Along the base of the ridges or escarpments, seeing the park’s valley was amazing and enjoying the scenery while hiking or even resting helps us to get going and enjoy what we were doing at that time. Nature viewing is a great way to chill in wilderness. These photos are part of Day 2 (Judbarra/Lake Argyle) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour Oct 2016.
Life Of Others (Post#4) : Howqua Valley – Easy Going Gelding
I am featuring in this photo theme the horse that with me in my horse back riding adventure in Howqua Valley Victoria Australia, he was assigned to me considering it was my first time riding experience. His name is Woodman and he was with me for the two 2 days adventure in one of the beautiful high country places in Australia. The experience was amazing and he was kind to me as he follow my instructions to him. I was thankful to Woodman as he take care of me during the unforgettable adventure. Photo captured last August 2013.
Panoramic View (Post#22) : Victoria Valley and Victoria Range
One of the place that I dreamed to visit in Victoria State in Australia was Grampians National Park. The main reason why I wanted to visit the place because of its mountain ranges. I can’t really describe in one word the feelings that I have every time I am in such a place. Probably an inner peace within myself is one, the inspiration to have hope and to live again or the feelings of being reborn again. The photo above shows the Victoria Valley and Victoria Range which one of the scenic views to enjoy from Reeds Lookout in Grampians. We visited the place during sunset and the photo shows is cloudy and misty, we waited a little bit for clear sky just to witness this view before leaving the lookout. Scenery captured during our Grampians overnight adventure last July 2013.
This post has been updated to add the link of and to participate in the following:
Panoramic View (Post#1) : Howqua Valley Trail Rides
This is just one of the scenic photos I got while I was in my horse back riding adventure in Howqua, Victoria in Australia last August 2013. One of the country places that I had been while staying in Australia for more than one year and half.
On my 6th day in Melbourne Australia, I tried my best to plan to see some of Victorian atmosphere. Victoria is just one of the state of Australia where Melbourne can be found. It was Saturday and I am still on doubt what to do in my weekends. I haven’t search on anything yet. But when I’m checking some brochures from the hotel where I am staying, it gives me some idea about a day tour. Since I am in Australia for work and not really for leisure stuff, I have to maximize my weekend. But I was quite busy the whole day of Thursday and Friday. Went home late at Friday and slept late after talking to my family back home.
Enough of my sentiments and justifications. Using the brochures in my hand, I search related and similar offerings. Since I am a budget traveler, I looked for most affordable and yet seemed funny and comedy tour for the day. I found one, I joined the “The Wines Guys Winery Tour”, at first I thought it read as wise guys and then its wines guys. Based on their website, the tourist guides are mixed of wise guys, wine experts and comedian. Because of that description I got curious on the tour aside from the adventure it includes.I booked the tour and joined the next day schedule, meaning I booked Saturday and joined Sunday Tour (yeah that how I planned it).
It was Sunday, I am a bit earlier when I arrived at the meeting place at Federation Square (Flinder St and Russel St) specifically at the front of Ian Potter entrance. Since I arrived early I thought no one aside from me will go to the tour until I was surprised that other people around will go as well. And take note, all the tourist who signed up the tour at that time was all females, no guys except for our guide named Nick.
Let’s talk about Nick, he looks good. He’s nice and funny. He took cares of us during our trip from the city to Yarra Valley while inside the mini van. He made the atmosphere amiable and happy. All of us while traveling seems having a great time.
While on board I tried my best to find out where we are while on our way to our destination. I used my iPhone 3GS to see the current location we are passing by. One thing I remembered that we took Maroondah Highway to go to Yarra Valley.
First stop, Coombe Farm.
Coombe Farm is the first winery I ever visited in my entire life, since I never been really to Winery tour before. Here I experienced to taste Australian made wines fresh from their wineries. Here we tasted 8 kinds of Wines in a row. And even its my first time to drink wine (since I don’t drink), all the wines poured in my cup, I sipped them all. And this one considered another experience on my part. Here are listed that I tasted in Coombe Farm. Sparkling Wines, White Wines (2011 Pinot Gris, 2010 Arneis, 2011 Chardonnay) Rose Wines (2010 Rose), Red Wines (2011 Pinot Noir, 2010 Merlot, 2010 POLO Cabernet Merlot). My personal favorite is White Wine 2011 Pinot Gris which is a good combination for hot and spicy foods). After tasting, we bought our souvenirs then we took pictures.
