The Majestic Beauty of Waterfalls

Waterfall Image
The roaring crystal waters,
Cascade to the pool below.
The chilling spray leaps up to play,
Dancing to and fro.

Burbling, bubbling, bobbling,
The foam frolics with the spray.
With dauntless, audacious power,
The rapids plunge on their way.

Challenging possibility,
Leaping on every stone,
A million drops refuse to stop,
Laughing at the unknown.

They race along the riverbank.
They totter on the ledge.
As if they hate to hesitate,
They tumble o'er the edge.

Waterfalls are not only immense sources of physical power and great providers of hydroelectricity, they exert a power over the hearts and minds of people around the world. How many songs, poems and paintings have featured waterfalls as their subject? There can be no doubt about it, waterfalls are among the most stunningly beautiful and awe inspiring features of the natural world. As such it seems fitting to dedicate an article to these incredible and often terrifying watery wonders. Let us look now at 10 (there are many, MANY other extremely beautiful waterfalls I emitted for the sake of brevity) of the most beautiful waterfalls around the world.

1) Valiant Viking

Gulfoss waterfall in Haukadalur, Iceland, is truly a wonder to behold. Gullfoss (Icelandic for "Golden Falls") is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. The Hvítá river flows southward, and about a kilometre above the falls it turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges into a crevice 32 metres deep! Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. Together with Þingvellir and the geysers of Haukadalur, Gullfoss forms part of the Golden Circle, a popular day excursion for tourists in Iceland.

2) Do You Want More Iceland With That?

Dettifos waterfall in Iceland's Vatnajökull National Park, is one of Europe’s most powerful waterfalls. Dettifoss is situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier and collects water from a large area in Northeast Iceland. The sediment-rich runoff colors the water a greyish white. The falls are 100 metres wide and have a drop of 44 metres down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. It is truly a magnificent natural wonder, and is the largest waterfall in Iceland in terms of volume discharge.

3) Kiwi Water Wonder

At 580 metres high, the Sutherland Falls waterfall in New Zealand's South Island is one of the tallest waterfalls in New Zealand. The water falls from Lake Quill in three cascades at a mean grade of approximately 56 degrees. Sutherland Falls was discovered by a Scottish settler, Donald Sutherland, in 1880. The Sutherland Falls is a truly beautiful waterfall located in the gorgeous Fiordland National Park, in the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. With an area of 12,607 square kilometres, the Fiordland National Park is by far the largest of the 14 national parks in New Zealand.

4) Queen Vic

Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The first European to see the waterfall (and the man who gave it its name) was Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, who reached the waterfall in 1855. Livingstone named the waterfall in honour of Queen Victoria of Britain, but the local name - Mosi-oa-Tunya - which means "The Smoke That Thunders", continues to be used too. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres, resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water.

5) Southern Slav Splashfest!

The waterfalls of the Plitvice Lakes National Park are some of the most beautiful water features in Europe. Reflecting the extreme beauty of the area, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register in 1979. The waterfalls seperate the many clear and colourful lakes that bring life to this lush and protected ecosystem. The national park was founded in 1949 and is in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The area is home to an array of wild animals including the insanely cute Brown Bear.

6) Guyana Gush

Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is the world's largest single drop waterfall based the volume of water flowing over it. Located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park, it sits in the Guyanan section of the Amazon rainforest. It is 226 metres high when measured from its plunge to the first break. It then flows over a series of steep cascades that, when included in the measurements, bring the total height to 251 metres. Kaieteur Falls is about four times higher than Niagara Falls and about twice the height of Victoria Falls.

7) California Dream

Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park, dropping a total of 2,425 feet from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall. Located in the Sierra Nevada of California, it is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak. In all but the wettest years, the falls cease flowing altogether in late summer or fall. However, in such conditions the falls are potentially extremely dangerous, as a single thunderstorm can turn the ravine into a gushing torrent in a very short time.

8) Sent From Heaven

Angel Falls is a waterfall in Venezuela. It is the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979 metres and a plunge of 807 metres. The waterfall drops over the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State. Legend has it that English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh was the first Westerner to see the waterfall during an expedition to find the fabled lost city of El Dorado. This story however is widely believed to be anachronistic, and that the first European to visit the waterfall was Fernando de Berrío, a 16th century Spanish explorer and governor.

9) Canadian Giant

Although commonly associated with Canada, Niagra Falls actually sits between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York. Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge. At certain times of the year, more than 168,000 m3 (six million cubic feet) of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute! This incredible volume of water crashing down gives Niagra Falls its famous roar! At its highest point, Niagra Falls is 51 metres.

10) Brazil's Best

Iguazú Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. Together, they make up the largest waterfall system in the world. The first European to record the existence of the falls was the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541. At their highest point the Iguaza Falls are 82 metres. They are perhaps the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, and not surprisingly draw large numbers of tourists every year. The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). The two parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1986, respectively.

Bonus: Inspirational Quotes Posters

The UK's National Parks host some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. They have inspired countless artists, poets and adventurers. With our inspirational quotes posters we too hope to inspire people to be creative and adventurous. Check out our Inspirational Quotes Collection and let us know what you think!
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