas, no other sight beats the Grand Canyon. Forget the numbers (10 miles wide, 277 miles long and 1 mile deep) – nothing can truly prepare you for that first glimpse over the rim and the changing hues at sun rise or sunset. The best spot for a visit is the canyon’s North Rim to escape the crowds.
However long it takes you to reach the sunshine of Florida, we recommend renting a campervan and island-hopping through the Florida Keys on the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West. With stunning Atlantic Ocean views on both sides, when you arrive in Key West you’ll be closer to Cuba than Miami and just in time for a well-deserved slice of Key Lime Pie!
South America is home to many natural wonders from the world’s longest mountain ranges (the Andes), the driest place on Earth (the Atacama Desert) and majestic glaciers in Patagonia.
Think Brazil is the only place to see the Amazon jungle? Nope! Head to Peru’s Puerto Maldonado where you can venture into the jungle. Join a tour and drift down the Amazon River in a canoe, spotting jaguars and colourful wildlife as you go.
Forming a natural border, you can sail from Peru to Bolivia on the continent’s largest lake - Lake Titicaca. In Andean belief, Titicaca is the birthplace of the sun; one of South America’s most beautiful sights.
The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. The seemingly endless gleaming white horizon across the flats creates clever opportunities for photographers to capture perspective-bending images. Get low to the ground and make it look like your friend is balancing on a spoon or being chased by a giant dinosaur!
Shared between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the impressive Iguassu Falls is set in a vast national park. The Brazilian side (Iguazu) offers the best panoramas and view of the Devil’s Throat (the largest fall) whilst the Argentinian side’s extensive viewing decks offer a different perspective. Why not try a rafting trip to guarantee a drenching?
Travel to the ‘end of the world’ and you’ll discover Patagonia’s remote beauty. Torres del Paine National Park is famous for its photogenic, jagged mountains and glaciers and the whole park is a paradise for trekking and lovers of the great outdoors - encompassed by the famous ‘W’ trek. For a more sedate option, pick a cruise and venture out from your ship to explore by zodiac craft.
If these natural wonders are on your bucket list and you want to see them with your own eyes – we can put together a round the world ticket or tailor-made round the world holiday similar to this, or with your own inclusions – anything is possible!
Call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email to start planning your trip today.