Hidden gems in Tasman Penisula

I thought it would be all dull and cold exploring Australia’s best kept secret-Tasmania on a wintry month of July. But I was proven wrong when I embarked on the Tasman Island Cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. Little did I know that I was cruising into an untouched wilderness of nature’s spectacular creations and wildlife that were distanced from concretes, humans and pollution.

We checked in for the morning cruise at the booking center where we were given pre-departure briefing on safety precautions. Our group then departed in a bus to the cruise boat- also famously known as the yellow boat which awaited us at Pirates Bay. According to the commentator, the Yellow Boat is specially custom-designed and tailor-made for the journey through the rugged coast of Southern Tasmania irrespective of the weather. Our journey would travel south to Cape Pillar and Tasman Island.

Soon, we were seated in the Yellow Boat and given a red water and windproof full length jacket to don on to shield us against sea sprays and pounding wind.

The boat engine fired up enthusiastically and our cruise set off at 10am on a sunny wintry morning. The big blue Australian skies with scarce patches of clouds greeted us as we moved deeper into the ocean. Already my camera was itching to flash and capture every little sight and delight of the coastal scenery which unfolded in front of my eyes.

The speeding boat slowed down as it inched its way to the Tasman Arch which was originally a sea cave. The collapse of the roof of the rear cave and wave erosion has led to its metamorphosis into Tasman Arch, which now resembles a natural bridge perched atop a cavern. My eyes lighted up as the boat drove underneath the arch where we had a close encounter with rock formations that have undergone constant erosion since 6000 years ago.


As we continued sailing south toward Cape Hauy, the boat paused at the Waterfall Bay. The sight of water pouring into the ocean as it brushes past the mocha brown rocks was simply magnificent. It was a vertical drop of 80 meter-high.


As the boat climbed up and down the waves, there was a sensation of being jostled around in a washing machine. It was more exhilarating than it was  scary as the sturdy boat was maneuvered skillfully. As we neared Cape Hauy (pronounced “hoy”), a trio rock formation sprouted from the vast sea. The soaring slender rock which sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle is known as The Candlestick. It was flanked by the Lanterns to the left and Cape Hauy to the right. The Totem Pole, a skinny pole behind the Candlestick was seen poking into the clear blue sky.


My eyes were treated to a feast of sights of Australian fur seals sunbathing on the rock terraces at Cape Hauy. The colony appeared nonchalant to our presence was idling under the comfort of the warming sun. The male seal generally spot a dark gray to brown fur while the female have light brown to silver gray fur.


As we approached Cape Pillar, waves became more dramatic and forceful. Strong foamy waves were crashing against the cliffs incessantly, each time eroding the rocks bit by bit and constantly resculpturing the landform. Soaring dolomite cliffs were presented in different forms and sculptures as a result of wind and water erosion. Cape Pillar boast the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere, towering up to 300 meters high.


From Cape Pillar, the power boat continued to charge south towards Tasman Island. An up-close look on the island revealed soaring cliffs with vertical columns sculpted on the façade. People and supplies have to be lifted up through a crane in order to access the island as there is no jetty to park boats. As it is not easily accessible, this makes the forlorn island even more isolated in the Tasman Sea.


Our final shot of the lone Tasman Island as we were boating away from it. See how the baby blue above was reflected as glinting navy blue in the sea.


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Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si which literally means heavenly temple is a Buddhist Temple sitting on the Crane Mountain in Penang Island, Malaysia. It is capped by beautiful blue skies all year round, and it gets to dress up in bright red lanterns during the festive season of Chinese New Year. This is the main pagoda of the temple- its architecture is a blend of Burmese, Thai and Chinese flavors.


One of my favorite shots- the floating lanterns which happily adorn the perimeters.


Of sun-kissed leaves, lanterns, and egg white-clouds.


Statues of Holy Buddhas lining the wall. The construction of the temple was completed in 1905.


A rainbow colored-pineapple that screams Chinese New Year.


More lanterns and their shadows when the sun was at its peak.


Red lanterns raining juicy cherries on cars.


The bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy, standing at 99 ft  is the tallest in the world.


A deity looking spirited and kingly.




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The Enchanted Walk

This circuit walk around the Enchanted Woods in Cradle Mountain will transport you into the realm of fantasy. Wish and you may catch a fae.


Abundance of green coloring the woods in winter. This is the walkway into fairyland flanked by buttongrasses.


The trees-some erect, some lying down bathing the little sunlight in the wintry sky, some standing with the posture of a supermodel gracing the cover of Vogue.


