Humans have managed to impair the world’s natural climate dynamics and permanently alter the makeup of the global super-biome, and it doesn’t appear that we are satisfied yet with our work. Still, in spite of our negligence towards Mother Earth, there is something deeply rooted within us, the need to protect what instills us with awe in nature. This is one of few things that serve as a kernel of hope that we may actually manage to turn the global economic and industrial tendencies in a direction that’s beneficial for the planet and us as well. If you want to reassess your own attitude towards nature and your place in the grand scheme of things, here are 5 national parks for your bucket list.
1. Yellowstone, USA
If you plan to go on a worldwide pilgrimage that takes you through some of the most impressive national parks in the world, it’s practically blasphemy not to visit Yellowstone. This legendary national park is located in the USA and it spreads across the states of Wyoming (predominantly), Idaho and Montana. The mist-covered plains where buffalos roam lie on the caldera of a supervolcano that jolts the surrounding lands with tremors, and while some fear it may blow up, it doesn’t appear the danger is imminent – and the geothermal energy it gives off has breathed life into some of the most beautiful landscapes that grace the earth.
Yellowstone covers an enormous area of 9000 square kilometers and as such serves as a fitting playground for avid campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Visit the Old Faithful Geyser, take a spectacular waterfall tour and marvel at the world’s largest petrified forest.
2. Blue Mountains National Park, Australia
The range of biomes covered by Australia is probably one of the most diverse ones in the world, so it only naturally it boasts some of the most treasured national parks in the world. A particularly popular park that has sites to die for and which is also conveniently close to Australia’s “representative” metropolis Sydney is known as Blue Mountains National Park. If you have ever visited the Land Down Under, you probably heard about the famed rocky landmark, the Three Sisters, and while you should definitely marvel at the magnificence of the site, you’ll also conveniently discover that this park is so much more than one selling point.
Arm yourself with top equipment and a durable GoPro Hero action camera from Strathfield car radios in a Sydney suburb to record your epic hike down the Giant Stairway and through the Grand Canyon which begins at the end of Govetts Leap Road. These, of course, are only some of the small things you can do to spice up the adventure. Blue Mountains National Park has to be savored for an extended period as its lush forests cover vast areas filled with interesting spots.
3. Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
Iceland’s remoteness goes in its favor. The spellbinding island that lies in the upper-western corner of Europe, off the coast of the British Isles and Scandinavia, can look foreboding and almost alien to those that have never gazed upon its wondrous sites. However, if you just let your gaze linger for a bit, you will realize what a bouquet of beauties it boasts – and Vatnajökull National Park is definitely one of them.
Vatnajökull National Park lies almost at the very heart of the island. It is a home to Iceland’s highest mountain peak – Hvannadalshnjúkur (try to pronounce it, if you dare). The vantage points surrounding the Öræfajökull volcano are to die for, and you will also get a chance to marvel at glaciers. Check out the out-of-this-world Svartifoss waterfall and get into the Zen mood as you revel in the overwhelming tranquility this park’s topographical makeup gives off.
4. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
An immense territory that stretches across the northern region of Tanzania, just next to the colossal Lake Victoria and right near the border with Kenya, is a protected territory pretty much everyone that owns a television has heard about – Serengeti National Park. Many documentary films and series have been dedicated to this place, and for good reason – it is one of the world’s most ancient ecosystems that captures the imagination of people around the globe with dynamic fauna. Animal migration occurs completely naturally here and endangered species such as lions, rhinos, leopards and elephants roam these plains with complete freedom. If you are into exciting “game viewings”, this park is practically perfect for you – just don’t wander too far from the trusty 4×4.
Over a hundred nations around the world have protected immense tracks of land as national parks, which basically gives you thousands upon thousands of potential locations where you can just stand, gaze into the distance and give yourself a lesson in humility. National parks are not only gorgeous landscapes and preserved ecosystems – they are shrines to Mother Nature and all of its mighty glory.