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A frog goes hiking: 奇萊主北 (Qi lai main and north peaks) (Day 2)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:33

The second day started with a collective lack of motivation to get up. Several people had slept little to nothing because of tent-induced discomfort, loud snoring, or high altitude. So instead of getting up at 0230 it was already past sunrise when our tent woke up. The weather report from the insomniacs outside about fog was hardly motivation to get out of bed. Only breakfast finally did the trick.

As the fog started to lift some of us felt it would be a shame not to climb 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak) as planned, despite the delay in schedule. So, three of us started preparing light backpacks and cameras and went on our way, leaving the large backpacks behind.

The weather got better by the minute and everything but the summit was fog-free, which allowed for great views along the ridge trail.

The fog did start to rise again during our descent but the weather stayed mostly sunny and completely dry for the rest of the hike. Even the way back up from the valley didn't turn out to be as bad as I had feared. Personally, the most tiring part was the last kilometer, probably because once you know that you're almost there your body starts to wind down. Luckily, the 100m-stones passed quite quickly and before we knew it we were back at the parking lot.


Overview

The red track is the first day, the green track is the second day.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart


GPS track


Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0620: Departure from 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut), 3350 m
0730: 卡羅樓奇萊主峰叉路 (Ka luo lou and Qilai main peak crossroad), 3410 m
0750: Arrival at 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), 3560 m
0815: Departure from 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak)
0830: 卡羅樓奇萊主峰叉路 (Ka luo lou and Qilai main peak crossroad)
0930: Arrival back at 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut)
0950: Departure from 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut)
1030: 叉路 (Trail fork), 3160 m
1115: Break at 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), 2860 m
1140: Continue
1215: Break at 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), 2735 m
1225: Continue
1325: Break at 小奇萊 (Xiao qi lai), 3150 m
1345: Continue
1420: Arrival at 奇萊山登山口 (Qilai trail head), 3040 m


Photos

View from 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the "twin-peaked" mountain in the far distance. (To the top and slightly left of the blue tent.)

View from 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the "twin-peaked" mountain in the far distance. (To the top and slightly left of the blue tent.)

Three kilometers to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the first destination of the day. In the background you can see the second destination: the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area, 6.6 kilometers away.

Three kilometers to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the first destination of the day. In the background you can see the second destination: the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area, 6.6 kilometers away.

The view back towards 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut), the small white square, and the pointy 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) to its right.

The view back towards 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut), the small white square, and the pointy 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) to its right.

Most of the trail towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak) is on the ridge line and therefore makes for fairly relaxed hiking with the best possible view!

Most of the trail towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak) is on the ridge line and therefore makes for fairly relaxed hiking with the best possible view!

Clouds building up near 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Clouds building up near 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Nice to see from a distance but not so nice when you're there: Clouds at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Nice to see from a distance but not so nice when you're there: Clouds at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

The beautiful ridge line leading to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

The beautiful ridge line leading to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

合歡山 (He huan shan) from a distance. The tallest one in the middle is 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak), the grassy one to its lower right is 小奇萊 (Xiao qilai) where we passed through the day before on the way down into the valley.

合歡山 (He huan shan) from a distance. The tallest one in the middle is 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak), the grassy one to its lower right is 小奇萊 (Xiao qilai) where we passed through the day before on the way down into the valley.

Alpine flowers and 清境 (Qing jing) in the background (the hill that is now mostly covered in farmland and illegally erected homestays).

Alpine flowers and 清境 (Qing jing) in the background (the hill that is now mostly covered in farmland and illegally erected homestays).

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) in all their beauty.

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) in all their beauty.

Clouds looming over 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Clouds looming over 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak) in the distance.

奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak) in the distance.

Once again the view back towards 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) that we climbed yesterday. In the center you can see the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range) in the far distance.

Once again the view back towards 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) that we climbed yesterday. In the center you can see the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range) in the far distance.

卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan), the impressive mountain between 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak)and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan), the impressive mountain between 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak)and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

The last relaxing section before the ascent to the peak.

The last relaxing section before the ascent to the peak.

The crossroad between the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and the one to the peak of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

The crossroad between the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and the one to the peak of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

A sign warning of the dangers of the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak). And for a change the sign isn't lying; large parts of the route consist of rockslides without an actual trail that's visible.

A sign warning of the dangers of the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak). And for a change the sign isn't lying; large parts of the route consist of rockslides without an actual trail that's visible.

Once again the view towards 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

Once again the view towards 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

Finally at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak). Which begs the question ... If the north peak is higher than the main peak, why are the names the way they are? Shouldn't north peak be called "main peak" and main peak be called "south peak"?

