Monday, August 31, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Box Head and Tallow Beach - HIKE - 26 August 2009

To get there drive to the end of Hawkes Nest Road. The road is very rough but there is parking on the plateau above tallow beach.
The walk to box head is easy. The vegetation varies from sparse to very thick. At times there are large flat rocks with dwarfed trees growing in the spaces between the rocks. There are also views over coast, broken bay, Brisbane waters and Sydney. The track ends at the tip of box head. It is a great spot to sit rest and enjoy the views over Sydney and broken bay.
The track to tallow is a fire trail. At two points there are tracks to the right that lead to Little Tallow beach. The first track is a dry creek that leads to the centre of the beach. This is an excellent isolated beach. Strangely, the south end near shore had a large amount of dead small crabs on the shore. I followed this track to little tallow beach and then it leads onwards to the base of Box Head.
Returning back, the track stays high on the rocks passing little tallow beach and onwards to Tallow Beach. It is another excellent beach. On the return, an echidna was eating by the side of the fire trail.

Time: 3 ½ hours to box head and return to little tallow beach and Box head and return to car park.

Best: views, bird calls, isolation, beaches, dwarfed trees.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Birdie Beach, Jenny Dixon Beach, Norah Head and Soldier’s Point - HIKE - 24 August 2009

This walk can be done following the coast along Birdie to Soldier’s Beach or short walks after driving to each location.

The weather looked good to start off but distant clouds that were fast approaching lead me to choose the latter method of getting around.

The sun was shining strong on this winter day. I ventured into the water while photographing to cool off. The water was a little brisk. Birdie Beach is a very long crescent shaped beach. It would take a good few hours to reach the northern end. It is backed by small sand dunes. There a number of places to park along the beach.

Jenny Dixon Beach is a very pretty sandy beach with a backdrop of steep sandstone cliffs.

Norah Head has a car park near the lighthouse. The lighthouse has tours on public holidays and weekends. The lighthouse is an excellent backdrop over the headland. In front of the headland is a tessellated sandstone shore platform, perfect for easy walking. To the south and north are small coves and beaches.

Soldiers Point has a large carpark. The point is connected by a sand spit. To the south is Soldiers Beach.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Copacabana Lagoon - kayak - 21 August 2009

There are a few places at the eastern end of the lagoon to launch from either the Copacabana side or the MacMaster side.

The eastern arm has nice views of the beach and houses near the edge.

The western arm is very natural with a small creek on the north side and a long creek on the far western side. The far western creek runs for quite a distance and goes under two bridges joining a property. The thick vegetation along this creek results in very little wind and so the still water is a perfect reflection of the surrounding shore.

There is a reasonable amount of bird life that can be seen and/or heard. Ducks, peahens and kookaburras are along the water’s edge.

Time: 2 hours

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Indonesia - Bali - Padangbai - Blue Lagoon - 2008

Blue Lagoon is a small narrow cove which is great for snorkeling and relaxing. It is about ten minutes walk from Padangbai.

Walk along the beach street at the north end of Padangbai on the beach side till it divides into two directions. The road to the right leads to the temple and the road to the left lead to Blue Lagoon. Follow the road a short distance and signs will indicate to walk up a set of stairs which led for a short distance through bush to another set of steps which lead down to Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon is a narrow cove with coral and fish close to shore. The sides of the cove are sharp volcanic rock. There is a small white sand beach, which nearly disappears at high tide. On the high ground above the beach are two small restaurants where you can eat and drink, sit on deck chairs, hire snorkel gear and shower.

The best and least damaging way to get into the water is from the northern side of the beach where a small channel between the rocks leads to deeper water. Elsewhere along the beach the water is fairly shallow and entering here can lead to cuts as well as damage the coral.

Warning: currents can be strong on the outer edge of the cove and an incoming tide can bring stingers and rubbish.

Indonesia - Bali - Padangbai - Bias Tugal - 2008

This a beautiful white sand beach about twenty minutes south of Padangbai which is great for swimming and lazing in the sun.

Starting at the main ferry terminal, there is a small street on the southern side that leads up a hill. Follow this street for a short distance until you come to a sign on your left indicating a track to Bias Tugal. Follow the track through the bush until it eventually leads downhill to the beach. There are a number of tracks as you walk along but it is obvious which is the main track.

The beach is a classic white crescent shaped tropical white sand beach. The water is deep and there are some small waves that break right on the edge of the shore. The beach is lined with a number of small restaurants where you can eat and drink and sit in the shade. At high tide wave action can cover a lot of the beach.

The northern and southern corners of the beach have sharp volcanic rocky points. They are great to explore. The southern end has a blowhole where water shoots upwards when there is larger wave action.


Take water and a hat and joggers for the bush walk section (it is a hot walk)
Currents can be strong away from the beach edge
At times, wave action on the beach can be powerful

CENTRAL COAST - Little Bay - HIKE - 19 August 2009

I parked near Little Bay at the entrance to the National Park track. A small sign indicates the start or there is more parking and another entrance at the end of the road.

The easy track passes through rainforest with the calls of many birds echoing from the bush. Large trees and ferns dominate the vegetation. The track joins with a small fire trail that leads to Little Bay. There are toilets, buns and BBQ available. Camping is also permitted.

Little bay is a long narrow cove with a pretty white sand beach surrounded on the northern and southern sides by high sandstone cliffs. The water is shallow with good surfing waves under the right conditions. A small creek empties into the sea in the centre of the beach.

I followed the base of the northern cliffs along small rocks and tessellating sandstone. After about 20 minutes walk becomes impassable. The views are excellent on the point and the cliffs are awesome. The possibility of a rock fall is evident with the large amount of fallen rocks that litter the base.

