Ever watched a fantasy or sci-fi movie and marvelled at the way the worlds portrayed are wonderfully intricate and brilliantly coloured? As it turns out, there are places right here on Earth with just as much flair and beauty, made even more remarkable by their lack of CGI. These spots would leave any visitor gasping at the extraordinary power of nature, and scrambling for phones to take the best Instagram pictures anyone’s ever seen. Check out just a few of them, and you’ll be running to book tickets to see these masterpieces in person:
Ashikaga Flower Park (Tochigi, Japan)
The ideal time to visit this glorious natural paradise is in May, when the wisteria tunnel will be at its most beautiful, although it’s sure to be a sight regardless of the time of year. The wisteria tunnel is the most photographed part of the park, but the entirety of it is a dreamy, flower-filled paradise that’s well worth a visit. Make sure you stick around for night to fall, too – the garden comes alive in a flurry of bright lights and beautifully lit up foliage.
Grand Prismatic Spring (Wyoming, US)
Nestled in the famous Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Prismatic Spring is the third largest hot spring in the world. The outer colours are caused by microorganisms lining the spring, and the deep blue is the result of particles scattering blue light, making for a plethora of colours that mimic a rainbow.
Antelope Canyon (Arizona, US)
The Antelope Canyon is one of the great wonders of the American Southwest, and for good reason. The intricately created canyon walls are a wonder to behold, even more so when beams of sunlight stream through openings to prove the perfect spotlight.
Lavender Fields (Provence, France)
If you’re a floral fan, the lavender fields of Provence, France are a sight not to be missed. With miles of purple as far as the eye can see, the lavender is a truly breathtaking sight. Accompanied by the sweet smells of fresh flowers permeating the air, the fields provide the perfect leisurely stroll.
Lake Hillier (Goldfields-Esperance, Australia)
Nestled in the Golden Outback region of Western Australia, this pristine pink lake is a sight to see. Caused by high salinity and a particular sort of algae, the vivid colour of this lake will add a touch of surrealism to your vacation photos. You can also take a helicopter ride for the ultimate pink lake experience.
Turquoise Ice Lake (Baikal, Russia)
More like something out of an Arctic sci-fi adventure than anything that can be seen in real life, Baikal’s icy lakes have a brilliant turquoise tint to them. After a heavy bout of snowfall, they wind up looking like glittering gemstones in the bright midday sunshine. And for those of you who are particularly keen on adventure, you can also dive into its icy depths and explore the world below.
Namaqualand Flower Route (Garies, South Africa)
Far from being an arid desert outback, this South African wilderness is populated by a dazzling show of almost 4,000 different species of plants between July and October. You can hike and cycle through certain routes, or stay overnight and make sure you fully appreciate the marvel of Namaqualand.
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves (North Island, New Zealand)
There’s nothing quite like the glow of thousands upon thousands of glow-worms, as anyone who’s been to Waitomo will attest. You can go for a cruise through the caves, and marvel at the intricate beauty of the natural pinpricks of light provided by the hardworking glow-worms – blatantly outshining every string of Christmas lights ever produced.