Wines from Coombe Farm
My Tourist Group
Around Coombe Farm
The Tour Guide
Second Stop, St. Hubert
Coombe Farm and St. Huberts distance is insignificant, they are actually neighborhood. Like what we have experience in Coombe Farm there is facilitator from St. Huberts (I forgot her name) who also tackles some basic information of their wines. We tasted like 7 wines in St. Huberts. Here are the list of wines that I got, 2006 Pinot Nor Chardonnay (Sparkling), 2012 Rousanne, 2012 Chardonnay, 2011 The Stag Pinot Noir, 2011 Pinot Noir, 2010 Cabernet Merlot and 2012 Late Harvest Viognier. And my favorite is the last one, 2012 Late Harvest Viognier.
Outside St. Huberts winery
My Tourist Group at St. Huberts
Some wines at St. Huberts
Thirst Stop, Kilara Estates
This winery is far from the two wineries that I mentioned above. We had our group lunch in this winery as well. It was a great one, it has great views of the whole farm and the nearby ranges. Before lunch, we tasted 3 wines but I can’t recall the two. My most favorite of all three wines is the Kilara Sparkling, it’s a sweet wine.
Designated person explains their wines (forgot his name)
Some cars found outside Kilara Estates (not sure what brand these cars is)
Lunch at Kilara Estates
Wine Glass (I fell in love with the glass, I think most of them are all nice and beautiful)
Around Kilara Estates
Fourth and last Stop, Seville Hill.
Here at the winery, I also found their wine barrels. Like what I had seen in the movies. We tasted a lot of wines in Seville Hill. Here are the list: 2008 Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, 2012 Rose, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Reserve Chardonnay, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Pinot Noir, 2008 Reserve Shiraz, 2005 Vintage Port and 2010 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. And the winner for my taste, is the last one as well. The location of Seville Hill is really great. And here we passed a lot of wineries. There is a picnic place beside the wineries, and during our visit, there was a wedding happened a day before.
Some wines from Seville Hill
While on our way to the City, our guide named Nick (I found out that his profession aside from tour guiding, he was doing acting as well). He prepared a test for all of us (is it not nice taking quizzes after a the tour?) Well that was fact, we took short test about the wines, and I answered them all as guesses. Well we had a great time in this tour, I found some beauty in Yarra Valley, I like farms and they call it wineries. I learned stuff from the tour like, every wine has a complementary food along with it. You will not just buy for the sake of buying it, but choose well according to the food you are preparing or you are eating.
Well this was just the beginning of my Down Under Adventure. Until then.
One of the astonishing and surprising place that I had a chance to visit in Canada is Banff. Banff is one of the municipality in Alberta which located within National Park. From my previous blog, I described my first day in Banff and introduced all the places that I had been. Right now, I am remembering my second day in Banff together with all the places I had a chance to see.While traveling around Banff National Park, I cannot deny that I love mountains around this park. Names of the mountain has its own reasons while they call them as that. For example, Castle Mountain, anyone will immediately understand after seeing this mountain and heard its name why it was called as Castle Mountain, the reason is, mountain looks like a castle.
There is Cascade Mountain which can be easily found along Banff Avenue. I thought at first that this mountain is located at the end of Banff Avenue but it is not. Its peak is really fantastic. Seeing this mountain and some snow on its top overwhelm me. The picture I have for Cascade mountain also portrayed that Banff Avenue seems to be busy during spring season and there were lots of tourist coming by to visit Banff.
First destination – the Bow Falls and the Bow River which located at the bottom of Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel. I both admired the Bow Falls and Bow River after we drove and stopped over at the River Avenue.
Then, we ascended to Tunnel Mountain and stopped at lookout view-point in Buffalo Street, from there, we were able to glimpsed the famous Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel that looks like a castle in the middle of the valley.
Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel
Next, we turned around and followed the path of Tunnel Mountain Road where we found Hoodoos at the bottom of the road and above the Bow River. We had also got a chance to view Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain on a different angle from Tunnel Mountain Road and I cannot deny to myself that I am still surprised on the scenery that I saw. I also found out that Tunnel Mountain near in Banff town site is a mountain in the middle of the Bow Valley.
We paid visit to Cave and Basin, a historic place that is being preserve and now a tourist spot. Cave and Basin are famous of its stinky hot spring which located inside the cave. The reason it is stinky, because of the stinky smell of sulphur within the hot spring. Right now, no one is using the hot spring because there is an endangered species living in the hot spring, they call it as Banff Spring Snail, a snail that can be only found in Cave and Basin. Cave and Basin also displays historic stuff in a museum and it has a movie house that shows history or documentary films. We also found an empty pool – based on history, it was a swimming pool to heal sick people.
Cave and Basin Historic Site
Inside the Museum
After Cave and Basin, we went to Lake Minnewanka. I had to admit that the panoramic view of this lake really astounded me. I never expected a lake with its beautiful color. The water is so clear at the side of the lake and has a light blue color in the middle. My heart is really fulfilled with happiness after I saw this lake.
We also tried to visit another two lakes: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. While on our way to Moraine Lake, we thought that the lake was still closed but we were lucky that it was open and we were able to see Moraine Lake. Next, we stop over in Lake Louise. There were many people in the lake. Lake Louise is bigger than Lake Moraine and I cannot compare its beauty to Moraine Lake because the two lakes are well-known of its fascinating lake views. And I think whatever the season, they are both stunning. When I paid visit to the two lakes, both of them has still icy water due to winter just recently over but, I still found them as wonderful as it can be. Another note, Lake Louise was named after Princess Louise, one of the daughter of Queen Victoria.
Last destination in my second day tour, we went up to Mount Norquay, one of the famous mountain that is popular in skiing activities. From Mount Norquay, we were able to see the Bow Valley as a whole. We saw Banff town site in another perspective, same with Tunnel Mountain, Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain.
Banff View from Mount Norquay
I really feel like the nature is very close to me while I am at Banff.
For the past years, I celebrated my birthday usually with my family and close friends. Previous celebration was held with simple party. What am I trying to say here? The fact is, my birthday is being celebrated with people. I commonly received birthday greetings and gifts from dear friends. But this year, it was different.
Why I said it was different? First, I am out of the country. It means that those people who used to know my birthday was not with me this time. Second, most of them will not be able to contact me because I never gave my number to them (except to my family, my boss and some colleagues). Third, I never mentioned or probably the right word is “reminded” them that my birthday is almost coming or happening in Canada.
But, even this is the case, I have plans. My birthday will be happening in a different country which is totally a different place from what I used to be, I just thought that I have to celebrate it in an extraordinary way.
I was in Canada that time for training purposes and since I have this eagerness to see some places in this country, I planned to go out and see it. I went to Banff, Alberta (I am not sure who might reading this might say, you wanted to see “Canadian Rockies”). But to be honest, I just have this little idea what will I expected to see in that place. All I am expecting is to see beautiful places that are totally different of what I used to see.
Friday – May 16 (I went to work that day – because I have to), but I went home early because my bus schedule to Banff was 6:30 PM. I rode Greyhound bus (and I am very lucky because the bus station was just near the place where I stayed in Edmonton). Total travel time was five hours and there will be two station where the bus will stop: Red Deer and Calgary.
Since I am traveling to Banff alone and no one was with me and I am not familiar with the place, there was incident that I thought that Red Deer was Calgary. I am not listening to the bus driver when he mentioned that we were in Red Deer. One of the passenger just told me we were at Red Deer. From time to time I have been sleeping during my travel from Edmonton to Calgary. I arrived in Calgary around 10:30 PM. The next bus to Banff was 11:30 PM. The Calgary station was in Calgary downtown, I went outside the bus station and looked around the place. I saw the Calgary Downtown that night. It was pretty much similar with Edmonton Downtown. I never able to capture pictures because I am quite shy to the people passing on me. What I did was I remember as much as I can what Calgary Downtown look like that night.
11:00 PM, I went back to the bus station and waited until 11:30 PM (I am surprised because the bus that will be going to Banff will go to Vancouver too (during that time I wish I can go to Vancouver). Another thing, our bus driver was a woman who was surprising for me.
