12 Alien Landscapes that should be on your travel checklist right now

June 10, 2015

Are these landscapes really planet Earth? We’re not convinced.

1. Bungle Bungle Range, Purnulu National Park, Australia

Image Cred: http://ow.ly/O7qce

Gaze in amazement at the dome shaped formations cascading over Purnululu National Park, neatly resting on harsh grey rock interrupted by a handful of dry palm trees.

2. Spotted lake, British Colombia, Canada

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O7DSQ

Due to a cocktail of mineral deposits, this river’s bizarre spotted appearance makes it more than unusual on this planet. Drive about 4 hours south of HI – Shuswap Lake hostel to find this strange wonder.

3. Zhangye danxia landform, China

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O7VUu

This idyllic but insane stretch of land in the Gansu province of China takes its layer cake looking formations from 24 million years of red sandstone and mineral deposits being squished together.

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O7WJg

4. Valley of the Moon (Atacama Desert), Chile

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O7Yvj

Beautifully empty and inhospitable, nothing says alien planet like baron wastelands that make you feel wonderfully small and adequately blown away, much like the Atacama Desert in Chile does.

5. Caño Cristales, Colombia

Image cred: Mario Carvajal

Don’t worry, an animal sacrifice didn’t occur on this river. The distinct colour of the Caño Cristales (‘crystal spout’ in English) in Colombia, is caused by a number of weeds that grow in the water, causing the striking rainbow of colours and a very un-Earth like stretch of water.

6. CAÑO CRISTALES 2

6. Hverir, Námaskarð pass, Iceland

Yes – we’re aware much of Iceland is like Yellowstone National Park, but what makes Hverir so alien-like compared to other geyser areas is the vast expanse of strangeness and rugged stretches of intense blues and oranges. It could quite easily be Venus if you didn’t tell us it was Iceland!

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O81ps

7. Glow worm cave, Waitomo NZ


Caves are great and very alien like in themselves… but to be treated to an all-natural light show whilst exploring the Waitomo caves in New Zealand is a strangely bewildering experience unlike any other.

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O81NQ

8. Chocolate Hills, Philippines

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O82jK

For some reason, this bizarre and beautiful looking landscape in the Philippines reminds us of an alien planet you’d find on Star Trek. That being said, the Chocolate Hills are a bit of a mystery, with no clear explanation for their formation. Catch a boat from Cebu City to visit the hills.

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O833L

9. Rio Tinto River, near Seville Spain

Unlike the Caño Cristales river, the colour of the Rio Tinto River is due to natural circumstances. After 3,000 years of mining, the colour is a result of contamination. Even NASA tests the water due to an unusual bacteria living in the depths which could be found within other water sources in our solar system. Very other-worldly!

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O84qv

10. Cappadocia, Turkey

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O85ao

It’s not difficult to see why this strange but breath-taking area of Turkey is on this list. Cappadocia’s weird rock formations have cute nicknames like the ‘fairy chimneys’ but Cappadocia’s rock formations are more astonishing and vast than cute.

11. Pamukkale, Turkey

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O864q

Another entry from Turkey, Pammukale is a geological wonderland that challenges the notion that we know our unique planet. Nicknamed ‘Cotton Castle’, the region is filled with cascading, gleaming travertines that are both photogenic and unbelievable.

12. Pamukkale 2

12. Devil’s golf course, Death Valley National Park, USA

13. Devils golf course 1

 “Surreal” and “Fascinating terrain”. That’s how the Devil’s golf course is described on Tripadvisor. And we can’t disagree. These salt formations are jagged, stark and unique and came into being from evaporation of a prehistoric lake. Stay at HI- Los Angeles Santa Monica hostel and drive north west to Death Valley to find it.

Image cred: http://ow.ly/O87nm

Agree with our list?

Which other landscapes have you feeling like you’re on another planet?

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