Photo Gallery: Caversham Wildlife Park

Here are some more pictures from our visit to the Caversham Wildlife Park.

Map of the Caversham Wildlife Park. The park includes a farm which we did not visit.
Map of the Caversham Wildlife Park.
A joey nursing.
A joey nursing.
Janis and Sarah petting a kangaroo.
Janis and Sarah petting a kangaroo.
A barking owl at the Caversham Wildlife Park. The sound it makes sounds like a barking dog.
A barking owl at the Caversham Wildlife Park. The sound it makes sounds like a barking dog.
A kookaburra
A kookaburra
A bettong, an Australian marsupial the size of a large rat.
A bettong, an Australian marsupial the size of a large rat.
A cuddly looking wombat. They are actually quite fierce when threatened.
A cuddly looking wombat. They are actually quite fierce when threatened.
Koalas like to eat and to sleep. It only eats eucalyptus leaves.
Koalas like to eat and to sleep. It only eats eucalyptus leaves.
Did I say sleep? I think I could get used to being a koala!
Did I say sleep? I think I could get used to being a koala!
This was taken through a window earlier in our visit. A bit grey but the koala's pose is classic.
This was taken through a window earlier in our visit. A bit grey but the koala’s pose is classic.
Can't remember what these birds are called. Some sort of water bird.
Can’t remember what these birds are called. Some sort of water bird.
Close up of one of these birds.
Close up of one of these birds.
A black swan. We've seen them in the wild quite a lot, but always at a distance.
A black swan. We’ve seen them in the wild quite a lot, but always at a distance.
We'll close this gallery with a pic of Janis and a koala.
We’ll close this gallery with a pic of Janis and a koala.





Sentosa Island – Singapore’s Playground

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On our second full day in Singapore we decided to visit Sentosa Island. We had heard a lot about it as a must-see destination. We weren’t sure what to expect. The description we found on the Internet made it sound like a large amusement park. It is that, but a lot more besides. So hopefully our experience will give prospective visitors an idea of what they will find.

We made our way to Chinatown where we boarded the subway, the Purple Line to HarbourFront Station. Exiting the subway, you find yourself in a large shopping mall. There are a lot of them in Singapore!

Our online search led us to believe that the island was accessible by another train, the Sentosa Express. It is, but there is also a covered boardwalk across to the island as well as a cable car ride. We opted to save money and walk to the island. A very pleasant walk. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes to walk across.

Metal scultures of a couple of jazz players part way across the boardwalk bridge to Sentosa Island. The picture looks back towards the Harbour Front station and mall. Cable cars in the background.

On the other side we found a ticket centre and looked over the various options. In retrospect you should know that you can visit many of Sentosa’s attractions without charge. If you just want to spend the day walking round and taking in the sights, you can do that. There is a lot to see and the island is easy to walk around. There are lots of plazas, trails, gardens, beaches and restaurants.

There is a lot of greenery on Sentosa Island and lots of trails to walk.

But the island also has lots of paid attractions and you have an option of ticket packages at different prices. A $79 pass give you admission to twenty attractions. You can also get a five attraction pass for $59 and a 3 attraction pass for $44. Universal Studios also has a presence on the island and there is a waterpark with a dolphin exhibit. None are included in the passes and must be paid for separately. But there were premium passes that included the waterpark and the cable cars. Three attractions for $79.

We figured we never could visit all twenty attractions so we bought a five attraction pass. We had no interest in Universal Studios since we had seen the ones in California and Florida already. In the end, we only used four of our attractions but they were good ones. Some were must-see in our opinion.

One of several fountains and plazas on Sentosa Island. There are lots of shops and restaurants as well.

We walked through a few plazas and up to the Merlion, a feature attraction and the symbol of Singapore. A merlion is exactly what it sounds like – not a mermaid or a merman, but a merlion – head of a lion with the body of a fish. The Merlion stands 37 meters tall or around 120 feet. It is one of the twenty attractions so you can use your ticket to go up to the top for a view of the island. We were content to see it from below and did not go up.

The Merlion, symbol of Singapore.
The Merlion, symbol of Singapore.

We looked at the map we had of the island and decided a cable car ride would give us a nice overview. Our tickets gave us a discount on cable car tickets and we bought all day passes for $24 each. There are two cable car rides – one goes across the island from the Merlion Plaza to Siloso Point.  The other goes from Sentosa Station to the Harbour Front complex and on to Faber Peak on the main island of Singapore.

