The wonderous hues of the natural world are hardly sparse, and the quest to discover them is on all our bucket lists. Here is a list to help you get just a little bit closer to checking them off. Stop by these splendid hues on your next trip south of the equator.
BINALONG BAY, TASMANIA
A sleepy little town in the northeast of Tasmania, Binalong Bay has been nicknamed the “Bay of Fire” for good reason. The copper-coloured granite rocks that pepper the shoreline get their unique hue from a light coating of lichen. The town itself is a small inlet with a restaurant and some holiday homes on the mountain tops, and people only really began living here after the 1940s. Set along white sand shores and shifting turquoise seas, the Binalong Bay is a picture-perfect getaway for those chasing colours.
SEVEN COLOURED EARTHS, MAURITIUS
Walking on a rainbow seems like the stuff of fairytales, but in Chamarel, Mauritius, you can get close to doing it in real life. These magical dunes of sand were formed after volcanic activity brought together different elemental particles like iron and aluminium to settle in a constantly shifting patchwork of rainbows. Even Mauritius’ torrential rains fail to erode this psychedelic treat, leaving them rolling in peace in hues of blues, yellows, greens, and shades of tangerine.
LAGUNA COLORADA, BOLIVIA
When you think of a scarlet sea, think of Laguna Colorada. The red and white landscape looks otherworldly at worst and magnificent at best. Dotting the lake and its shores are the region’s nearly extinct flamingos, adding their rosy glow to the landscape. Laguna Colorada gets its deep red colour from microorganisms like red algae and the large pools of borax deposits breaks the sea of ruby with a brilliant white.
LAKE HILLIER, AUSTRALIA
This Australian bubble-gum sea can only be reached by helicopter, but the pay off is definitely worth it as you get to experience its salty, rosy waters. While most pink lakes around the world are explicably so, this one is special. Scientists haven’t been able to pin-point the reason behind the lake’s colour yet. Additionally, the hues don’t change with the season but remain flushed year-round.
LAS CUEVAS DE MÁRMOL, CHILE
The usually damp, dark caves might not bring forth visions of colourful grandeur, but it all changes when you reach the Cuevas de Mármol — or marble caves — in the Patagonian Andes. The swirling blues, whites and greens on the calcium carbonate deposits are set on the glacial lake General Carrera. The colours change with the changing water levels and seasons, making it living art; perfect for kayaking and camping.
LAKE NATRON, TANZANIA
It’s often said that the most beautiful things are also the most dangerous, and in the case of Lake Natron, it’s true. One of the most inhospitable places on earth, the lake reaches extreme temperatures with a pH mirroring that of ammonia’s. Surprisingly, the salty lake is home to cyanobacteria and supports a habitable environment for Lesser Flamingos. But not much else survives.
Aptly named the Rainbow Mountain, Peru’s Vinicunca is all your unicorn dreams come true. But this elusive beauty is certainly not easy to find, nestled deep within the mountain ranges. While you can reach the colourful giant by bus from Cusco today, back in the day it took about a week of rigorous hiking up the ranges for the mountain to reveal itself. Buses or not, the region is still a must-visit for all trekking enthusiasts.
SCOTIA SEA, ANTARCTICA
If the legends are to be believed, the icebergs of Antarctica practically glow in the moonlight. Best viewed by boat, if you’re taking an Antarctic cruise, make sure to pay a visit to Scotia Sea to marvel at the winter landscape hues.
SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA
As prehistoric lakes evaporated centuries ago, they left behind the world’s largest salt flats in Bolivia. Spanning over 4,000 square miles, Salar de Uyuni is decorated with quilted patterns of raised salt deposits. The salt flats also double up as possibly the world’s largest — and arguably most beautiful — mirror when water from nearby lakes overflow and form a layer over the salt crust during certain times of the year.
NAMIB DESERT, NAMIBIA
The colour of the sun reflecting off sand dunes is a majestic sight anywhere in the world, but bring it to the world’s oldest desert and you’ll be nothing short of awe-struck. The Namib Desert holds some of the tallest dunes in the world as the red silica rolls endlessly into the sea; from sand to water, through the horizon. The sea of sand stretches over 6.5 million hectares and reflects vivid hues as the sun trudges along the desert sky.