There is a track leading upwards from the centre of the beach towards the towering cliffs on the northern side. The path is reasonably steep. Once at the top there are some reasonable views over the ocean. The track at this point becomes a sandy fire trail. It is not an exciting walk though there were a lot of flowers in bloom on the trail edge. I followed the trail and along track 72. The view at the track 72 was obscured by high and thick vegetation.

Time: 1 hour return to northern base of cliff and 1 hour return to track 72.


Best at low tide
Beware of falling rocks

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Avoca Lagoon - kayak - 22 March 2009

There are a number of spots to park your car and start. I started at Tramway street north Avoca.

This is an excellent kayak. The area is mostly natural and has some amazing features. The northern arm has channels running through the submerged trees, a bat colony at the far end and numerous spots to stop and walk around. The eastern arm has an island ‘Bareena Island’ and views to the beach. The southern arm goes under a bridge and is mostly lined within houses and cleared land. The western arm has small creeks at the far end that can be followed for quite a distance,

In general, there is an abundance of bird life and is quite a natural setting. The lagoon is emptied when water levels are too high.

Time: 4 hours

CENTRAL COAST - Terrigal Lagoon - kayak - 17 March 2009

There are a number of places from which to launch the kayak. I parked the car at Willoughby road near the bridge and park. This spot has eas7y access to the water.
The north arm of the lagoon is developed with housing and ends in a golf course. The east arm goes under a bridge and there are views of the beach. The western arm is the most natural with a variety of birds and bushland. The far end leads into small creeks that have smaller channels between them.

The lagoon is shallow and is not worth the effort if the lagoon has been opened to drain out the water.

Time: 3 hours

CENTRAL COAST - Patonga Creek - kayak - 17 February 2009

Launch anywhere at Patonga. The area is totally natural with oyster leases at various points. There is quite a lot of bird life and the shore varies from mangroves, rocks and sand. It ends rather abruptly. There a number pf places to stop and walk around.

Time: 3 1/2 hours

CENTRAL COAST - Narara Creek - kayak - 31 January 2009

Parking is difficult for this trek. I launched from Yallambee Avenue, West Gosford. The creek is wide with wet lands on the western side. There is a lot of bird life at this point. The creek gradually narrows, passes under a bridge and becomes too shallow to progress further. There were a number of interesting sites including the sunken boats, birds’ nests, mangroves, rope swings, and the rear of industrial areas.

Time: 4 hours

CENTRAL COAST - Erina Creek - kayak - 26 January 2009

There is a good launch and parking place from a fishing area off the Central Coast highway near the punt bridge east Gosford.

The creek follows the edge of the highway with a number of small diversions to follow on the northern side. The creek winds its way under a bridge and pas industrial and natural areas becoming gradually narrower. Eventually it is blocked by fallen trees.

time: 3 hours return

CENTRAL COAST - Lobster Beach - HIKE - 28 July 2009

Lobster Beach is located in the south of the Central Coast along a track from Pretty Beach. It is a short bush, beach and rock walk. The steep track path varies from brick, steps, natural and wooden platform.

I parked my car at High View Street, Pretty Beach. There is a small national park sign indicating the start of the track on the southern side of the street.

The walk starts as a paved brick track between houses. Soon there is a junction of tracks that lead to Tallow Beach in one direction and Wagstaffe in the opposite direction. Follow the track upwards along the steps. The houses give way at this point to a pretty bush setting. On the descent to Lobster Beach there are two rest spots with seating.

Lobster Beach is a pretty white sanded beach with a backdrop of trees and bushes. The view from the beach is of Umina beach and the surrounding areas. There are a compost toilets and rubbish bins.

I continued my walk east along the rocks. In some places, the rocks had fallen so that they formed arches to walk or crawl through. There were also many sea birds and the sounds of various birds on the bush side were vibrant.

My intention was to traverse the rocks until I reached Iron Ladder Beach and return via the bush track from Tallow Beach. Unfortunately, the rocks became impassable at a small cove before Iron Ladder Beach. I climbed the small sandstone cliff at this point but the bush above was extremely thick and also impassable. Luckily, the small cliff I had scaled had a concrete survey marker and from this marker there were uninterrupted and excellent views across to Pittwater, Broken Bay and Umina.

I returned the way I came via Lobster Beach and to my car. The journey was appropriately a 1 ½ hour leisurely walk.

Best: views, easy walk, quiet

Warnings: best to walk rocks at low tide, can be slippery in parts, steps are steep

CENTRAL COAST - Staples Lookout to Rocky Ponds - HIKE - 3 September 2008

Easy – 6 to 7 hours return.

The trail starts at Staples Lookout, on Woy Woy Road. Parking is available.

Walk across Woy Woy road and walk down the road to the sign that indicates the way to the National Park.

The trail is well signposted and wide, being a fire trail.

The walk itself is rather boring. The trail is easy with no steep gradients though it is undulating.

The highlights of the walk include:

There is a profusion of flowers varying in colours of yellows, reds, blues and whites abounding along the edge of the trail.
The views over distant mountains and nearby peaks can be seen at the high points of the trail.
Window-like views of Mullet Creek can be seen through breaks in the vegetation and between high points.
Some parts of the trail change from grated road to flat sandstone. The sandstone has interesting shapes as well as being covered with small plants and mosses in random spots.

The trail starts to narrow, a cleared spot for a camping appears, and a little further on Alison Brook flows over the sandstone of Rocky Ponds.

