Along the northern tip of Taiwan sits a strange, unique landscape like the set of an old episode of Star Trek. The Yehliu Geopark is an unusual photo shoot just waiting to happen.
Taipei slowly backs off into the distance as the bus carries us further and further from the city. The roads are winding enough that a slight hint of nausea has begun to set in. Fortunately, the quiet and simplistic scenery of the Taiwanese countryside seems to be providing a bit of a distraction. At the end of the hour long trip is the promise of seeing one of the most unique landscapes in Eastern Asia.
You don’t have to be a geologist to appreciate how unique the rock formations at Yehliu are. A long and thin peninsula that stretches almost two kilometres, Yehliu park is a geographic oddity. Visitors shuffle between the rocks, posing for photographs, tilting their heads and squinting their eyes as they identify the shapes of the stones.
Many of the rock formations have different names–like the queen’s head rock, which resembles some eroded avatar of Cleopatra. But it’s more fun to try to figure the shapes out for yourself, the childhood cloud guessing game brought closer to earth. And there are enough shapes to fire up the imagination machinery in one’s mind.
Yehliu formed when sedimentary rocks were pushed up as the nearby Datun Mountains were formed, and slowly eroded by the sea into odd shapes and formations that were so notable that hundreds per day come to walk among the strange stones.
A small series of short caves can be found along the right side of the peninsula, and if you’re interested a short hike, heading up the hills is an option that seems to be highly popular with birdwatchers.
As we wander along the far end of the beach, we come across a wild pack of dogs, wandering across the landscape. At the top of a barely accessible hill, a mother has given birth to a litter of puppies. The alpha male is clearly visible as he wanders among the stones, with his confident stride and a pack of followers waiting for his every move. They aren’t hostile toward the people walking among them, but they are cautious.
Yehliu Geopark is a one-of-a-kind place where nature has created something truly remarkable, a landscape that would be beautiful if manmade, but is made all the more wondrous by its self-creation.
You can find more information about the location of Yehliu Geopark and transportation options at the government’s tourism website here.