Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

This video is about Denuwara Manike train, which is the newest addition to Sri Lanka railways on late 2019 and was put to service on 1st of November 2019. Currently it is the fastest way to go to Badulla by train. This intercity express train known by train number 1001 will depart Colombo Fort railway station every other day at 6:45 AM and reach Badulla station at 3:30 PM after stopping at 11 stations on the main line. On the next day it will be train number 1002 and will return at 7:20 AM from Badulla station and reach Colombo Fort station at 4:30 PM, after stopping at 12 stations, making a journey of 294.3 kilometres in about 9 hours. Train will stop at Polgahawela, Peradeneya Junction, Gampola, Nawalapitiya, Hatton, Thalawakaelae, Nanuoya, Haputalae, Diyathalawa, Bandarawela, Ella. On the way back it will stop at Maradhana additionally.

Train consists of 2 Air Conditioned first class compartments with adjustable seats, adjustable arm rests, individual tables, television screens, audio jack ports, foot rests, cup holders, seat back pockets, 240 volts power outlets for some seats. 2 second class compartments with adjustable seats, adjustable arm rests, individual tables, foot rests, cup holders, seat back pockets, openable windows, 3 third class compartments, a restaurant car with disabled toilet facilities and 2 identical engines in the front and back with fully air conditioned driver and guard rooms. All compartments are having train information display screens, music, fans, luggage holders and toilets with sinks.
Denuwara Manike has a spacious disabled toilet in the restaurant compartment. Normally the door of this is locked and the restaurant staff got a key for this. It is having automatic door and hand rails for easy access. Good size sink and a mirror is also available. There is a small cubicle with a mirror and a sink near the disabled toilet for public use.

These types of trains are called DMUs which stands for Diesel Multiple Units. This S14 type powerset was manufactured by China Railway Rollingstock Corporation and was purchased for 1845 million rupees. Each of the two 11-cylinder engines can supply 1500 kilowatts to the train through AC – DC power transmission system and they are connected using the train’s electricity system. They are numbered as engine 971 and engine 972 by Sri Lanka railways department. In an engine failure, the train can reach its destination with one operating engine.

For the first time in Sri Lanka this train has a camera system and a Black box similar to aircraft Black box and records and stores all the operational data with the front camera view. The train information display screen, on this train is made out of LED panel which will display train running information in all 3 languages Sinhala, Tamil and English. It will display information such as train name, number, start and end station names, speed, next stopping station. Engines also got fuel tanks capable of storing 3500 litres of Diesel. Maximum possible speed of the train is 120 kilometres per hour. In the daily run between Colombo and Badulla it reaches 90 kilometres per hour in some sections of the route. To make the ride extra smooth, these carriages are fitted with air suspension system rather than the conventional suspension systems.

Train’s braking system is made by a German company named Knorr-Bremse, who are renowned for manufacturing reliable braking systems especially suited for hill country trains.

Since the train got 2 engines in the front and back, it doesn’t have an observation compartment.

Full route fair for first class is 1700 Sri Lankan rupees, second class is 1000 rupees and 700 rupees for third class. This train will only accept passengers who have booked tickets prior, so you cannot just buy a ticket from a railway station and get in. Tickets can be booked from most of the major railway stations like Colombo Fort, Maradhana, Badulla, Ella, Kandy, Hatton, Mathara, Galle, Anuradhapura, Jaffna. For more information visit Sri Lanka Railways website http://www.railway.gov.lk.

In the video you can see,

  • Denuwara Manike train passing Uduwara reservoir.
  • Train parked at Badulla station.
  • Denuwara Manike going to Badulla yard to rest for the night.
  • Train passing the famous nine arches bridge.
  • Denuwara Manike passing the highest point in Sri Lanka railway line. This place is about 1898 metres or 6227 feet above mean sea level.
  • Train passing iron bridges and tunnels.

Have you heard the good news that SriLankan Airlines is going to restart their direct flights to Australia. Yes it is true, SriLankan is going to start direct services between Sri Lanka and Australia from November 2017. They have decided to do this after acquiring brand new aircrafts from Airbus Industries. So when compared to other airlines, you will fly in more recently built modern aircraft with SriLankan.

SriLankan A340

SriLankan A333

With this new competition I think we will see better fairs to more Asian destinations. Introductory prices for the month of November 2017 from SriLankan seems very good as you see from some of the screenshots I have taken from the web site. Reserve your seats quickly by visiting SriLankan web site.

