There are many cliff top trails on the rugged Tasman Peninsula – Cape Raoul is one of the most spectacular. During the hike to the dolerite pillars at the tip of the Cape, I spotted a group of surfers being towed by buzzing jetskis in the frothing water below. A steep detour down the cliff led me to a rock platform where I was able to witness a brave 13 year old Riley Laing surf the infamous Shipstern Bluff (and also chat to his father about whether his mother approved of such endeavours!).
ONCE known as Devil’s Point, Shipstern Bluff’s ferocity seen at close quarters will leave little doubt that this hellish right-hander could indeed be a crossover point to the Underworld. For decades this wave was more myth than reality, as no one had even considered surfing it. Read more at Places to surf before you die: Shipstern Bluff
Nine kilometres past Port Arthur there is a turn left along Stormlea Road to the parking area for the Cape Raoul, Shipsterns Bluff and Tunnel Bay walks. About 30 minutes walk across the side of a paddock through light woodlands, the track to Tunnel Bay and Shipsterns Bluff branches off to the right. Another 10 minutes further on brings you to the edge of a 300 metre high cliff with commanding views of the coastline. The track then descends steadily onto the Cape Raoul plateau. The spectacular dolerite pillar cape is at the end of the plateau. The walk is about 2 1/2 hours one way. Source: Touring Tasmania
Cape Raoul – Tasman Peninsula
Raoul Bay & Shipsterns Bluff – Tasman Peninsula
Cape Raoul Textures
Cape Raoul Columns – Tasman Peninsula
Cape Raoul Lake – Tasman Peninsula
Cape Raoul Cliffs – Tasman Peninsula
The Walls of Jerusalem are located in a remote area of the Tasmanian highlands and are part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The area is a spectacular labyrinth of alpine lakes and tarns, dramatic dolerite peaks, ancient but fragile forests of Pencil Pines and unique alpine vegetation. There is no road access into the park and entry is only possible by walking. All tracks into the area are steep and rough and are subject to extreme weather conditions that can include heavy rain, hail, snow, freezing temperatures and blazing sun. Low cloud can reduce visibility to a few metres and snow can cover the track making it difficult to follow. There are limited track markers so navigational skills are essential during poor conditions. These conditions can occur in any month of the year and the weather can change dramatically within a few short hours. Source: Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania
The names of the park’s natural features say it all: Herods Gate, Lake Salome, Solomons Jewels, Damascus Gate, the Pool of Bathesda…Beside them, Dixons Kingdom – the name of a ramshackle hut built by a grazier and his son in the 1950s – seems both a quaint anomaly and a homage. The most impressive feature is the huge chamber created by the West Wall, Mount Ophel, Zion Hill and the Temple. Dixon’s Kingdom, just beyond, is near a pencil pine forest dotted with glades that are popular with campers. If you walk from here to the summit of Mt Jerusalem you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of a section of Tasmania’s Central Plateau called the Land of Three Thousand Lakes, a collage of glittering lakes and tarns. Source: Discover Tasmania
Walls of Jerusalem Trunk
Walls of Jerusalem Trees
Walls of Jerusalem Ice
Mt Ossa and Mt Pelion East from Solomons Jewels – Walls of Jerusalem
Solomons Jewels – Walls of Jerusalem
Herods Gate – Walls of Jerusalem
Cushion Plants – Walls of Jerusalem
Walls of Jerusalem Scree
Damascus Gate – Walls of Jerusalem
West Walls of Jerusalem from the Temple
Lake Salome – Walls of Jerusalem
Solomons Throne – Walls of Jerusalem
In the extreme north of Portugal, between the two mountain plains of Castro Laboreiro (to the North) and Mourela (to the East) is the granite semi-circle of Peneda-Gerês National Park. The mountains of Peneda (1373 m), Soajo (1217 m), Amarela (1092 m) and Gerês (1545 m) constitute the only Portuguese protected area that has been classified as a National Park. Additionally, it is recognised as a PAN Park i.e. it is one of only 11 European parks covering an area of no less than 20,000 hectares, and in which the wilderness area amounts to no less than 10,000 hectares, so that the fauna and flora can develop freely.
If you want to expend some energy there are plenty of opportunities, since you’ll find ideal conditions for practising activities such as canyoning or canoeing. If you just want to go for a walk, follow the winding and well conserved path of the Roman road or “geira” and admire the milestones that are almost 2000 years old. Keep your eyes peeled, because you may be able to spot a roe deer (symbol of the Park) or its predator, the Iberian wolf. It is more common to come across Garrano ponies – which are small wild horses that run freely across the hills. Source: Visit Portugal
After completing the Annapurna Circuit I arrived back in Kathmandu via Chitwan NP for some rhinoceros spotting and a white-water rafting trip. Although I managed to stay healthy crossing China and Tibet, Nepal really tested me. My health never really improved after getting ill whilst trekking the Annapurna Circuit. The development of a headache and fever upon my return was a sign that I had to slow down. I would have liked to continue through to Lumbini, Varanasi and New Delhi but I considered myself really lucky being allowed to travel through Tibet. Shown below is an interactive map of my entire journey from Beijing to Kathmandu with hyperlinks to blog posts.
South of Lake Eğirdir, Lake Kovada takes shape in a narrow weathered karst valley. I hired a bicycle from Eğirdir and cruised ~25 kms through apple orchards, saluting the tractor drivers along the irrigation channel that links the two lakes, to explore the National Park. I circuited a small peninsula jutting into the lake along a rocky trail. It was the middle of autumn so the golden colours of the sycamore maples and Turkey oak were contrasted splendidly with the evergreen pines and bleached karst morphology of the park.
Returning to Eğirdir was not so pleasant because I had to battle a headwind and lake-effect snow. I took a detour through the small farming village of Tepeli to buy some fruit cake and when seeing me on a bench outside the store in the cold devouring it, I was beckoned into a Turkish tea house for çay to warm-up. Inside the dense smoke filled tea house were several elderly men and a couple of young soldiers huddled around a kerosene heater. A more authoritative soldier was conducting an interview at a desk at the back of the room. I could see those huddled around the heater were puzzled as to why I was in their village so I pulled out my phrase book and map to explain my trip to Kovada Gölü Milli Parkı to set their minds at ease. After a couple of glasses of sugary çay I bid hoşçakal and was on my way.