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Western Australia: Caversham Wildlife Park (Day 2)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:16

Day Two took us to a wildlife park on the outskirts of Perth. A short train and bus ride away (never difficult thanks to TransPerth's great mobile app and the friendly staff), Caversham Wildlife Park is located inside Whiteman Park. Even before we entered the wildlife park we were lucky enough to see our first wild kangaroos – which I promptly mistook for deers until one of them raised its head out of the shadows.

We originally thought a wildlife park wouldn't quite be the typical tourist destination but it turned out that most Australians you see there are part of the staff. Apparently cuddling koalas and taking photos with giant rat-pigs (see below) is on many an Australia traveler's to-do list. While I prefer to give the animals their physical space I did enjoy the opportunity to take my zoo lens for a spin. :-)


The entrance to Whiteman Park, northwest of Perth.

The entrance to Whiteman Park, northwest of Perth.

Four of Australia's famous road signs on a single post! How's that for luck and photographic efficiency?

Four of Australia's famous road signs on a single post! How's that for luck and photographic efficiency?

The small track leading to the village.

The small track leading to the village.

Our first wild kangaroos!

Our first wild kangaroos!

The entrance to Caversham Wildlife Park.

The entrance to Caversham Wildlife Park.

Is it sleeping or whacking its head against the tree?

Is it sleeping or whacking its head against the tree?

The obligatory Koala group photo. :-)

The obligatory Koala group photo. :-)

It moves!

It moves!

A Tasmanian devil. It was hard to take a clear photo of this one because the poor animal just kept running around the cage in the exact same circle over and over again.

A Tasmanian devil. It was hard to take a clear photo of this one because the poor animal just kept running around the cage in the exact same circle over and over again.

Scary? Not so much, this cutie one was only about a meter long.

Scary? Not so much, this cutie one was only about a meter long.

A beautifully colored Gouldian finch.

A beautifully colored Gouldian finch.

If memory serves this is a fairy wren.

If memory serves this is a fairy wren.

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Not a pig, not a super sized rat, but the wildlife park's famous wombat.

Not a pig, not a super sized rat, but the wildlife park's famous wombat.

A kookaburra.

A kookaburra.

Besides taking photos with koalas and wombats, feeding the kangaroos is another popular activity at the park.

Besides taking photos with koalas and wombats, feeding the kangaroos is another popular activity at the park.

Does life get any better than that?

Does life get any better than that?

A rainbow lorikeet.

A rainbow lorikeet.

An Australian white ibis mid-flight.

An Australian white ibis mid-flight.


Western Australia: Caversham Wildlife Park (Day 2)

posted by Martin Rubli at 13:44

Day Two took us to a wildlife park on the outskirts of Perth. A short train and bus ride away (never difficult thanks to TransPerth's great mobile app and the friendly staff), Caversham Wildlife Park is located inside Whiteman Park. Even before we entered the wildlife park we were lucky enough to see our first wild kangaroos – which I promptly mistook for deers until one of them raised its head out of the shadows.

We originally thought a wildlife park wouldn't quite be the typical tourist destination but it turned out that most Australians you see there are part of the staff. Apparently cuddling koalas and taking photos with giant rat-pigs (see below) is on many an Australia traveler's to-do list. While I prefer to give the animals their physical space I did enjoy the opportunity to take my zoo lens for a spin. :-)


The entrance to Whiteman Park, northwest of Perth.

The entrance to Whiteman Park, northwest of Perth.

Four of Australia's famous road signs on a single post! How's that for luck and photographic efficiency?

Four of Australia's famous road signs on a single post! How's that for luck and photographic efficiency?

The small track leading to the village.

The small track leading to the village.

Our first wild kangaroos!

Our first wild kangaroos!

The entrance to Caversham Wildlife Park.

The entrance to Caversham Wildlife Park.

Is it sleeping or whacking its head against the tree?

Is it sleeping or whacking its head against the tree?

The obligatory Koala group photo. :-)

The obligatory Koala group photo. :-)

It moves!

It moves!

A Tasmanian devil. It was hard to take a clear photo of this one because the poor animal just kept running around the cage in the exact same circle over and over again.

A Tasmanian devil. It was hard to take a clear photo of this one because the poor animal just kept running around the cage in the exact same circle over and over again.

Scary? Not so much, this cutie one was only about a meter long.

Scary? Not so much, this cutie one was only about a meter long.

A beautifully colored Gouldian finch.

A beautifully colored Gouldian finch.

If memory serves this is a fairy wren.

If memory serves this is a fairy wren.

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Not a pig, not a super sized rat, but the wildlife park's famous wombat.

Not a pig, not a super sized rat, but the wildlife park's famous wombat.

A kookaburra.

A kookaburra.

Besides taking photos with koalas and wombats, feeding the kangaroos is another popular activity at the park.