Few minutes after we left Calgary station, the bus got some technical problems and the driver decided that we need to go back to the station where we came from. It was the best decision she can made, and she told us that her most important responsibility was her passengers safety (which was great but I am kind of bit worried because I am supposed to be at my hotel in Banff at 1 AM – May 17, my birthday), we went back to the station and transferred to another bus.
I arrived at Banff station at 2:30 AM and no one was around. I am thankful that my boss in Canada gave me a mobile phone temporarily. I able to call a cab in Banff and the cab picked me up in the Banff station. I am at the front of hotel where I made my reservation and to my surprise they are telling me to go to another hotel, this made me confused and made me worried because it was almost 3AM in the middle of the morning and I am still outside of hotel in a place which I visited first time in my life and I am alone. I went to Ptarmigann Inn and talked to the hotel clerk, and told them that I had been instructed to go there. The friendly old men accommodated me and explained to me that I will check-in in Ptarmigann because the hotel that I made my reservation was full. I did not object anymore and I am thankful that I can go to my room and rest before my day will start.
3:30 AM, I went to bed and slept for four hours.
I woke up at 7:30 AM and prepared myself. The tourist bus picked me up at the hotel at 9 AM. I met Kevin, the tourist guide. Since I never had my dinner before I went to Banff, I am really hungry and requested Kevin if I can still order my breakfast. He agreed to me and he will be back to me after picking up the other tourist.
Around 9:30 AM, we were on our way to Banff National Park. First stop Johnston Canyon. I wondered that time, what we were suppose to be doing in a canyon. Kevin told us that we were going to hike in a canyon.
During the hike, I found out that Johnston Canyon has a very amiable trail. And I like Johnston Creek too because there were still ice at the side of the creek. There were three falls that we found while hiking the canyon. They called it the Lower Falls, first falls that we saw, then unnamed falls, but I call it Middle Falls since it’s between Lower and Upper Falls. The last falls was simply the Upper Falls. During the hike, Kevin talked about the Canyon (and I cannot remember it now). I prepared the hiking activities that was why I brought lots of bottled water and because of this my bag was heavy. During the hike I was accidentally fall while trekking the trail with solid ice at the ground and I was glad that not so much people around that time when it happened to me, even Kevin did not notice it. I enjoyed watching the creek and listening to the sounds of the water flowing into the creek. I like the mist of cold weather in the canyon. I also went to the small passage which similar to a cave passage so that I will be able to see up close and personal the Lower Falls. Then, we continued our hike. We saw the unnamed falls and for me its perfect too. Then we walked upward until we found the Upper Falls. The surrounding of Upper Falls were still ice. And I am thinking that this fall is more beautiful during summer season. After taking pictures around that falls, we descended the canyon. We were at the ground again past 12 PM.
Next, we move to Pilot Mountain lookout which just near the canyon since it was along the Bow Valley Parkway. We drove to the place and had a short walk up to the lookout view-point, I was really amazed in the view of Pilot Pond just near the Pilot Mountain ground. It has dark green color at the middle and light green color at the side. Pilot Mountain is one of the mountain that can be easily recognize due to its shape. Its distinct compare with other Mountains in Banff National Park. This was the mountain that I been looking after when we went out the Banff town site while on our way to Johnston Canyon.
After the tour in the morning till afternoon, I went home and had a short rest at the hotel. Then, at night I went for wildlife safari, I am somewhat curious what animals looks like in Canada. First, we went to Mount Norquay (for what I know this mountain is famous for skiing and other winter related activities). We went there hoping we could see some animals around the place. While on our way to the top, we found Mountain Goad Kid and while moving around we found deer. We stop in a lookout view-point in Mount Norquay wherein we can see the whole Banff town site and the valley itself.
Next, we move to the Vermilion Lake hoping we can find some animals and we were lucky to find some birds near in the lake. Even though we never saw a lots of animals, I enjoy looking around the Banff National Park. I saw Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain while we were enjoying the awesome view of Vermilion Lake. I really enjoyed all the places we visited, I never regret that I decided to visit Banff during my birthday.