Finally at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak). Which begs the question ... If the north peak is higher than the main peak, why are the names the way they are? Shouldn't north peak be called "main peak" and main peak be called "south peak"?

The clouds only lifted briefly when we were getting ready to descend. That's why apart from this one there are no nice summit photos this time!

The clouds only lifted briefly when we were getting ready to descend. That's why apart from this one there are no nice summit photos this time!

On the way back the fog started to rise over the ridge line. Good thing we had taken our time to shoot photos on the way up.

On the way back the fog started to rise over the ridge line. Good thing we had taken our time to shoot photos on the way up.


A frog goes hiking: 奇萊主北 (Qi lai main and north peaks) (Day 1)

posted by Martin Rubli at 07:27

Third time's a charm: After two attempts of climbing 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) that got canceled because of bad weather the third time finally worked out. And it's well worth to wait for good weather. For one thing the view is obviously only as good as the weather and for another 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) has a reputation for being dangerous in bad weather conditions. As a matter of fact, it has even received the nickname 黑奇萊 (black Qi lai), not only because of the dark appearance of its cliffs, but also because it has claimed numerous lives over the years.

We stayed the night before in the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area, so that we could start early without having to get up too early and still have enough time to make it to 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) and back to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut). For the second day we had planned an early return trip to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), followed by the return journey.

One of the things that make 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) feared amount hikers is the fact that there's a valley between the trail head and the peak. This means that on both ways you "lose" about 350 meters of altitude that you then have to hike back up. Also, water is rare near 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut). Luckily we had organized a helping hand who helped us put up the tents and prepared dinner. That easily took a few kilograms off everyone's backpacks.

A word of warning: 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) doesn't lend itself as an example of good hiking infrastructure. It is small and therefore notoriously hard to book, the "toilet" doesn't deserve the name and is more of a big pile of excrement that drives everyone into the bushes, and there's no such thing as rain water collection. It's sadly obvious that the Taroko National Park administration funnels most of the money into Taroko Valley. Bottom line: If you plan to hike 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) prepare to be on your own.

After a little more than six hours of hiking we finally found ourselves relieved at the top of the Qi lai ridge. That's a good place to switch to light backpacks and attack the last kilometer to the peak. It's about a two-hour round-trip from there to 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) and once you get back you're only left with a relaxing 15-20 minute walk to 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut).

The weather was good for most of the trip, but unfortunately the fog reached the summit around the same time we did. Despite the lack of view climbing the peak involves a bit of climbing fun. And we still had the outlook of day two, with a slightly better weather forecast ...


Overview


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart


GPS track


Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0750: Departure from 奇萊山登山口 (Qilai trail head), 3040 m
0940: Break at 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), 2735 m
1000: Continue
1050: Break at 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), 2860 m
1140: Continue
1230: Break at 叉路 (Trail fork), 3160 m
1320: Continue
1425: Break at 嶺線 (Ridge), 3440 m
1455: Continue
1550: Arrival at 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak), 3607 m
1630: Departure from 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak)
1715: Break at 嶺線 (Ridge)
1725: Continue
1740: Arrival at 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut), 3350 m


Photos

松雪樓 (Song xue lou) with 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) in the background, our destination for the day.

松雪樓 (Song xue lou) with 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) in the background, our destination for the day.

The trail head is right next to the 滑雪山莊 ("Skiing mountain hut"). Of course it's been a long time since anyone has been able to ski in this area but the name has stuck.

The trail head is right next to the 滑雪山莊 ("Skiing mountain hut"). Of course it's been a long time since anyone has been able to ski in this area but the name has stuck.

The trail head. From here it's around 7 kilometers to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak), a little less if you hike directly to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut).

The trail head. From here it's around 7 kilometers to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak), a little less if you hike directly to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut).

In order to get to the other side you have to hike down into the valley first, a fact particularly dreaded on the way back.

In order to get to the other side you have to hike down into the valley first, a fact particularly dreaded on the way back.

Looking back towards 小奇萊 (Xiao qi lai).

Looking back towards 小奇萊 (Xiao qi lai).

The area is filled with beautiful 山杜鵑 (Rhododendron), here mostly with purple ones but in higher altitudes with white ones, too.

The area is filled with beautiful 山杜鵑 (Rhododendron), here mostly with purple ones but in higher altitudes with white ones, too.

黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut) near the bottom of the valley.

黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut) near the bottom of the valley.

The inside of 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), which is now rarely used except as a weather shelter.

