select - Waterfalls
Written by Brian Johnston
There’s something about the rumbling, shimmering, spray-creating power of waterfalls that has always mesmerised travellers. Here are five very different examples of water’s natural force beauty, all sure to impress.
Niagara Falls, Canada/USA
Niagara Falls are far from the world’s largest, but rank among the most famous of waterfalls, thanks to their accessibility. You can admire them from Maid of the Mist sightseeing boats that bring you right up close to the thundering water, but you can also see this awesome force of nature from jet-boats, cable car, and an observation tower. More unnerving is the spray-soaked tour along wooden scaffolding at Bridal Veil Falls, or the walk between water and rockface on the Canadian side. Niagara is also stunning at night, when the cascades are illuminated in multi-coloured lights.
Distance: 10,414 km
Flight Time: 13 hours, 40 mins
Frequency: 3 flights a week
Iguassu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
It starts before you even see it: a soft rumble that grows steadily louder. Suddenly there it is: the Devil’s Throat, a semicircular cauldron of foaming water that plunges over the precipice to be lost in its own spray below. Nothing quite prepares you for Iguassu, a mighty collection of 275 waterfalls that straddle the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Here, two rivers meet and plunge off a great fissure in the basalt plateau to create one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Distance: 13,319 km
Flight Time: 18 hours, 50 minutes
Frequency: Daily via São Paulo
Plitvice Falls, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park has a series of admittedly minor cascades, but they are superbly set in a World Heritage area of interconnecting turquoise-blue lakes, flowering meadows, and a dense forest of fir and beech trees. Not surprisingly, this is a hiker’s paradise, and many tramp through to admire the butterfly-filled gorges, caves, and waterfalls that gush and gurgle.
Distance: 3,894 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 50 minutes
Frequency: Daily via Budapest
Rhine Falls, Switzerland
For size, the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland are hardly outstanding. Yet, although just 21m high, these are among the most powerful falls in Europe and have been celebrated by painters and writers; Goethe was so impressed he declared them the source of the ocean. The power and volume of the water is at its most mesmerising in early summer, when mountain snows feed the Rhine.
Distance: 4,490 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 25 minutes
Huangguoshu Falls, China
Asia’s largest waterfalls are created by the Baishui River at Guiyang in south-central China. The largest falls are an impressive 74m high and over 80m wide, but there is a series of nine in total that cascade over a 2km stretch of river. Visitors can admire them from riverbanks and viewing platforms, but some also wade across the shallows of Rhinoceros Pool to see the falls from behind at the aptly named Water Curtain Cave.
Distance: 5,413 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 50 minutes
Frequency: 3 flights a week