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Makepeace Island was developed in 2009 as a private getaway for owners Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and Brett Godfrey. The island located on the Noosa River in Queensland, Australia became available for exclusive booking last July. It can accommodate up to 22 people and includes a swimming pool, spa, outdoor cinema and tennis court.

Makepeace Island.

Makepeace Island was developed in 2009 as a private getaway for owners Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and Brett Godfrey. The island located on the Noosa River in Queensland, Australia became available for exclusive booking last July. It can accommodate up to 22 people and includes a swimming pool, spa, outdoor cinema and tennis court.

Galesnjak Island, located in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia, became famous when its unusual shape was highlighted on Google Earth in 2009. The privately owned island is available for engagements, weddings and tourism. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.ilovegalesnjak.com">http://www.ilovegalesnjak.com</a>.

Galesnjak Island.

Galesnjak Island, located in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia, became famous when its unusual shape was highlighted on Google Earth in 2009. The privately owned island is available for engagements, weddings and tourism.

 

Known for its picturesque scenery, Castle Combe in Britain's Wiltshire County about 20 miles east of Bristol was named the country's prettiest village in 1962 in a national poll conducted by British Travel Assn., precursor to the British Tourist Authority. <a href="/travel/vacation-starter/destinations/la-trb-offbeat-traveler-castle-combe-in-britain-20120116,0,5994105.photogallery">More photos...</a>

Castle Combe, Britain.

Known for its picturesque scenery, Castle Combe in Britain’s Wiltshire County about 20 miles east of Bristol was named the country’s prettiest village in 1962 in a national poll conducted by British Travel Assn., precursor to the British Tourist Authority.

 

In December 2011, a church made of snow and ice opened in Mitterfirmiansreut, a town in southeastern Germany about 100 miles northeast of Munich, marking the 100th anniversary of an act of protest. A century ago, Mitterfirmiansreut residents demanded a church in their town. When they were denied, they built their own out of snow and ice. <a href="/travel/vacation-starter/destinations/la-trb-offbeat-traveler-church-of-snow-germany-20120102,0,1503260.photogallery">More photos...</a>

Church of ice and snow, Germany.

In December 2011, a church made of snow and ice opened in Mitterfirmiansreut, a town in southeastern Germany about 100 miles northeast of Munich, marking the 100th anniversary of an act of protest. A century ago, Mitterfirmiansreut residents demanded a church in their town. When they were denied, they built their own out of snow and ice.

 

From a distance, "Tiger and Turtle -- Magic Mountain" looks like a conventional roller coaster, but get up close and you'll realize its curves aren't meant for a quick adrenaline rush. The steel structure, which made its public debut Nov. 13, is actually a giant sculpture by German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth. <a href="/travel/vacation-starter/destinations/la-trb-offbeat-traveler-tiger-and-turtle-magic-mountain-sculpture-20111121,0,7128385.photogallery">More photos...</a>

“Tiger and Turtle — Magic Mountain” sculpture in Germany.

From a distance, “Tiger and Turtle — Magic Mountain” looks like a conventional roller coaster, but get up close and you’ll realize its curves aren’t meant for a quick adrenaline rush. The steel structure, which made its public debut Nov. 13, is actually a giant sculpture by German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth.

In the Karakum Desert in northern Turkmenistan, a fiery pit has burned since at least the 1970s. The burning crater, called the "Gates of Hell" by some locals, was formed by accident. Engineers who were drilling for natural gas had stumbled upon a cavern with gas emanating from it. To contain the potentially harmful gas' release, they set it ablaze, hoping it would burn out in a few days. <a href="/travel/vacation-starter/destinations/la-trb-offbeat-traveler-darvaza-turkmenistan-20110926,0,3907700.photogallery">More photos...</a>

Darvaza, Turkmenistan.

In the Karakum Desert in northern Turkmenistan, a fiery pit has burned since at least the 1970s. The burning crater, called the “Gates of Hell” by some locals, was formed by accident. Engineers who were drilling for natural gas had stumbled upon a cavern with gas emanating from it. To contain the potentially harmful gas’ release, they set it ablaze, hoping it would burn out in a few days.

 

Last week we took you to <a href="http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-offbeat-komodo-national-park-20110428,0,6206391.photogallery">Komodo National Park</a> and its gigantic lizards. Before that, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/lat-offbeat-traveler-plitvice-national-park-in-croatia-20110421,0,5831018.photogallery">Plitvice Lakes National Park</a> in Croatia, with its stunning waterfalls. Now, on to eastern Canada and the <a href="http://www.bayoffundytourism.com/">Bay of Fundy</a>. <a href="/travel/vacation-starter/destinations/lat-offbeat-traveler-bay-of-fundy-20110505,0,3515082.photogallery">More photos...</a>

Bay of Fundy, Canada.

Last week we took you to Komodo National Park and its gigantic lizards. Before that, Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, with its stunning waterfalls. Now, on to eastern Canada and the Bay of Fundy.
Eco-tourists and herpetophiles (reptile lovers), as you plan your summer vacations, consider visiting <a href="http://www.komodonationalpark.org/">Komodo National Park</a> and its unique inhabitants. This group of islands in Indonesia is a <a href="http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/609">UNESCO World Heritage Site</a> and one of 28 finalists for the <a href="http://www.new7wonders.com/community/en/new7wonders/new7wonders_of_nature/finalists">New7Wonders of Nature</a>, which will be announced in November. Oh, it's also the only place in the world where you'll find Komodo dragons, the world's largest extant lizard species. They're about as close as you'll get to living dinosaurs. <a href="/travel/vacation-starter/destinations/la-trb-offbeat-komodo-national-park-20110428,0,7191918.photogallery">More photos...</a>
Komodo National Park, Indonesia.
This group of islands in Indonesia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of 28 finalists for the New7Wonders of Nature, which will be announced in November. Oh, it’s also the only place in the world where you’ll find Komodo dragons, the world’s largest extant lizard species. They’re about as close as you’ll get to living dinosaurs.
On June 25, Croatia celebrates the 20th anniversary of its independence from Yugoslavia. You could commemorate this occasion by visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, the country's first national park and one of its most breathtaking. The UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its waterfalls, uniquely colored lakes (grey, blue and green) and caves. <a href="/travel/vacation-starter/destinations/lat-offbeat-traveler-plitvice-national-park-in-croatia-20110421,0,7721594.photogallery">More photos...</a>
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.
On June 25, Croatia celebrates the 20th anniversary of its independence from Yugoslavia. You could commemorate this occasion by visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, the country’s first national park and one of its most breathtaking. The UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its waterfalls, uniquely colored lakes (grey, blue and green) and caves.
I PLACED A FEW OF THESE PLACES ON MY ‘BUCKET LIST’…
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