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.

tt1

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.

tt3

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.

tt2

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.

tt5

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.

tt4

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.

tt6

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.

tt7.jpg

Advertisements
Posted in Australia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

kl10

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

img_20170129_110617

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

img_20170129_110805

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

kl12.jpg

A rainbow colored-pineapple that screams Chinese New Year.

kl4.jpg

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

kl6.jpg

Red lanterns raining juicy cherries on cars.

kl7.jpg

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

kl9.jpg

A deity looking spirited and kingly.

kl8.jpg

 

 

Posted in Malaysia | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

ew1.jpg

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

ew2.jpg

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.

ew3.jpg

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.

ew5.jpg

Did you spot a fairy twinkling behind the tree?

ew4.jpg

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

Posted in Australia, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

cm1.jpg

Resting deep in the mountain is the Dove Lake.

cm2.jpg

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

cm4.jpg

Making my way among pebbles to circle the lake.

cm5.jpg

A hut by the lake- a quiet inhabitant accompanies.

cm6.jpg

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

cm7.jpg

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.

cm3.jpg

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.

Posted in Australia | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

hb2

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

hb1

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.

hb4

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.

hb5

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

hb6.JPG

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

hb8

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

hb9

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

Posted in Vietnam | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

a1

At the Eurostar station- Gare du Nord

a2

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

a3

An ornate architecture with sculptures, grosteques and carvings.

a4

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

a5

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

a6

The grand Louvre Palace which houses the museum.

a7

a8

The precious Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

a9

An angel descended at the Louvre.

a11

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

a12

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

a13

Fresh and tasty escargot at a lunch cafe.

a14

The Pont Marie station

a15

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

a1

Eiffel resting on a wooden chalet.

a16

A miniature lit-up Eiffel in purple.

a17

Another one in soft white glow.

a18

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

a21

Christmas market.

a19

Skating ring bathed in royal purple.

a20

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.

 

 

 

Posted in France | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Around London

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

a1

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

a2

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.

a3

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

a4

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

a5

a6

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

a7

The iconic red double-decker London bus

a8

Changing of the guard at Buckingham palace

a9

a10

The principle facade- the East Front

a11

A white birdie happened to fly into the lens.

a12

London Eye at the backdrop.

a13

The classic London telephone box with a screaming red.

a14

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

a15

 

a17

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

a18

Houses of Parliament/ Palace of Westminister

a23

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.

a19

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

a20

a21

The London Bridge was not falling down.

a22

 

a24

St Paul’s Cathedral

a27

 

 

Posted in United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment