One of the first places that I visited during my first travel in Australia was the Great Ocean Road in Victoria State. It’s around two weeks since the first day that I arrived in Melbourne, I joined a Great Ocean Road tour because that time, my first assignment was initially 3 months contract with the client. With that thoughts in mind that I will be out of Australia after 3 months, I grabbed my opportunity to see Great Ocean Road. One of the highlights of the tour was to see the Loch Ard Gorge in Port Campbell National Park. The gorge name was after the clipper ship Loch Ard. Loch Ard was a sailing vessel which was wrecked at Mutton Bird Island in 1878 which not far from the gorge location. As per history, there were 54 passengers and crew in the ship but only two survived. Photo captured last February 2013.
My second day was mixed of Kata Tjuta, a bit of Uluru and Mount Conner. So far I was floating in satisfaction and fantastic scenery and experiences. At first, I thought that the group’s next destination was just nearby until we spent more than two hours in the road. It was like the same feeling during my Day 1 trip, I felt the time passed was too long but in reality it was not. Before arriving to Kings Creek Station we passed a beautiful scenery of George Gill Ranges located at our right side while we were on our way to Wattarka National Park from Lasseter Highway. I really enjoyed the scenic views for some time since it is a long mountain range. At that very moment while enjoying the scenery, I felt that part of the world like heaven in a sense that it was a peaceful moment of my life.
At Kings Creek Station
Our Tour Bus
Camels found at Kings Creek Station
We reached our destination, the Kings Creek Station and Kings Canyon was just around the corner. I remembered, our tour guide mentioned that our second and last night accommodation was an upgrade from the first one. He told us that from swag, we were upgraded to tent, a tent with bed. With that thought in mind, I expected that the tent is not the same tent I used in my hiking adventure, because a bed will not fit on it. We got off the bus and noticed that we stopped in a gas station, we walked around the area and familiarize ourselves in the place.
The good thing about the place, it has store that you can buy basic things needed in the outback and even gifts or souvenirs. Then we passed the shower rooms and bathrooms. We walked to the area and found the version of the tent that I was thinking. Then, I realized that the tent that our tour guide was referring to, was called safari cabin. Two single bed are fit in a cabin. Therefore we have to find our partners for each cabin and I found mine but apologies as I can’t recall her name right now.
After we took our stuff from the bus, we arranged ourselves at the cabin and made ourselves comfortable. I arranged my bed and my stuff, then, I went out to help the group for our dinner. That night, all of us in the group were helping out. Another thing that I noticed was that our tour guide knows a lot about food. Even we have members in the group that are vegetarians, breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner were not been an issue to him. I learned something about food wrapping. Learned that having stuff to fill in the wrap, you are ready to fill in yourself without really cooking. Another thing that I discovered was cooking using charred wood. There was a bonfire area just near from our cabin which also used for cooking. I was familiar with cookware, pans or pots used for cooking but the new stuff for me was pots where it’s lid has a portion on its top area where you can place burned wood wherein the heat was not only coming from the bottom of the pot but also on its top to make cooking easier and faster. It was an amazing stuff that I discovered and a very important cooking pots or basins when you wanted try to live in the outback.
That night, we prepared a lot of food. Maybe because it was our second and last night together in the outback. I snapped the idea because it made my feelings gloomy. We still have the next day for the last adventure. We cleaned-up the kitchen and the dishes we used in preparing and cooking our food.
Maybe because it was our last night together, most of our group did not sleep immediately after the dinner. We sat around the bonfire we used in cooking for our dinner and we started talking together. At that moment in my life in front of bonfire at the outback together with the people I had been with for the past two days feel like a familiar feeling, though we’re all still strangers personally but I felt it was like home. I knew that it may not or may take longer that moment to happen again, and every bit of it, I treasured the moment in my heart and my mind. We spent hours in front of bonfire and then, one by one were saying good nights. I was one of the last person to stand away from bonfire and went to the cabin.