Besides taking photos with koalas and wombats, feeding the kangaroos is another popular activity at the park.

Does life get any better than that?

Does life get any better than that?

A rainbow lorikeet.

A rainbow lorikeet.

An Australian white ibis mid-flight.

An Australian white ibis mid-flight.


Western Australia: Perth CBD and Kings Park (Day 1)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:30

Once again the cold drove us south for Chinese New Year. Actually, it wasn't so much the cold as the prospect of potential cold. The latter didn't materialize but that didn't take away from a great trip to Western Australia.

We had an overnight flight to Perth, so we decided not to venture too far away from our hotel after arriving at 5 o'clock in the morning. Luckily we lived almost right next to Kings Park, a huge park near the CBD (Central Business District). So those two naturally became our destinations for the first day.

While I generally steer clear of Swiss gatherings when I'm abroad, in a twist of irony, I always like to visit Chinatown when I go to larger cities. I find it interesting to see how different Asian subcultures get shuffled together. To cap off the day we therefore went to Roe Street for dinner and dessert.


One of our first impressions after arriving in Perth. Note the luxurious bike road on the side!

One of our first impressions after arriving in Perth. Note the luxurious bike road on the side!

London Court, a small shopping arcade in downtown Perth. Not as old as it looks but approaching 80 years nevertheless.

London Court, a small shopping arcade in downtown Perth. Not as old as it looks but approaching 80 years nevertheless.

The Perth Central Business District seen through Barracks Arch.

The Perth Central Business District seen through Barracks Arch.

One of the many beautiful trees in Kings Park.

One of the many beautiful trees in Kings Park.

The skyline of Perth.

The skyline of Perth.

View of Swan River from Kings Park.

View of Swan River from Kings Park.

Seen at the entrance of the tree-top walk. No wedding photos allowed!

Seen at the entrance of the tree-top walk. No wedding photos allowed!

The beautiful tree-top walk in Kings Park.

The beautiful tree-top walk in Kings Park.
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The DNA Tower in Kings Park ...

The DNA Tower in Kings Park ...

... which allows for great views of the entire park and the city.

... which allows for great views of the entire park and the city.

The poetic Flame of Remembrance and the no-less-poetic Pool of Reflection at the Kings Park War Memorial.

The poetic Flame of Remembrance and the no-less-poetic Pool of Reflection at the Kings Park War Memorial.
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Perth Central Business District (CBD).

Perth Central Business District (CBD).

A food hall in Chinatown.

A food hall in Chinatown.

We just had to stop by 鮮芋仙 to have some 仙草 and a luxurious 鴛鴦布丁. It's a mystery to us, however, why the latter one is served in a cup.

We just had to stop by 鮮芋仙 to have some 仙草 and a luxurious 鴛鴦布丁. It's a mystery to us, however, why the latter one is served in a cup.

榛山 (Zhen shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 13:29

Just in time before the rainy season hit Taiwan we joined my sister-in-law's company's hiking club (the sister-in-law remarkably absent ;-) on a trip to 榛山 (Zhen shan) near 觀霧 (Guan wu).

While the hike itself was relatively short, the drive there takes almost three hours one way. That's the thing with starting at sea level and having to climb 2000 m first. Luckily after getting up before six it isn't hard to get a bit of sleep in the bus, so the way up didn't feel that long after all.

Weather-wise – and given the circumstances at work in other ways as well – it was the nicest day of the entire week, perfect to once again experience the beautiful scenery.



The entrance to the 觀霧榛山森林浴步道 (Guan wu zhen shan forest trail).

The entrance to the 觀霧榛山森林浴步道 (Guan wu zhen shan forest trail).

The semi-informative trail map at the entrance. (Click [local:/gallery/data/zhen-shan/images/original/20130323-095515_MR4413_D90.jpg here] for a larger version.)

The semi-informative trail map at the entrance. (Click here for a larger version.)

A picnic shelter right at the beginning of the trail for those who get tired easily. Then again ...

A picnic shelter right at the beginning of the trail for those who get tired easily. Then again ...

... the view is nice enough to warrant a little break.

... the view is nice enough to warrant a little break.

The trail before it starts getting steep.

The trail before it starts getting steep.

The stairs up to the top.

The stairs up to the top.

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View from the platform towards 樂山 (Le shan, the one with the radar station on top). On the left-hand side the two peaks are 北坑山 (Bei keng shan, closer) and 東洗水山 (Dong xi shui shan, further away).

View from the platform towards 樂山 (Le shan, the one with the radar station on top). On the left-hand side the two peaks are 北坑山 (Bei keng shan, closer) and 東洗水山 (Dong xi shui shan, further away).

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The view from the platform towards the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range).

The view from the platform towards the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range).