The inside of 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), which is now rarely used except as a weather shelter.

3.7 kilometers from the trail head and 1.1 kilometers to the next stop ...

3.7 kilometers from the trail head and 1.1 kilometers to the next stop ...

... 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), the nicest and most convenient place to sleep. A small creek flows right next to it, so water is readily available.

... 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), the nicest and most convenient place to sleep. A small creek flows right next to it, so water is readily available.

This is where the trail forks off in two directions: The right one directly heads to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) while the left one brings you closer to 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

This is where the trail forks off in two directions: The right one directly heads to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) while the left one brings you closer to 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

The view back towards 合歡山 (He huan shan).

The view back towards 合歡山 (He huan shan).

The trail from the junction towards 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts off easy ...

The trail from the junction towards 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts off easy ...

... but then rapidly becomes challenging.

... but then rapidly becomes challenging.

Flowers like these make the steep hike a little more enjoyable ...

Flowers like these make the steep hike a little more enjoyable ...

... especially when there are entire patches of them.

... especially when there are entire patches of them.

Finally on the ridge. Behind this little hill awaits 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

Finally on the ridge. Behind this little hill awaits 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

Even though it's only 1.2 kilometers to the north peak we switched to light packs. There's quite a bit of climbing on the last few hundred meters, so it's a lot safer and less tiring that way.

Even though it's only 1.2 kilometers to the north peak we switched to light packs. There's quite a bit of climbing on the last few hundred meters, so it's a lot safer and less tiring that way.

This is where the ascent to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts.

This is where the ascent to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts.

Almost there ...

Almost there ...

Finally at the top. Enjoy the view because ...

Finally at the top. Enjoy the view because ...

... just a few minutes later the fog had taken over and there was little else to be seen than gray and a bit of sky.

... just a few minutes later the fog had taken over and there was little else to be seen than gray and a bit of sky.

The north side of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) is a precipitous cliff.

The north side of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) is a precipitous cliff.


A frog goes hiking: 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak)

posted by Martin Rubli at 04:38

A frog goes hiking: 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak)

Five years after the last time I finally managed to go to 合歡山 (He huan shan) again to bag the elusive west peak. And because of the constant wind there my frog-colored wind jacket that gave the series its name is back, too! :-)

We arrived early in the morning and first hiked to the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite), which is less than half an hour away from 合歡北峰 (He huan north peak). There's even a shortcut, so that you don't have to carry your luggage all the way to the peak first.

After a quick break putting up the tents I set off for an afternoon hike to 合歡山西峰 (He huan west peak), the only somewhat challenging mountain among the other rather easy-to-reach ones in the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area. It's not that the trail is particularly long or difficult, but the endless series of hills you have to cross to get there. Also, the actual west peak is hidden behind one last hill, so that you can't see your destination until you're almost there. All in all the little hills add up to about 1000 meters of elevation and a bit over 11 km of distance.

Normally, this wouldn't be a big problem with a light backpack but because I wasn't able to eat much for most of the day I felt exhausted on the way back. Luckily I still made it back to the campsite just before sunset and without having to resort to my headlamp.

The second day we only had to get back to the trail head but that proved a challenge for different reasons. Because it happened to be the wildflower season there was an endless stream of people going in both directions, let alone the traffic jam on the road caused by idiots parking their cars along the road with complete disregard of other people. 合歡山 (He huan shan) really is a beautiful area but you might want to avoid it on the weekends in May.


Overview

The red track is the first half of day one, the green track the second half of day one, and the blue track is the second day.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation charts

合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head) to 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite):


小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) to 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) and back:


小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) to 合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head):


GPS track

合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head) to 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite):

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) to 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) and back:


Hiking log (day 1 only)

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0825: Departure from 合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head), 2950 m
0855: Break near 1.0 km
0955: Continue
1025: Break near microwave reflector, 3340 m
1110: Continue
1140: Arrival at 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite)
1240: Departure from 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite)
1300: 合歡北峰 (He huan north peak), 3422 m
1335: Lowest point, 3110 m
1420: Highest point, 3230 m
1445: Arrival at 合歡山西峰 (He huan west peak), 3145 m
1510: Departure from 合歡山西峰 (He huan west peak)
1545: Highest point
1645: Lowest point
1805: 合歡北峰 (He huan north peak), 3422 m
1830: 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite)


Photos

The entrance to 太魯閣國家公園 (Taroko National Park). It took me over five years since [local:/blog/2010/04/19/a-frog-goes-hiking-he-huan-shan-day-1/ the last time] to return to this lovely place.