I felt relaxed when I returned to the cabin and in a matter of minutes I was dreaming. I walked up early in the morning, had our breakfast, cleanup the dishes and ready for the last day adventure. For our third and last adventure, I was still excited because we were scheduled to walk and trek around Kings Canyon. One of the canyon I saw was a long time ago and that time I was inside the rocky mountaineer train which was Cheakamus Canyon in Canada. I felt excited and inspired to see and experience Kings Canyon.
All of us jumped into the bus and drove towards the canyon. From Kings Creek Station we reached the parking area. Our main activity was to walk within the canyon. We followed the Canyon Rim Walk track with estimated of 3 to 4 hours of walk and trek. Our tour guide gave us a warning that the initial part of the trail is called a “heart attack” hill because we have to climb a steep and rugged steps (stairs) which he mentioned as 45 degrees. This means the climbed in that stairs will be a bit of exhausting.
Scenery enjoyed while resting after the heart attack trail
We walked a bit until we reached the uneven stairs. I saw the trail and I saw that it was a bit of steep climb. I knew it was a quite challenging climb because even though there’s a rugged steps, for me it’s more challenging to climb a stair than climbing with your own steps. When I did the climbed, I remembered that I was catching my breath. I looked-up and checked if the last step of the stair was almost near. I rejoiced when I saw that I was almost at the top of the stairs. The warning given by our guide was right, it was a heart attack climbed. It was not that really difficult like my other climbs that I had, it’s just that everyone were pushed to follow the steps of the stairs. So there’s a bit of time than I rested to recover my breathing. When we reached the top, we stopped a bit so everyone in the group will be gathered again. What I saw at the top excites me because I knew that we were exploring a canyon in the red center of Australia.
Our tour guide explaining something about sand dunes and rocks
When everyone were at the top area after the heart attack trail, our tour guide started to tell something about the canyon and its sand dunes. He mentioned that there were other trails available in the canyon and we were taking the trail that will finished just after lunch time. Next, we enjoyed the walk within the canyon wherein I just realized we were actually walking in the weathered sandstone domes that looks like the Lost City when we were at the other side of the canyon.
Snapshots while walking in between of weathered sandstone domes which called Lost City of the canyon and while resting a bit not that far from the heart attack trail
We walked, ascended, then we repeated the process until we reached the famous lookout within the Canyon – Cotterrils Lookout. The said lookout gave us a chance to see 365 degrees of the canyon. We had a wide view of the Kings Creek and the overall scenery of weathered sandstone domes. In the said lookout we spent time here for photos and funny posts that our guide suggested us to do as our memories of the canyon.
Around or near Cotterrils Lookout
While at Cotterrils Lookout
Lost City like scenery from Cotterrils Lookout
Our walk in the canyon allowed us to discover the area of the canyon where there was a spot that was similar to Bungle Bungle (included in my list to see in Western Australia – I hope I will got a chance to tour around that state).
The Little Bungle Bungle within the Kings Canyon
After enjoying the scenery of the sandstone domes, our trek within the canyon continued. We reached the wooden stairs and we descended and followed the track. Next we crossed the bridge. Then, we reached a gorge between cliff. While following the track after the stairs we saw what they called Garden of Eden because it serves as oasis where there are natural spring waterholes and has different plants around the area.
The Wooden Stairs and Bridges
Garden of Eden
Before we climbed up at the other side cliff we rested at the Garden of Eden near the oasis. Aside from us, other visitors stopped there too and there were few young male teenagers who jumped off in the oasis and enjoyed their swimming. While we’re resting our tour guide gave us some snacks that the whole group shared.
After resting we returned in our track and we climbed up the wooden stairs. When we reached the other side of the canyon, it gave us a chance to see the canyon in a different outlook or perspective. The part of the canyon that we just walked by and passed by, we were able to see it from the other end what it looks like. The rock domes are more notable compared to when we were walking along with it.
While climbing at the other side of the cliff
In between Rock Domes
At the top we saw the oasis in a different angle even and the same with Kings Creek. Our walk continued. After sometime, we saw the part of the canyon that showcase another view of weathered sandstone. That weathered sandstone from a far looks similar to Old Aztec City that is why it is being called as Lost City.
