UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Australia and Pacific
Nan Madol is an amazing ruin city of man-made canals and 92 islets. It was deservedly enlisted as a World Heritage Site in 2016. The temples, tombs and walls were made from huge basalt pillars and boulders, which were stacked upon each other in a clever interlocking way, so mortar wasn't necessary. The construction started in the late-1100s and was the ceremonial and political seat for the royalty of Pohnpei until the mid-1600s. Today, there is only one islet, Nan Dowas, left with erected walls, the other islands have just carved stones scattered around. Nan Dowas has some of the biggest stones, weighing up to 50 tons, and holds also a royal tomb and tunnels. You can walk to the islet at low tide, else you have to wade across the canals or getting a boat tour from kolonia.
© Ruben Arnal
Jellyfish Lake is a true wonder of nature, and part of Palau's only World Heritage Site. As the name suggests, it's a lake filled with jellyfish. To add to the wonder, the lake is placed on a jungle covered tropical island in the most stunning azure blue sea. Since the jellyfish are harmless (only stings very very little), it's possible to swim with them in the lake. The Palau government want to protect the fragile Jellyfish Lake, so you need to join a tour (and get a permit) and there are restrictions, like no touching. However, the concentration of jellyfish can in some of areas of the lake be so dense, that the jellyfish gently bump into you. It's an expensive excursion (even more as it's usually combined with snorkeling or diving among Rock Islands), but totally worth it.
Iconic Rock Islands consist of more than 400 uninhabited forested limestone islands, which shoots up like green mushrooms from a lagoon so rich in shades of blue, that no superlatives will do it justice. The equal colourful coral reefs below are healthy and home for an abundance of fish, sharks, rays, sea turtles, and even some dugongs. A visit to Rock Islands is normally done as a day-trip, which combines Jellyfish Lake with some snorkeling/diving, but Rock Islands' pristine beaches, sheer cliffs, and rocky arches can also be explored by kayak. Jellyfish Lake is often mentioned as Palau's only World Heritage Site, but the whole Southern lagoon of Rock Islands, including Jellyfish Lake, is actually enlisted as one big site.