The first view of Rocky Ponds shows crystal clear water flowing over the flat sandstone in various directions. In parts, little pools have been formed where turbulent water has gouged into the rocks. Around the edge of the waterway are various plants and an abundance of multi-coloured flowers. This is a beautiful place to stop, listen to the bird and insect life, feast your eyes on the flora, soak your feet in the cool water and have lunch.

The ponds are worth exploring. Little waterfalls and cascades flow between flat narrow expanses of the creek. Small, winding trails on the edge of the creek lead to a lower section of the creek. Trees and the sky are reflected in the some of the still ponds.

The stillness and solitude of Rocky Ponds is exceptional. At least an hour or two is needed to enjoy what it has to offer.

CENTRAL COAST - Kincumba Mountain - Warriwarri Lookout - HIKE - 17 September 2008

Getting there

Drive by car to Kincumber Mountain reserve. Turn right just before the shopping centre at Kincumber at . Next, turn right at the first roundabout at Kincumber Street. Follow this street until the end. It joins onto a road leading up to the picnic area at Kincumber Mountain.

The picnic area has a mud house and toilets, parking and a ranger station at the northern end. The area is wide and there are tables and benches available. It is a nice place to rest or have a bit of fun while overlooking the view of Brisbane Water.

Warriwarri Lookout

The start of the Warriwarri Lookout track and the Sid Pulsford walk starts just a little to the west of the northern car park. The trail is wide with a variety of vegetation lining the edges of the walk. There are a number of large trees with a dry flora at ground level.

After a short distance, the trail spits into two directions (Warriwarri lookout and Sid Pulsford Walk). Continue along the trail until a sign indicates Warriwarri Lookout. There is a bench seat which overlooks the lookout. The lookout is a series of descending sandstone boulders. The view affords glimpses of Bensville and the surrounding areas through the trees. At this point, there are tracks that lead to urbanised areas.
When leaving the lookout there is a narrow track to the left. This track skirts the cliff and gives various northern views through the trees before turning inwards and back to the Lookout trail. Retrace your steps back to the car park.

special points

1/4 hour

CENTRAL COAST - Kincumba Mountain - Sid Pulsford Trail - HIKE - 17 September 2008

Getting there

Drive by car to Kincumber Mountain reserve. Turn right just before the shopping centre at Kincumber at . Next, turn right at the first roundabout at Kincumber Street. Follow this street until the end. It joins onto a road leading up to the picnic area at Kincumber Mountain.

The picnic area has a mud house and toilets, parking and a ranger station at the northern end. The area is wide and there are tables and benches available. It is a nice place to rest or have a bit of fun while overlooking the view of Brisbane Water.

Sid Pulsford Walk

This is a challenging walk and is quite pretty in certain parts. The trail is wide and descends steeply along a fire trail. Upon reaching the bottom of this section, there is a deep valley on the left side of the trail. Looking down into the valley there is a covering of soft ferns, umbrella palms and large trees. Birds can be heard amongst the tree canopy.

The trail ascends to drier vegetation. At the crest, there is a trail to the right. This leads to a dead end where a sewer exhaust pipe is located. Continuing, the trail begins to descend again with grasses lining the road. Not long after descending, there is a track to the left. This pretty track follows the contour line through the bush and eventually joins up with the trail again. Taking this track, avoids a very steep descent and climb.

The trail undulates a little and divides into two directions. Take the by pass and rest area track as this avoids the other trail which has a very steep decent and ascent. The rest area is an overhanging rock which is excellent to sit under, have something to eat and drink and enjoy the views of the bush area. Above the overhang, is a series of sandstone boulders leading further up the hill like stepping stones.

After resting, walk back down the track to the by-pass trail and follow this through the bush. A lookout gives views of the west through the vegetation. The trail rejoins the track. A turn to the right leads to another lookout. Retrace your steps back to the track and continue to the reservoir which is the end of the walk. Retrace your steps, back to the northern car park.

special points

1 ½ hours
Tracks off main trail can be difficult to locate.
Very steep at times.

CENTRAL COAST - Kincumba Mountain - Yanina Track - HIKE - 10 September 2008

Getting there

Drive by car to Kincumber Mountain reserve. Turn right just before the shopping centre at Kincumber at . Next, turn right at the first roundabout at Kincumber Street. Follow this street until the end. It joins onto a road leading up to the picnic area at Kincumber Mountain.

The picnic area has a mud house and toilets, parking and a ranger station at the northern end. The area is wide and there are tables and benches available. It is a nice place to rest or have a bit of fun while overlooking the view of Brisbane Water.

Yanina Track

The Yanina Track follows a fire trail to the Colin Watters and Nyari lookouts. Along the way there are splashes of yellows and purples in the greenery. The road divides into two directions leading to the two lookouts.

The Colin Watters lookout is excellent. It gives views over parts of Avoca lagoon, Avoca Beach and Picketts Valley. There is seat in front of the main view and a picnic table a little further back. There is a small track to the north which skirts along the top of the ridge providing partial coastal views through the trees of Terrigal to Forresters Beach. This track leads to Nyari Lookout. The Nyari Lookout is a series of sandstone boulders with crevasses in between, There are partial views of Brisbane Water and even the roof tops of Erina Fair. Follow the road back to the car park.

special points

1 hour
Bench seat at both lookouts
Picnic table at Colin Watters lookout.

CENTRAL COAST - Kincumba Mountain - Kanning Track - 10 September 2009

Getting there

Drive by car to Kincumber Mountain reserve. Turn right just before the shopping centre at Kincumber at . Next, turn right at the first roundabout at Kincumber Street. Follow this street until the end. It joins onto a road leading up to the picnic area at Kincumber Mountain.