The other side of the wall of the Kings Creek in Kings Canyon
Lost City in Kings Canyon
At the top, we spent more time for photos, selfies, groupies with the wonderful scenery that surrounds us. And then, our tour guide announced that we will start descending the canyon. We started our walk and followed our guide. With that moment, I know that once we reached the ground, that’s the last moment that I will have with the canyon. Probably with other people it’s just another canyon to see and visit, but for me the outback as a whole was another world for me that I may not be seeing again, but the place gave me a lot of memories because I was given a chance to discover and explore them in a short period of time. I somehow thinking that if I am not an IT (Information Technology) by profession I maybe a geologist. It may be an interesting profession.
When we touched the ground, we had our pack lunch and we headed straight back to Alice Springs where we started our 3 days adventure in the outback. I spent another night in Alice Springs and returned to Melbourne the next day.
Below are some photos that I still have after reaching Alice Springs and on my way back to Melbourne.
Back to Alice Srings
Alice Springs Airport
This is the 3rd or last part of my travel post and the continuation of my adventure of the Red Center in Australia. It takes a while for me to finish the post as I am overwhelmed with so many places that I traveled to and half of the post was done last year and now I got a chance to finish it up as I also tried to remember everything not only from photos and but also from all the experiences that are still in my memory.
Juncture With Folk(s) (Post#3) : At Silanguin Beach
Summer Season is the period that most of Filipinos got a chance to go to beaches and because my country home is an archipelago and surrounded by body of water, there are lots of beaches available in the country that we can adore and enjoy. Last March this year (2016), I got a chance to join the mountaineering group that I was affiliated with and this year’s summer season I was able to be with them after such a long time. It’s been 6 summer seasons that I never joined them because I was out of the country and for other scheduling conflict reasons. I was glad that this year I was able to go with them once again.
After spending sometime in the 5th station of Mount Fuji, we decided to go to Fujikawaguchiko. A town near at the base of the mountain. My whole family and I will never forget this town in our Japan travel because it was the place we experienced a nervous and quite hopeless moments of our lives. It was not really a life threatening situation but a desperate moment of our travel.
After we got off from the bus we took from 5th Station to Kawaguchiko Station, we walked around near the station to find an ATM machines so I can withdraw some money we need. First, we tried the convenience store that we found and we were unlucky because I was not able to take some money because it seems that my ATM card was not being accepted. Next, we tried another similar convenience store and I tried again my ATM card and the result were the same. At that time I started to feel anxious. We walked back to the station and went to the information center and asked around about the ATM nearby. After some inquiries, I let my parents stayed in the station. My sister and I went to find the banks and the post office that was given to us by the officer from information center. There were two more banks we visited and tried my ATM card, again both result were the same. I was really confused and surprised because I was able to get the money at the ATM in airport. There was one last place we had tried on, the post office where there’s international ATM. At that time, I was really nervous and felt uncomfortable because my family and I were in the middle of a town far from Tokyo and does not have enough money to even come back to the city (I only reserved the bus and still need to pay for it). At the post office, I tried to use my ATM again and the result was failed again. When that happened I had a feeling that my ATM card was somewhat blocked by my bank in the Philippines. It’s my suspicious reason why my ATM was not accepted for almost 5 places with international ATM.
I was thinking to call the bank. I have my mobile phone but felt doubtful to use it since I was weary about the international calls that will cost me. I checked my Skype and checked if it has still load to allow me to call outside. I saw that it wasn’t enough. I reloaded my Skype account and used it to call the bank. During the call, my hunch was correct. The bank blocked my account after they detected, that there was withdrawal in my ATM outside the Philippines. I was really angry with them, because they never notified me, then told me they’re trying to reach me but unsuccessful. The agent that was talking to me, immediately unblock my card. After the call, at the post office, I tried my ATM card again and without issues, I successfully withdrawn money. It was really a great relief. That time I felt at ease. My sister and I came back to the station to pick-up my parents. That’s the only time we were able to had our lunch. What an experience indeed!!!
Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko)
Because we lost time to see more around Fujikawaguchiko, I decided to see the nearby lake from the station. We walked around half an hour and we reached Lake Kawaguchi. As we were anticipating the bus scheduled booking that I had to go back to Shinjuku, we estimated our time to spend in the lake. We spent sometime in some parts of the lake. We walked a bit and enjoyed the sceneries that the lake is offering.
