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Wondrous sites that really exist! (Part Two)


As we saw last week, there's a world of natural wonder out there just waiting to be explored!

Elements like wind, water, minerals and heat shape our environment on a daily basis, often in truly amazing ways. These natural artworks and sculptures have been honed by Nature and handed down through time for us to marvel at and enjoy.

In the second part of their search, the Flexicover Team consider some more sites that could bring on a serious case of wanderlust.

1 Plitvice Lakes National Park; Lika-Senj, Croatia

Though it might mirror a location from a Hollywood fantasy film, there's no trickery here. This stunning park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated in a mountainous karst area roughly halfway between the capital Zagreb and Zadar on the coast. The principal attraction is a set of 16 crystal-clear lakes brimming with fish and linked by nearly a hundred cascading waterfalls. Wooden walkways wind their way around the turquoise lakes and past the falls for easy access. Some trails have boat transfers and bus transfers (free of charge). The lakes are surrounded by dense forests of beech, fir and pine where bears, wolves, deer and boars roam and home to a huge variety of birds. While swimming is forbidden in the park, there are places such as Korana Village which are just as inviting on a hot day.

2 Antelope Canyon; Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is a true testament to the power of water! Over the years flash flooding from nearby Lake Powell has created one of Nature's most hauntingly beautiful creations - the slot canyon - typified by smooth curves and flowing wave shapes within the passageways. The canyon is actually two separate formations located a few kilometres apart: the Upper Antelope Canyon, known as Tsé bighánílíní by the Navajo which means "the place where water runs through rocks", and Lower Antelope Canyon, called Hasdestwazi, or "spiral rock arches". The upper canyon is more frequently visited, mainly because there is no climbing required and the beams (shafts of direct sunlight radiating down through openings) are much more common. You must go with an authorised guide to visit Antelope Canyon since it forms part of the LeChee Navajo Tribal Park.

3 Grüner See; Styria, Austria

Grüner See (literally "Green Lake") is at the foot of the snow-capped Hochschwab Mountains. During winter, the lake is only 1 - 2 metres deep and the surrounding area is a county park popular with hikers and walkers. But as the ice and snow on the mountains begin to melt a surreal transformation occurs and it flows into the lake engulfing the entire area including the park! The water is crystal clear and gets its distinctive green colouring from the grass and foliage beneath the surface. The temperature of the lake is rather cold at 4 - 8°C but it's hard to resist a dip to see the flowers and trees in full bloom under the water - you can even see park benches, a bridge and walking trails! The best time to visit is in June when the water is at its highest - around 12 metres. As autumn approached the lake starts to recede and by winter, the lake is back to its original size and the park is returned once more to the hikers.

4 Mount Roraima; La Gran Sabana, Venezuela

This natural wonder is completely real - South America's answer to Uluru. Located on the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, Roraima is the highest tepuy ("table mountain") of the Pakaraima chain - a series of tabletop mountains that are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back some two billion years. This impressive sandstone plateau is around 2,800 metres tall and surrounded on all sides by sheer 400 metre cliffs. While the cliff walls are only scalable by the most experienced of climbers, there is a trekking path that is comparatively straightforward. Most hikers take two days to reach the base of the mountain, and then another day to follow "La Rampa," a natural staircase-like path, up to the top. Exhilarating!

5 Seven Coloured Earths; Chamarel, Mauritius

The Seven Coloured Earth (Terres des Sept Colours in French) is a natural geological phenomenon, situated close to the village of Chamarel in south-western Mauritius. It's a relatively small area of sand dunes (7,500 square metres) but what a remarkable sight! As the name suggests, the sand has 7 distinct colours (red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow) and is located amidst a large, dense forest, making the colourful dunes striking against the backdrop of a forest of green trees. The feature is protected with a wooden fence. You can still enjoy the amazing scenery from observation outposts placed along the fence. What is particularly fascinating is that if you mix the coloured earth together, it'll eventually settle into separate layers - amazing!

Wherever you decide to travel to and whichever site you are fortunate enough to visit, Flexicover, the travel insurance specialists are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.





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