The picnic area has a mud house and toilets, parking and a ranger station at the northern end. The area is wide and there are tables and benches available. It is a nice place to rest or have a bit of fun while overlooking the view of Brisbane Water.

Kanning Track

The entry to this track is a short distance along the road north of the ridge trail.

After a very short distance, the track turns 90 degrees right and passes between two large fallen trees. The roots of the trees face into the path forming a bush turnstile. The shape of the root system is very interesting and gaps in the roots make for a window view of the surrounding bush. The ground of the track is soggy in parts but walkways prevent walks damaging the soil. The left edge of the track borders very large slabs of sandstone. Crevasses between the boulders are thick with plants humus. Water trickles and drips over the boulders creating an environment for ferns, mosses and lichens. A small cave can be found half way along the track. A short while after the cave the track begins to ascend and the flora changes to a drier variety. Eventually, the track joins up to the Yanina trail and it is only a short distance to the car park.

time: 1/2 hour

difficulty: easy

CENTRAL COAST - Kincumba Mountain - Ridge Track - HIKE -10 September 2008

Getting there

Drive by car to Kincumber Mountain reserve. Turn right just before the shopping centre at Kincumber at . Next, turn right at the first roundabout at Kincumber Street. Follow this street until the end. It joins onto a road leading up to the picnic area at Kincumber Mountain.

The picnic area has a mud house and toilets, parking and a ranger station at the northern end. The area is wide and there are tables and benches available. It is a nice place to rest or have a bit of fun while overlooking the view of Brisbane Water.

Ridge track

The Ridge trail starts opposite the mud house. The vegetation is dry and thick at the beginning with the trail covered with leaves but after a short distance it widens over a sandstone area. From this point there are a number of smaller tracks leading north and south. Continue in an easterly direction. The vegetation changes to dense ferns and grass trees. Further along the flora becomes more interspersed affording picturesque glimpses of Brisbane Waters on the right and to the left views of the coastline. Eventually, a series of descending sandstone boulders, dropping off to a steep drop marks the final viewing point. The angophora trees that grow at the base of the drop give a canopy view of themselves from the higher point of the sandstone boulders. The shapes they form are very artistic and a pleasurable to gaze upon. There are now great views over parts of Brisbane Water, which are framed by the branches of the huge angophoras. At the base of the drop a number of other tracks are be seen. The return trip is along the same path.

time 3/4 hour

special points: easy

Thursday, August 13, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Terrigal - surf - 14 august 2009

A warm and sunny winter's day. some nice waves with a bit of lull between sets. Beach quote: 'life is a pattern'.

Monday, August 10, 2009

CENTRAL COAST - Copacabana - surf - 11 August 2009

East wind in the morning. Looking a bit messy. Copa had some nice waves with some powerful sets.

CENTRAL COAST - Warrah Trig to Patonga - HIKE - 24 September 2008

Driving towards Patonga on Patonga Road turn left at sign for Warrah Trig. The road is unpaved until the end at Warrah Trig where it is paved for parking spaces.

The first part of the walk is the Tony Doyle track. A sign indicates the sandstone walkway to Warrah Trig. It is only a short distance to the Warrah Trig marker (176m). At this point, there are views over the Hawkesbury River. The track itself is a well defined paved path, mixed with some wooden walkways. The sounds of insects buzzing and butterflies flittering amongst the profusion of flowers are present along the higher part of the track. The track descends for about ten minutes, between a number of small sandstone overhangs and boulders that break up the vegetation. The track crosses a fire trail which leads to Patonga on the right and Pearl beach on the left.

Straight ahead is Warrah Lookout track. It starts off paved but after a short distance becomes a natural track passing by small, scribbly gum trees and banksias. After two minutes, a flat sandstone area announces the lookout with its glorious views of Broken Bay, the Hawkesbury River, Barrenjoey and Patonga. The edge cliff is fenced from a near sheer drop of 100 metres. This is a nice place for a rest while taking in the breathtaking scenery with its dizzying height to the water below.

Continue back along the track until the fire trail and turn left towards Patonga. The trail ascends for a short distance passing overhangs of sandstone. At one spot on the right, there is a large scribbly gum growing improbably from under an overhang with its root system spread over the rocks and deep within rock fissures. After five minutes, there is a signpost indicating a track on the left leading to Patonga. The track gradually drops for ten minutes until the last steep drop to Patonga. There is a great variety of flowers and small tea trees, gums and banksias along the way with a number of small tracks that turn off to the left towards the cliff. The views from these various points are awe-inspiring but care must be taken as there is a steep drop and no protective fences.

journey time: 1 1/2 hour return

best points: views, natural bushland, flowers

worse points: none

special note: This can be started from Warrah Trig or Patonga and in warmer weather, a pleasant swim could be had at Patonga or Dark Corner (a small beach to the left at the end of the track).

CENTRAL COAST - Captain Cook Lookout to Winnie Bay - HIKE - 9 August 2009

There is car parking at Captain Cook Lookout at Copacabana. The lookout isn't very impressive as trees and bushes obscure most of the view.

Walking from the carpark to the lookout there is a small track near the end of the wire fence. This track leads to Winnie Bay. It is heavily overgrown with bitou, which tends to make the track more like walking through a maze. The vegetation changes towards the bottom of the hill to native trees and bushes and eventually to cleared land dominated by grasses. While walking down the hill there are some fantastic views overlooking the ocean with shear drops to the water below and unobstructed views north to Winnie Bay, Avoca and the Skillion. The views alone are worth the walk.