A close-up of the same view with the most prominent mountains labeled. (No guarantees though, it's really hard to label mountains you haven't been to. In the process I've even seen some tourist panorama panels whose labels seem way off.)

On the left is the area I've been to [local:/blog/2012/05/31/a-frog-goes-hiking-da-ba-jian-shan-day-1/ last year in my attempt to climb 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan)].

A close-up of the same view with the most prominent mountains labeled. (No guarantees though, it's really hard to label mountains you haven't been to. In the process I've even seen some tourist panorama panels whose labels seem way off.)

On the left is the area I've been to last year in my attempt to climb 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

Funny clouds on top of 樂山 (Le shan).

Funny clouds on top of 樂山 (Le shan).

If you walk past the entrance to the trail you can see 榛山 (Zhen shan). What you can't see, however, is that the peak on top of which the view platform sits is not actually the top of 榛山 (Zhen shan). To reach the real top you have to follow an unmarked trail (that I missed), which eventually gets you to the 三角點 (triangulation point) that has no view.

If you walk past the entrance to the trail you can see 榛山 (Zhen shan). What you can't see, however, is that the peak on top of which the view platform sits is not actually the top of 榛山 (Zhen shan). To reach the real top you have to follow an unmarked trail (that I missed), which eventually gets you to the 三角點 (triangulation point) that has no view.

Along the 大鹿林道西線 (West section of the Da Lu forest road) there's the world's smallest "botanical garden". It's actually labeled as 親子植物園 on the map, but this lonely (albeit beautiful) tree seems to be it.

Along the 大鹿林道西線 (West section of the Da Lu forest road) there's the world's smallest "botanical garden". It's actually labeled as 親子植物園 on the map, but this lonely (albeit beautiful) tree seems to be it.

The view from the foot bridge that crosses 馬達拉溪 (Ma da la river). At the same time this is the end of the wide part of the 大鹿林道西線 (West section of the Da Lu forest road). After that it's merely an overgrown hiking trail.

The view from the foot bridge that crosses 馬達拉溪 (Ma da la river). At the same time this is the end of the wide part of the 大鹿林道西線 (West section of the Da Lu forest road). After that it's merely an overgrown hiking trail.

On the way back to the 觀霧山莊 (Guan wu mountain hut) the view is still quite nice.

On the way back to the 觀霧山莊 (Guan wu mountain hut) the view is still quite nice.

The view from the parking lot at 觀霧山莊 (Guan wu mountain hut).

The view from the parking lot at 觀霧山莊 (Guan wu mountain hut).

The 雪霸休閒農場 (Guan wu recreational farm) is really a place to visit ''before'' you go to 觀霧 (Guan wu). While the view is good it just can't quite compete ...

The 雪霸休閒農場 (Guan wu recreational farm) is really a place to visit before you go to 觀霧 (Guan wu). While the view is good it just can't quite compete ...

... and neither can their English translations. With unrecycling clearly being the opposite of recycling this must be a tiny factory.

... and neither can their English translations. With unrecycling clearly being the opposite of recycling this must be a tiny factory.

I'm neither good at shooting flowers nor did I have suitable equipment, but you get an impression of the beautiful flowers they have in their glasshouse.

I'm neither good at shooting flowers nor did I have suitable equipment, but you get an impression of the beautiful flowers they have in their glasshouse.

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A super-detailed ("sign", "starting point of a stone steps", "starting point of steep ascent", ...) map of the area. This one actually lists the hidden trail to the top of 榛山 (Zhen shan). (Click [local:/gallery/data/zhen-shan/images/original/20130323-153951_MR4524_D90.jpg here] for a larger version.)

A super-detailed ("sign", "starting point of a stone steps", "starting point of steep ascent", ...) map of the area. This one actually lists the hidden trail to the top of 榛山 (Zhen shan). (Click here for a larger version.)

On the way down we were lucky enough to see a beautiful sea of clouds make its way into the valley.

On the way down we were lucky enough to see a beautiful sea of clouds make its way into the valley.

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Switzerland 2013: Selamatt

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:32

Once a decade I need to see snow, just so I don't forget what it looks like, and the year 2013 was as good as any, so we switched the scenery of the evergreen island of Taiwan to the snowy white one of Switzerland.

Commencing the album series is our trip to Alt St. Johann and Selamatt in the valley of Toggenburg.

If I've learned anything from this trip it's that a) my layering system of functional outdoor clothes resists even wintry Switzerland, b) my double-layer OR gloves don't, and c) don't trust the parking instructions of the Selamattbahn or you'll have your car towed out of the snow twice in a single day.

We took the "Selamattbahn" gondola lift first and then walked to Iltios and all the way down to Unterwasser from where we took the bus back to Alt St. Johann:

On to the photos:

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The mountain on that last photo is the famous Säntis. Maybe after our next Switzerland trip we'll have some close-up photos from that mountain - it is on our to do list. :-)