As you venture deeper into the heart of the woods where sun uninvited, green moss licks every inch of the trees giving a goblin glow like neon green.


Did you spot a fairy twinkling behind the tree?


A picturesque scene that look almost like it leaped out of a painting.

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A heaven-sent jewel

We were on our way to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania on a mid-winter afternoon. This imposing rocky giant poking into the pale blue sky is the perfect getaway from neons, blaring horns, e-mails and concrete.


Resting deep in the mountain is the Dove Lake.


Love at first sight with this body of water sprawled beautifully in blue.


Making my way among pebbles to circle the lake.


A hut by the lake- a quiet inhabitant accompanies.


Buttongrasses carpet the lakeside, lending a tinge of gold to the overcast.


A snow-dusted mountain in the far distant. Winter has walked forward 3 steps only to recede 2 steps; preventing snowflakes from descending to the lake.


What have we done to deserve this ethereal beauty ? A reflection of surrounding mountain and the puffy clouds residing on the surface of the lake.

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Where dragon lands

Once upon 500 million years ago, a heavenly dragon was sent to earth. The mystic beast spewed pearls which birthed  islands and rock mountains. And the heavenly presence continues to linger till this day, like  oxygen in the air at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.


Ha Long Bay  literally means descending dragon- this UNESCO world heritage site is a geological fascination of pristine beauty.


It was December and the clouds decided to land like bonnets on mountains. Cruising by the bay, our vision blurred as if the eyes turned into frosted windows.


A sea of mortals making their way into the maw of the dragon. Bathed in rainbow lights, the stalactites appeared edgy enough to be hanging lights in a living room.


Deep in the gut of caves- where beauty illuminates like the shining of the moon on a pitch-black night.


Seawater, raindrops and  wind extend their makeup brushes to color and contour the lime stones into free-form objects existing only in imagination.


All that was emerald and blue is now gray and ashen.


Rolling fog hovering like ghosts in the horizon adds to the mystical feel of Ha Long Bay in winter.

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Paris, where love and lights enlighten

Paris is famously known as the City of Light due to its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment and more literally because it is one of the earliest European cities to initiate gas street lighting.


At the Eurostar station- Gare du Nord


The swift train travels across Channel Tunnel between UK and France.


An ornate architecture with sculptures, grosteques and carvings.


The Pyramid at the Louvre.  The Louvre museum is the world’s largest museum, housing a wealth of paintings, archaeological finds, sculptures and objects.


Arch de Triomphe du Carrousel at the west of the Louvre, built to commemorate Napoleon’s war victories.


The grand Louvre Palace which houses the museum.



The precious Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci


An angel descended at the Louvre.


The Seine, a great source of inspiration, a river which soaks up and reflects the beauty of Paris.


The Notre-Dame Cathedral best exemplifies French Gothic architecture which has  3 main characteristics- pointed arch, ribbed vault and the flying buttress.


Fresh and tasty escargot at a lunch cafe.


The Pont Marie station


Eiffel Tower poking into the twilight sky, illuminating the city in all its glory.


Eiffel resting on a wooden chalet.


A miniature lit-up Eiffel in purple.


Another one in soft white glow.


Wooden chalets creating a warm and magical Christmassy on the avenue at Champs -Elysees.


Christmas market.


Skating ring bathed in royal purple.


The Big Wheel on Place de la Concorde- get enchanted as you rise in the sky. Walk on the Parisian streets at night and embrace the lights raining on your shoulder- it would be an unforgettable experience.




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Around London

London is a piece of art. It has a certain mesmerizing vibe and a spirited air which pervades every nook and cranny.


London Tube Station which gives you a taste of the city.


Trafalgar Square in Central London- its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar where the British Navy won the Napoleonic wars with France and Spain in 21st October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain.


Nelson’s column was built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.


St Martin-In-The-Fields -an Anglican church at the backdrop



One of the bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s column


The iconic red double-decker London bus


Changing of the guard at Buckingham palace



The principle facade- the East Front


A white birdie happened to fly into the lens.


London Eye at the backdrop.


The classic London telephone box with a screaming red.


The Westminister Abbey has a long tradition of being a royal wedding venue.




Officially know as the Great Bell, but better known as the Big Ben graces the Palace of Westminister.


Houses of Parliament/ Palace of Westminister


The Tower of London-seen from the River Thames. The medieval castle was built by William The Conqueror in 1066. In its earliest beginnings, it served as a royal residence before turning into a prison between 16th and 17th century, shackling figures like Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh within its walls.


The tower had been besieged several times as conquering it was vital to control the country.



The London Bridge was not falling down.




St Paul’s Cathedral




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