Most difficult UNESCO heritage sites to visit

| July 5, 2013 | 0 Comments
A royal penguin rookery at Macquarie Island, 1,500 kilometres southeast of Tasmania.

A royal penguin rookery at Macquarie Island, 1,500 kilometres southeast of Tasmania.

(1) Surtsey, Iceland
Created by volcanic eruptions between 1963 and 1967, Surtsey is a pristine natural laboratory. Free from human interference, it offers invaluable insights into several natural processes. It is possible to see the island from tour boats.

(2) Henderson Island, Pitcairn Island, U.K.
Part of the remote Pitcairn Island Group made famous by the Mutiny on the Bounty, this uninhabited atoll appears to be the epitome of a deserted island. In other words, the perfect gateway from civilization.

(3) Gough and Inaccessible Islands
The name says it all. Anyone wishing to reach uninhabited Inaccessible must first travel to Tristan da Cunha, a British territory in the South Atlantic, then board a ship that may take several days to reach the island. Nearby Gough, the eroded summit of a volcanic mass, is “inhabitated” by a small group of meteorologists.

(4) The Complex of Koguryo Tombs, North Korea
Spread across the northwestern part of the Korean peninsula, the tombs represent the best-preserved legacy of the Koguryo Kingdom, one of the strongest kingdoms between the 3rd Century BC and the 7th in what is now northeast China and half of the Korean peninsula. It is supposed to be well worth a visit — if only North Korea were accessible.

(5) Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Australia
Located halfway between Australia and South Africa, and just more than 1,600 kilometres from Antarctica, this island group opens “a window into the Earth” as the only volcanically active islands in the sub-Arctic.

(6) Papahānaumokuākea, U.S.
This vast isolated linear cluster of small, low-lying islands and atolls begins 250 kilometres to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Archipelago and extends for 1,931 kilometres. Native Hawaiian beliefs identify this splendid marine area as the origin of life itself.

(7) The New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands, New Zealand
Located off the southeastern coast of New Zealand, this island group consists of five separate islands. Noted for their unique and remarkable biodiversity, these islands are fairly accessible to tourists, but only to well-heeled ones.

(8) Macquarie Island, Australia
Located 1,500 kilometres to the southeast of Tasmania, about halfway between Australia and Antarctica, this island is the only place on Earth where rocks from the Earth’s mantle (six kilometres below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea level. King Penguins, along with other rare birds, also call the island home.

(9) East Rennell, Solomon Islands
East Rennell makes up the southern third of Rennell Island, the southernmost island in the Solomon Islands group in the western Pacific and the largest raised coral atoll in the world. Subject to frequent cyclones, the area is nonetheless a preserve for several animal species. It is also the site of Lake Tegano, the largest lake in the insular Pacific.

(10) Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site, Marshall Islands, U.S.
A symbol of humanity’s nuclear age, the site reveals the relationship between human technology and nature in the most drastic way. It also bears witness to the social dimension of technology as the tests (duly recorded) helped to inspire several social movements such as the anti-nuclear movement and the environmental movement.

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