Part of what makes me feel alive is traveling to new places and seeing what kind of incredible things can be found in nature. I can appreciate old architecture and ruins, and I have a love for great art, but what really makes me tick is looking at and exploring the things that man could never create.
After driving down the PCH for the third time recently I started to think about what I could consider to be the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been to, so I thought I’d break them down here.
In no particular order, here are the top five most awe-inspiring and beautiful places I’ve ever been…
1. Rock Formations at Ton Sai Bay, Thailand
While staying on Ton Sai Bay in Thailand I took a kayak out to explore some of the small island rock formations off the shoreline. From a distance they looked pretty unassuming and rather static. However, once you got close to them, their majestic qualities revealed themselves and the formations came to life. Sitting in the small watercraft, I felt so tiny and insignificant, making the experience really humbling. The contrast of the beautiful, calm, and vast water against the lively rock caves, shelves, and stalactites will forever be burned into my memory as one of the best things my eyes have ever seen.
2. Purlingbrook Falls in Springbrook National Park, Australia
After riding bikes and hanging out with friends in Gold Coast, Australia for several weeks I decided to venture away from the BMX scene in search of some nature. With just a short drive and a quick hike I found myself looking across a valley at one of the most impressive waterfalls I had ever seen. Purlingbrook Falls is some 350ft tall, and due to the recent heavy rainfall it had a pretty powerful flow when I was there. Seeing it from across the valley was great, but the real stand out moment came when I got to see the falls from right on top of them at a viewing platform, then again when I hopped a few guardrails and walked through the stream and stood at the edge while looking out over the valley.
3. California’s Coastline (From Pacific Coast Highway)
I’m a sucker for coastlines, beaches, and tropical settings, and the drive up or down California’s PCH offers plenty of each of those. There are countless views along the drive that are each just as spectacular as the last, but the fact that you can drive for hours on end and those views just keep coming is what really makes the drive so special.
4. Lake Wakatipu, New ZealandMuch like the PCH, the drive on Kingston Rd. that hugs the perimeter of Lake Wakatipu outside Queenstown, New Zealand is a never-ending postcard backdrop. However, instead of infinite waves in the ocean, the lake is calm and flat with beautiful mountains surrounding it on all sides. Along the drive you can stop at lookout overview points high above the lake, then minutes later you can stop again at sea level and walk right up the rocky beach to the glass-like shoreline.
5. Grand Canyon, Arizona
If this list were in order, and if I had better photos of it, the Grand Canyon in Arizona would probably be at the number one spot. However, when I visited Mathers Campground in the summer of 2005 I didn’t have a proper camera with me, so all I have to show from my trip there are a few low-quality scans of photos that were printed at Walmart. Nonetheless, the Grand Canyon still remains one of the most incredible and mind-boggling things I’ve ever laid eyes on. When I was standing at the edge of the South Rim I remember feeling like even though I was there, and even though I was seeing it with my own eyes, I could never comprehend what I was looking at. It was such an overwhelming feeling that I literally shed a few tears. This is one place I’m really looking forward to going back to and photographing some day…Anyone up for camping?