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Where nature puts up the best show: 6 best destinations in the world to visit in your lifetime


If storms come, they also leave. And so will the storm of fearful Coronavirus, which has put a full stop on many of our pleasures, including one of our favourite –travelling.

If survey results of several tourism boards are to be believed, nature tourism will take a centre stage, once the world begins to ease from the clutches of the pandemic, which made us realise the vitality of nature in our lives.

Interestingly, the world is inundated with many attractions, where nature puts up a dazzling show, and here with all my pleasure, I unfold six of them visited by me during last few years. For their magic, I would say ‘lucky me!’

Arizona, USA: Grand Canyon National Park

One of the world’s greatest wonders, it exposes nearly 2 billion years of earth’s geological history. Spread in 446 kilometers, 1.6 kilometers deep and 29 km wide, it’s one of the most visited natural sites, and most studied landscapes on the planet. Am I on a different planet, I wondered as I stood stunned facing it. For years, geologists labeled it as a waste land, which later became the world’s most admired tourist attraction –the most unique and grand example of erosion.

Grand Canyon National Park

The brochure of Canyon, which I still have, mentions what late US President Theodore Roosevelt during his visit in 1903 said, “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe…Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness.” He in fact came to explore this wonder several times, and in 1908 declared it as a National Monument.

Like many, I arrived at its South Rim, beginning my exploration with an exhibition at the visitor centre. Grabbing a map to guide me, I walked almost the whole day on the guided paths, in between taking the free bus services to catch it from recommended scenic points. I also saw many immersed in meditation or simply lost in the views, which silently clear the head too, as I strongly felt, like many others around me.

The famous Colorado River running through it, rather snaking, is a star of the Canyon, which melts many hearts during sunrise and sunset. There’s the Colorado, one can commonly hear showing others, which during the walks goes on to play hide and seek. But many also go deep down for a trekking, while some also take helicopter tours over it. Many also do rafting in the mighty Colorado.

For more info: (Free access to the park)

Cairns, Australia: Great Barrier Reef

Another natural wonder, it can not only be seen from flights flying at 35,000 feet but also from space, which is spread over 2300 kilometers. World Heritage Site since 1981 and located in Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, it’s the world’s biggest structure, built by living organisms: unique aquatic animals and plants, as seen in fancy aquariums.

When I had to visit Australia, everyone suggested that I visit the Great Barrier Reef, about which I also read during my school days, just like the Grand Canyon. And it was truly spectacular. Joining a large number of tourists, I boarded a ferry to one of its islands from where this beautiful reef is introduced through semi-submarine and bottom glass boats. But I also chose to snorkel with the help of a guide, for a real experience, for nearly 45 minutes. It was magic. Magic –every moment, considering the variety of fish my eyes clapped upon.

For more info: (Ticketed, through various ferry/tour companies)

Vancouver, Canada: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

It’s a park, which offers the perfect forest bathing experience. Spread in 27 acres, with the grand Capilano river cutting through, all thanks to a Scottish settler and engineer who came here in 1888.  He had purchased land on both sides of the river but to make it easier to go on the other side, he constructed a large suspension bridge which is the highlight of the park, as it hangs 70 meters (230 feet) above the river 137 meters (450 feet long). Crossing it filled my mind with exciting memories, and stunning postcard styled pictures.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

But there are also 8 other suspension bridges (added later) hanging from the topmost part of tall trees, giving a unique opportunity to walk in the company of old trees sometimes even above them with glass or wooden floor under the feet.

I was here with my local friends. We may have planned just an hour here but we ended up spending several hours, for the soothing effect of silence and greenery of this park on the mind.

For more info: (Tickets for admission)

Waterton, Canada/Goat Haunt, USA: Upper Waterton National Lake

Many enthralling attractions that symbolise friendship and peace, dot the US –Canada border, beginning from one end to the other. Very significant among them is Upper Waterton Lake, which sits half in Alberta, Canada and half in Montana, USA. Surrounded by captivating mountains and wildlife, it offers the easiest liquid border crossing.

Take one of the ferries, heading towards Goat Haunt, Montana, which daily begin service from Waterton, Alberta, taking hundreds of visitors, peppering them with live commentary, the zeal of which, climbs its zenith, the moment crossing begins: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now in USA, without any immigration check, because it’s a lake that marks love between USA and Canada, and is part of Waterton International Glacier Peace Park…”

Besides the final stop (half hour) in Goat Haunt, USA, where all on board get an opportunity to plant their feet on American soil, as a ritual the ferry en route makes many stops, for rare photography opportunities of wildlife, or any breathtaking scenery. U.S. Immigration there allows Canadian and US citizens, with required ID to hike in their part of the park and rest have to return in the same ferry. Don’t forget to explore the visitor centre there to take in the history of the park, and many details on local flora and fauna. The return journey, including the stops, takes little over two hours.

Interestingly, Canadian side of the park is called ‘Waterton Lakes National Park’, while the American side of the park is called ‘Glacier National Park’ and with their collaboration in 1932, it became the world’s first international peace park. And recognising its model of cooperation, and goodwill between the two nations, the park was officially designated as ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ in 1995.

To be here, you have to make your way to Waterton, a charming town surrounded by many lakes, mountains and waterfalls. Located just 3 hours and nearly 6 hours by road from Calgary and Edmonton respectively, it is also known for amazing hike routes and mountain peaks that unfold instagram worthy scenes.

For more info: (Paid ferry ride)

Schaffhausen, Switzerland: The Rhine Falls

Europe’s highest and very powerful waterfall, it enthralled me no less than Niagara Falls, located at the US –Canada border. The famous and very forceful waterfall of River Rhine was formed nearly 14,000 to 17,000 years ago, during the ice age. Other than the walks around it, many tour companies also offer boat tours for a close encounter, like many other waterfall attractions of the globe. While the fall’s total height is 23 meters (75 feet), its total width is 150 meters (490 feet), making it a big show for the eyes. It may have been several years since I visited it during my higher studies in Switzerland, but I can still recall its roar.

For more info: (ticketed boat rides)

Toronto, Canada: Centre Island

Islands are a perfect escape from the busy city life, and I must say Torontonians are quite lucky to have many islands around. I got a chance to explore its beautiful Centre Island which sits in Lake Ontario, and can be reached within a few minutes from downtown. From where do you get the best views of Toronto, a reply to this question of mine brought me to this island, since every tongue had the same answer. “You need to head to the Centre Island then…” And I paid heed, which is why one early morning I was on a ferry en route to the island. The ride was spectacular which kept introducing me to the best views of Toronto skyline, including its very popular CN Tower, and from the very nooks of the island, the views turned much more dramatic.

The island is filled with mesmerising gardens, rides, cafes, zoo and much more. I was lucky to catch several peacocks too that landed all of a sudden as I was leisurely wandering. Many ponds and other water bodies greeted me and I loved crossing its bridges –all amid a lot of silence, which was hard to find in the city. I loved resting under a shady tree, I slept almost for two hours and when I woke up, it was almost sunset time, which made me proceed to the coast. What a stunning sunset it was! Having felt so calm there, when I returned by the last ferry to the city, for several days, I kept suggesting to many visitors I met to go to the island.

For more info: (ticketed boat rides)

(The writer is a travel writer from Amritsar, Punjab who is currently writing his first book on his travel experiences. He can be contacted via and @sandhu_rameshinder on instagram).

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