28 Jun 2013
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is the location of a world-renowned sandstone monolith, which stands 348 metres in height and bears various inscriptions made by ancestral indigenous peoples, located in Northern Territory of Australia. It is located 1431 kilometres south ofDarwin by road and 440 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs along the Stuart and Lasseter Highways. The park covers 1326 square kilometers and includes the features it is named after - Uluru / Ayers Rock and, 40 kilometres to its west, Kata Tjuta / Mount Olga. The location is listed with UNESCO World Heritage sites.
24 Jun 2013
23 Jun 2013
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede, meaning "rock of the casting". It spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below. The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. In 2009 it had 247,000 visitors. The bridge is open all year round, subject to weather, and people may cross it for a fee. It is thought salmon fishermen have been building bridges to the island for over 350 years. It has taken many forms over the years. In the 1970s it had only one handrail and large gaps between the slats. A new bridge, tested up to ten tonnes, was built with the help of local climbers and abseilers in 2000. Another was built in 2004 and offered visitors and fishermen alike a much safer passage to the island.
The current wire rope and Douglas fir bridge was made by Heyn Construction in Belfast and raised early in 2008 at a cost of over £16,000. Although no one has fallen off the bridge, there have been many instances where visitors, unable to face the walk back across the bridge, have had to be taken off the island by boat.It is no longer used by fishermen during the salmon season, which used to last from June until September, as there are now very few salmon left. In the 1960s, almost 300 fish were caught each day, but by 2002, only 300 were caught over the whole season. The salmon come through the area to spawn in the River Bann and the River Bush.The area is exceptional in natural beauty with stunning views of Rathlin Island and Scotland. The site and surrounding area is designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest for its unique geology, flora, and fauna. Underneath there are large caves, which once served as home for boat builders and as shelter during stormy weather.
Carrickarede island is the best example of a volcanic plug in Northern Ireland. Marine erosion has exposed a section through the neck of this old volcano. The presence of tuff, explosion breccias, grey volcanic ash and explosion bombs show the extreme violence of the eruptions about 60 million years ago when molten rock punched its way through chalk. Along the coast of this area, as with much of the Antrim plateau, the cliffs are of of basalt with the characteristic Ulster chalk underneath. At Carrickarede, the ancient volcanic pipe has left dolerite, a tougher rock than basalt, which erodes more slowly. Behind the dolerite, to the south, the vent is filled with pyroclastic rocks that break down more easily, mostly a coarse tuff agglomerate. The combination of the hard rock out front and the softer rock behind, with long term erosion by the waves, has eventually left this small island.
17 Jun 2013
The Chapada Diamantina National Park is a 1,520 km² national park in the Chapada Diamantina region of the State of Bahia, Northeast Brazil. The park is about 400 kilometres inland from Salvador, the capital city of Bahia. Chapada is a Brazilian word that means a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau. Diamantina refers to the diamonds found there in the mid-19th century.
The geographical center of Bahia is the Diamantina Tableland region. In this mountainous region with a diversified topography, 90% of the rivers of the Paraguaçu, Jacuípe and Rio das Contas basins have their source here. There are thousands of kilometers of clear waters that spring from these mountains and descend in cascades and waterfalls to plateaus and plains, forming beautiful natural pools. The vegetation mixes cactus species of the caatinga dry lands with rare examples of the mountain flora, especially bromeliads, orchids and "sempre vivas" (member of the strawflower family). On the area one can find the three highest mountains in the state: Pico do Barbado, 2,080 m high, Pico Itobira, 1,970 m, and Pico das Almas, 1,958 m.
Another scenic attraction is the Cachoeira da Fumaça (Waterfall), that falls 420 m, the Gruta dos Brejões, the largest cavern opening of Bahia, and the amazing Poço Encantado, which fascinates visitors to the region. There are so many natural attractions that it is possible to choose between subterranean routes in caves, or trip to waterfalls, trek along old gold mining trails or follow the steps of the Prestes Column, rappel, climb mountains, or go horseback riding in the Vale do Capão or Vale do Paty, in the midst of esoteric and alternative communities. Many of the sites are protected by the National Park of Diamantina Tableland region and the Environmental Preservation Area Serra do Barbado and Marimbus, Iraquara. There are opportunities to take long bikes, or travel on horseback, mountain bike or off-road vehicles.
14 Jun 2013
The Leshan Giant Buddha was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907AD). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet. It is the largest stone Buddha in the world and it is by far the tallest pre-modern statue in the world. The Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It was not damaged by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Antelope Canyon is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé bighánílíní, which means "the place where water runs through rocks." Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazí (advertised as "Hasdestwazi" by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department), or "spiral rock arches." Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.
13 Jun 2013
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort certainly lives up to travelers' expectations that the brand is all about the ultimate in good taste and luxury: The property, which opened in 2006, features not only one of Bora Bora's best beaches and its largest overwater bungalows, but also Lagoon, the region's only restaurant by world-renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. While the St. Regis hits all the right notes when it comes to five-star amenities (including butler service), it doesn't quite exude the authentic Polynesian ambiance and cheery "ia ora na" (the local greeting) ease of some of its competitors.
Aside from the thatched roofs, its luxurious bungalows feature décor that's more contemporary than culture-centric, and its lobby, spa and other main buildings have white coral and stone walls with polished marble floors and formal, European-style furnishings. Don't get me wrong: The effect is quite beautiful, but at times a tad out of sync with Bora Bora's natural surroundings. Even so, guests who want to be pampered in high style, will find much to love about this expansive and lushly landscaped resort. Plus, it's fun to be able to tell your friends you stayed at the property that doubled as the "Eden Resort" in the 2008 Vince Vaughn-Jon Favreau comedy "Couples Retreat,"; one the top movies filmed in the South Pacific.
It's easy to keep active and yet refreshed on this 44-acre property, which features two pools: the main pool adjacent to the beach and an intimate Oasis Pool nestled on one of the motus lined with bungalows. But the prime locale for cooling off while having fun is the Lagoonarium, a large, calm salt-water lagoon stocked with fish and ideal for even inexperienced snorkelers, which is accessed via several wooden docks with ladders.
The resort also features complimentary bikes, tennis courts and a fitness center, as well as access to Jet Skis and other lagoon excursions at an added cost. To keep connected, St. Regis offers resort-wide WiFi at a charge of about $30 a day.
While not the largest or most visually impressive spa on the island, the resorts' Miri Miri Spa, set away from everything at the far edge of the Lagoonarium, does offer a wonderfully revitalizing, sigh-inducing Polynesian massage; afterward, you can relax on a chaise or shaded hammock overlooking tranquil blue water as you contemplate all the ways to indulge yourself at this haven of all things luxurious. Source