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Uyuni, Bolivia

5 destinations that will touch your soul

Family-friendly locations

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.



northern lights kids


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.



salar de uyuni


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 awe-inspiring beauties.


cappadocia for kids

3. Cappadocia, Turkey


A geological wonder of honey-coloured hills rising from the Antolian plains 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.


Li River


4. Li River, China


Plucked from the pages of a fairytale and set amongst Yangshuo’s craggy 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.


Milford Sound

5. Milford Sound, New Zealand


Picture this: towering fjords forging a sea of endless waterfalls and 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.

The best way to experience Milford Sound is by taking a sightseeing day cruise. Southern 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.

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