Winnie Bay is a sewerage outfall, which is indicated by the sign saying don't swim and don't eat the crustaceans and don't eat the fish. I got the message. Once on the rocky beach there are headlands to the north and south. The north is an easy rock walk that can be traverse nearly as far as Avoca. The south walk only goes only a little further than the headland. The wave action here sends up plumes of whitewater and the backdrop of cliffs is very steep. A rock landing on your head is possible at a number of spots.

There are two other entry points for this walk. One is a fire trail and the other is a better maintained walking track that leads through the bush straight up the hill behind Winnie Bay. The track I followed though poorly maintained is more breathtaking.

journey time: 3 hours return

good points: views north, standing on the edge of sheer drops, isolation

worse points: lack of native vegetation.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Indonesia - Lombok - Gili Trawangan - Martas Bungalows - April 2009

0812 3722 777
628123722777 bungalow number
6281339812299 joanna mobile after 10/4
650 000 family room 400 000 double room

Marta’s is located on Gili Trawangan. Follow the main road south and turn right at the Marta’s sign. Follow this road and it is on the right just after the first cross road.

The hotel has a small number of two-storey double rooms and two two-storey family rooms. The latter can hold five persons – two double beds and one single bed. The rooms cost 400 000 r for double and 650 000 for family room. All rooms have air conditioning, bathroom and verandah. The rooms are constructed of dark wood and marble. They are very unusual and different. We liked them a lot.

The grounds are small with paths lined with plants and shady trees. There is a nice salt water pool fed water by two stone statues. A small toddler’s pool is attached.

The breakfast which is included in the price consists of tea/coffee, fruit, juice and another item. This is served on your room verandah.

The staff is very friendly and helpful. The owner’s wife is English – Jo who is very friendly and has a beautiful daughter Isha.

Currently a new restaurant/kitchen is being constructed.

Worse points: none

Best points: great rooms, nice staff, great pool

Indonesia - Lombok - Snorkeling

Most places where you can snorkel there will be a place nearby to hire gear. Personally, I take my own gear for two reasons. One it is more hygienic and two, the gear I take will not have any leaking or fitting problems.

Advice for snorkeling with young kids

When my kids were this age we took body boards which I attached to my leg and the girls floated on board while I pulled them around. This way I got to snorkel off boats, near shore etc and felt okay. My youngest had difficulty with a snorkel so she used swimming goggles. The limitation is that I couldn't dive under unless I detached them.

Kuta, Lombok

Many areas with clear water, sand, coral, fish – visibility very good.

Gili islands, Lombok

All islands are excellent – close to shore with steep drops – sharks, fish, coral, turtles, rocks – many great spots – drift with the currents - hire a boat to snorkel around islands or take a tour.

Problems with indo snorkeling

In all these places it can be ‘bad’ due to:

Changes in visibility
Strong currents
Stinging jellyfish
Biting sea lice
Sea urchins
Tidal changes
Poor hired gear

One year in the Gili trawangan, there were sea lice that made it a misery to swim or snorkel and the welts afterwards become very itchy.

Indonesia - Lombok - Tetebatu

Tetebatu is a spread out rural village on the southern slopes of Gunung Rijini. It has great views.

What to do

scenic road to Tetebatu

trek to Taman Wisata Tetebatu - waterfalls and monkeys

trek to waterfall - air terjaun jukut

trek to waterfall – air terjun joben


watch kotaraja - stick fight

Loyok - basketware

Rungkang – pottery

Lendang Nangka – sasak village

Pringgasela - weaving

Where to stay

Losmen Hakiki

Pondok Tetebatu
0376 632572

Nirmana Cottages

Cendrawasih Cottages

Wisma Soedjono
0376 21309

Indonesia - Lombok - Gettting to and from Gilis/Lombok - 2009


Bali to Lombok flights

Buy from airport or travel agent

1. Garuda -
Airport: 0370 646846
Call centre: 080 418 07807

2. merpati airlines –
Lombok: 0370 621111
Airport: 0370 633637
Bali: 0361 235358

3. Indonesian air –
Lombok: 0370 6880210 or 0370 639589
Bali: 0361 759768 or 0361 7406929

4.Trigana Air –
Lombok: 0370 646839
Bali: 0361 760218

5. Trans Nusa Air –
Lombok: 0370 6162428
Bali: 0361 760218

International flights

Silk Air – Singapore/Lombok direct

merpati airlines – kuala Lumpur/Lombok via Surabaya

Domestic flights

Lion Air –
Merpati Airlines
Trans Nusa Air
Batavia Air –


Large ferry -Padangbai (bali) to Lembar (Lombok) – 4 to 5 hours crossing – depart every two hours.

Perama Tours – pick up by bus – stopping at all three gilis and senggigi – 10 hours crossing –

Fast boats – also stop at Lombok mainland south of Bangsal.

Gili cat - 1 200 000 return and 660 000 single – 1 ½ hours
Rate for child ( 4 - 11 years old ) – 975 000 return and 544 000 one way
The price is including shuttle transfer to and from Sanur & Kuta and Ubud area.
0361 27 16 80
081 337911733
The boat leaves from Padangbai – boat boards at 8:30 to leave 9:00 arriving Gili Trawangan at 10:30 am
When leaving Gili Trawangan, board at 11:00 to leave 11:30 arriving at Padangbai 1:30

Blue Water Express leaves from Benoa to Gili Trawangan – 8am leaves Benoa – 11am leaves Gili Trawangan – the journey is about 2 ½ hours

A speed boat Sengiggi to and from Gili Trawangan was 450 000 for four of us and heaps of gear. It was fun and very fast.

