Have you ever Googled pictures of amazing sea stacks around the world?
If not, you’re really missing out on life. Sea stacks are vertical rock formations that jut out into the ocean, formed by wind and water. To use a fancy term, coastal geomorphology is responsible for these natural phenomena. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite sea stacks around the world.
Here Are Our Picks for the Most Beautiful Sea Stacks You Need to See
1. The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
We’re sure you’ve heard of the Twelve Apostles. These natural landforms on Australia’s Great Ocean Road are one of the most iconic sights in the world. Come and witness the splendor of these magnificent sea stacks, rising majestically from the Southern Ocean along Victoria’s rugged coastline.
Created by erosion, the limestone cliffs of the mainland began some 10 to 20 million years ago. Stormy winds blew in from the South Ocean, gradually eroding the softer limestone face and carving out sea caves from the cliffs. Eventually, these caves eroded into arches. When the arches collapsed, rock stacks as high as one hundred and forty-seven feet were left isolated from the shoreline.
Come at sunrise or sunset for the best views. Shadows from their lofty presence shift and give way to the most captivating glow under the warmth of the sun. To get there, the 12 Apostles are located about 170 miles west of Melbourne, about a four-hour drive along the Great Ocean Road.
2. Khao Phing Kan
Perhaps you’ve seen these sea stacks before. Khao Phing Kan rose to fame on the travel scene popularized by the 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. This 66-foot vertical pillar of rock stretches wider at the top than it does at the bottom under the water’s surface. The surrounding bay spans nearly 400 square kilometers and is home to many small islands.
Also known as James Bond Island, this signature rocky peak has been a major attraction ever since its appearance on the big screen. Luckily, even with the major influx of tourists, the land has been protected as a national park. As a result, no boats are allowed to come up close to its
face – especially since it’s so precariously perched. If you want to go see Khao Phing Kan, the best way to do it is to view it at a distance from a boat or on the beach of Koh Ping Kan. While you’re there, make sure to check out all the caves inside this high leaning rock. If you make your way over to the popular eastern beach, you’ll also find souvenir stands and knick-knack shops.
3. Risin og Kellingin, Eysturoy island, Faroe Islands
These amazing sea stacks are surrounded by mystery and legend. As the story goes, once upon a time, an Icelandic chief sent a giant and his wife, a witch, to the Faroe Islands, steal them, and bring them back to Iceland. The first place the couple arrived was the northwestern part of the Faroe Islands. Pulling out a rope, they decided to tie up the mountain Eiðiskollur, in order to bring the Faroe Islands home.
The couple struggled and worked to get the rope in just the right place. At their first try, the mountain split. But they were determined to make it work, staying up all night until the sun rose the next morning. When the sun came up, they knew they needed to hide, as they would be turned to stone.
Since they were so focused on completing the task, they failed to see tiny rays of light rising up behind the mountain. The first morning light peaked through the clouds and touched their skin. In that moment, they were forever memorialized in stone. Ever since, they have stood staring westward, longing for their home country. You can find these sea stacks located close to Eiði. If you’re looking for another great place to view them, you can see them from Tjørnuvík on the island of Streymoy.
4. Bako Sea Stack, Borneo, Malaysia
Located in Sarawak on the eastern side of Malaysia, you’ll find the Bako Sea Stacks near Borneo. This landscape is nothing short of breathtaking. Millions of years of sandstone erosion have given way to a coastline of rugged cliffs, beautiful sea caves, and private stretches of sand you can explore. In all of Bako National Park, the sea stacks in front of Pandan Kecil beach are the most famous. If you take a closer look at the rock, you’ll swear it resembles a cobra’s head emerging from the water. The park is also home to the endangered proboscis monkey, known for their large noses.
5. Old Harry Rocks
Have you ever seen a more picture-perfect view? While you might know the sea stacks as Old Harry Rocks, the name actually refers to just one single stack of chalk sticking out the furthest into the sea. You probably didn’t know but up until 1896, there was another stack known as Old Harry’s Wife. But as fate would have it, she caved under erosion, crumbling into the sea.
Thousands of years ago, these sea stacks were linked by an entire line of chalk hills. Of course, this was before the last Ice Age. As part of the Jurassic Coast, they are managed by the National Trust. To get to Old Harry, follow the South West Coast Path.
6. Large Anna
Before you get too excited about the idea of climbing this behemoth, we have a disclaimer for you. You can’t. This incredible site in Heligoland, Germany was declared a national monument in 1969. While it certainly is beautiful, visitors shouldn’t get too close. Despite the no climbing rule, these sea stacks have taken quite the beating from the battering waves underneath. It just so happens that an unstable sand layer up to 50 feet could come crashing down at just about any time.
7. Totem Pole
We’ve got to say it. This landscape doesn’t even look real. Located in Cape Hauy, in Tasmania, these sheer cliffs present quite the challenge to climbers. That’s not even to mention the churning waters right underneath the rock’s face. The dolerite pinnacle of these sea stacks has stood for over 100 years and is still going strong – even in spite of its 13-foot diameter.
To reach Totem Pole, you’ll first need to hike through some pretty remote wilderness. This is when the hard technical climbing will come into play. Last but certainly not least, you’ll need to be able to pull off a Tyrolean traverse in order to reach the summit. But by the time you do, you’ll feel like you’ve achieved Ethan Hunt world saving status. So, it’s all worth it in the end, right?
8. Old Man of Hoy
With a name like this, where else would these sea stacks be than in Scotland? With a height of 450 feet, they present a moderate climbing challenge. This iconic red sandstone terrain stands in sharp contrasting to the rolling green hills and bright blue skies surrounding it. In 1966, the first people to reach the summit were Rusty Baillie, Tom Patey, and Chris Bonington. Today, it’s become quite the popular destination for climbers. After a precarious rock scramble, you’ll find that there are ten different routes to get to the top. Pick a route, any route.
Even if you’re not here to climb, you can’t help but marvel at its beauty. Pack a picnic lunch and spread out on the hills nearby. Take in the dramatic landscapes of Scotland’s coast. There’s really nothing quite like it.
9. Ball’s Pyramid
Have you ever heard of Ball’s Pyramid? This Australian giant juts up over a mile into the clouds – 1, 843 feet to be exact. As the world’s hardest stack, it remains as part of a shield volcano 12 miles from the remote Lord Howe Island. Back in 1965, there was a team who climbed it despite the many restrictions.
Today, you are only able to climb it with a permit. Part of these protective actions are in place to protect a rare type of insect that lives among the rocks. But even putting that aside, massive rising swells around the rock mean that few even make an attempt at it.
Book Your Trip to See the World’s Most Beautiful Sea Stacks
We hope you enjoyed reading our article on the world’s most beautiful sea stacks. For your next trip, give yourself a moment to stop and soak up the views. Besides their breathtaking appearance, more often than not, there is a fascinating story surrounding them.
Ask the locals about myths, legends, history, and everything in between. Would you climb any of these sea stacks? We want to know which ones are at the top of your list to visit. Let us know in the comment section below.
Are you interested in seeing more natural attractions to explore? Lucky you. We’ve got just what you’ve been looking for:
- California Hot Springs: The Ultimate Guide on Where to Soak
- 8 Best Places to See the Southern Lights – Aurora Australis
- 15 Famous Mountains Are Calling, and You Must Go!
Questions and Comments
Do you have any questions or comments for us? If so, we would love to hear them. Feel free to leave a message for us below. We will be sure to get back with you soon.
Related Article: 10 Fascinating Rock Formations Around the World