Finally, we went back to Kawaguchiko Station. And there I exchanged my booking to bus tickets and paid appropriately. Then we’ve waited for our bus to arrived. If our travel from the city to Mount Fuji 5th station was smooth in the morning that day, it was different when we were on our way back to the city. Since it was Sunday night, we experienced the traffic jam that Japan has. We left Kawaguchiko station past 6PM and we arrived in Shinjuku station almost 11PM and had our dinner in the area. We reached our hotel in the city almost 12AM. It was a good thing that the next day adventure we had in our schedule gave us ample time to rest because we were schedule to watch Sumo Bout event.
Life In The Metro (Post#4) : Overlooking Sydney CBD, Circular Quay and The Rocks
During my first time visit in Sydney Australia, to be honest I can’t believed that I was seeing Opera House and Sydney itself. The city is one of my dreams that I never thought that’s going to happen or became a reality. The photo above was a partial snapshot of Sydney CBD which includes, the CBD itself, the Circular Quay, The Rocks and the Sydney Cove and when I captured this I was at Opera House. Seeing so many people in a famous city like Sydney is a normal thing. People flock to these kinds of places as it is known to the world. It can be a pride to anybody who was able to visit such places. I was really thankful I had a chance to walked around Sydney. I took this photo last April 2013 during musical collaboration event that I got a chance to joined in.
One of the considered perfect cone volcano in the world is Mount Fuji. I first learned to know about this volcano in Japan when our very own active volcano from my country named Mayon Volcano which is also considered to be the same with perfect cone volcano. I learned that Mount Mayon considered to be similar to Mount Fuji. Though I haven’t seen Mayon Volcano for real and only in photos, I can see the resemblance of the two. For me, both of them are probably has perfect cone. Based on photos, both of them has magnificent scenery from a distance. The difference that I can emphasized between the two is Mayon Volcano doesn’t have snow-capped because we don’t have winter season like Japan.
As a mountaineer, I also dreamed to climb Mount Fuji. But during the trip to this mountain, it’s not part of the family’s itinerary, I only planned to see the mountain and its summit up close and personal and be within the mountain since I was with my family.
It was our third day in Japan when I scheduled the trip to Mount Fuji. It was Sunday that day and the only thing I booked was a bus going to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (also known as Yoshidaguchi 5th Station or Kawaguchiko 5th Station) of the mountain from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo and a return bus from Kawaguchiko Station back to Shinjuku Station.
All of us woke-up early in the morning and prepared as early as possible we can based on the time calculations I did to reached the bus station that will bring us to Mount Fuji. From the hotel we took subway Hibiya Line from Kayabacho station to Naka-Meguro and we transferred to Marunuchi Line to Ogikubo in Ginza station and got off at Shinjuku Station.
Because Shinjuku station is one of the major and interchange station we experienced some difficulties to find the bus terminal that I bought the ticket online. The terminal we were looking for was Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal. We arrived at Shinjuku station at the right time that I planned it, but because we need to find the terminal, it seems that the timing was very tight as the bus schedule we need to take was 6:40am and at 6:30am we must be in the terminal as we need to exchange the booking that I had to a bus ticket. We asked few locals around the area of Shinjuku station but it seems no one understand our English language. We looked around and saw where the bus coming from and asked again while we were walking towards the terminal. We talked to someone and confirmed where the terminal was. I had a map of the bus station but because of some orientation issue we got confused at first. My sister whose really good in directions confused too until she noticed some of the landmarks.
Finally we found the bus terminal and we saw a lot of people in the station. It was not really surprising because Mount Fuji is a popular tourist destination in Japan. I went inside the ticket office where queues of people can be seen, I queued myself and when it was my turn, I exchanged my booking to a ticket and we were set to board the bus. Most of the people coming to Mount Fuji were climbers or hikers. They were completely geared for the climb. When I saw the climbers I felt some envy within myself because they will climb Mount Fuji and I wasn’t.
