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The Indian Ocean wraps itself round the equator, washes the coasts of Africa, India and Australia, does summer in the depth of winter and can’t help showing off. It’s earth’s youngest ocean and geologically fresh on a timescale where 90 million years is the blink of an eye. So if you want a family holiday full of white beaches scattered with monolithic granite boulders, immense tropical forests and volcanic ridges, huge waterfalls, imperious mountains and a new definition of bio-diversity, the Indian Ocean delivers on all counts. It’s also the place for every atoll, archipelago and island deserving the description, ‘idyllic’, from gorgeous Mauritius to serene Bali, the coral necklace of the Maldives and the enchanting Seychelles. And if all that doesn’t make you want to pack up the kids and head south right now, here are ten more wonderfully accessible Indian Ocean marvels to consider.

Seven Coloured Earths Mauritius

1/10  Seven Coloured Earths, Mauritius

Amazing Mauritius is like all the Indian Ocean’s magnificent landscapes in one perfect, little island. It’s also the Southern Hemisphere, so no surprise that one of the most dramatic of all Mauritian features owes everything to a volcano. Seven Coloured Earths is an enormous vista of volcanic rocks swirled together in myriad shades from indigo to rich terracotta. Visit at sunrise and ‘seven colours’ seems a fairly subdued description for this lustrous and breathtaking natural marvel.

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