Singapore is in the background in this shot from the cable car. Sentosa Island, despite all the attractions, plazas, hotels, shops and restaurants, remains heavily wooded.

We took the cable car across to Siloso Point and disembarked. Nearby was the Shangri-la Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, one of several hotels on the island. Also close by was Fort Siloso, one of the attraction we could visit but which we declined. It’s an old fort and museum and has a laser tag park. Instead we walked down to the nearby Siloso Beach.

The beaches have beautiful, white sand and there is no charge to use them. You can swim or sunbathe but bring suntan lotion. It is hot in Singapore and sunscreen is a must for the beach.

There are a few small islands across from the beach, one of which has a bridge to it. We walked across and watched some zip liners coming in from across the water. Zip lining is an additional cost, although our tickets did include a Parajump at the Megazip Lookout. We never got around to checking it out.

A zip liner comes in for a landing on a small island off Sentosa Beach.

We walked along the beach a way and came across the Wave House. This is a wave riding facility. Our ticket included one try and though I had my swimsuit and was tempted, decided not to as one try would not last long. Better to pay for a fixed time period so you can actually get the hang of doing it.

Wannabe surfer trie out the Flo-rider wave machine on Sentosa Island.
Wannabe surfer tries out the Flo-rider wave machine on Sentosa Island.

We continued along the shore trail and passed the Skyline Luge. This was included in our ticket and it looked like fun so this was our first use of our tickets. The luge is a gravity operated go-kart with handlebars for steering and braking. We took a chairlift up and then raced down the concrete course. It was a blast!

Janis passes me on a curve on the Skyline Luge ride. You can get up a pretty good speed on these things. The company has five locations worldwide including one in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.

After that we stopped for a light lunch and a couple of margaritas. Yum! Walking along further we saw people riding along on Segways. This was included as an option on our ticket but counted as two rides. We opted out.

Next we came to iFly Singapore – a simulated skydiving experience. Big fans under a grid generate enough wind to keep a person airborne. This cost extra but looked like a lot of fun and a good way to experience skydiving without risking going splat on the ground if your chute fails. Some experienced staffers demonstrated significant skill doing flips and rolls. We didn’t do it, but it or real skydiving is on my bucket list!

Skydiving in a wind tunnel at iFly Singapore. Looks like fun! A bit pricey though.

We next found the location for an evening show we had decided to use our tickets for. A light show called Wings of Time. Our tickets gave us access to a grandstand on the beach where you could get a good view. We reserved for the 7:40 PM show. It was mid-afternoon and we had a lot of time so we headed back up to the Merlion, The walk took us along a long artificial waterway made of mozaic tiles. It looked like it was designed by Antoni Gaudi, the flamboyant Spanish architect. Very reminiscent of Gaudi Park in Barcelona.

Janis beside the mozaic waterway. Looks like something from Gaudi's Parc Guell in Barcelona.
Janis beside the mozaic waterway. Looks like something from Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcelona.

At the Merlion we boarded the cable car again and headed for the Tiger Sky Tower (sponsored by Tiger Beer). This was the third attraction on our tickets we would use. The revolving ride up gave us a panoramic view of the entire island and the city in the distance.

One of the options on our tickets was the S.E.A. Aquarium. We had enough time to do that and dinner before the evening light show, so we headed over there. The aquarium is world class. One of the best aquariums I have visited. The size and scope is enormous.

Giant ray at the S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore

The variety of ocean life on display is terrific. There was one tank that had a side open for viewing as large as an IMAX movie screen. It was immense and we watched schooling fish as well as numerous rays swimming by. There was a walkway to another part of the same aquarium where you walked underneath the passing rays. Marvellous!

Many colourful tropical fish and corals were on display.

Near the end of the tour we came across something quite unexpected. The above ground dolphin show, which I believe you have to pay extra for, had an underwater viewing window. We arrived just in time to see some of the dolphin show from a different vantage point. I managed to get a greatr video of five dolphins breaching the water and re-entering again – twice!

I took so many pictures but can only put in one or two here. I’ve posted a separate gallery of pics for you. The aquarium is a must-see attraction in my opinion.

The aquarium tour took an hour and a half and we still had time for dinner so we headed for the Hard Rock Cafe. I had a burger and Janis had Nasi Goreng. The food was delicious.

