When it comes to waterfalls, Niagara tends to steal the spotlight. There’s no denying that the North American whopper is impressive, but it doesn’t even hold a crown to some of the lesser known falls found around the world.
We decided it was high time we rounded up a few of the most gobsmackingly beautiful waterfalls that you might have missed, just for the rush of it. (Sorry.)[listicle]
Remaining virtually hidden from mankind in the mountainous jungles of Venezuela, Angel Falls is actually 19 times the height of Niagara Falls. It’s officially the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, coming in at a whopping 979 metres tall. The main plunge also includes about 400 metres of cascading rapids below the drop, which slope downstream at a speedy pace. Be sure to visit in the wet season (from June to December) when the rivers are deep enough that you can get close in a boat and feel the spray.
When former United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt first saw Iguazu, she exclaimed “Poor Niagara!” Poor Niagara indeed – with around 275 different drops, a combined width of 2.7 kilometres and a height of over 70 metres, Iguazu Falls is something you have to see to believe. It’s located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, where the Iguazu River falls over the edge of the Paraná Plateau. You’ll hear the thunderous roar of the water way before you actually lay eyes on the thing, with the noise like a constant static that’ll ring in your head long after you’ve left.
Found on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is often described by locals as ‘the smoke that thunders’. While Victoria might not hold the crown for the highest or widest waterfall in the world, it’s technically the largest, based on its combined width (1708 metres) and height (108 metres), which means it has the world’s colossal sheet of falling water. No biggie. Oh, and it’s also home to the world’s most exhilarating infinity pool.
Photo: Pius Mahimbi/Flickr
Situated uphill from the mighty Colorado River and deep within the Grand Canyon is Havasu Falls. You’ll find this colourful Garden of Eden after a hot and dusty 16 kilometre trek through the Arizonan desert, where the inviting blue waters will be your welcoming reward. Only a limited number of people are allowed in Havasu Canyon at a time, so visitors are encouraged to make a reservation well in advance. But is it worth the difficult 16 kilometre hike to get there? That would be an emphatic yes.
Photo: Robb Hannawacker/Flickr
Southern Rockhole, Nitmiluk National Park
Surely the NT’s best kept secret, the Southern Rockhole near Katherine is well worth the bush-bashing you’ll encounter to find it. Found within Nitmiluk National Park, about three and a half hours south of Darwin, the beautiful turquoise waters are cool and welcoming to your humidity-heavy body, and the spot is quiet enough that you might even have it all to yourself. Just perfect.
Photo: Steve Strike/Tourism NT
Iceland is where to go if you like waterfalls and stunningly beautiful scenery; and really, who doesn’t? Gullfoss is located in a canyon along the Hvítá river, and it’s one of the key attractions along Iceland’s famed Golden Circle excursion. Gushing water flows down a three-tiered rocky staircase, and you’ll often see rainbows rising from the mist on either side of the canyon. The waterfall is lush and green in summer and icy and frozen in winter, but it’s prime viewing whatever time of the year you’re there. While you’re at it, hit up the Dettifoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls as well to complete your very own Iceland waterfall trifecta. You won’t be disappointed.
Photo: Shannon Dosemagen/Flickr
You’ll soon realise that South America is home to some of the most impressive waterfalls in existence, so I’m banking on it being renamed ‘Waterfall Continent’ any second now. Kaieteur Falls are located in the Amazon rainforest region of Guyana, where the falls’ height and force make it a pretty spectacular site. It’s still relatively untouched to the tourist market, so the area is never crowded, which lets you marvel at the landscape in total isolation.
Photo: Tim Snell/Flickr
It’s estimated that over a million people visit Croatia’s Plitvice Falls each year and honestly, it’s not hard to see why. 16 lakes tumble into each other via waterfalls and cascades creating mineral-rich turquoise waters that look both inviting and serene. Heads up: it can take around six hours to properly explore all that the Plitvice Lakes National Parks have to offer. Entrance fees vary per season, but can cost up to 180 Kuna ($35AUD), but for that view? Totally worth it.
Photo: Aaron May/Flickr
Bản Giốc Dietan is the collective name for two converging falls on the Quây Sơn River that straddle the border of China and Vietnam. The waterfalls are known as Banye Falls in Vietnam, and Detian Falls on the Chinese side, with visitor access available from both sides. These falls are surrounded by picturesque karst peaks, similar to those found in Halong Bay.
Jog Falls are located in Karnataka, an eastern province in India. The falls comprise of four cascades which are known as Raja, Rani, Rover and Rocket and form a huge waterfall fed from the Sharavathi river. The best time to visit is between June and December, and be sure to bring your raincoats – 253 metres of plunging water is bound to feature a little splash-back.