Windsor Nature Park

 

One of the most happening places to be on a weekend, the Windsor Nature Park provides no lack of entertainment for nature lovers and hikers alike.

The main highlight of the park is the TreeTop Walk, a free-standing suspension bridge that stretches through the canopy of the mature secondary forest offering a bird’s eye view of the surrounding flora and fauna.

From the car park at Venus Drive is an easy 2.5 km hike to the treetop walk, but expect the round-trip to stretch to about 7 km with its loops and detours.

The Venus car park may look large, but it tends to fill up early on weekends. If there after 8.30am, we have to be prepared to camp and wait for a lot.

Public transport is a convenient option, with buses 132, 163, 165, 166, 167, 855 and 980 plying Upper Thomson Road, which is a short hop to the park entrance.

Before we enter the park, we are given advanced warning not to feed the monkeys, because they can jolly well find their own food in the forest.

At the start of the trail we are presented with many options, all equally irresistible.

Embarking on the Squirrel Trail will not fail to disappoint. Chances are the friendly squirrels will come out to meet and greet visitors.

The trail starts off on a lovely boardwalk that has been modernized and made with sturdy-looking material all striated and slip-proof.

As we ascend onto higher grounds, the boardwalk suddenly disappears and in its place is a dirt trail, which can get soggy on rainy days.

At times the trail transforms into a cement path, providing much appreciated reprieve from the muddy soil, however brief it may be.

But don’t get too distracted by the ever-changing terrain. Watch out for the snakes!

And the monitor lizards!

If we are careful not to make too much noise, some of the shy birds may decide to come out and say hello.

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnencis)
Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)

When we do make it to Terentang Hut, we know that we are not too far away from the popular TreeTop Walk.

Everyone’s heading in that direction. As long as we follow the crowds we’ll get there somehow.

Direction is one-way…

…and entry is in single-file…

Be sure to proceed in orderly fashion and stow away all edibles, as the patrolling monkeys will come around to inspect the line. All foodstuffs will be confiscated.

We got so distracted by the inquisitive macaques that we almost forgot to admire the breathtaking scenery all around us! Standing tall at 25 metres above ground, we can see the crystal blue waters of Peirce Reservoir up north.

The walk along the 250 m long suspension bridge is brief, and all it does is whet our appetite for more. But we can’t go for another round, without having to walk via a 2-km one-way loop back to the start point…

…by which time we would be too exhausted to walk anymore. The Tempines Hut is a much-appreciated rest-point where we could rest our aching calves…

…but we won’t be the only ones feeling exhausted and needing a break.

Poor fella here looks like he had a rough day too…

…and the only thing that could perk him up was the sight of food in someone’s hand.

The journey back brings us through more of the same undulating trails and meandering boardwalks, and may seem like a never-ending march.

We can give ourselves a pat on the back, when we eventually see the large signboard marking the start of the trail and the end of our route.

For those who make it out, there is a bonus loop trail called the Hanguana Trail (350-m loop), which is lined with rare native plants and eye-catching insects.

The Scarlet Grenadier (Lathrecista asiatica), a handsome dragonfly with his bright red abdomen, is hard to miss when venturing along this magical wonderland path.

Another attractive fellow, the Spine-tufted Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis), flits around with his blood-red bulbous abdomen sticking out like a sore thumb.

The Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora) is one that will surely catch the eye. If we happen to spot the neon fuschia male hovering around…

…chances are we will also spot the equally eye-catching female Crimson Dropwing, who is anything but crimson, looking resplendent all decked in gold.

The Common Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum glaucum) is another pretty dragonfly to look out for in the area.

Less easily spotted are the damselflies, who can be distinguished from the dragonflies by their smaller slimmer bodies and their demure habit of tucking in their wings when they sit.

The Crescent Threadtail (Prodasineura notostigma) is one such damselfly that can be seen around these parts.