Arrange transfers with hotel or organize yourself a combination of road and sea transport. This involves a road transport on Lombok mainland and a chartered local boat to the hotel doorstep of the hotel if tide is right or harbour and a horse and cart. This was organized by the hotel for 450 000. It was fun, scenic and relaxing

Indonesia - Lombok - Gili Nanggu

Gili Nanggu bungalows


Boat trip to other islands



Walking 100 000 boat from tawun
150 000 boat from lembar

Indonesia - Lombok - Gili Meno - 2009

Gili Meno is the middle island of the Gili Island group. It small and surrounded by white sand beaches and palm trees. The pace of life is slow and relaxed.

Where to stay

Bird park Resort
0370 642321

Good heart

Hotel Gazebo Meno
0370 635795

Villa Nautilus
0370 642143

Kontiki Meno
0370 632824

Biru meno

Tao Kombo

Kura-kura bungalows
Casablanca hotel
Blue coral
Pondok Santay
Pondok Siri

What to do

Bird park


Snorkel – best at the surf reef in south of island, meno slope and gili meno wall


Walk around and through the island

Talk with locals

Visit Gili Trawangan or Gili Air

Visit Lombok mainland

Volcano trek to Rijini

Snorkel tour

Cimino ride


Visit local school

Charter boat ½ or full day – fish, snorkel, and laze around on waters, visit islands or combos of these. 400 000 to 600 000 rupiah

Do nothing

Inter island transport

Catch inter-island ferry to Gili Trawangan (30 000 rupiah) or Gili Air (30 000 rupiah). The boat leaves Gili Trawangan at 9:30am then stops Gili Meno then Gili Air and returns at 3:00 from Gili Air, then Gili Meno, hen Gili Trawangan. The boat leaves Gili Trawangan at 4:00 pm, then Gili Meno, then Gili Air.

Public boat to Bangsal, Lombok – 10 000 rupiah – leaves every hour once it has 25 passengers.

Charter boat to Gili Trawangan or Gili Air – 250 000 rupiah one way.

Indonesia - Lombok - Gili Air - 2009

Gili Air is the closest Gili Island to the mainland. It is very relaxed and quiet. Transport on the island is horse and cart, bicycle and walking. There is a track/road around the circumference of the island. A paved road runs from the harbour through the centre of the island. A number of tracks run in various directions all over the island. The harbour is a quiet affair.


There is a lot of accommodation that is cheap and clean. Rooms vary from fan to air con. There are also a number of ‘hotels’ that have passed their ‘used by’ date. A number of new hotels have been built near the harbour. You can book before you go or find accommodation when you arrive. Upon arrival there are many touts near the jetty that will take you to available accommodation.

Gili air hotel
Supier room - 550 000 air for 2
62 370 634435


there are restaurants spread out along the island though most are on the south, east and north coast in sections.


Snorkeling – just let the current pull you along. Note that in some places the currents are very strong and the drop off to deep water is very steep.

Diving – diving centres are located on the island
Cycling – the ‘road’ gets a little bogged down in sand in some places on the west coast.

Hire a local boat and snorkel.

Go on a snorkel cruise – this stops at a number of places around the three Gili islands.

Locals are very friendly so have a chat.

Cimodo tour around island

Surf – surfboards are available to hire

Walk around and through island


Horse and cart rides (cimodo)



Getting around between islands

There are ferries between the Gili islands or you can hire a local or speed boat.

Indonesia - Bali - Ubud - Gayatri II hotel - 2008

Gayatri II is located in central Ubud along a small lane (gang) near the Monkey Forest Road and the soccer fields.


There are a variety of rooms from fan t air conditioning and budget to large family rooms to traditional rooms. The budget rooms are in the old three storey building and the family rooms in the modern three storey building. All the rooms are lack care in some ways. I’ve stayed here a few times and there is always a room problem though they fix them when you ask. E.g. air conditioning not working, toilets not flushing, cleaning the room, toilet paper, clean towels.


There is a small pool with a toddler’s pool attached. There is seating and a small pavilion around the pool. At one end of the pool there re rice fields which makes a nice backdrop.


The garden is small with a fish filled pond and walk-over bridge.


There is no restaurant but breakfast is served at Gayatri guesthouse and restaurant which is a ten minutes walk. There are many nearby restaurants.

Best Points: pool

Worse points: breakfast, steep slippery steps

Note: this hotel is fine but I think there are much better ones around.

Indonesia - Bali - Medewi - Medewi Beach Cottages - April 2009

62 365 40029 - 40030
Garden room air con
504 000 rups breakfast included
Ocean View rooms air con
Fan rooms, which are across the road
120 000 rups no breakfast
40 000 rups non guest use of the pool
(note tele on site is different to hotel)

Medewi beach cottages are situated about 2 hours drive north from Kuta on the west coast of Bali. It is also about ½ hour drive south of Negara. The hotel is situated on the south point of a long black sand bay.

The room prices range from 500 000 rupiah upwards per room per night. Prices are negotiable.

The hotel has a number of ocean view rooms, garden/pool view rooms and garden rooms. Most rooms are interconnecting. The rooms are reasonably large with television, air conditioning, verandah and an open air bathroom. The more expensive rooms have a small refrigerator.

The gardens of the hotel are lush with pebbled, stone and concrete paths meandering all over the place. The pool is medium sized with a toddler’s pool. Towels are available from the pool bar. There is also a playground. The ocean side of the hotel has great views of the surf but you will need to stand on the seats to have a clear view over the poled fence that lines the ocean side of the hotel.

The restaurant is clean and has good food at a reasonable price. The breakfast is either continental, American or Indonesian which is included in the price. This is served at the restaurant.

Service is good and the staff is friendly. Reception can arrange transport, etc.

Across the road from the main hotel are cheaper rooms at 120 000 rupiah per night. The rooms are basic with a table fan and verandah but they are a little exposed to the road. The price includes use of the hotel pool but not breakfast.

