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Weird and Wonderful Locations Around the World

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

There are places on our planet which will leave you scratching your head and questioning life itself. Some places defy logic, others can only be seen from above and some are just downright mysterious. From Moai statues of Easter Island to the Nazca Lines of Peru, here is a list of weird of wonderful locations to visit around the world.

Moai Statues of Easter Island

Dotted across fertile landscapes of Easter Island, the Moai stand mysteriously, a product of early inhabitants’ creative skills. Many questions remain as to how these impressive solid-chinned, broad-nosed sculptures got here, as over the years 1000 monolithic masterpieces have been discovered around the island. These measure between 4 and 13 metres in height and the largest standing statue can weigh up to 86 tonnes! This begs the question as to how the stones were moved from Rano Raraku quarry from which materials were said to have been sourced.

These symbols of spiritual leadership have strong meanings attached to chiefs and gods. One fascinating trait is that the majority face inland, suggesting they were put there to protect the communities of islanders. Several also face the sea to welcome newcomers and if you enjoy diving, you’ll even find some submerged around the rugged coastline. If you plan to visit Easter Island, the row of 15 Moai in Ahu Tongariki are the most photographed. Cycle there at sunrise and try to uncover the mysteries of the Moai of Rapa Nui for yourself.

Moai Statues at Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island

Credit: Pedro Ramos Photo

The Nazca Lines of Peru

The only way to truly appreciate the vast landscape of the Nazca Lines is by air. As you soar above the red plains of southern Peru and glance to the ground, distinctive patterns and geoglyphs begin to emerge. Etched into the stony ground are over 800 lines, 70 animals and plants and 300 figures which are said to date back over 2,000 years. The designs are spread across 80 kilometres of desert and have remained intact for centuries thanks to its stony surface and absence of rain.

The shapes of a hummingbird, monkey, spider and more are said to hold keys to the astronomical calendar, or another theory is that they gave ancient inhabitants clues as to where to find water and plant crops to survive. You can fly to the Nazca Lines from Paracas or if you prefer to remain nearer ground level, there’s an observation tower you can drive to where you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of part of the landscape.

Nazca Lines, The Condor, Peru

Credit: Robert CHG

Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland

Made up of around 40,000 basalt hexagonal columns, the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is steeped in myth and legend. One scientific explanation is that the columns are the result of a volcanic eruption 50 to 60 million years ago when there was lots of seismic activity in the region. However, speak to locals and they insist that the causeway was built by giant Finn MacCool, a mythical Irish hunter/warrior. Along the UNESCO World Heritage Coastal Route, you can try to discover the truth for yourself, exploring cliff top walks, viewing the Giant’s Boot and sitting on the Wishing Chair – a natural throne formed from basalt columns!

The causeway is most spectacular at sunrise or sunset so pack a picnic and take a full day to explore this legendary corner of Northern Ireland.

Giant's Causeway, North Island

Credit: Mike Shaw

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Located in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. Measuring over 4,000 square miles it was formed as a result of changing prehistoric lakes in the region. The unique feeling of walking in the clouds is achieved when a shallow film of water sits atop the flat salt crust causing a reflective mirror effect. Beneath clear skies the result is awe-inspiring, and as you walk across the salt flats, you feel as if you’re at one with the earth and sky.

The best time to visit Salar de Uyuni is during the rainy season between November and March when you’re guaranteed to gain the best photographs and experience the world’s most impressive optical illusion to its ultimate effect.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Credit: Olga Kot

Lake Hillier, Australia

Lake Hillier, or the Pink Lake as it’s also known, lies on Middle Island in Western Australia. Surrounded by emerald forests of eucalyptus, paperback trees and the azure Pacific Ocean, the vibrant lake makes a striking contrast. Scientists believe the presence of halophilic bacteria in the salt crusts or Dunaliella salina microalgae in the lake turns the water this milky shade of bubblegum pink. Measuring around 600 metres long and 250 metres wide, Lake Hillier is best viewed by air as the water's colour is more prominent from an aerial perspective. In addition, as you fly towards Recherche Archipelago where Middle Island is situated you may even catch a glimpse of sharks, whales and reefs in the Pacific Ocean!

Lake Hillier Pink Lake, Australia

Credit: Matteo IT

Rakotzbrücke Bridge, Germany

Nestled amongst a fairytale forest in Kromlau Park, Saxony, Germany, you’ll find Rakotzbrücke Bridge. You may wonder what is so special about a bridge, but if you’re a keen photographer or interested in architecture you’ll really appreciate the majesty of this structure. The bridge was commissioned in 1860 by Friedrich Herrman and local folklore tells how the devil himself helped him to build the bridge. However, a more logical explanation perhaps is that Herrman understood mathematical formulas and used his knowledge to create a bridge which perfectly arched into a 360-degree circle when reflected in the water below.

Rakotzbruke Bridge, Germany

Credit: Travel Kiwis

Sea of Stars, Maldives

With world-class resorts, beautiful beaches and superb dive sites, the Maldives attracts visitors from all over the globe. But did you know that a natural phenomenon also occurs around the islands? The Sea of Stars is born from a type of phytoplankton, created by the movement of the waves. The stress of moving causes it to become bioluminescent as it creates its own defence. The plankton then begins to exude a neon shade of blue which illuminates as waves lap onto the shore. It’s one of natures rarest events and wonderful to see on a romantic trip to the Maldives.

The most common spot for it to occur is around Raa Atoll on Vaadhoo Island during late summer to winter months. If you wish to see this natural wonder for yourself, consider a stay at nearby 5-star Heritance Aarah Hotel and take a trip to view the magical Sea of Stars.

Bio Luminescence - Illumination of plankton at Maldives

Credit: PawelG

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