The world is full of amazing places. But since they’re not all so easy to get to, we rounded up some pics of a few spots that caught our eye – some of them natural, some man-made, and all of them awesome.
Where do airplanes go to die? Here. Decommissioned Boeing B-52 bombers span their wings across the sand in Arizona, in southwest USA. There are over 5,000 sitting in the ‘boneyard’.
Why Arizona? The dry desert air slows the decomposition of the planes – but somehow, we think it’s highly unlikely any of these birds will ever fly again.
Standing 500m above the New Mexico desert, Shiprock was a cultural centerpiece of the Native American Navajo community. While it may look like a ship sailing across the desert, ‘Shiprock’ is also the name of the nearest town, about 17km away.
It’s been featured in numerous movies and novels, and remains a point of interest for rock climbers – and naturally photographers.
400 years old and 3,000m high, the Taktsang temple complex in Bhutan is located around a series of natural caves held sacred by the Buddhist religion.
Properly named ‘Paro Taktsang’, the monastery is sited at the spot where the Guru Padmasambhava (who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan) is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the eighth century.
The Door to Hell is a man-made fire – sort of. The site of a natural gas reserve in Turkmenistan, it was lit on fire by Russian engineers to burn excess gas back in the 70s.
It was expected to burn at most for a few weeks. It’s been burning for nearly 40 years. The hole is 70m wide, and in the centre boiling mud and flames can be seen. Will it take you all the way to hell? We’re not sure, but if you stand too close, there’s a good chance you’ll get to find out.
It’s where Maori warriors came to soothe their aching muscles and spirits. The famous Champagne Pool of Waiotapu in New Zealand forms part of a series of springs said to be sacred. It was formed 900 years ago (that’s like yesterday in geological terms) during a hydrothermal eruption.
What gives it the unique colour? Metallic compounds present in the rock surrounding the pool. But the name comes from the constant bubbling thanks to the constant release of carbon dioxide (CO2 – just like a glass of bubbling champagne.)
While SCUBA divers can name numerous ‘blue holes’ this is one of the most iconic. The ‘Great Blue Hole’ is 124m deep and part of the famous Lighthouse Reef, 70km from mainland Belize.
Why is it so famous? The father of SCUBA, Jacques Costeau, called it one of the ‘top 10 places to dive in the world’ – and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s not the deepest though. For that, you’ll need to head to Dean’s Blue Hole, in the Bahamas, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to appreciate its depth – it sinks to just over 200m – out of reach for all but the most extreme divers.
‘The Seven Giants’ jut out of the plains north of the Ural mountains deep in Siberia. The legend says they were originally soldiers in a race of giants on a mission to destroy the local Mansi people.
While remote (the average human needs a snowmobile or helicopter to get there) they are well known among Russians as one of the ‘wonders of Russia’. The 30-40m peaks were considered unclimbable until Stefan Glowacz ascended one in the Red Bull 7 Giants project.
Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world – cascading down from nearly 1,000m above Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park. You may know it from the Pixar movie ‘UP’, even though they called it ‘Paradise Falls’.
Why is it called ‘Angel Falls’? The first person to fly a plane over the site was American aviator Jimmie Angel. He even landed a plane above the falls, which sunk its wheels into the marshy land – and stayed there for 30 years.
No, this isn’t the remains of Darth Vader’s spaceship after a rebel attack. It’s Buzludzha, an abandoned Soviet monument in Bulgaria, opened in 1981 that’s fallen into ruin.
Murals of Soviet and Bulgarian history adorn the walls, but the roof, which was made of valuable copper, has been stripped off, leaving the inside exposed to the harsh winters. The picture above is of the massive central auditorium.
Just off the coast of New Zealand lies a highly interesting geological absurdity – Split Apple Rock. It’s in the Tasman Bay, and in shallow enough water that you can wade to it, making it a popular spot for tourists to visit.