After dinner we still had some time before the show so we hopped on the other cable car, the one to the main island. We didn’t realize that the first stop was not the terminus and the cable car continued on to Faber Peak. Here we discovered a hidden treasure.

On the stops, the cable cars bunch close together as they go through the station and we noticed one of the adjacent cars had a couple with a table between them eating dinner. When we pulled into the Faber Peak station, a waiter came and took their dishes and another waiter brought the next course and they continued on their way, dining in the sky. I quickly inquired of a platform attendant how one might order food for the tram ride. She said you had to book a reservation.

Faber Peak – terminus of the cable car ride from Sentosa Island and home of Spuds and Aprons, a restaurant that will serve you dinner on the tram. A terrific idea for Valentine’s Day.

If we had the time and money and were in Singapore longer we would have taken advantage of it, but alas, we could not. But the idea of having a four course dinner as you ride around on a cable car is more than a little romantic. What a Valentine’s treat that would be. The restaurant has the unlikely name of Spuds and Aprons.  $288 per couple for a four course meal. Or you can have a less expensive rendez-vous for $59 a person.

We left the cable car after its half hour round trip journey to walk back to the locale for the Wings of Time show.

I’ve seen light shows, laser light shows, water fountain shows, fireworks displays and shows with blasts of fire. This one has them all. A tour de force. It starts with a couple of young teens, a boy and a girl running long the beach lip-syncing speeches coming from the P.A. system. They disappear off to the left and a short time later, a set of eight wooden triangles and a kite-shaped piece take to life with a dazzling light show, alive with pyrotechnics, fireballs, lasers and jets of spraying water. The boy and girl reappear in a hologram with a giant bird and narrate a story about the passage of time. The story is pretty lame but the show is dazzling. This show was the second must-see attraction.

That ended our journey and we headed back. We opted for a cab ride back to the hotel which cost us around $12. All in all, a fabulous day in Singapore!

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S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa Island, Singapore

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A maritime museum was part of the aquarium exhibit.
One of the features in the Maritime Museum at the aquarium was this replica of Noah’s Ark.
Sharks swim all around us in this walkway.
Colourful fish and corals.
Schools of fish, sharks and rays are some of the sea life seen in this giant tank.
A school of jellyfish.
Here’s a close-up of one of those guys.
A nice looking jellyfish.
Colourful tropical fish.
More colourful fish.
An eel says hello.
This creature is called an Emperor Nautilus.
This octopus was very active.
The underside of a large ray.
A dolphin performing for crowds above, plunges back into the water after a mighty leap.


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Photo Gallery: Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

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The waterfalls in the Cloud Forest
Another view of the waterfalls
Walkway around the mountain in the Cloud Forest conservatory
The artificial mountain is covered in vegetation typical of a tropical mountainside
This picture of Janis beside the mountain helps capture the immense size of the mountain and some of the plants.
Stitched Page the mountain resized
This picture was stitched together from two others to try and capture the size. It doesn’t quite do it. You have to see it in person.
The Supertree Grove seen from the upper walkway. It was raining out when we were there.
Along the upper walkway
Janis at the lookout beside the waterfalls.
Look at the size of some of the plants compared to Janis. This is on the upper walkway.
Later we came across this garden of carniverous plants. Notice anything unusual about it?
Yep! This is a garden of Lego plants!
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel seen from a walkway in the Cloud Forest.
Looking down from the upper walkway.
There are a lot of colourful flowers amidst all the greenery.
Like this one captured with my zoom lens.
And this beautiful specimen.
Looking back at the upper walkway. It sure is high!
Behind the veil of waterfalls.
Near the end of the tour we came across a couple of interesting wood sculptures including this two headed dragon.
And this eagle.

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Singapore: Gardens by the Bay

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We asked around before visiting Singapore what we should see. Several places were mentioned including the Night Zoo and Sentosa Island. But on our cab ride to the cruise ship, we passed the Gardens on the Bay. We saw its artificial trees (called supertrees) standing out and wondered what they were. And as we got closer to the ship, we passed the entrance. Our cabbie said it was worth a visit. And during our cruise, others also recommended it. So after we visited Chinatown, we checked in at the hotel, and hopped a cab to Gardens by the Bay. Just one word to describe it. Wow!

