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November 2013 , issue one Read Issue Offline
Lauren Steventon glides through limestone caves lit by glow-worms, crosses a chasm by rope bridge and swims through sparkling surf between islandsView Images >
The name Waitomo comes from the Maori 'wai' meaning water and 'tomo', meaning sinkhole - essentially, the caves hide a network of rivers and lakes. The best way to explore is by boat whether by braving underground blackwater rafting, or taking a more sedate sail beneath constellations of thousands of glow-worms that radiate their luminescent light from the roofs and walls of the caves.
Usually island-hopping or exploring a coastline is done by boat, but Swim Trek has changed all that with their wild swimming expeditions. Coastal and island hopping along the Baja Peninsula includes swimming through former pearl beds, across emerald bays to uninhabited islands and alongside sea lions, colourful fish and sometimes even whales.
This 65-foot rope bridge was originally strung over the water by local salmon fisherman. However, at 100 feet above the rocks and far from sturdy, it soon became a popular attraction for thrill-seeking tourists. The National Trust have replaced the original bridge with one that's a little more structured, but the experience remains so nerve jangling that many people choose to take a boat back.
Escape the glitz and glam of the Côte d'Azur in minutes by sailing across the bay to St Honorat. The island is home to a working 12th-century monastery where the monks produce wine and a local herbal liqueur, Lérina Jaune, made from 44 different types of plant.
The Khaju Bridge at Isfahan was originally built as a dam, but today it plays as big a part in local life as it does in infrastructure. Residents and visitors wander the 17th-century arches to admire the view and relax in the shade. It is particularly impressive at night when the structure is lit up.
The 3,000 limestone islands rearing out of the turquoise waters of Vietnam's Halong Bay are an unforgettable sight. There are plenty of ferries at Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, but the best way to see them is by kayak, stopping off en route at the secret beaches and caves that larger boats can't access.