The entrance to 太魯閣國家公園 (Taroko National Park). It took me over five years since the last time to return to this lovely place.

The view from 昆陽 (Kun yang) at just over 3000 meters altitude.

The view from 昆陽 (Kun yang) at just over 3000 meters altitude.

The view from 武嶺 (Wu ling).

The view from 武嶺 (Wu ling).

View back to the trail head after just a few steps up towards 合歡山北峰 (He huan shan north peak).

View back to the trail head after just a few steps up towards 合歡山北峰 (He huan shan north peak).

The pointy rock in the foreground has no name but the one in the back is called 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan). :-)

The pointy rock in the foreground has no name but the one in the back is called 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan). :-)

On the way up you can soon see the huge [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_repeater microwave reflector].

On the way up you can soon see the huge microwave reflector.

The view towards the north peak. The ridge on the left is the trail to the west peak.

The view towards the north peak. The ridge on the left is the trail to the west peak.

The view back towards the trail head. On the right you can see 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak).

The view back towards the trail head. On the right you can see 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak).

Hiking with the beautiful 奇萊山脈 (Qi lai mountain chain) in the background.

Hiking with the beautiful 奇萊山脈 (Qi lai mountain chain) in the background.

You can see there are quite a few people hiking already. But this was nothing compared to the second day!

You can see there are quite a few people hiking already. But this was nothing compared to the second day!

Taroko valley in the background.

Taroko valley in the background.

The microwave reflector near the north peak.

The microwave reflector near the north peak.

At this point we took a shortcut directly to the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite), so that we didn't have to carry our backpacks all the way to the top first.

At this point we took a shortcut directly to the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite), so that we didn't have to carry our backpacks all the way to the top first.

The trail towards the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) ...

The trail towards the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) ...

... and looking back.

... and looking back.

If you look really closely you can see the campsite with a green tent. That's where we were going to stay the night.

If you look really closely you can see the campsite with a green tent. That's where we were going to stay the night.

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) along the way.

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) along the way.

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite).

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite).

Three hours later, a very tired hiker on the top of 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak). But the worst was yet to come ...

Three hours later, a very tired hiker on the top of 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak). But the worst was yet to come ...

4.7 kilometers back to the north peak and all you have to do is cross the few hills in between.

4.7 kilometers back to the north peak and all you have to do is cross the few hills in between.

North peak is the one with the rocky slope in the far back!

North peak is the one with the rocky slope in the far back!

The view back from the first hill. 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) is the one on the left.

The view back from the first hill. 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) is the one on the left.

You know you're walking but it just doesn't look like the destination is getting any closer.

You know you're walking but it just doesn't look like the destination is getting any closer.

The trail back from the west peak to the north peak.

The trail back from the west peak to the north peak.

(untitled)
One of the (but not the last) hills to climb on the way back.

One of the (but not the last) hills to climb on the way back.

The sunlight fading over 合歡山 (He huan shan).

The sunlight fading over 合歡山 (He huan shan).

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) the next morning.

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) the next morning.

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A small pond on the way back down.

A small pond on the way back down.

Scores of people queuing to get to the top of north peak. It's a good thing we were already on our way down.

Scores of people queuing to get to the top of north peak. It's a good thing we were already on our way down.

This why I will never come here again during flower season!

This why I will never come here again during flower season!

A short peaceful segment of the trail.

A short peaceful segment of the trail.


Western Australia: Rottnest Island (Day 7)

posted by Martin Rubli at 13:59

Concluding our Australia trip was an excursion to Rottnest Island, about a half hour away by boat from Fremantle where we stayed for the last two nights of our trip.

On the island the major means of transportation is the bicycle, so you get a free workout while exploring it. The reason why Rottnest Island is so popular with animal loving tourists is a tiny kind of marsupial called quokka (think mini-kangaroo). They roam freely around the island and they're not the least bit shy.

Besides quokkas there are lots of nice beaches, lighthouses, salt lakes, as well as two overpriced super markets and an even more overpriced bakery. It's therefore best to just pack your own lunch. But even if you don't you can still get decent food on the island.

We had almost another full day to walk around Fremantle but not many good photos to show, so this is the last installment of this Western Australia series. I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as we did our trip!


The Rottnest Express that we took from Fremantle to Rottnest Island (or Rotto, as people call it).

The Rottnest Express that we took from Fremantle to Rottnest Island (or Rotto, as people call it).

The view from Rottnest Island.

The view from Rottnest Island.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathurst_Lighthouse Bathurst Lighthouse], the smaller one of two lighthouses on the island.

Bathurst Lighthouse, the smaller one of two lighthouses on the island.

