Queen’s Head Rock Formation Yehliu GeoPark, Northern Taiwan
Yehliu GeoPark is home to a number of unique geological formations located along a cape stretching out on coastal Northern Taiwan. The iconic “Queen’s Head” (女王頭), rock formation is the unofficial emblem for the town of Wanli.
The cape stretches around 1,700 meters and is part of the Daliao Miaocene Formation. Thousands of years of geological movement forced the Datun Mountains to change its shape. The rocks jut out into the ocean.
DRIVE TO YEHLIU GEOPARK
Yehliu GeoPark is a formation of sedimentary rocks; formed by the sea and wind. Scenic, appealing with many rock formations, the north coastline of Taiwan has rocky outcrops.
The deep blue sea contrasts with the dramatic coastline of Taiwan. When I took the trip to the town of Wanli, it was stunning and memorable. It was a great day outdoors to soak in the sun, breathe in the nice sea breeze. The weirdly shaped rocks are the wonderful work of nature.
When we reached the park, it was a hot afternoon, with many tourists waiting in line to take pictures. We spent about two hours but did not get enough time to look at everything as it was getting hot. There are no covered walkways or shades to hide under. We squinted as the sun reflected back in the glare from the sea.
YEHLIU GEOPARK NATURAL WONDER
Yehliu GeoPark is famous for its sea-erosion landscape and is close to the sea.
The rock sculptures are a mix of sedimentary sandstone and shale. Each formation has a distinct mushroom-shaped heads poking out of the bare ground. The formations have rather imaginative names based on their shapes.
The Queen’s Head
Taiwan’s ancient Queen’s Head, the best-known rock formation in Yehliu is at risk of being beheaded is threatened by a crack at its base. Scientists are fighting to save the ancient rock from erosion according to The North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Office.
A fissure was recently reported to be seen under the Queen’s head as documented in published photos taken in 1969, 1980, 1990 and 2010 to prove that the crack has existed for over 40 years.
This “threat” is of grave concern and a research team from National Taiwan University has observed the rock for two years. The speed of weathering has so far maintained the same pace according to researchers.
However, in the next decade, scientists are concerned that the neck may become too thin to support the head and might break off.
The significance of the regal name
The Queen’s Head was named for its elegant shape and supposed likeness to England’s Queen Elizabeth I. The rock has been honed by sea water and strong winds.
Besides the famous Queen’s Head, there are many other remarkable formations. The other ‘statues” are Sea Candles (燭台石), Fairy Shoe (仙女鞋), Mushroom Rocks, the Tofu Rocks, Elephant Rock, Ginger Rocks, Ice Cream Rock, Kissing Rock, Princess’ Head and many interesting potholes.
The Queen’s Head is the most famous mushroom rock in Yehliu.
The mushroom rocks grouped on the wave-cut platform. These globe-shape rocks on the top while supporting by the thin stone pillars on the bottom are called mushroom rocks.
The formation process of mushroom rock can be divided into three phases:
Two broken concretions within rock layers are formed vertically to the sea level. The erosion caused by seawater may progress along the concretions, leading to the formation of a stone pillar.
The formation of mushroom rock is caused by differential erosion. The top rock layer containing calcium is more durable whereas the lower rock layer is softer suffer from weathering as well as rain erosion and turn into the shape as we see it now.
The mushroom rocks can be divided into three types according to the different appearance best described as the head and neck of the rock. “Thin-neck rock”,” thick-neck rock” and “neckless rock”.
Many of the thin-neck mushroom rocks carry a heavier load on the top and may be toppled down easily if struck by violent winds and waves and earthquakes.
Honeycombed rocks refer to the rocks that are covered with holes of different sizes which look like honeycombs. These are found on the top of the mushroom rock.
What Causes for the formation of honeycombed weathering?
The formation of honeycombed weathering is caused by the organism detritus on concretions. The process can be divided into three phases:
The organism detritus: The concretions are covered with numerous shell and urchin detritus.
Small holes: The holes appeared on the surface of rocks are formed as a result of organism detritus being dissolved by sea water or the decomposition of rocks.
The formation of honeycombed rock: The decomposition process continues with weathering from sea water, sea salt eroding the tiny holes into large ones with the shape looking like honeycombs.
Ocean Erosion Pothole
Ocean erosion pothole is formed as a result of seawater erosion and weathering imposed on the surface notches. These are created by differential weathering. A grain of sand may often be found inside the pothole.
Further reading material and references about Yehliu Geopark.
In ecotourism, the conservation of natural assets and the protection of protection of the environments is important to its continuance as a natural wonder.
The authorities have taken care to protect the park from abuse. There are many signs put up and a red line drawn to demarcate dangerous slope.
During the summer months, Yehliu GeoPark is packed with scores of tourists walking everywhere. The rangers watch, monitor and help the tourist move around.
