Panoramic View (Post#25) : Walu Wugirriga (Mount Alexandra Lookout)
I had a chance to see some part of the tropical state of Australia which is Queensland. One of the places that I had a chance to reach was Mount Alexandra Lookout or “Walu Wugirriga” which means “look about” in Kimberley. The lookout offers the scenic view of Mount Alexandra foothills, Cape Kimberley, Snapper Island and Daintree River mouth. The snapshot was captured as part of my Cairns adventure happened last October 2013.
This post has been updated to add the link of and to participate in the following:
Picture Frame (Post#2) : Summit View From Mount Oberon
One of the best moment while in the summit of the mountain was enjoying the scenic and panoramic view from the top. After a bit of challenge in trekking up to the mountain, all the feeling of tiredness will be gone after seeing what the summit of the mountain is offering to us. This is one of the reason why even I’m having a challenge to climb a mountain, I still do love going to the top of the mountain. One of the views to enjoy at the summit of the mountain are Norman Beach, Norman Bay, Squeaky Beach and Leonard Bay. These photos were captured during my tour in Wilson Promontory National Park in Victoria Australia. Snapshots captured last May 2014.
Below is my previous adventure at Wilson Promontory National Park
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.
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.
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
The green park that we saw before we reached Hikawa Maru is Yamashita Park. The place is appropriate in such place where both locals and visitors enjoys the walks while appreciating the beautiful view that Port of Yokohama offers.
Hotel New Grand – at the front of Yamashita Park
Marine Tower is located near where Hikawa Maru docked. Its front is Yamashita Park. The tower is considered as the tallest lighthouse in the world. We just took photos of the tower and we did not try anymore to visit its observation deck.
While I am looking what to post for photo theme, I randomly checked my picasa web photos online and found one album of photos that I haven’t written a travel post story because I just visited the place of a friend that I met while staying in Edmonton, near her house in Strathearn where it offers a great view of Edmonton Downtown and its surrounding areas. It’s pretty amazing that I still have those photos after almost 8 years that had been passed. The following photos includes the Gallagher Park where Muttart Conservatory are located. North Saskatchewan River is visible and even the Commonwealth Stadium. Photos captured last May 2008.
Muttart Conservatory from the top of Gallagher Park
As I am following the trail in my Triposo mobile application, we enjoyed our walk along the way. Before we reached Yokohama Brick Warehouse, we enjoyed the walk within the port. We passed Yokohama Customs Museum and Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building
Yokohama Customs Museum
Yokohama Customs Museum (from Zuo-No-Hana Park)
Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building
When we reached Zuo-No-Hana Park or Zuo-No-Hana Terrace which is an open air plaza within Port of Yokohama, here we enjoyed lots of beautiful view around the port.
Enjoying the Open Space of Zuo-No-Hana Park
Views captured from Zuo-No-Hana Park where can see Osanbanshi Pier, Minato Mirai 21 and Red Brick Warehouse
Zuo-No-Hana Park / Zuo-No-Hana Terrace
After enjoying the picture taking and sceneries in Zuo-No-Hana Park, facing the bay, we turned left to visit the historical Red Brick Warehouse.
As we followed the walk way after getting off the Landmark Plaza, we saw a classic ship just outside the plaza. The ship is one of the few classic ship that I saw in my travel adventures. It has similarity in the Enterprize ship that I boarded when I was in Melbourne in terms of both of them can sail through the directions of the wind. Nippon Maru was way bigger and a bit more modern compared to the Enterprize.
At first I did not know the name of the ship, since I am using an app in my mobile phone, I just discovered that the ship is called Nippon Maru. I also learned from brochure that I got that Nippon Maru was a sailing ship for training which built in 1930s.
Nippon Maru – A Training Ship And Its Memorial Park
The ship is actually open for visitors but we never get inside as we were overwhelmed and overjoyed in the city as soon as we started strolling around. The park where Nippon Maru is docked is called Nippon Maru Memorial Park. Beside the said classic ship is Yokohama Port Museum. Same with Nippon Maru, we did not get inside in the museum to maximize our limited time in the city.
It was Saturday and our second day in Japan. I had my itinerary for that day but initially I was having second thoughts on the plan, it’s just that too many places that I wanted to see for a short period of time. But since I can’t decide of places that will replace the activity for the day, I ended up following the plan that I created which was to visit Yokohama.
