Halong Bay and the world’s greatest natural wonders

What are the most amazing natural wonders on the planet? It’s a question I got asked today by the good folks at Australia’s Sunrise program. They wanted to know how Australia’s candidates stack up.

You see, the ‘New 7 Wonders’ project, having tackled the question of what the world’s greatest wonders are, is now turning its attention to nature. Starting from a master list of hundreds, they’ve whittled the attractions down to a shortlist of 28. That’s still an enormous number. So we picked our favourite wonders from each continent in order to get down to a manageable top 7 list. (Antarctica didn’t get a spot on the original list, so we’ve split Australia and the Pacific.)

Here’s what we came up with. What do you think?

  • South America: There are some spectacular formations and waterfalls on this continent, but how can you go past the Amazon? The lungs of the planet, and an ecosystem sprawling over billions of acres.
  • North America: Few places in the world can never be captured by images, no matter how great the photographer. The sublime, awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is one.
  • Europe: One of the most iconic landmarks in the world, despite geological shifts, is the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland.
  • Africa: Not only is Mt Kilimanjaro one of the most striking volcanoes in the world, but it’s remarkably accessible. With proper training, most folks would be able to experience the summit.
  • Asia: Everyone who has read Midnight’s Children was captivated by Rushdie’s magical description of the languorous Sundarbans, one of the most mysterious forests on Earth.
  • Australia: Uluru is magical, but the award has to go to the Great Barrier Reef - actually shared by Australia and Papua New Guinea. You can see it from space!
  • Pacific: New Zealand’s stunning Milford Sound has to take the cake here. Go in the winter and you might have it to yourself.

We think we’ve packed in the picks of the litter, but we know that you’ll disagree with some of these. Angry that Halong Bay didn’t make the list? Wondering how somewhere like Cappadocia didn’t even make the finals?

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