Words by Huang Yi-ting Photography provided by Lai Chi-yang Translated by Anna Yang
Gaomei Wetland, Tanyasheng Bikeway and other famous Taichung visitor
destinations are consistently popular with families and couples. If your
knowledge of coastal Taichung is limited to Gaomei Wetland in the south
but doesn’t include Da’an in the north, you’re really missing out!
Taichung City Government has recently been promoting the city’s coastline out of desire to introduce natural enjoyment to the many visitors who love outdoor activities. A variety of Da’an District coastal tourism highlights include Guike Ecology Park, Da’an Hygrophila Ecology Park, and Nanpu Egret Forest. The Da’an Riverbank Bikeway, about nine kilometers long, also allows bicyclists to enjoy panoramic ocean views along the way.
First stop: Da’an Riverbank Bikeway offers sweeping sea vistas
Taichung is home to many bike paths, including coastal bikeways from Da’an to Dajia. Among these, the Da’an Riverbank Bikeway offers the best views. This nine-kilometer route takes you from Wenliao Embankment No.2 to Hongshulin Ecology Park and Wenliao Harbor. A rest area at the Guike Embankment welcomes visitors to take a stroll in Guike Ecology Park. In September, Da’an Beach Park Marina will offer a fun venue for splashing around in the water, including a clean pool and shower areas, alllowing families with kids to enjoy a safe swimming experience.
Second stop: Natural scenery, crabs and birds at Guike Ecology Park
Based on its name, which means “turtle shell”, one might mistakenly assume that there are many turtles in Guike Ecology Park. “Guike” dates all the way back to this town’s original name and it has been said that when the Ming and Yue ancestral settlers arrived in Da’an Harbor, they thought that an adjacent mound resembled a turtle shell. However, according to another legend, a family was building a house in this location a long time ago and the owner had a difficult time fixing the pillars with the roof. He then had a dream telling him at the spot belonged to the turtle goddess so he couldn’t build on this land.
Originally, there were no plans to renovate this park, which was abandoned for some time after its pond became severely eutrophic. The more recent dredging of accumulated silt helped to rectify this and the entire mangrove ecosystem gradually recovered. In order to help make the ecology pond a habitat for a greater variety of flora and fauna, its banks are now covered with pebbles and stones. It also features small bridges and flowing waters that create scenes that are particularly striking at sunset.
Following renovation work, many crabs, shellfish and seabirds suddenly appeared in this wetland and mangrove area, making it an excellent destination for teaching children about the coastal ecology and environmental protection concepts. The park is now equipped with many ecology-education introduction signs to help young people learn about nature.
Besides natural scenery, the giant wind-turbine generators, powered by strong winds on the western coastline, are quite famous, too. The park also includes a children’s amusement area, swimming pool and an outdoor plaza where musical performances and other artistic events take place.
Third stop: Purple blossoms at Da’an Hygrophila’s Ecology Park
This park is located on the southern bank of Wenliao Creek and is home to many endangered species, including the Da’an Hygrophila. This special Taiwan plant has furry leaves and calyx tubes (that also give it the name of Furry Hygrophila), as well as purple flowers that blossom between September and February.
The plant can be seen only in the coastal areas of Taichung’s Da’an, Qingshui and Longjing districts and its numbers have fallen dramatically due to a lack of environmental protection. While the ecology park is not large, it is also home to other plants such as Myoporum bontioides A. Gray and Fragrant Pittosporum. To learn more about western coastal ecology and wildlife, this is the perfect season.
During the late-summer and early-fall period, Da’an District’s coastline is a wonderful destination for riding bikes, playing at the beach and ecological education. The fact that these locations are also less crowded right now means that it’s also a great time to visit with family members and friends!