Monthly Archives: August 2011

Ningaloo Coast

Posted by on August 3, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #144: Ningaloo Coast

Ningaloo Coast: My 144th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Ningaloo Coast:

The 604,500-hectare marine and terrestrial property of Ningaloo Coast, on the remote western coast of Australia, includes one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world. On land, the site features an extensive karst system and a network of underground caves and water courses. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast, which is home to numerous marine species, among them a wealth of sea turtles. The terrestrial part of the site features subterranean water bodies with a substantial network of caves, conduits, and groundwater streams. They support a variety of rare species that contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of the marine and terrestrial site.

I knew that eventually someplace I visited would be declared a world heritage site after I visited. This happened for the first time this year when the Ningaloo Coast and Wadi Rum were added to the list. I debated about how I should count them: should I add them to my list as I visited them, or put them later down the list reflecting when they were added? I eventually decided to add them as they were put on the list, not when I visited. If I put them on my list based on my visit then I could get in a nightmare situation of having to renumber everything, every year. So, even though I visited back in 2008 I’m counting it between sites I visited in 2011.

The Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringe reef in the world and is overshadowed by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Also, because the northwest part of Australia gets so few tourists, few people know about it.

I went swimming with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Coast in 2008. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the sharks themselves because I didn’t have an underwater camera. I did, however, get some photos of humpback whale tails which unfortunately is the best I can do.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Australia.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 10, 2017 @ 1:15 am

Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek

Posted by on August 2, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #143: Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek

Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek:
My 143rd UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek:

The Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek national parks and protected areas along the boundary of Canada and the United States of America are the largest non-polar icefield in the world and contain examples of some of the world’s longest and most spectacular glaciers. Characterized by high mountains, ice fields, and glaciers, the property transitions from northern interior to coastal biogeoclimatic zones, resulting in high biodiversity with plant and animal communities ranging from marine, coastal forest, montane, sub-alpine and alpine tundra, all in various successional stages. The Tatshenshini and Alsek river valleys are pivotal because they allow ice-free linkages from coast to interior for plant and animal migration. The parks demonstrate some of the best examples of glaciation and modification of landscape by glacial action in a region still tectonically active, spectacularly beautiful, and where natural processes prevail.

Wow. I can’t even express how amazing Kluane National Park was. I had the pleasure of flying over the ice fields on two separate days in both a helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane. The images were incredible. I have so many I have no idea how I’m ever going to be able to pick the best ones. Kluane doesn’t get as many visitors as the parks on the Alaska side of the border because it is more difficult to reach, but it is well worth the effort if you can make the trip.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 11:41 pm

UNESCO World Heritage Site #142: Historic Areas of Istanbul

Posted by on August 1, 2011

UNESCO World Heritage Site #142: Historica Areas of Istanbul

UNESCO World Heritage Site #142: Historica Areas of Istanbul

From the World Heritage inscription:

With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization.

I don’t even know where to begin talking about Istanbul. It has quickly become one of my favorite cities in the world. There are several world heritage sites (Rome, Paris, Prague) where everything in the city is lumped together because there could be multiple sites which would merit listing otherwise. Istanbul is one of those cities. The Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and many other places would justify inclusion as world heritage sites on their own merits. Istanbul is truly one of the great cities of the world.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.