The New7Wonders Foundation caused no end of controversy and outrage with their shortlist of the world’s natural wonders, and it wasn’t long before alternative lists like the one from the G Adventures crew began to sprout up. At Lonely Planet, we wanted to know your opinion, and we certainly got it: from classic sights to unsung splendours, more than a hundred sights were put forward by intrepid readers (including a few we had to look up).
The final tally of votes is now in and while you backed some of New7Wonders’ choices, you also returned the crown to a few classic attractions missing from their list. Here's Lonely Planet readers' countdown of astonishing natural sights.
1. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/BrazilPhotograph: Judy Bellah
South America’s gushing spectacle washes away the competition as Lonely Planet readers’ top natural wonder. From the dizzying walkways to the spray from Devil’s Throat, the sight of this colossal waterfall is seared into traveller’s brains.
2. Grand Canyon, USAPhotograph: Mark Newman
The rocky wonder favoured by the New7Wonders list was Table Mountain, but the Grand Canyon, with its vermillion cliffs and river-carved rock faces, takes the number two spot among Lonely Planet readers.
3. Komodo, IndonesiaPhotograph: Kraig Leeb
Teeming mangrove swamps and basking lizards hurtled Indonesia’s Komodo National Park into third place.
4. The Amazon
Photograph: John Borthwick
Finally, something we can all agree on. The rich jungles of the Amazon’s river basin are big hitters for Lonely Planet readers, as well as New7Wonders and the G Adventures bloggers. Check out our tips for Amazon riverboat trips.
5. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Photograph: Leonard Zell
Another firm favourite, this azure expanse of Queensland coastline is a magnet to snorkellers, scuba divers and beach hoppers.
6. Puerto Princesa Underground River, PhilippinesPhotograph: Tom Cockrem
This subterrannean river captured your imaginations, but it seems the whole country is dear to your hearts. Our survey showed an incredible 8 destinations from the Philippines were put forward, from the Banaue Rice Terraces to the Chocolate Hills of Bohol.Photograph: Richard l'Anson
The second Aussie highlight on our top 7, the sacred site of Uluru remains an unmissable icon for Lonely Planet readers.
Dare to disagree? Tell us about your most memorable natural sight in the comments section.