The Gardens occupy 250 acres of reclaimed land adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The park consists of three large garden areas as well as two conservatories and two supertree groves. The entire complex cost over a billion Singaporean dollars to build.

Dragonfly statue alongside one of the waterways in the Gardens.
Dragonfly statue alongside one of the waterways in the Gardens. Three supertrees are visible in the background.

As a public park, there is no admission charge. Residents and visitors are free to enjoy most of the park without charge. But the conservatories charge an admission fee of $28 per person.

The conservatories are massive. The larger one, the Flower Dome, covers three acres. It stands 125 feet high and is the world’s largest columnless glass building. It features seven different gardens representing various semi-arid sub-tropical vegetation from around the world. Its temperature is maintained at between 23 and 25 degrees C.  It seems cool compared to the outside temperature which is tropical. Singapore sits just above the equator.

Pictures don't do it justice. You have to be inside the conservatory to fully appreciate its size and scope.
Pictures don’t do it justice. You have to be inside the conservatory to fully appreciate its size and scope.

We paid to go in and it was a stunning experience. It is hard to convey the vast scope of the Flower Dome. During our visit, one of the areas was decked out for the Year of the Monkey with red lanterns and topiary monkeys.

The conservatory also features many intriguing wood sculptures that look like they are pieced together from driftwood. We hoped to pick up miniatures as souvenirs but the gift shop did not have any.

Two driftwood sculptures of mountain goats in the Flower Dome.
Two driftwood sculptures of mountain goats in the Flower Dome.

There was one garden devoted to Australia and others included South Africa and South America. The gardens are at different levels, tiered with sloped walkways. It is very easy to navigate.

I’ll create a separate post of just pictures so you can see more of this breathtaking masterpiece.

We expected the second conservatory, the Cloud Forest, to be anti-climactic after the Flower Dome. Were we wrong on that! While it covers a smaller area – two acres, it is much much higher than the Flower Dome. When you walk in you see its centrepiece – a 138 foot high mountain in the middle with five waterfalls pouring from the summit creating spray and mist. The Cloud Forest recreates the cool, moist mountains of the tropics. The mountain is covered from top to bottom with vegetation – orchids, ferns, and other vegetation indigenous to tropical mountains.

Waterfalls greet you as you enter the Cloud Forest.
Waterfalls greet you as you enter the Cloud Forest.

Inside you walk around it and then take an elevator almost to the top. A short hike up brings you to a small mountaintop lake. Then there are elevated walkways that take you all the way to the bottom again. Some of the walkways run close to the mountain so you can see the foliage at close hand. Other parts extend away from the mountain – aerial walkways that have you walking over the vista below.

Walkways about two thirds up the mountain.
Walkways about two thirds up the mountain.

Again, words cannot convey the size and scope of this amazing display so I have created a separate photo gallery. At the end of the tour is a presentation on global warming that I found a bit alarmist.

It had started raining just before we went into the Flower Dome and it was still raining when we exited the Cloud Forest so we had dinner at Majestic Bay, a nice Chinese restaurant just below the Flower Dome. We hoped it would clear up by dinner’s end as we wanted to see the light show at the Supertree Grove as well as walk along the elevated walkway that connects some of the trees.

The supertrees are, in fact, connected to the domes and help regulate the temperature and conditions inside. The trees range up to 160 feet high. As Wikipedia relates, “The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees – photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize; and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, exactly like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories’ cooling systems.”

Supertrees lit up during the evening light show.
Supertrees lit up during the evening light show.

The rain had indeed let up when we finished dinner and so we headed to the grove for the light show. All the supertrees are lit up with various colours and flashing lights in time to music. It’s a 15 minute production and a marvel to watch.

After the light show we walked through the gardens and on to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It is an amazing structure itself, with three towers supporting an infinity pool and restaurants at the top. Guests can swim right to the edge and look over. Not for the faint of heart!

Room rates are quite high starting at $479 a night. We heard that the hotel is booked up every nigh

Supertrees with the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the background.
Supertrees with the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the background.

t and you should make reservations six months ahead. We wandered through the lobby straight out to boardwalk around the Marina Bay Sands Shopping Mall on the other side. We had a pleasant walk around the boardwalk before taking an escalator down to the mall itself – which, like many malls in Singapore, is large. Very large!

We loved our visit to the Gardens by the Bay. A must see for visitors. Be sure to check out the two additional photo galleries I’ve compiled below.

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