On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.— Jules Renard
While I have a great appreciation for manmade wonders, nothing comes close to the beauty of the natural world.
We all yearn to spend time in nature, and thankfully there’s no shortage of incredible sights to enjoy; from mighty mountains and roaring waterfalls to thick forests and beautiful beaches, we’re spoiled for choice. In this article, we will explore one natural phenomenon in particular—rock formations.
Whether for their shape, components, location or beautiful surroundings, tourists have long been drawn to these spectacular-looking rocks. Many of them are huge, and viewing them is breathtaking. Here, I endeavour to showcase 10 of the most incredible rock formations in the world.
1 Church Rock – Utah
Church Rock is a solitary column of sandstone in southern Utah along the eastern side of U.S Route 191, near the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. This 200 foot roadside oddity near Monticello is called Church Rock.
2 Aphrodite’s Rock (Cyprus)
This is one of the most famous spots in Pafos, a coastal city in Cyprus. It is also known as Petra tou Romiou, which means ‘Rock of the Greek.’ Its popularity is linked with Greek mythology and the belief that Aphrodite—the goddess of love, beauty, procreation and pleasure—was born here. There is a belief that swimming around Aphrodite’s rock brings one eternal beauty.
3 Old Harry Rocks (England)
Old Harry Rocks can be seen up close on foot by walking from either Studland or Swanage across Ballard Down, a gorgeous chalk grassland . This UNESCO World Heritage site at the end of the Jurassic Coast is simply spectacular.
Further south from Old Harry Rocks along the South West Coast Path is the charming coastal town of Swanage, and beyond that Durlston Country Park and Dancing Ledge.
Old Harry Rocks is a spectacular cliff formation and one of the best places to visit on the Jurassic Coast. This is the very eastern end of the Jurassic Coast and the white chalk rocks gleam brightly in the sun.
Thousands of years ago, Old Harry Rocks and the Needles on the Isle of Wight were linked by a line of chalk hills that eroded away. What’s left is a series of impressive rock stacks and cliffs. Old Harry Rocks can be reached from South Beach Car Park at Studland Bay and its a 1 mile walk along the fields and grasslands to reach the clifftop, with great views over Studland Bay along the route (a 4 mile stretch of golden sand).
4 Uluru Ayers Rock (Australia)
Visit one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Uluru. Not only is it a spectacular natural formation, Uluru is a deeply spiritual place. You can feel a powerful presence the moment you set eyes on it.
At 348 metres high, Uluru is one of the world’s largest monoliths, towering over the surrounding landscape and some 550 million years old.
Made of sandstone, Uluru is often referred to as the heart of the ‘Red Centre’ and is one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks. Breathe in, see the colours change before your eyes, hear the stories of time and be amazed as Uluru captures your heart.
For the local Aboriginal people, the Anangu, World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park holds a special cultural significance where earth and memories exist as one.
Feel the connection to the land as this iconic rock formation hides ancient wisdom and diverse plant and animal life. Discover an awe-inspiring landscape where creation stories are whispered on the winds.
5 The Arbol de Piedra (Bolivia)
The Arbol de Piedra is another stunning example of geological erosion; over millennia, strong winds have rendered this volcanic rock formation thin at its base. Situated in the Desierto Siloli in Bolivia about 4,600 metres above sea level, the uniqueness of this isolated rock lies in its resemblance with a stunted tree.
Beside the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, you’ll find the stunning landscape of the Siloli Desert, a starkly contrasting scene to that of the vast white salt flats. Here, at the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve entrance you will find crazy rock formations that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The stand out among these different volcanic rock figures is the Arbol de Piedra, meaning ‘Stone Tree’.
Named after its unique appearance which resembles a surrealist vision of a tree, the Arbol de Piedra is 5 meters tall and has been formed by the work of wind erosion over millions of years. The base of the tree predominantly consists of quartz which is sensitive to erosion from strong winds in the area. The winds here carry sandstone and salt which increases the erosional effect on the rock. The upper part of the Arbol de Piedra is made up of iron that has a stronger defense to the winds which is what gives the Arbol de Piedra its large mushroom shape.
Enjoy these breath-taking formations made of stone and maybe, some day you will get to see at least one of them!