Thursday, August 29, 2019

Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve - June 2019

Dune Track.

Believe it or not one of the most popular posts that I’ve ever put onto my blog was a short little walk that Sam and I did out at the Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve late on a cool winters afternoon. With the reserve only 15 minutes from home I figured that it was about time for a re-visit. So after sitting out some rain this morning I pulled on my boots and made the short journey over to the Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve just after lunchtime today. Arriving at the large car park off McClelland Drive, I re-set the GPS and set off under slightly threatening skies.
There's plenty of parking here normally.
I headed off along the grassy McClellend Break.

Leaving the car park I headed north along the grassy firebreak called McClellend Break. I’ve walked this grassy opening in winter before and had to avoid large sections of water but with our fairly dry start to the year there wasn’t much water on the ground on this visit. After heading along the McClellend Break for 5 minutes my track arrived at the boundary fence for a Telstra depot and headed west around the perimeter for a few minutes. Arriving at the south east corner of the Telstra compound I headed off onto Dune Track, with Dune Track a designated walking track my the walking improved immensely.
The walking improved immensely once I picked up Dune Track.

You’d never have guessed it but Dune Track climbs onto a long dune along here, in one spot the track divides and I stayed left up the slightly overgrown pad. Once on top of the dune I was buffeted a little by the wind this afternoon, although for winter things were pretty mild temperature wise. This walk along the dune offer the best views of the whole walk, in one direction down across the park, and in the other direction across Melbourne’s sprawling south eastern suburbs towards the blue smudge of the Dandenong Ranges.
The left hand fork of Dune Track climbs onto a low dune.
The low dune allows for a bit of a view down over the rest of the park...
....in the other direction the Dandenong Ranges were a blue smudge on the horizon.

When Dune Track met up with Reservoir Track I took a short side trip south to check out the old reservoir. The Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve has a long military history, being first established as the Langwarrin Military Reserve way back in 1886 and the old reservoir is the biggest reminder of those days. With the sun coming and going as the clouds scudded through I mucked around here for a few minutes as I waited for some decent light. The old sandstone walls of the reservoir are actually quite photogenic in the right light and I think it was worth hanging around… Heading off again I retraced a couple of minutes to the spot where Dunes Track had come in onto Reservoir Track and then continued on through more heathland and Stringybarks until I arrived at the Owen Dawson Walking Track.
The old reservoir is a nice spot.
Stringybarks are the predominant trees in Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve.

Owen Dawson was a local naturalist and was president of the Peninsula Field Naturalists Club Inc for a number of years and was instrumental in having the Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve protected. Along with Dunes Track the Owen Dawson Track is the best walking of the day I think. The walking track meandering away through dense forest before arriving at some old Target Pits, before climbing a dune and then passing by an old water tank that the soldiers had taken pot shots at with their 303’s by the look of it.
Owen Dawson Track burrows through the trees.
The old Target Pits on Owen Dawson Track.
More good walking along Owen Dawson Track.
Finding something interesting to photograph tested me a bit this afternoon.
It looks like the boys had been taking pot shots at this old water tank with their 303's.

Crossing Long Crescent North I continued on along Owen Dawson Track, the track now heading towards the eastern border of the park. Reaching the more substantial Stringybark Track I turned right and passed through some more open heathland as I headed towards the Centre Break. As you could probably guess Centre Break dissects the middle of the reserve and it makes for an easy way to short cut any walks if the need arises. After a left/right dogleg over Centre Break I headed off into the bush again along Aqueduct Track. I’m guessing that Aqueduct Track has some more military history behind it but after an extensive two minutes on google I couldn’t find any information on it.
The country opened up a bit as I headed along Stringybark Track.
Stringybark Track.
Centre Break dissects the reserve and allows for an easy exit or entry into the park.

Whatever it’s history Aqueduct Track once again made for some pleasant strolling. I was now slowly starting to arc around and head back up to towards the the carpark, first along Aqueduct Track, then left along Long Crescent South and finally along Military Track. Apart from the sound of the occasional vehicle on the nearby Robinsons Road the walk still had a bit of a remote feel to it, although approaching the busy McClelland Road again meant that that illusion was shattered. Once on McClelland Break beside McClelland Drive again my nice walk was suddenly coming to its end. Reaching the carpark I looped through an old picnic area, checking out an old concrete fountain that is pretty well all that remains of the old military hospital that was once situated here. After checking out a couple of the Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve Humpies I emerged onto Centre Break near the site of the old German POW internment site and wandered the last few metres back up to the ute.
Aqueduct Track was another nice walk.
Forest litter on Aqueduct Track.
Military Track.
Heading along Military Track. The tall trees in the distance are marking the walks finish.

