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Top 10 natural wonders in the world

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Over millennia, raw elemental forces have shaped the top 10 natural wonders of the world. Whether you fancy walking on glaciers, diving the world’s largest coral reef, or exploring volcanos and waterfalls, this guide will help you choose the right hotel.

Great divides at the Grand Canyon

No hyperbole could ever do justice to the planet's greatest chasm, the 446km-long Grand Canyon. Seeing is believing with Arizona's mighty gully, carved by the Colorado River. If you don't fancy the two-day trek from rim to basin, get hawk's-eye views from the 1.2km-high skywalk bridge.

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Jungle drops at the Iguazu Falls

There are higher waterfalls in the world, but the thunderous Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian-Argentine border are unique. The 275 horseshoe-shaped falls are fringed by virgin rainforest, home to toucans, jaguars and tapirs. The most photogenic fall is the 82m-high Devil's Throat.

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The light fantastic aurora borealis

One of the greatest shows on earth is the eerily beautiful aurora borealis or Northern Lights. Like something from a wizard's wand, solar radiation produces flashes of violet and curtains of green light in the sky. See night skies magically illuminated in Tromsø, Arctic Norway, from October to April.

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Plunging into the Great Barrier Reef

Slap on a snorkel and flippers to explore the world's largest coral ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching 3,000km off Australia's north-east coast, the coral reef is home to manta rays, loggerhead turtles and clownfish.

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Alligator encounters in the Everglades

At Florida's southern tip, the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park is a fascinating wilderness of sawgrass marshes and mangrove swamps full of sun-worshipping alligators. Slip into a canoe to explore the wetlands, at their best during the dry season from December to April.

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Away with the fairies at Cappadocia

Cappadocia's volcanic boulder-topped fairy chimneys stud the bizarre landscape of Göreme National Park, Turkey. Below the ground lies a labyrinth of tunnels, troglodyte dwellings and subterranean cities, hidden from the outside world since the 4th century.

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A marvellous Mount Everest view

Even if you're not ready to climb 8,848m Mount Everest quite yet, you can appreciate the world's highest peak on a comparatively gentle hike around the Kathmandu Valley Rim. The snow-capped giant of the Himalaya massif was formed 60 million years ago.

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Breaking ice at Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina is one of only three advancing ice-fields in Patagonia. Spanning 250 sq km, the glacier elicits gasps when chunks of ice plummet into Lake Argentino and create icebergs. Don crampons to get closer to the glacier on a mini trek. 

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SHighly explosive: Hawaii volcanoes

Active for 70 million years, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island is the hottest of the 10 natural wonders in the world. You'll find the world's largest volcano, 4,169m-high Mauna Loa, and one of the most active, Kīlauea. The adventurous walk the Thurston Lava Tube. 

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Chinese legends at Tiger Leaping Gorge

The Yangtze River's white-water rapids thrash through Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest river canyons, in Yunnan, south-west China. Framed by snowy peaks and 2,000m-high cliffs, the 15km-long chasm is enshrouded in leaping tiger mythology. Early summer is the best time to visit. 

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