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Words: Shaina Herman

The Mystical & Magical

As an avid traveller the world continues to surprise me with sites that have been carved by nature in a most unusual way. It’s incredible how our earth’s landscape continues to impress with its variety.

While so many places make me feel at home and familiar, I love finding similarities that bring our world closer together. Seeing strange and exciting products of nature that are out of my realm keeps me on my toes and in the moment.

The weirdest elements of this planet prove to me that not only does evolution have a sense of humour (cue photo of ostrich), but that there’s a great big universe out there and we’re just getting a little taste of it.


The California Redwoods

The Redwood National Forest will have you walking with your head in the clouds trying to catch a glimpse of the tops of the tallest trees on earth. One connected organism, the forest is alive and has been for over 20 million years. Tree trunks are so big that cars can fit through carved out sections of them and they make perfect playgrounds for grown adults when they’ve fallen over. If you believe in fairies, you know they would choose to live in the misty giant redwood forests of California.

Amazon - Brazil, 2011.

©Neil Palmer/CIAT

The Amazon Rainforest

Endless green trees and plants are accompanied by an opaque river that you know, from the movies, is home to piranha. Fish in the rivers are so big and daunting, it’s probably better you can’t see in. Home to medicines, tropical fruits, flowers, oversized bugs and plants, the biggest jungle in the world can be somewhat prehistoric. As if there are dinosaurs lurking in the bushes but instead you’ll find toucans. Those who trek to the Amazon can look forward to seeing magical colours during the spring and real life pink dolphins year round.


Germany’s Black Forest

The eerie and shady forest of the Brother’s Grimm makes the Black Forest seem like a land of fairytales, of the darkest kind. A canopy of evergreen trees loom above the valleys, hills, and rivers to get lost in. Peaceful and idyllic, towns and villages laden with spas and picturesque main streets surround the forest, but the calling of the wild woods and spells of witches and wily ways of smooth talking wolves can easily lure you in.  When you visit, think of the tick tock of the cuckoo clock, invented there.


Cappadocia, Turkey

You could easily mistake Cappadocia for another planet, or maybe monoliths an alien culture had once left on earth. Natural structures shaped like mushrooms have been carved out of rock in the centre of Turkey and protrude like wind chiseled chimneys. Take a hot air balloon ride on a chilly winter morning for aerial views of the oddly shaped snow covered structures, that are scattered across this rugged landscape. Houses carved into the stone, and the dry desert setting, made the region home to a Star Wars set location.


Pink Lake Hillier, Australia

The pigment of the algae in Lake Hiller makes it so pretty in pink. The contrast of the sky and deep blue ocean makes this unlikely lake even more vivid. And, with just a few pink lakes in the world, this Australian site only has a few other replicas like it on the planet. The bubble gum microbes that change the colour are just another reason to believe thatunicorns could have drank from the waters once upon a time ago. The surreal site can be accessed by helicopter or a cruise to Middle Island.


Peruvian Nazca Lines

If you stand on the foothills nearby or take a local plane ride overhead, you’ll see well-preserved geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert of Peru. A Unesco Heritage site, because of their size, clarity, and number, the area’s historic purpose is still to be determined. Believed to have had astronomical function, the clear lines offer pictures of animal shapes & geometric lines. Scientists are still dazzled by the sheer magnitude of the etchings and some conspiracy theorists believe it was a map or runway for ancient aliens. From overhead, it sure looks like someone or something was sending messages out into space.

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