We queued in the line and waited for our bus. When the bus arrived, I started to get excited because Mount Fuji like its country of Japan was one of my dream to see for real. When we got on-boarded in the bus, I can’t deny the excitement that I felt. The bus left the terminal and while we were trying to leave Shinjuku area, I saw some part of Shinjuku. I just realized and noticed that the place is towering of buildings. It seems there are lots of businesses districts and offices area that surrounds Tokyo.
We took the highway after leaving Shinjuku area. The bus travel we did that day was the first travel we had by land aside from train. From the time that we arrived in Tokyo, we always took trains from one point to another. Because we were in the bus, it added some excitement because I can see some part of Japan while traveling. The great thing about it, I can see a lot of places while in the road. The whole travel took us more than 2 hours before we reached the 5th station in Mount Fuji. Because we traveled in Sunday morning there’s not much traffic in the road. When we reached the base of the mountain, I felt that the atmosphere changed and the road trajectory was snaky. Then, next thing happened, there’s some drizzle in the air. Being part of the mountaineering group made me realized the rain within the mountain specially if nearer in the summit seems to be normal and that drizzle in Mount Fuji was not really surprising to me.
After the rain just stopped while in 5th Station in Mount Fuji
At 5th Station (Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station)
Around Mount Fuji 5th Station
Before we reached the 5th station of Mount Fuji, the rain fell. And when we got off the bus, we felt the cool weather in the mountain. And to think that its raining, we really experienced the windy chilly rain. Since the 5th station is the most developed than other stations around the mountain before summit, we saw different establishments in the area such as hotel for accommodations and shopping stores that people can go to temporarily as a shelter while it’s raining outside and for last minute shopping before climbing the summit.
Mount Fuji Summit
With Mount Fuji Summit
Mount Fuji is so popular to tourist and people flocking in the mountain is normal. And I also learned, that the weekend that we visited the mountain was the last weekend that the mountain was open for climbing season as it will close due to season changes. I saw a lot of groups who really came just to climb the mountain and I felt sadness again. I promised to myself that I will come back in the mountain with the objective of climbing the summit of it.
At one of the shops in Mount Fuji 5th Station
Since we were not climbing the mountain and the timing when we reached the 5th Station was not really that great. What we did were stayed and roamed around inside of one of the stores in the area as we were amazed on a lot of stuffs and souvenirs to enjoy, had our lunch, walked around in the nearby temple and lookout and finally we took photos as we can with the summit of the mountain as our background.
Sceneries at Observation Point near Komitake Shrine
Interior (Post#3) : Riverside Centre Entrance Lobby
When I visited Brisbane during the two-days Open House event in the city, I signed-up in the website for the event organizers and I got selected to visit or tour the Riverside Centre building located in Eagle Street at the heart of business district of the city beside the Brisbane River. One of the fascinating things to see in the building is the Carlberg sculpture seen against exposed rib structure at the entrance of the building. Photo captured last October 2013.
Carlberg sculpture seen against exposed rib structure
I was invited to join an adventure which not carefully thought and planned. It was an out of the box adventure wherein it was discussed few days ago and then last September 30, 2011, we were on the road to San Pablo City. The city is located at the southern portion of Laguna Province.
The specific reason why we were in San Pablo was because of the Seven Lakes. Some people says it is Seven Lakes of Laguna but to be exact it is called as Seven Lakes of San Pablo. All the Seven Lakes are near to each other. Before I came to the city, I had no idea that there is such Seven Lakes until I got a chance to see all of them with my own eyes. We were five people who made it to the said adventure and all of us were belong in the same mountaineering group. All of us were just enough people to fit a 4×4 vehicle that brought by the person (Jimmar) who popped out the idea to us for an adventure.
I researched and I learned an interesting information about the Seven Lakes. The Seven Lakes are not just common lakes as they are all crater lakes which means that all the lakes was formed from inactive volcano crater. I cannot imagine if San Pablo were composed of seven inactive volcano or just one huge volcano with lots of craters? Well, I will leave that idea to the Volcanologist to think about that.