The pool is available for non guests at 40 000 rupiah per day.

Worse points: (been there the last four years) increasing the price each year by 50 000 to 150 000 rupiah but no improvements have been made to the hotel.

Best points: closeness to waves, nice pool and best accommodation for family in area.

Indonesia - Bali - Nusa Lembongan - 1999

Nusa Lembongan is an island off the east coast of Bali. It is 4.5 km long and 2.5 km wide and 50 m high at its highest point. It has two villages and is well set-up for tourists. There are spectacular views, crystal clear water, the sound of the surf, gentle breezes, little traffic, no hawkers and no stress on this island. It is one of three islands in the group, the others being Nusa Penida and Ceningan.
There are two seasons, the Rainy season from November to March, the Dry season from April to October. The islands are quite dry averaging only about 1000 mm of rain annually. The average temperature only varies from 28°C to 30° C. But the humidity increases markedly during the wet season.

What to do

Snorkeling and diving
Cave house
Rent bike or scooter
Mushroom bay walk along the coastal track
Walk or cycle the island
Dream Beach
Nusa Ceningan
Underground house


Shipwreck – right
Lacerations – right
playgrounds easy left/right

Where to stay

robin 081338032900
rick 081337399577

refer to Lonely Planet Bali and Lombok guide for a range of accommodations.

Getting there

1. The Scoot Boat
The office is in Sanur on Jl Hangtuah. Free pick up from your accommodation if staying in Sanur, Kuta, Nusa Dua or Jimbaran.
Prices march 09
Adult: return US$35 one way $US21
Student:return(12-16yrs)US$29 one way US$17
Child:return(5-11yrs)US$23 one way US$15
2. Perama 10:30 10:30 100 000r one way 1 hour

3. Public boat

4. From Nusa Penida - Toyapaka daily to Lembongan

5. Cruises to island from Benoa Harbour
Bali Hai
Bounty cruises
Island Explorer Cruises

The day cruise leaves at 9 am, cost starts from US$50. Depending on which cruise also included is lunch, activities in Lembongan and free pick up and drop off from and to your hotel. Pick up time at Kuta will be around 7.30 am returning at 6 - 6.30pm depending upon the traffic.

6. Charter a boat

Indonesia - Bali - Padangbai - Puri Rai Hotel - 2008

Tel. 0363-41385

The Puri Rai hotel is located on Jalan Silayukti in Padangbai, on the east coast of Bali. It is a pleasant hotel just opposite the white sand beach. Boats line the beach or are moored in the water.


There are two reasonably sized pools with plenty of seating.


The rooms vary for fan to air conditioned and doubles to family rooms. The prices vary according to the room type.


There are many restaurants nearby and a short walk into the village.

Special Note

The hotel does not accept credit card. A reliable money changer is two shops along the road.

Indonesia - Bali - Berewa - Legong Keraton Beach Hotel - 2009

This hotel is located 7 kilometres north of Kuta or about a kilometer south of Canggu. The hotel is medium in size with a excellent rooms with a variety of standards for the rooms. Starting from $US 70 but prices are negotiable. All rooms have a balcony, television, air conditioning and bathroom. Internet is free. The hotel and rooms are very clean and well maintained.

The hotel gardens are simple and pretty with grassed areas and coconut trees providing shade on the beachside of the hotel. The pool is pretty with a toddler’s pool attached. Towels are available at the pool bar.

The restaurant is okay for lunch but it is probably better to get a taxi and eat elsewhere at night. We had to send back a number of meals due to freshness and undercooked.

Service was good though they tended to say yes and then nothing happened eg took three calls to get our room cleaned. Overall, they were very friendly and helpful. Reception provides many services.

Here are two free shuttle buses a day to Legian and Kuta. You need to get a taxi back to the hotel.

Worse points: restaurant food was sometimes poor.

Best points: hotel is right on the beach, relaxing atmosphere and comfortable rooms.

Indonesia - Bali - Legian - Kumala Pantai Hotel - April 2009

Telephone: 0361 755500

The hotel is located in Legian Bali on Jalan Werkudara. The hotel is reasonable large and rooms are divided into different blocks named after various entities. There are three storeys to each block. All rooms have air conditioning, balcony and bathroom. The gardens are luxuriant with stone paths and numerous ponds filled with fish. There are two pools with shallow water at the extreme end of the pool and a toddler’s pool attached. The pool bar provides a pool towel, food and drinks. The older pool has large trees surrounding it which provide shade at various times of the day.

Internet connection is available free at the restaurant and at a fee for your room. Service is good and friendly.

The breakfast is a buffet style served at the restaurant at the beach front of the hotel.

There are good restaurants to the north side of the beach exit of the hotel. On the street exit there are various shops and restaurants in either direction, the street (jalan) is narrow here so beware of traffic. The Pemata Bank is to the south on the street exit, and then first right and on your left after 10 metres. They do not change travellers cheques. The money changers in the area are highly skilled at giving incorrect money on exchanging so beware.

Worse points: construction at front of hotel has resulted in stagnant pools of water that were riddled with mosquitoes. Coils were provided and the hotel was sprayed in the early hours of the morning.

Best points: location to beach and beach side restaurants: nice pools with plenty of shade.

Indonesia - Bali - Ujung - 2005

Ujung is small fishing town on the east coast of Bali. It is interesting to walk around and the coastal scenery is very pretty.

What to do

Ujung Water Palace – entry fee - lots of viewing pools and buildings to explore. Not for swimming.

Walk around the village

Explore the coastline

Where to stay

Accommodation is very limited.