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If you are interested in waterfalls and not too fussed about the height, I think you will like Genoa falls in Genoa in the state of Victoria, Australia. Belonging to the Croajingolong National Park, Genoa falls is a set of small cascades of water each with a height of no more than 3 meters, located near the Victorian and New South Wales border.
Genoa falls is located in about 488 kilometers East from the city of Melbourne and can be reached in about 5 and half hours’ drive. Access to the falls is via an unsigned dirt road which can be easily missed. I am sure there are many who are passing in Princess highway daily without knowing there is a small waterfall in this location. After turning to the dirt road, you just need to drive about 200 meters to reach the place to park the car. There is space to park 3 or 4 cars comfortably. This will not be a problem since this is not much of a famous attraction, so you will find space to park your car at any time of the year.
At the car park, there will be a small sign mentioning that you are in the Genoa falls in Croajinolong national park. Camping, open fires and pets are not allowed to make you and others safe at the location. You have to walk about 500 meters to reach Genoa waterfall from the car park, I would say the walk is moderately difficult because the last part descending to the Genoa creek is having one or two steep steps and path is narrow. Better look for reptiles such as snakes and lizards on your way. Keep a good eye at your children if you got them on your trip since the area is hazardous specially with uncovered waterholes.
Once you go down the final set of steps, turn left to reach the main attraction. It is a Basalt floor all the way to the waterfall with random water holes. In dry weather, you will be able to reach the waterfall without getting your feet wet.
After the waterfall the stream will divide into two parts, one will be going behind the boulders and hidden, the other smaller stream will be visible, follow it downstream. In about 30 meters, to your left you will see the other stream joining back with two small waterfalls.
Another good thing is that you can walk the breadth and length of the stream in dry weather without getting wet. When wet, be mindful, the area will be slippery with the algae build-up. I feel the water is bit Ionic from the slight Brown colour seen.
Apart from space to park the car, there are no facilities available on site. So, if you plan to have a barbecue or a picnic, this is not the place. Also, be prepared to carry your garbage out, since there are no garbage bins available.

Score out of 5
1 Parking Availability Adequate

3

2 Wheelchair Access Main Viewpoint – No

Secondary Viewpoint – No

Picnic Areas – No

0

3 Accessibility Moderately difficult walk of about 15 minutes from car park.

2

4 Facilities Covered Sitting Areas – No

Toilets – No

Barbecue – No

Garbage Bins – No

1

5 Scenery Waterfall

Stream

Mountains

3

Hope you will enjoy the video.

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In my recent travels to Victoria I visited the Loy Yang power station. This power station consists of two sections named as “Loy Yang A” and “Loy Yang B” which was built in 1980s, both these plans are coal fired thermal power stations. Taken together these generate 4300 MW of power which is about 30% of Victoria’s current power needs and is the largest power station in Australia (when taken together). AGL owns and operates Loy Yang A and the adjacent coal mine.

There are no tours to look inside the power station but there is a picnic area where you can see the plants from a distance.

      Score out of 5
1 Parking Availability  

4

2 Wheelchair Access Easy

5

3 Accessibility Easily accessible within about 3 minutes walk from carpark.

4

4 Facilities

No covered sitting areas.

Toilets – No

Barbecue – Yes

2

5 Scenery  

2

 

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Today I thought to post an article about the highest waterfall in Victoria, which is Agnes Falls in Hazel Park, Hazel Park is a suburb in the state of Victoria in Australia. Agnes falls is located about 200 kilometres South East of Melbourne city, which can be reached in about 2 and half hours’ drive from Melbourne city.

At the end of the Agnes falls road you can park your car and walk for about 100 metres to reach the first viewpoint. This part is mostly downhill so is easily accessible. Walking further 200 metres will get you to the main 2 viewpoints to enjoy the beautiful Agnes falls. There will be bit of uphill walk involved. If needing a break there will be a seat on the way, but nice scenery will facilitate the walking and you will be there in no time

At the end of the short walk you will have to go down few steps, so wheel chair and pram access is not possible. After walking down turning left will take you to viewpoint 2, which overlooks the mountains and the distance Toora windfarm.

All viewpoints are well guarded and safe for little children, but if it is a rainy day, look for puddles of water in the main viewing area otherwise you will end up in wet shoes / feet.

Spanning 59 meters, Agnes falls becomes the highest waterfall in the state of Victoria and has 3 cascades of water. Due to the quality of the water in Agnes river, it is found ideal for domestic use and Agnes river is used as a source of water for the nearby Toora township. The 1924 proposed water supply scheme ensured year-round gravity fed water for the township, and the first part was completed on 1926.

There is wheelchair accessible toilets, few tables with benches and 2 undercover tables with seating to have a picnic. Remember to bring some bags to carry your garbage since there are no waste bins provided.

      Score out of 5
1 Parking Availability Adequate

4

2 Wheelchair Access

Main Viewpoint – No

Secondary Viewpoint – Yes

Picnic Areas – Yes

3

3 Accessibility Easily accessible within about 10 minutes walk from carpark.

4

4 Facilities

Covered Sitting Areas – Yes

Toilets – Yes

Barbecue – No

Garbage Bins – No

3

5 Scenery

Waterfall

Mountains

4

Watch the video and get a feel of the location before you plan your trip to Agnes Falls.