The Dirt.
I walked 7.4 kilometres and climbed 84 metres on this easy stroll. I’m guessing a bit but I’d imagine that the Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve would be one of the biggest stands of native scrub left on the Mornington Peninsula and the heath land and mostly open Stringybark forest makes for pleasant walking. The old military history of this place is also worth checking out I think. The Boonerwrung People also lived around here for many 1000’s of years but you’d need a better eye than me to still find evidence on the ground unfortunately. Walks in this small park have been written up walking guide books by Mr Thomas, Ken Martin and Julie Mundy over the years, I just used the free Parks Vic map today though and linked things together, it’s all pretty easy.

Relevant Posts.
Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve, 2015.
Australian Gardens & Reserve, Cranbourne, 2019.
Mornington to Frankston Coast Walk, 2014.

Heading towards the car park along McClellend Break.
The old fountain is about all that remains at the site of the old hospital.
There's a few humpies in the old picnic ground now.
Emerging onto Centre Break the walk was nearly over.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia - January 2019

Sunrise in Port Kelang was a sweet one this morning.

Today didn’t turn it quite as I’d visualised, that’s for sure. It was after 7pm (our ship was sailing at 6:30pm) and we were now flying along through Friday peak hour, weaving our way through the traffic chaos with millimetres to spare as the Toyota van valve bounced up near it’s red line the whole time. As is usual in my Feral life things weren’t meant to be this hectic, in fact leaving the ship on our bus this morning everything was pretty serene, even accounting for the morning traffic as we made our way from Port Kelang into Kuala Lumpur.
Our first stop today was the National Monument. 
The National Monument in Kuala Lumpur.

Kaula Lumpur is a bloody big city so we were never going to even really scratch the surface in one day and today we didn’t even really try. We were happy with just seeing a couple of the highlights thinking that it’s almost certain that we’ll be back at some time. Our first stop was at the National Monument, a memorial that remembers and celebrates soldiers that fought and died during WW2 and the Communist Insurgency War. There is a lot to see here which includes some nice public art in the extensive, well manicured parklands. We didn’t have anywhere near enough time to check things properly, I’m thinking you could easily spend a couple of hours enjoying this spot, if you ever find yourself up here check out the view towards the city from near the National Monument.
The National Monument is is a peaceful and serene spot, as you would expect I suppose.
There are some good city views from the National Monument.
The National Monument commemorates the soldiers that fought and died in WW2.
The National Monument has some beautiful gardens to explore.
The beautifully manicured gardens at the National Monument. It would be nice to spend more time exploring this peaceful spot.
The National Monument Gardens.

After our short stop at the National monument we continued on to Merdeka Square. Merdeka Square is home to a lot of Kuala Lumpur’s old heritage listed buildings, a lot of them dating back to the mid 19 century when tin was discovered and settlers poured in. A lot of the old colonial buildings were designed by AC Norman who arrived here from England in 1897. The square features a large grass field which over the years has been used as a cricket pitch, parades and various civil celebrations. The square is also home to an impressive 95 metre flag pole topped of with a fluttering Malaysian flag.
Merdeka Square is also known as Independence Square.
They seem to like their flag poles here. This one is 95 metres high.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Werdeka Square.
The National Textile Museum.

Leaving Merdeka Square we headed towards the Petronas Twin Towers and this is where things went a little pear shaped today. Arriving at the towers we found out that the tour company didn’t actually have enough tickets for us all to get up the tower, basically they needed 6 of us to hang back and do the 4:30pm tour instead of the 3:15pm tour, and I’m guessing because we were some of the youngest on the tour Sam and I and two other younger (I’m talking in relative terms here!) couples were bumped. Now even though the cogs turn a little slowly in my Feral head I didn’t have to be Einstein to figure out that we would struggle to get back to the ship on time. With us being on an official Princess tour I was pretty certain that the ship wouldn’t leave without us but we were still going to be rolling the dice.
Our next stop was Petronas Twin Towers.




The upside (?) of our tour getting pushed back was that we had another hour to hang around the shops in the big mall below Petronas Twin Towers, the bad news was this was mostly all high end stuff. There is only so many Gucci handbags and Prada shoes that I can check out when I know that I’ll never be able to afford them and they don’t really match my Feral wardrobe anyway. Eventually the six refugees regrouped and we set off on our tour of the towers.
As it turned out we had a little more time to enjoy the gardens surrounding the twin towers.