Yokohama is the second largest city by population (according to Wikipedia) in Japan following Tokyo. I think one good reason of being one of the largest city aside from being near or beside Tokyo as its strategic location is also because the city is part where Tokyo Bay is located. Currently Tokyo Bay was heavily industrialized where a lot of development occurred and Yokohama progressed along with it.
Based on history, Yokohama tremendously affected by what Japan called Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and World War II bombings which impacted the development of the city.
Seeing the city with my very own eyes, if there are historical evidence of war in the place or ruins of earthquake, it may not be evident to the sights and places that we visited during the day trip. The whole day that myself and my family spent in Yokohama was indeed a worthy visit.
From Kayabacho Station, we took Tozai Line to Nihombashi Station, we transferred to Ginza Line to Shimbashi Station and from the same station we took JR Tokaido Line going to Yokohama Station. Around 10AM, we reached Yokohama Station, from the station we took Tokyu Toyoko Minatomirai Line which is a local train in Yokohama. We used the Passmo card in the local train.
We reached Minatomirai Station, we got off the station and we found ourselves inside the mall, wherein the Queen’s Square is just at the top of the station. I felt excited because it seems that there’s something exciting to discover in the city.
During our visit in the city, the places we saw in Yokohama were:
To be honest, one day was not enough to see everything in the city, seeing all the brochures that I got, there are more places that I wanted to enjoy and discover. I hope I can comeback again wherein time is not really a constraint.
From Tokyo Station, we took JR Yamanote Line to Ueno Station. We got off at Ueno Station to visit Ueno Park. The park entrance is just beside the Ueno Station and because of this no one will ever miss the park by any visitors. We checked the map and search for things we can see around the area. There are lots of places to see in the park and all these places had their own entrance tickets. Because that day was our last day in Tokyo, we wanted to make a wise decision because we wanted to see more places as we can in a limited time that we have.
Tokyo National Museum
Therefore we decided to walk around the park and not to enter to any museums. Near the entrance we passed the The National Museum of Western Art Tokyo. Next, we saw the Grand Fountain wherein at the time of our visit, beside the fountain was the temporary day market. As we walked further we found The Tokyo National Museum. During that walk I used Triposo app to see if we can see interesting areas in the park aside from museums. Facing The Tokyo National Museum main entrance gate, we turned right and found The Ueno Rinnoji Temple (Rinno-ji Ryodaishi-do) which is a Buddhist temple which enshrined two priest. The temple is part of cathedral of Kaneiji temple. Beside Rinnoji temple, the Kaneiji Temple Imperial Cemetery. After taking few photos around the temple we walked back towards The Tokyo National Museum until we were near the Gate of the Inshu-Ikeda Residence known as “Kuromon (Black Gate)”.
The Ueno Rennoji Temple
Kuromon (Black Gate)
Kuroda Mermorial Hall
In the same corner of Kuromon, we saw Kuroda Memorial Hall. The hall was part of the estate of Kuroda Seiki which considered as father of modern western-style painting. Kuroda Seiki offered the part of his estate to be used for furtherment of the art.
From the corner, we turned right and walked until we found the Kaneiji Temple. Kaneiji temple is also a Buddhist temple. I just learned that the whole Ueno Park are grounds of Kaneiji which converted into the park after it was destroyed during civil war and the temple has been relocated to where it is now. We spent time for taking photos in the surroundings of the temple and left to continue our stroll in the park.
Prince Komatsu statue
Ueno Park – Famous in Cherry Blossoms During Spring Season
We walked back to the center of the park by taking the same path we took on the way to Kaneiji Temple. After reaching the Kuroda Memorial Hall again, we walk the pathway where we found the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. We passed the main gate of more than century old Ueno Zoo. Along the way we saw the statue of Prince Komatsu. According to Wikipedia, Prince Komatsu Akihito was a member of Fushimi-no-miya, one branches of shinnoke of imperial family of Japan and eligible to Chrysanthemum Throne if the main line died out.
Some Fish found in Boat Pond
We walked in the middle and main walkway of the park. The said pathway is the famous area for sightseeing during spring season where visitors expecting cherry blossoms. In the nearby area we found the Benten Gate and Benten Hall which surrounded by ponds such as Uno Pond, Boat Pond, Shinobazu Pond and Hasu Pond. Benten Hall was dedicated to Benten a goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge.
The Shitamachi Museum
From Benten Hall we walked towards The Shitamachi Museum (Museum of Down Town Customs). The said museum was dedicated to its traditional culture of Tokyo’s Shitamachi.
