There’s no denying it: waterfalls are pretty cool. Some of them are huge and powerful, looking like they could crush you in seconds, and wearing away solid rock over thousands of years. Others are small and picturesque – the perfect place to sit, relax and ponder life for a while. Here’s your guide to some of the world’s best, so you can go and explore them for yourself.
When you think world famous giant waterfalls, like us, your first thought might be: Niagara. These celebrated falls come with a mythology of all the crazy courageous people who’ve gone over the edge and survived. The Niagara Falls are actually three waterfalls, reaching a maximum height of 51 metres. Located at the border of the U.S. and Canada, the nearby city of Niagara is now super tourist-orientated. The falls themselves, however, are still annoyingly attractive and lap up the attention. There is no bad photograph to be taken here and you can enjoy the view on foot, by boat or by helicopter – they’re all worth it.
But these aren’t the only great looking falls in Eastern Canada. Travel to Quebec City and make a stop at the less known Montmorency Falls. More than 30 metres higher than Niagara, these falls are statuesque and even novice daredevils can join a guided group to zipline high over the crevice and climb up the sheer rock face. How’s that for adventurous.
Lord of the Rings country New Zealand is famously beautiful and home to a variety of landscapes and waterfalls. From the short but powerful Huka Falls near Lake Taupo, to the 55 metre high narrow chute that is the Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan (great for photographs to look like you’re lapping it up), to the hundreds of temporary falls that form at the stunning Milford Sound, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Another picturesque mountainous destination, this Scandinavian delight will have you in awe with its many majestic falls. Take a cruise along the fjords and admire the Seven Sisters waterfall, part of the Geiranger UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the name suggests, it boasts seven independent streams, the tallest of which measures a lofty 250 metres. And yet it’s only the country’s 39th tallest waterfall.
South East Asia
For travellers journeying around the often-trodden countries of South East Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, it’s worth paying a visit to the local waterfalls. They are often signposted locally and may have a ticket salesperson in a wooden counter at the entrance cheekily asking you to pay a nominal fee to view these natural sights. But often they are charming and a refreshing retreat, especially if you fancy a dip to cool off in the Asian heat. If you’re lucky you may even get to see elephants bathing nearby.
Kawasan Falls in the Philippines are a stand out, as are the Nine Level Waterfalls in Indonesia.
On the border of Brazil and Argentina lies one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world: the Iguazu Falls. Here, the Iguazu River cascades into a collection of waterfalls over a 2.7 kilometer stretch of green forested land. The most notorious of these is the Devil’s Throat, a stunning U-shaped chasm, at 82 metres high. Fly into Brazil’s nearby city of Foz do Iguaçu and you’ll spot the falls from the plane’s window. They are so loud, you can almost hear them.
Visit on foot for a glorious panorama of the falls and step out onto a walkway to feel the intense spray from the Devil’s Throat. Cross the border to Argentina for your chance to get up close and personal with many of these waterfalls, for one photo opportunity after another. And don’t miss the chance to board a boat and get right underneath!