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The first [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quokka quokka] that we came across on the island and the main reason why we visited to begin with.

The first quokka that we came across on the island and the main reason why we visited to begin with.

A quokka mother with its joey in the pouch.

A quokka mother with its joey in the pouch.

The little animals aren't shy at all because they have no natural enemies on the island (apart from the side effects of human civilization, that is).

The little animals aren't shy at all because they have no natural enemies on the island (apart from the side effects of human civilization, that is).

The view back to Bathurst Lighthouse with the Perth skyline in the background.

The view back to Bathurst Lighthouse with the Perth skyline in the background.

One of the many bays around the island. In the background is Longreach Bay.

One of the many bays around the island. In the background is Longreach Bay.

The island contains a number of salt lakes. This one is Lake Baghdad.

The island contains a number of salt lakes. This one is Lake Baghdad.

Lake Baghdad with [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadjemup_Lighthouse Wadjemup Lighthouse] in the background.

Lake Baghdad with Wadjemup Lighthouse in the background.

Biking is the most common form of transportation because, apart from public transport, no motor vehicles are available on the island.

Biking is the most common form of transportation because, apart from public transport, no motor vehicles are available on the island.

The remains of a quokka.

The remains of a quokka.

The beautiful beach in Parakeet Bay.

The beautiful beach in Parakeet Bay.

The City of York Bay.

The City of York Bay.

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Pearse Lakes, one of the salt lakes at the center of the island.

Pearse Lakes, one of the salt lakes at the center of the island.

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I was originally worried we'd be eating too many burgers on our trip. But it turned out the food was one of the highlights of the trip. We had a lot of good food and good hamburgers like this just never get boring.

I was originally worried we'd be eating too many burgers on our trip. But it turned out the food was one of the highlights of the trip. We had a lot of good food and good hamburgers like this just never get boring.

Apart from the fact that you'll have a hard time reading 8 km/h on a speedometer this is an island pretty much without cars!

Apart from the fact that you'll have a hard time reading 8 km/h on a speedometer this is an island pretty much without cars!

Rainbow Lorikeets sitting in a palm tree back in Perth.

Rainbow Lorikeets sitting in a palm tree back in Perth.


Western Australia: Lake Thetis and Pinnacles (Day 6)

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:38

Day 6 was a busy day! We had over 450 kilometers and three PoIs ("points of interest" that is for the non-GPS-avid reader :-) to cover: Grigson's Lookout, Lake Thetis with its stromatolites, and the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park. The latter is among the most famous tourist destinations in Western Australia, so the expectations were high.

We had a lunch picnic at Grigson's Lookout, a small (unfortunately unshaded) viewpoint just along the highway. By merely turning your head you can see the ocean, sand dunes, and salt lakes.

When we got to Lake Thetis it was still during the hottest time of the day, so after a walk around the lake we had to stop for ice cream in the tiny town of Cervantes before hitting the road again.

People say the Pinnacles are best visited during sunrise or sunset because that allows the limestone formations to cast long shadows that make for great photos. We wanted to avoid driving at night for fear of making (or becoming) roadkill, so we couldn't leave too late with over 200 km to go to our bed & breakfast in Fremantle. But regardless of the time of day, the Pinnacles are a very impressive sight!



Grigson's lookout, a bit south of Geraldton.

Grigson's lookout, a bit south of Geraldton.

A salt lake in the distance.

A salt lake in the distance.

Lake Thetis which is famous for its [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromatolite stromatolites] (those tower-shaped structures).

Lake Thetis which is famous for its stromatolites (those tower-shaped structures).

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Sand dunes along the highway. It was so hot that I barely had the energy to get out of the car to take a few photos. :-)

Sand dunes along the highway. It was so hot that I barely had the energy to get out of the car to take a few photos. :-)

View along the Brand Highway.

View along the Brand Highway.

Pinnacles, the drive-thru national park!

Pinnacles, the drive-thru national park!

There's really something weird about driving through the major attraction of a national park but the area covered by pinnacles is so large that it almost makes sense. Then again, I prefer having to earn my view and that's what we did after parking our car and revisiting on foot.

There's really something weird about driving through the major attraction of a national park but the area covered by pinnacles is so large that it almost makes sense. Then again, I prefer having to earn my view and that's what we did after parking our car and revisiting on foot.

The pinnacles come in all shapes and sizes ...

The pinnacles come in all shapes and sizes ...

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From this photo you can get an idea of the are covered with pinnacles. Mind you, it continues to the left ...

From this photo you can get an idea of the are covered with pinnacles. Mind you, it continues to the left ...

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