After a quick induction we were whisked up to the Sky Bridge that connects the two towers. The Sky Bridge is a double decker pedestrain bridge that allows the Petronas people to access both towers (Petronas is a big Malaysian state owned Petrochemical company) and tourists to check out the view. The Sky Bridge is on the 41st floor and is 170 metres above the ground, the really freaky thing about being up here was that it isn’t actually anchored to either of the twin towers. Yes, the bridge is slotted into sleeves on both buildings which allow the buildings to sway in a out independent of the Sky Bridge.
Standing on the Sky Bridge it's a little disconcerting to know that neither side is actually anchored to a building.
The view from the 41st floor.

After 15 minutes or so at the Sky Bridge we were ushered into another lift and set off for the 370 metre high observation deck on the 86th floor. For 6 years after it was finished in 1998 the 452 metre Petronas Twin Towers were the highest structures in the world, now days the Petronas Twin Towers height has been surpassed by a hand full of other buildings although it remain the highest ‘twin’ structure in the world. All the statistics don’t really matter that much when you are standing in front of the full length glass windows though, with the sprawling suburbs of Kuala Lumpur spread out in every direction below, maybe it’s an optical illusion but it almost looks like you can see the curvature of the earth from up here.
The view from the 86th floor observation deck.
Kuala Lumpur from Petronas Twin Towers.
Looking out over Kuala Lumpur's sprawling suburbs.
Goin' Feral indeed!
Looking south in late afternoon from the observation deck at Petronas Twin Towers.

After a quick stop at a slightly lower level that had a little more information about the towers, as well as some expensive souvenirs, we were back on the ground, now the Feral type fun would begin! Meeting the owner of the tour company we were whisked out towards a flash black Mercedes Benz Van, which we walked past on our way to our old Toyota Hi Ace Van. Well at least the old Toyota had air con, and mirrors on the ceiling. Working seat belts probably would of been an advantage, but what do you do….
After leaving the observation deck we dropped down a couple of levels to the gift shop and information area.
The view from the gift shops was still pretty sweet.
It's mostly all high end stuff up here....well high end prices anyway!
I must be missing the gene that attracts people to this stuff.
Looking across to the other tower from the information area.

So off we ventured into the late Friday afternoon peak hour traffic, after managing to progress around a kilometre or two in the first 45 minutes of our journey our driver turned to us and asked us what time the ship was leaving, when we told him in about 15 minutes he just laughed and said ‘I think we’ll be late’. Once out of the CBD we trucked along various different freeways, all with our driver at maximum attack, the little Hi Ace sitting millimetres off the cars in front as our driver flashed his lights to get people out of the way. The really unsettling thing (well apart from dying in a fiery crash) was that the driver was getting phone call after phone call as we hurtled along. I’m sure most of those calls were from the tour company checking on our progress (or lack there of) back to the ship but flying along within touching distance of the vehicles around us at maximum speed with the driver shouting into his phone was a little sub optimal!
Maybe working seat belts might of been an advantage this afternoon.

The good news with the phone was the driver was also using it for navigation so I was able to look over his shoulder and count down the kilometres as we got closer to Port Kelang. After getting some air time on a couple of occasions as we crossed over bridges and assorted bumps, and safely avoiding a fiery crash, we arrived back at the cruise passenger terminal at Port Kelang to find our ship still there….ah, was there really any doubt? For a second or two it looked like our driver was going to drive us onto the pier and up the gang plank as has wasn’t for lifting his foot off the gas. Finally we came to a halt and clambered out of the van, with various Princess official urging us to hasten along I didn’t get to look back out our ride but I’m assuming that as soon as we were all out the wheels fell off and the thing self combusted! Not to worry, things for us were soon back under control as we headed up on deck to watch us sail away into the sunset from Port Kelang, after what had been a day that turned out a little more adventurous that I’d anticipated.
We made it...it looked like our driver was going to drive us up the gang plank at one stage!

The Dirt.
We visited Kuala Lumpur on a Princess Cruise today. Our day trip was a ship tour called Skybridge, Petronas Twin Tower & City Drive and it set us back just under $120 US. I've actually sent an email to Princess about our experience today suggesting that they may want to refine the the tour a little. I did get an email back but it was a fairly vanilla 'glad you got back safely, all's well that ends well' type of reply. I guess that Princess probably get lots of punters out to scam them, however as someone who has done more OH+S risk assessments in my life than I care to remember it was easy to see that there was the potential for things to go seriously wrong this afternoon.


Relevant Posts.

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 2018.

Serenity returned to our lives once we were back on the ship.
Our sunset turned out to be as nice as our sunrise that morning.
Heading out into the Malacca Strait.
We're out of the river and heading into open water. The pilot boat has picked up the pilot and is heading back to Port Kelang.

Mushroom Rocks, Baw Baw National Park - June 2016

I mentioned in my last post that I was heading out and doing a snow walk next and indeed that's how it turned out. The weather in Me...