Picking the New Seven Wonders of Nature

A few years ago, there was an international contest to name the New 7 Wonders of the World. It was completely subjective and not based on any kind of qualified judgment, but was still a fascinating exercise in crowd sourcing. Ultimately, the 7 Wonders, as decided by popular vote, were decided upon and has actually led to a renewed interest in certain areas of the world.

The effort wasn’t without controversy though and I personally don’t agree with all of the named Wonders. (Sorry Rio, but Christ the Redeemer is not a Wonder, it’s a large statue) On the heels of the success of the Wonders competition, the same organization has launched another appeal, this time in search of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The effort is ongoing and there are 28 finalists from around the world. Some, like the Galapagos and Uluru, are totally expected, others are a little more circumspect. (Looking at you Mt. Vesuvius) My misgivings about the project aside, there are a lot of positive aspects.

As with the New 7 Wonders contest, this project is stimulating interest in areas of the world that are not only amazing, but important to conserve. Not every nation has the ability to conserve all that is unique or precious, and this international recognition helps spur some reluctant nations into new levels of conservation, with the hopes of also generating tourism dollars.

I’ve been to a few of the 28 finalists, but there are many more which I haven’t seen. Given that, it’s hard for me to say which ones should and shouldn’t make it to the final seven, but I can offer my support for the Dead Sea.

I’ve been to the Dead Sea twice, on each side of the salty water body in Israel and Jordan and was amazed each time.

Dead Sea Storm

At 1,385 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on dry land on the planet but that’s not why everyone visits, for most people it’s all about the salt.

The Dead Sea is unique because it is eight times saltier than the ocean, thanks to the unique geography of the area. This high salt content means that life is absent from the sea, but it also means people can float without any effort.

In addition to the water, the Dead Sea is known for the health benefits of its famous mud. Millions of people around the world spend big bucks for cosmetics made with this supposed miracle mud. This same mud, while curative when applied to the face, made it impossible to walk around. The mud has the consistency of tar and within a few feet I was actually stuck in the mud, the water barely up to my shins. As I tried to free one leg at a time I fell in, butt first. Luckily I didn’t get any water in my eyes or take out an innocent Russian tourist in my mad thrashing around the waters. After a few minutes, I freed myself and managed to stagger my way into the deeper part of the swimming area.

The first thing I noticed was how hard it was to actually stand up. The water made me so buoyant that it took more effort to stand in the water than to just lay back and float. I knew what to expect going into it, but was not prepared for the total ease the high salt content afforded the floating. It was like floating in space, I could lean back and stretch and never worry about sinking into the water.

I had a very similar experience on the Jordanian side, except that I was able to enjoy the waters from a hotel beach and not a public access area. I had the same experience of bobbing about the oily waters of the Dead Sea, careful not to drift too far away.

The Dead Sea is more than a novelty or tourist attraction, it is a true wonder of nature and deserves to be named among the seven. There are many spectacular examples of nature around the world, but none are quite like the strange and unique Dead Sea.

For the record, my remaining six picks, in no particular order from the list of finalists, are:

  • Galapagos
  • Grand Canyon
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Milford Sound, New Zealand
  • Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)
  • Amazon

What’s your favorite natural wonder? Which one do you want to see in the final list of seven?

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

9 Responses

  1. Alex

    My favourite natural wonder is either Milford Sound or the Great Barrier Reef.
    Aside from those two, I think the Amazon, Galapagos, Bay of Fundy, Grand Canyon, and Uluru should be on the list 🙂

    Reply
  2. Ri

    I live in the shadow of Table Mountain and would definitely like to see that on the final list!

    Reply
  3. Suzanne

    Uluru got my top vote (www.n7w.com/uluru). I have been fortunate to visit twice and it truly is one of the world’s greatest (and most recognisabe) icons.

    Agree with you Matt, which 7 wonders you should vote for is completely subjective. I can’t help but be bias and vote for places I have either already visited or are firmly on my travel wishlist.

    The top 7 wonders that got my vote are; Uluru, Table Mountain, Dead Sea, Halong Bay, Milford Sound, Grand Canyon, Kilimanjaro.

    Reply
  4. Mary & Adi

    Our personal favorites would be: the Amazon, Galapagos, Iguazu Falls, Grand Canyon, Dead Sea, Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.

    Reply
  5. ian

    my top choice is the Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines. the other six, i really have not thought about yet =0

    Reply
  6. Amanda

    Awesome to see Milford Sound on that list! 🙂

    I haven’t been to many of them, though, so I really can’t add my 2 cents…

    Reply
  7. Simon

    Unfortunately I have never been to the Dead Sea, which ranks very high on my list. As for the new Natural Wonders… I would vote all of them. But if I has to choose only one, I’d say Komodo. Amazing landscape and wonderful dives. A magical place.

    Reply
  8. Iain Mallory

    Interesting personal list Matt.

    I also not convinced about Christ the Redeemer not because it is not a wonder, but because there are one or two greater wonders. After all the ancient Wonders of the World were all man made with at least two were statues!

    As for the Natural Wonders I would have to include the Iguazu Falls and Komodo, probably replacing The Grand Canyon and unfortunately the main subject of your post The Dead Sea. The great thing about these lists is they are subjective and can create some great debates 🙂

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Thanks Iain and you’re right it’s a great discussion to have!

      Reply

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