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If you like to experience nature’s amazing things it has to offer, one place you should not miss is the magnetic mountain in Black Rock South Australia. What is interesting in this place is that natural (magnetic) forces will take your car up the hill without the engine power.

Normally if you switch your car off, put it to neutral while at the middle of a hill and release the brake, your car will start moving downhill, but in this mountain your car will start moving up the hill. When I read about the place prior to my visit I thought it is a illusion in the eye. But after visiting the place I got amazed by seeing the way it moved my vehicle up the hill. To experience this I would encourage you to visit this mountain.

Magnetic Hill is located about 260 km from Adelaide and will take about 3 hour 30 minutes. The road to the magnetic hill is a unsealed road, but you can use a 2WD car to reach there.

Until you visit Magnetic Hill your self, enjoy me travelling up the hill while my engine is off.

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If you like Cherries like me, another orchard you should visit is Harben Vale Cherries in Balhannah SA 5242. Located on Altmanns road, this orchard is about 100 hectares and produce Beef cattle, Potatoes and Cherries. This is a family owned farm which was with Altmann’s family for some 160 years.

They have started growing Cherries for about 10 to 12 years now and has a very open rural outlook rather than the steeper more traditional areas around Lenswood. You will find ample free parking in the property. This orchard has about 8 main Cherry varieties grown in 3 Hectares. Picking is easy since the trees are well trained and you can easily pick Cherries without using ladders.

Cherry season is a short 2 month period normally from December to January each year. Produce might even finish before the end of the season depending of the number of people visiting farms, So always call or check their web site before visiting. Current farm managers, Wayne and Julie Altman are very friendly people and they would be happy to help if you contact them.

When visiting, it is better to wear shoes in which you can easily walk on grass. Since it will be summer, hats are also recommended. Buckets will be provided to all visitor groups to pick Cherries into so you do not want to take anything for collecting what you pick. At the time I visited, they did not charge any admission fee and one kilo of Cherries were sold for $ 5. These prices can always change so I recommend you to check with the owners before picking since whatever you pick, you should buy. Since these Cherries are fresh you can keep them for few weeks without any problems, if you freeze you may even be able to keep them for few months. But I like to consume them within 2 – 3 weeks from picking.

Address : Altmanns Road, Balhannah 5242.
Phone : 04 3900 1962
EMail : wjaltman@adam.com.au
Web : http://harbenvale.com/

 

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If you like Strawberries and would like to pick your own, then there is a good place you can do it in Hahndorf South Australia.

It is called Beerenberg Strawberry farm, located on the Mount Barker road. If you are planning to visit them to pick your own strawberries you need to visit them from October to May which is the Strawberry season. Else you can buy their produce from the shop.

Normally they are open everyday except Christmas day from 9:00AM to 04:00PM. Anyway it is always good idea to give them a call before going.

There is enough parking on site and there will be a helper on busy days.

Once you are there you can visit the shop to get permission to enter the patch. When I was there entry was $ 3 per person. They will also provide containers to bring the Strawberries you pick. Remember to pick whatever amount of Strawberries you would like to buy. Normally you can keep them from few days to about 10 days in fridge (obviously you can keep bit more days than this but then they wont be tasting fresh). Once you have enough Strawberries picked you can bring them back to the shop where they will weigh it, so you can pay. While I was there they sold a Kilo of Strawberry for $ 9, but the price always changes from season to season, so it is always best to check the price they are selling before heading to the Strawberry patch.

If you are travelling with young children, I do not recommend a pram since the ride will be bumpy, best is to use a child carrier sling.

Address: Beerenberg Strawberry Farm,
Mount Barker Road Hahndorf,
South Australia, 5245
Phone:
+61 8 8388 7272
Fax: +61 8 8388 1108
Email: admin@beerenberg.com.au
Web: http://www.beerenberg.com.au/

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If you like to enjoy nature like me another place you can visit in South Australia is the Beetaloo Reservoir in Beetaloo which is managed by SA Water. It is about 220 kms from Adelaide. It is a reservoir built in the year of 1885 with a capacity of 3150 mega liters of water and having a catchment area of 4856 hectares. Its wall is 33.53 meters high and the maximum water level could reach 23.88 meters.

After parking your car you need to walk for about 10 minutes to visit the lookout area. Walk is not difficult, but if it rains some areas might be slippery. You do not need a 4WD to reach Beetaloo Reservoir. Its gate is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM each weekday and on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays open till 5:00 PM.

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If you are travelling in Beetaloo and also if you are enjoying the views of nature a good place to visit is Quarry road lookout. Quarry road it self is having some good views in your way. If you have sometime to spend there is a table and chair for you to sit down and have some food. Another good thing is you do not have to walk, you can park your car right in the lookout and enjoy.

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