After years of deliberation and millions of votes, the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’ have been revealed.
440 locations from over 220 countries were initially proposed before a shortlist of 77 sites was published. A panel of experts reduced this to 28 before millions of people voted for their favourite.
A panel of experts have spent the last four years on the campaign, and the winners were picked by these criteria: unique beauty of the nominated site; diversity and distribution (accounted for in seven groups); ecological significance (in terms of either stand-alone eco-systems and/or their significance for human beings); historical legacy (relation that human beings and/or indigenous populations have or have had with the site); geo-location (even distribution of the 28 Official Finalists between all continents).
The New7Wonders of Nature campaign started in 2007, immediately after the campaign to elect the man-made New7Wonders of the World, in which more than 100 million votes were cast.
The ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’ are:
The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and is one of the world’s most diverse biological areas. It’s huge, covering 40% of South America, including Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
For more information, read our interview with Ed Stafford who walked the length of the Amazon.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay is a popular backpacker destination that features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes, many of which are filled with caves. In the bay are several floating villages where local fishermen live. On your gap year you can sail around these islands taking in the stunning sites.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina / Brazil
The Iguazu Falls are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil and they are made up of 275 cascades. The Iguazu Falls is one of the world’s largest waterfalls and it is more than 2,700m long. Access to the Falls is usually done through one of the three cities in the so-called tri-border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and is one of the sites to see on a gap year in South America.
Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island is a volcanic island that lies 230km from the southern coast of South Korea. The largest volcano is Hallasan and there are 360 other smaller volcanoes found nearby on the island. Jeju Island is the only special autonomous province of South Korea and it’s a popular tourist location for locals and tourists alike.
Komodo is one of the 17,508 islands that make up Indonesia. It was made a national park in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, an endangered species. It’s also famous for its pink beaches, one of only a few in the world. Due to its location to Bali, it’s one of the more visited islands in Indonesia.
Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
The Puerto Princesa underground river is located 50km north of Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. The entrance to the Subterranean River is a short hike from the town of Sabang. The Puerto Princesa underground river claims to be the world’s longest underground river at 8.2km and a lagoon marks the entrance of the cave.
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. The mountain has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 floral species. It’s a popular tourist attraction in South Africa with people hiking to the mountain top.
Which one of these wonders do you think is the best? What natural wonders do you think should have been in the top seven? Are there any natural wonders that you think are missing?