Kebun Impian in seraya barat
500 000
2 villas
john 081338721842
homestay Irene
450 000 villa 1

Indonesia - Bali - Legian - Hotel Jayakarta - 2008


This is a large hotel located on the beach at Legian.


The hotel has its own restaurant where serve-yourself breakfast is available. Outside the hotel on the streetside are a number of restaurants with varying menus and prices. On the beachside here are very nice restaurants with beach views. They are very pleasant in the evenings.


Hair braiding
Nail painting
Temporary tattoos
People-size chess set
Souvenir shops
Tour agency
Pool bar
Fitness centre


There are three pools. One has a toddler’s pool attached and another has a pool bar. Deck chairs are available though guests tend to put towels over them in the early hours of the morning. Annoying at times when they have probably gone off shopping until lunch.


The gardens are pretty and well maintained.


Vary from apartments to small rooms to suites.


Most guests are there for a short holiday as part of their Bali holiday package deal. It can be very social around the pool or quiet.

indonesia - Bali - HIKES

There are some beautiful walks and treks in Bali.


Some walks in Bali you can self guide others you are better to hire a guide. The benefit of hiring a guide as well as knowing the bestroute is also in the commentary they provide.

Special note

Bali is hot and tropical. Do not underestimate the heat. On most days, it is fairly hot and sticky by 10 am so start your walk early. I start at 5:45 am just before dawn. Balinese life will be coming alive as you walk.

What to take

Day pack
Appropriate walking shoes and socks
Map or directions
Knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia or a phrase book
Water at least a litre, better 2 litres for longer treks (it does get hot)
Salt for leeches or check when you get back
Some bandaides and antiseptic powder
Costumes and sarong if there is a place to swim

Treks and Walks

Bukit – coastal cliff walk

Padangbai – temple headland, Tugas Bias, black sand beach

Gunung Batur – volcano climb, lake walk

Ubud – ricefields

Danau Bratan – lake walk,

Nusa Lembongan – coastal walk, island walk

Amed – Gunung Seraya and villages, coastal walk

Balian - beach, river crossing and cliff top south walk

Medewi – beach and river crossing walk

Candidasa – beach to cliff temple walk, Tengangan to Tirta Gangga trek

Gunung Agung – volcano climb (definitely need guide)

Pemuteran – beach to temple walk, hinterland walks

Tirta Gangga – ricefield walks

Bedugul - Goa Jepang, Gunung Catur, Pura Puncak Mangu (monkeys here) trek

Danau Buyan and Danau Tamblingan - southern side Lake Buyan over saddle to Lake Tamblingan trek 4 km and/or trek around Lake Tamblingan – canoe, walk, temples, rainforest.

Agung Lesong - Trek

Munduk - waterfall trek

Gunung Batukau – temple in forest Pura Luhur Batukau

Jatiluwih – ricefield walk

Indonesia - Bali - Candikunning - Ashram Guest House - April 2009

0368 21450
175 000, 200 000, 225 000 room prices in rupiah

The Ashram Guest House is located on the shore of Bratan Danau near Candikunning.

The hotel has a large car park and a number of rooms on the terraced slopes of the shore. The rooms are located on the hill slope where rice was once grown. The gardens are nice though a little unkempt. There are places to sit at places all over the sloping grounds of the hotel providing different views of the lake. There are also many old buildings around the hotel that are fun to explore.

There is a restaurant that has basic Indonesian dishes only but nice.

The rooms vary in price from 175 000, 200 000 and 225 000r. The rooms are the same size and a very basic – bed, shower, toilet, chairs and small tables. Each room has its own balcony or a shared balcony. There are no fan or air conditioned rooms. That’s okay because the temperature is cool so they are not needed. There are some mosquitoes so coils are necessary.

The views are excellent. The lake is surrounded by market gardens, towns and mountains.

Worse points: When we arrived we had to ask the staff to carry our bags to our rooms and from then on all conversation stemmed around activities and money whenever the staff saw us. This eased off.

Best Points: The cool weather, peacefulness and great views.

Indonesia - Bali - Pemuteran - Adi Assiri Hotel - April 2009

Adi assri beach cottages
0362 94838

snorkel trip

This hotel is located at the east end of the beach. On either side of the beach end of the hotel are traditional fishing boats and fishermen homes. The beach in front of the hotel has black sand and there is okay snorkeling a short walk pass the jetty where the large boat is moored.

The rooms at the hotel are quoted in $US but can be given in Indonesian rupiah. The prices for the rooms vary according to standard of the room $US and upwards. All prices are negotiable. Eg we paid $us 100 for two $us 120 rooms.

The rooms are excellent and large with an open bathroom.

The service at the hotel is excellent. The reception will organize tours and transport. Prices are negotiable.

Internet is available at your room for 50 000r an hour or at reception. The pool is small and simple. The restaurant is nice with good food though it tends to get quite hot due to the shared roof with the kitchen. Sea Rovers (diving and snorkeling organizers) are located at the beach end of the hotel. It is run by Paul an Englishman who is always up for a chat. The hotel gardens are simple and pleasant.

Worse points: mosquitoes were plentiful early evening and morning. Mosquito coils are provided.

Best points: pool was excellent as there was little breeze.

CENTRAL COAST - Wamberal, Forrester, Terrigal - surf - 2009

This post is a catch up of the last week plus some days in june and feb of 2009.

wamberal 6 august 2009

forrester 3 august 2009

terrigal 1 august 2009

avoca june 2009

terrigal february 2009

terrigal umina macmasters february 2009


A relatively very cold winter in Australia. We had been waiting a long time for our next overseas trip and it always seems so far away but t...