1. Golden Rock, Myanmar
An amazing creation of the nature, this rock formation called Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, but also known as "The Golden rock", is located in Mon State, and it is religiously related to the Buddhist pilgrimage site in Myanmar, one of the three biggest in the country. The formation consists of small pagoda built on the top of the granite boulder which is turned into a golden rock by the religious devotees who covered it with pasted golden leaves. There is a legend about that rock, according to which it is scarcely sitting on the strand of Buddha's hair. And it looks like it will roll down the hill every moment, but seems to defy gravity for ages.
2. Stone Tree, Bolivia
One of the worlds most beautiful and strangest landscapes one could ever see is located in the high desert near the borders of Bolivia and Chile, on the Bolivian Altiplano sand dunes. It is an isolated rock formation made of stone sculpted by the wind and sun and resembling a weirdly shaped tree, that is why it is known as the "stone tree". Such sculpted rock belongs to the so called group of artificially formed rocks known collectively as the "Stone Forest". The deep shades of red and brown typical for the background against which the Stone tree is projected is an inevitable part of its spectacularity.
3. Delicate Arch, USA
Delicate Arch is an amazing natural formation that became the symbol of the state of Utah in the United States, depicted even on the Utah's license plates. It is located in the Arches National Park and is world famous, not only because it is lonely- standing, but also because of its dramatic shape, sculpted in a very unique way by weathering and erosion in the sandstone fin. The Arch can be reached by taking a short hiking trail and it is mostly out of view on most of this trail. The unique colour and arched shape are appealing to tourists from all over the world.
4. Split Apple Rock, New Zealand
The self-explanatory name that this world famous rock formation has - Split Apple Rock, suggests to a full extent and the way it looks. Located on the South Island of New Zealand in Tasman Sea, this amazing creation of nature attracts tourists from all over the world. One of the ways to explore closely the Split Apple Rock is to choose one of the vessels options that the park offers, by kayak, tramping or to simply enjoy viewing it from the sandy beach, from where it is also clearly visible. Even though Split Apple Rock is located between Marahau and Kaiteriteri in New Zealands smallest national park - Abel Tasman National Park, in the Tasman district, its magnificent granite cliffs, native forests and breath-taking scenery combined with a mild climate make it a stop throughout the whole year.
5. James Bond Island (Ko Tapu), Thailand
The movie-related name that the Thailands pair of islands acquired since 1974, when it was featured in the popular James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun" made not only the movie a blockbuster and a Bond favourite due to its spectacular topography, but also turned the not so popular island into major tourist attraction. Locally known as Ko Tapu or Nail Island, it is located on the West coast of Thailand in the Phang Nga Bay, known for its astonishing rocky formations and two hours away from Phuket Province, which itself is the Thailand's largest island. Ko Tapu is a rocky monolith about 20 m tall and is one of the reasons to be known as "nail" or "spike", is related to the connected nature of the islands along with the old legend about the fisherman who killed a nail. Referring its peculiar shape to the local myths or to the tide-related erosion is of no importance when admiring its beauty.
6. Devil's Marbles, Australia
The Devil's Marbles huge granite formations are known by their specific naturally rounded and oval shape of the boulders and are one of the most prominent landmarks and symbols of Australia. Karlu Karlu is the other name that this remarkable site is known of, given by the local Aborigines. The site is located in Wauchope, which is a traditional Aboriginal sacred site having great importance to the local people and considered for one of the oldest religious sites in the world. The Devil's Marbles include many rocks, some of which are spectacularly balancing or forming groups and spread across a wide, shallow valley. There are different stories related to these amazing formations, one of which is that the boulders are eggs of the mythical rainbow serpent, according to the local Kaytetye people, but considered as incorrect by others. Their beauty is unique and that is why the Devil's Marbles Reserve is one of the most visited parks in Australia.
7. Devils Tower, USA
Devils Towers or also known as Bears Lodge or Brown Buffalo Horn is the very first declared America's National monument in 1906. It rises impressively in the landscape of North-Eastern Wyoming and reaches 1,267 feet (386 metres), as its summit is 5,112 feet (1,558 metres) high. The monolith has a sacred meaning for many American Indians belonging to different tribes, simply because its formation is considered to be 16 million years ago. The natives had been giving it different names and creating different mythical stories about its creation, having different cultural and geographical relation with it, years before the Devils Towers has been discovered by the European and early American immigrants of the Black Hills, Wyoming. One of the scientific stories about the formation of this incredible basalt monolith revolves around volcanic eruption and the following cooling down of the pushed upwards molten lava. One of the other reasons that this monument is so prominent is that lots of climbers are scaling the rock walls of the Devils Towers every summer.
8. Pasabag, Turkey
The highly remarkable earth pillar structures are located in Pasabag Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey in the middle of a vineyard. The other famous name they are known under is the Monk Valley and it is related to the cones carved in some of the tufa stones, standing apart and resembling mushroom -shaped caps, where hermits used to hide and live in isolation. Some of these pillars split into double or triple smaller cones in their upper sections and form twin and triple rock caps, that is why they are called fairy chimneys. They were formed about 30 million years ago from eroded soft volcanic rock and not only their striking structure, but the fact that Simeon monks were estranging themselves from the world by hollowing out the chimneys from the bottom to the top and creating their rooms in different heights, make these natural rock formations spectacular and unique in so many ways. It is not by coincidence that the chimneys in Cappadocia are labelled as fairy.
9. The Pinnacles, Australia
The Pinnacles in Australia are splendid limestone formations located in the Nambung National Park in the Western part of the country. The raw material taking part in their formation had been produced from seashells in earlier periods of time affluent in marine life. These shells were transformed with the time into lime rich sand, blown inland and formed very high dunes, whose lower levels have been cemented by the rain into a soft limestone. The area has gained its world fame after it has been added to Nambung National Park. The best months to enjoy the great view of the Pinnacles formations are from August to October and especially in the early morning and late afternoon when the playing sunlight makes their colours contrasting with their shadows in an amazing way.
10. Perce Rock, Canada
Perce Rock is also known by its French name Rocher Percé or as the Pierced rock and the Split Rock. It is one of the most massive natural arches in the world. Its name is referred to the large arch - 20 metres (66 ft) high, formed near its southern bottom and looking like as if a needle had been inserted into the rock, but these holes had been caused by the sea waves. The pierced rock used to have two arches until one of them broke down in 1846, but it remained being one of the most prominent seven wonders of Canada. Perce Rock is a reddish-gold limestone stack formation 433 m long and 90 m wide, all of its rock sides are steep, as its highest point reaches 88 m. It is located in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence just off the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec Canada and is considered for its symbol and one of the most visited attractions in this region. The Rock can be seen only for four hours during low tide.
Terry Hunter on 10 Feb 2012
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