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11 of the World's Best Waterfalls

The natural world is brimming with beautiful waterfalls, all of which have their own spectacular and jaw-dropping differences. So with an estimated 9 million waterfalls to choose from, how do you possibly go about picking which one you should take a trip to see? Well we’ve narrowed it down to the eleven greatest waterfalls in the world just to get you started…

1.    Angel Falls, Venezuela

Flickr | ENT108As the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, Angel Falls had to make it onto this list. The waterfall tumbles from the Auyan-Tepu into what has become known as the Devil’s Canyon after falling 979 metres. Situated within Canaima National Park, the surrounding tropical wildlife acts as a gateway to Angel Falls, which were aptly named after pilot Jimmie Angel crash landed on top of the mountain in 1935 and ‘discovered’ the falls.

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2.    Niagara Falls, Canada/United States

Flickr | Artur StaszewskiComprising of American falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Canadian Falls, the three waterfalls come together to be collectively known as Niagara Falls and they sit along the edge of the Canadian and United States international border. By day the sound alone that comes from the roaring 750,000 gallons of water that rockets to the basin every second is spectacular but by night the waterfalls become even more jaw-droppingly amazing as spotlights paint the water with an array of different colours. It’s fairly obvious already but these waterfalls are an absolute must see on your travels!

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3.    Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Flickr | Jason WharamVictoria Falls is another of the most famous waterfalls in the world and for good reason! Among the biggest waterfall on the planet, the Zambezi River is more than 1.25 miles wide when it cascades over the edge of the plateau and it then continues to plunge for over 100 metres before it reaches the basin below. Victoria Falls are perhaps even more notable by the fact that you don’t have to be up close to truly appreciate the beauty of this natural design because the mists generated from the sheer amount of water can be spotted from more than 12 miles away!

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4.    Plitvice Waterfalls, Croatia

Flickr | jidanchaomianSituated within a forest filled national park, the Plitvice Waterfalls are formed from sixteen lakes spanning a distance of eight kilometers that are each inter-connected in a series of cascades. Set deep in the woodland the area surrounding this huge mass of water is home to deer, bears, wolves and a number of bird species, so it is easy to see why it is Croatia’s most popular tourist attraction.

5.    Rhinefalls, Switzerland

Flickr | Marcin WicharyYou don’t always have to travel to the ends of the earth to witness true natural beauty. The Rhinefalls in Switzerland have claimed the title of the largest waterfalls in Europe and they are well worth a visit. In the middle of the cascading water stands a rock that juts out above the waterfalls. Having withstood the elements for thousands of years, the rock can now be reached by a boat tour upon which visitors are allowed to disembark and climb up to the additional manmade platforms that jut out over the water from the top of the natural viewing area.

6.    Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

Flickr | slack12Lesser known than the Niagara Falls, the Iguazu Falls stretch across 2.7 kilometres in width and has a height that varies between 60 metres and 82 metres, making it taller than and twice as wide as the former waterfall. Special walkways have been built to allow visitors to get a close view of the Iguazu Falls and on the Brazilian side visitors have the opportunity to book onto a helicopter ride that will give them a totally unique view of the natural wonder.

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7.    Gullfoss (Golden Falls), Iceland

Flickr | Vin CrosbieGullfoss, otherwise known as the Golden waterfall, is one of Iceland’s most iconic natural tourist attractions. The waterfall is fed by Iceland’s second biggest glacier and the water itself plummets down a three step staircase into a 70m high canyon. On sunny days the waterfalls become even more spectacular as a rainbow can often be seen settling across the water and upon approaching the falls, the edge is completely obscured from view to the point that the river seems to vanish entirely, all of which simply adds to the awe that the area inspires upon arrival.

8.    Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

Flickr | Jocelyn KinghornThe Sutherland Falls are the highest waterfalls in New Zealand and the waterfall is formed of three steps, with the first being 815 feet tall, the second 751 feet and the last 338 feet tall. These drops occur in such quick succession from one another that they appear to form just one long drop when viewed from above. As with many of New Zealand’s waterfalls, Sutherland isn’t incredibly easy to reach and can only be accessed by a four day round hike or by booking onto one of the many scenic flights offered by local companies.

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9.    Torc Waterfall, Ireland

Flickr | Stefan JürgensenNestled within the Killarney National Park in Ireland, the Torc Waterfall is one of the area’s most popular attractions. A visit to the Torc Waterfall is guaranteed on the Kerry Way walking tour but for that extra special view; push yourself to climb the 100 steps to the left of the waterfall for a unique aerial view of the lakes. The water itself plunges down from Torc Mountain for over 18 metres and the sound, combined with the sight of the polished rocks, highlight just how powerful the falling water is.

10.    Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon

Flickr | Adam BakerIt is the more famous and most visited of the various falls along Havasu Creek

The Havasu Falls are hidden deep within the Grand Canyon and are the most famous and most visited of the falls that are situated along the Havasu Creek, which explains why they are the namesake of the area. A hiking trail runs right alongside the waterfall so you can’t miss it and the pathway will lead you down from the top to the idyllic pools at the base of the waterfall. The basin itself is full of crystal clear blue/green water, giving it a fairy-tale feel, so it is easy to see why this waterfall is such a popular tourist destination.

11.    Manawaiopuna Falls, Hawaii

Flickr | Ben WardManawaiopuna Falls are located in the south-central part of Kauai in Hawaii and they used to be the island’s best kept secret until they featured in the movie Jurassic Park, after which the waterfalls become a major tourist attraction and are now more commonly referred to as ‘Jurassic Falls’. Access to these famous waterfalls is only available via local helicopter tours and while all of them will fly by the scenic waterfall, a few will land nearby and allow tourists to walk up to the falls themselves so it is worth shopping around for the best flight company. The waterfall itself plunges 360 feet down into the lush greenery below, so it is a spectacular sight from above and well worth the visit, even if you are only able to go from the sky!

By Shannon Clark - Online Journalism Intern

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