5 destinations that will touch your soul
Sometimes a place stays with you and your family long after your trip has ended. Natarsha Brown shares the destinations that will touch your very soul.
1. Northern Lights, Norway
The night time lights up in a kaleidoscope of highlighter blues,
greens, pinks... all the colours of the rainbow. No, this is not the opening
sequence of the latest Star Wars blockbuster; this is Earth and quite possibly
‘the most spectacular show on earth’.
There are few phenomena that can make the
imagination soar into worlds unknown quite like the Aurora Borealis which only
appears at high latitudes on especially dark nights in the Northern Hemisphere
form September to March. It seems that anyone you ask who has seen the Northern
Lights in person just can't find the words. That’s how incredible the
experience is. After touching down in frosty Norway, there is no shortage of
different ways to experience the dizzying spectacle: aboard a Hurtigruten Ferry,
a guided tour, a night spent in an ice hotel, the options are endless.
2. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
As a kid did you ever imagine what it would be like to walk
on clouds? At
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, this childhood daydream becomes a surreal reality.
Stretching as far as the eye can see is a mirror image of your universe; as
you literally walk on water and tread on the reflection of the skies above,
you can’t believe this could possibly be planet Earth.
The world’s largest
salt flats, sitting at 3653 metres above sea level and blanketing more than
10,000 square kilometres, Salar de Uyuni was once a prehistoric salt lake that
covered most of southwest Bolivia and is now one of South America’s most
3. Cappadocia, Turkey
A geological wonder of honey-coloured hills rising from the
like a misplaced mirage from Mars, visiting Turkey’s Cappadocia is truly like
stepping foot onto another planet. The hundreds of rock formations look like
miniature fairy houses, with domed roofs, chimneys and all. And what could be
more fantastical than ascending above it all in a hot air balloon? The only
sounds the flickering of the gas burner above, the absolute silence of the
stark topography below, and the sunrise dusting the ground in pastels of orange,
pink and cream. If heights aren’t your thing, the kids will adore exploring
the underground cities by foot and resting their weary heads in a ‘family cave
suite’ at Dervish Cave House.
4. Li River, China
Plucked from the pages of a fairytale and set amongst Yangshuo’s
and otherwordly peaks, Li River is Mother Nature’s imagination gone wild.
Floating down the waters on a local bamboo raft or cycling riverside,
twisting and turning between the karst Chinese landscapes, will leave the
family so at peace, you just might never leave China’s tranquil countryside.
The added bonus? The riverside town of Yangshuo is one of China’s most
family-friendly destinations, with English speaking locals, an array of
international fare to choose from, and homely hotels and B&Bs. Keep the whole
family entertained while exploring the surrounding landscapes by joining a
customised family tour with Jack’s Private Tour’s – which even includes Chinese
ink painting and a chance to spend a day on a local farm.
5. Milford Sound, New Zealand
Picture this: towering fjords forging a sea of endless
glittering rainbows, a pod of playful dolphins swimming alongside your tour boat,
and families of lazy seals sunbaking within arm’s reach. This is the world of
Tolkien’s imagination. This is New Zealand’s out-of-this-world Milford Sound.
Located within the South Island’s Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound was
named the eighth Wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling – and with good reason.
It’s sheer rock faces rise 1200 metres or more on both sides and with a mean
annual rainfall of 6412mm each year, the fjord is also one of the wettest places
in the world, creating a plethora of temporary and ever-changing falls.
way to experience Milford Sound is by taking a sightseeing day cruise.
Discoveries offers various options, including a Nature Cruise, Discovery Cruise
and kayak tours, with the option to disembark at the Milford Discovery Centre &
Underwater Observatory to see the marine life brimming below.