After leaving Ueno Park, we walked in the nearby market called Ameyoko (a short name of Ameya Yokocho – candy store alley). Based on history the market was black market before second world war where most of American products were available. But even this time, it seems that if follows the history, because the said market still selling lots of various western products and common store sellers are not local Japanese but foreigners.
At camping area in the nearby village Yulara not far from Uluru / Ayers Rock where we chose to sleep for the first night of our camping tour, we helped our tour guide in dinner preparation. To be honest, I was not really good in kitchen and food stuff but still I tried my best to be useful, like helping the group in washing the dishes. After dinner, our tour guide announced that our wake-up call was 6am the next morning.
I washed-up myself before I get in the swag. When I was inside the swag, I got a chance to enjoy the sky at night and tried to listen to my surroundings. While I was in that moment, I was also checking my other group mates and found some were snoozing, some still talking and some were just quiet like me.
Overnight in an open space and sleeping in swag was one of the first unique experience I had in the Outback. Yes, as mountaineers, I usually sleep in sleeping bag inside the tent but it was first in swag which quite different. Swag is like a self contain sleeping bag, I never felt cold over night which was really surprising but good as well. Before I totally passed out for day, I was with a thought of happiness and satisfaction with my first day with Uluru / Ayers Rock specifically the base walk experience. That night, I felt excited again and I was looking forward for the next adventure.
Second day at the outback, I woke-up early in the morning. I organised my swag, I tried to roll it to be like it was before I used it, but it’s kind of difficult to roll, so I just fixed it as much I can. I joined my group in preparing our breakfast. Since I had shower the night before, I was ready for the day’s event. It was still dark when we left the camping area, I felt like it was still early in the morning. As we were catching the sunrise we drove back again to Lasseter Highway from Yulara and visited a lookout area called Kata Tjuta Viewing Area (or Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing). We waited a little, in few minutes we witnessed the sunrise while watching Kata Tjuta from a far. While observing The Olgas , from a distance at our right side while facing The Olgas, Uluru / Ayers Rock was also visible, the sun was actually behind it. It was a spectacular moment for me. We watched how great sceneries that Kata Tjuta shows because it is a rock dome ranges, it was called t that moment with the sun rising, I felt really alive, I felt really good. It was a moment that I was content and loved my life. It was one of the effect of the Outback to me. Sometimes I can’t explain why, because to other people maybe it’s just a places of rocks with probably no meaning to them, but for me it was a world of amazing things and serenity.
— Uluru / Ayers Rock at dawn and early in the morning from Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area
— Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) from Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area
— On our way to Kata Tjuta
After, the sunrise, we went back to the bus and we drove towards The Olgas. We returned to Lassetter Highway and I knew that time, that the second day was the day to get up close and personal with Kata Tjuta. We arrived at the parking area where the “Valley of the Winds” trekking trail starts.
— Up close and personal with Kata Tjuta / The Olgas
— The trekking trail
— The first glimpse of Valley of the Winds from Karu Lookout
We jumped-off the bus and started our walk towards the base of The Olgas. At firs,t I thought that The Olgas are small hills until we were really close to it and realized how huge the rock formations and was like Uluru / Ayers Rock. Kata Tjuta is a unique kind of natural rock formation. I was reckoning, in such desert plain like Red Centre, that there such kind of rock formations like Uluru / Ayers Rock and The Olgas existed. I was amazed how these were created and become what they are today. If we are living in a magical world like from a fantasy story, we can think of that someone may put Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the middle of desert plain and the most surprising, they are located in the almost center of Australia. I was still contemplating how these kind of rock formations evolved in the middle of the desert until I thought that it was some amazing geological miracle. The first part of the trail was Karu Lookout where we first witness the “Valley of the Winds”.
— The trekking trail
— The Olgas
— Featuring the highest dome called Mount Olga
— Water Stream
We followed the trail inside The Olgas. I enjoyed the trek around the area. We passed a small water streams that looks like a natural canal or a petite river. Trekking in a natural environment such as The Olgas are one of the activities that I really enjoyed. Then, along the trail we saw the water falls which seems the source of the water stream that we just passed by. The same trail where the water fall is, we have to combine walking and hiking in an inclined part of one of the huge rock formation and there’s nothing to hold on. Honestly, that kind of trail made me felt really unsure to myself. I tried my best and we successfully passed the part of the trail until we reach the top area where the water falls came from.
— Trekking Trail
— Getting inside The Olgas
— The poop (captured this photo while our tour guide is telling something about the poop)
— The water falls we passed by along the trail
— The top most area where the water falls came from