Tourists are cautioned to step away from the red lines. The Rangers are on hand to blow a whistle if a tourist goes beyond the safe zones.
There have been reported incidents of falling when overzealous tourists step over the rocky edge to take photos.
I enjoyed the scenery and wish we had more time to look around. The rock sculptures are a mix of sedimentary sandstone and shale formation. It has a distinct mushroom-shaped heads poking out of the bare ground.
The rock surface is rough and uneven. The formations have imaginative names based on their shapes.
Next to the GeoPark is the Yehliu Ocean World (野柳海洋世界), which is an oceanarium with ocean exhibits, and sea life including dolphin and sea lion performances. Tickets for the oceanarium can be reserved online and is a fun addition to the more educational experience at the GeoPark.
Outside the park, there are some small street markets where we get some food, drinks, and souvenirs. We got a few shrimp biscuits that are quite tasty.
How to Get to Queen’s Head Rock Formation Yehliu GeoPark, Northern Taiwan?
Yehliu GeoPark is located along the Northern coast of Taiwan. Its location is a bit remote but well worth the effort to visit.
By Long Distance Bus:
From Taipei West Bus Station – Terminal A (located at Taipei Main Station), go to the KuoKuang (國光) window and purchase a ticket for NT$96 to Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園). The journey takes around 90 minutes, and the bus will drop you on the main road just outside the park entrance. Walk down the lane on the left side to enter.
By Shuttle Bus:
Ride comfortably in a shuttle bus from Ximen to Yehliu, followed by the Ying Yang Sea, 13-Layer Remains, Golden Waterfall, Jiufen (九份), and Shifen Old Streets (十分老街) leaving at 9 am and returning at 5.45 pm
By North Coast Shuttle Bus (from Tamsui (淡水, Danshui) or Keelung):
Take the North Coast Shuttle Bus NT$200 all-day unlimited rides from either MRT Tamsui Station or Keelung Railway Station.
Yehliu Geopark is on your left side and Yehliu Ocean Park is on your right side. Entrance fee is NT$80.00
Where to buy food and snacks before heading out?
We love to buy food and snacks from Taiwanese 7-eleven convenience store to munch on our way.
#1 Tea Eggs are great protein snacks! These can only be found in convenience stores in Taiwan! We love the fragrance of the savory salty scent of these hard-boiled eggs are simmered in an aromatic tea broth. Great hot and cold. Price: NT$10
#2 Steamed Sweet Potatoes are the perfect midday snack and for your long road trips out of Taipei or even while traveling across cities! Price: NT$25 to NT$50/based on weight
#3 Rice Balls & Curry Rice Ball if you can’t live without rice! One of the specialty rice balls is the one featuring a Braised Egg in the middle. This is surrounded by a mix of seasoned rice. The egg yolk has a soft flowy texture just like the eggs you find served with Japanese ramen!
Price: NT$36 for Curry Rice Ball, NT$35 for Braised Egg Rice Ball
#4 Taiwanese Milk Tea & Coffee These yummy drinks are great to sip on. Although I tend to prefer the Coffee drinks as too much milk gives me the runs! Price: NT$35
#5 Unique Potato Chip Flavours – 7-Eleven in Taiwan carry Sea Salt flavored charcoal chips from Mister Potato for NT$75
#6 Traditional Taiwanese Snacks7-Eleven – Look out for the Wang Wang biscuit – a salty-sweet rice cracker, and Shrimp Strips that are a perfect snack with beer! Then there’s the Hawthorn candy, made from the Chinese Hawthorn fruit which is great to aid digestion after so many full meals.
TIPS FOR VISITING YEHLIU GEOPARK
Do go early to avoid the tour bus crowd. The park opens at 8 am on the dot.
Do bring an umbrella as it can get very hot and the rains as there is no shelter. Apply sufficient sunblock. If you’re wearing a hat, it’s better to bring one with a strap as a sudden gush of wind will lift it off. It is dangerous to chase after your hat.
Do wear proper covered footwear as the rocks may be slippery after rains.
Do remember to bring your camera.
For a close up photo with the star attraction, the “Queen’s Head”, you will need to queue for it. The other rock formations are equally photogenic. The trick is to wait patiently for sole landscape photography without people in it.
Generally, about 45 minutes to an hour is sufficient to cover every corner, unless the queue is extremely long.
DO NOT go beyond the red line! There have been cases of tourist falling over as this is very very dangerous!
Tip from our guide: instead of lining up to take a photo with the queen’s head, just take a photo on the opposite side. No need to wait in queues and the photos looks about the same!
Yeh Liu Geo Park
Nature & Parks in New Taipei City, Taiwan
No.167-1, Kangton Rd. Yeh Liu Village, Wanli Dist., Xinbei 20744, Taiwan
Hours: Open today 8 AM–5 PM
Phone: +886 2 2492 2016
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