The Seven Lakes of San Pablo are:
1. Lake Bunot
Panlalawigan Pagamutan ng Laguna
The road to Bunot Lake or Lake Bunot
As we started our journey to find all the seven lakes in San Pablo. After passing “Panlalawigan Pagamutan ng Laguna” (Laguna Provincial Hospital) in General Luna Street in the city, we found Bunot Lake or Lake Bunot as we reached Barangay Concepcion. Here we had a chance to walk at the side of the lake to see it closer.
2. Kalibato Lake / Lake Calibato
On our way to Calibato Lake or Kalibato Lake
Our way to Calibato Lake with the 4X4 that Jimmar brought
Calibato Lake with Mount Banahaw
Calibato Lake with Mount Banahaw
Calibato Lake with Mount Banahaw
Calibato Lake with Mount Banahaw
Calibato Lake with Mount Banahaw
Calibato Lake with Mount Banahaw
This is the lake where we drove down a rough road until we were able to park the vehicle to the nearest distance it can to the lake. We trekked going down the lake for a little bit until we reached it. As per Wikipedia, Kalibato Lake is the deepest lake in all seven lakes (as Lake Muhikap does not have existing records for its depths).
3. Pandin Lake
On our way to Twin Lake (Pandin and Yambo Lake)
Pandin Lake is one of the Twin Lake (the other twin is Yambo Lake). After coming from Kalibato Lake, we drove again for few minutes and we got lost as we can’t really see the Twin Lakes name or lake sign name. We were forced to asked locals to gave us the hints where it is until we realised that we already passed the sign of the lake and we had to turn around to see it.
Walkway to Pandin Lake
Pandin Lake (Photo courtesy of Jimmar Lagazo)
We walked few minutes before we were able to see the lake. This is the lake that it seems it is exposed to tourist as I saw a lot of bamboo boat with seats for the visitors which seems that the boat is used to go around the lake.
4. Yambo Lake
Yambo Lake (Photo courtesy of Jimmar Lagazo)
Yambo Lake is one of the Twin Lake (the other twin is Pandin Lake) and my favorite among the seven lakes that I saw. First thing, we need to climb a bit of high altitude of land (like hills) to be able to see this Lake. And it was worth when we were at the top because we saw the lake that looks like it was untouched though there are some fish ponds existing in one side of the lake but comparing it to other six lakes this one for me was the most likely unused by people in terms of fishing and recreational activities. I saw the water on it very serene state.
And I was also wondering why we need to hike just to see the beautiful lake if there is another way to see it.
5. Palakpakin Lake
Palakpakin Lake (Photo courtesy by Jimmar Lagazo)
Palakpakin Lake is just near from Muhikap Lake. This Lake like Kalibato Lake has photographic scenery with Mount Banahaw though this lake is farther than Kalibato Lake.
6. Muhikap / Mojicap Lake
Mohikap Lake (Photo courtesy by Jimmar Lagazo)
This is the lake with nearby hill called Imok Hill. For me, because of the hill in the background, the lake has striking scenery.
7. Sampaloc (Sampalok) Lake
Sampaloc Lake (Photo courtesy by Jimmar Lagazo)
The last lake that we visited after we came from one of the beach in Sariaya, Quezon (another province we visited within more than 24 hours). Sampaloc Lake is the biggest among the seven lakes. And its location is just beside the city hall of San Pablo.
This was one of the discovery trip that I did treasured, worth doing in my own country. It made me feel that even in my country home we have this unique natural beauty that needs to be appreciated and requires to be protected. I hope that these seven lakes stay beautiful for so long and for what I learned about these lakes, they are lakes which considered endangered as it becomes exposed to human activities such as livelihoods and tourism.
For more information of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo, here is the official site from its city’s web site where it tells us more information of the lakes. Seven Lakes.
Note: This post has been written more than 3 years ago, wasn’t published immediately.
In The Middle Of Somewhere (Post#4) : Khao San (Khaosan) Road
The photos were showcasing the typical scenario in a public market. These photos were shot while being lost in Khao San (Khaosan) Road in Bangkok Thailand during the backpacking adventure that we had last March 2011. The said road is famous to all backpackers that visited Bangkok which is a capital and most populous city of Thailand. The road is the center of cheap markets were surrounded as well by affordable accommodations that suits all types of backpackers. We had fun time walking around the road.