Sunday, October 27, 2013


I was going to sell my other kayak but lucky I didn't. my wife decided that she was going to have a go. She had been kayaking before but not for a long time.

We were up early, packed the gear in the van and drove to the scout hall at Avoca Lagoon.

There was little wind, heaps of birdlife, no one else on the lagoon. it was very peaceful.

We did get stuck in the shallow mud at one stage as the lagoon water level was low. I pulled both kayaks to deeper water.


distance - 2.91 km
time - 1hr 11 minutes
average speed - 2.5 km/h
max speed - 5.2 km/h

Friday, October 4, 2013


Day 1

Packed the van with clothes, kayak, mountain bike and guitar and off I went.

5 ½ hours later on an easy drive with little traffic, I arrived at Narrabri. The town was fairly well ordered and in no time I had petrol, stopped at the tourist centre and bought groceries for the next few days.

The drive to Kaputar National Park was through cattle land with long tall grass and heaps of windmills. The road steepened and narrowed for the KNP. The views were excellent through the gaps in the vegetation. The afternoon sun was playing shadows with the ravines between the ridges.

I drove to Dawson’s Springs camp area to check out the camping then took a short drive back to Kaputar Mountain summit carpark for a hike to the summit for the sunset. It was a very short walk along a boardwalk as the carpark was very close to the summit.

Distance 0.7 km

Time 1.26 minutes

Pace 9.05 km/h

Max pace 9.12 km/h

The view from the top was excellent with uninterrupted views to the west, north and east. I sat there for a while taking in the beauty of the sunset and the reflection of lakes in the distant west.

Back to Dawson Springs and dinner.

Day 2

Slept from 8 to 5am. Woke a few times first hot and then cold.

First walk ‘Bundabulla Circuit’ took me from Dawson’s spring to Horsearm creek Lookout, then Eckford Lookout, Bundadilla Lookout, Lindsay Rocks and Dawson’s spring. I was a great walk – great lookout, volcanic rock, tracks, boardwalks, birds all with windy but sunny, warm weather.

Distance 3.23 km

Time 47 mins

Aver pace 14.47 min/km

Max pace 9.18 min/km


The second walk was ‘Dawson’s Spring Nature trail’. This had an amazing boardwalk that curved up the hill. There was a small waterfall. I came across an amazing colony of ants building a nest partly under the ground and partly under a small branch with leaves.

Distance 0.66 km

Time 7.25mins

Av pace 11.15 min/km

Max pace 6:30 min/km

Drove a short distance to Mt Dowe which had mobile reception.

After a break, I decided to do a bike ride. A parked at Kaputar Plateau track head for the Kaputar Plateau Walk’, then it was steep downhill with heaps of obstacles to Rangers and Laird lookout. After that it was uphill towards Bark Hut and the road. The main road was a steep a steep cycle /walk to the van. A great ride, it was so fast, brakes failed in one section but I was lucky and eventually stopped and the views were excellent.

Distance 7.66 km

Time 1.02 hr

Av speed 7.3 km/h

Max speed 26.1 km/h

Back to the Dawson Springs camp, shower and an easy afternoon.

Total fireban (informed by ranger) and there were fires in Moree, which didn’t affect here.

Refreshed enough to try a sunset walk. I drove to the start of the Governor walk. I was a little short of time if I wanted to catch the sunset… so off I went. The walk was harder than I thought with stairs going up and down in three places and a rock scramble at the end plus some slightly undefined bush tracks in between. It was a great walk and the sunset was excellent. It was also a fast walk back so that I wasn’t walking in the dark.

Day 3

Up at dawn to Kaputar summit but I was a bit slow so I didn’t get quite the beginning.

Back to camp for breakfast and clean up then down to Narrabri for a cycle around ‘Narrabri Lake’. This was very good with birds, magpie attack and a red bellied back snake.

Distance 2.95 km

Time 14.42 min

Av speed 12.1 km/h

Max speed 25.5 km/h

Time to go into town for a cappuccino.

Drove to the north of Kaputar NP for ‘Sawn Rocks’. A great short walk. The pipes are amazing being octagonal in shape. The tree growth forces the rocks to crack and the bottom dry river below provides a close up of the pipes.

Distance 1.41 km

Time 16.32 min

Pace 11.46 min/km

Max pace 8.0 min/km

The weather was getting hotter. I drove to Yarrie Lake and camped there. The lake though shallow was very cool and pretty. I had a number of swims and rested…I was tired.

Later in the afternoon when it cooled down. I cycled around the lake. The track varied heaps and was heaps of fun.

Distance 5.08 km

Time 24.38 min

Av speed 12.4 km/h

Max speed 2.5 km/h

Day 4

I went for an early cycle around the lake as I enjoyed so much the day before. I took photos this time around. The bird life was excellent.

After breakfast, I drove to some lagoons near Wee Waa. There wasn’t much happening t the three that I visited but I did see a large red bellied black snake.

I was going to go the hot artisan baths but it was a bit of a distance so I decided to have a second breakfast in Wee Waa and head back home. It was a 6 ½ hour drive with lots of stops.


1.       Narrabri is a well ordered neat town

2.       Kaputar National Park has well organised walking tracks and signage. Easy to get around. There are very good camping facilities at Dawson’s Springs.

3.       Narrabri Lake is good for a walk/cycle with heaps of birdlife

4.       Yarrie Lake is a dusty but refreshing oasis that is very pretty, especially, towards the east end.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

CENTRAL COAST - TERRIGAL - 19 september 2013 - 'MOONLIGHT'

A walk along Terrigal promenade on a full moon


A nice afternoon with a touch of wind.

Took the kayak down to the lagoon and paddled to the western end. Amongst the trees and narrow inlets, I was out of the wind.

It was quiet and serene. The wind blew on the tree tops above but the inlets were like glass reflecting the forest scenery.

A nice paddle.


The weather was cloudy but the Entrance foreshore made for a good backdrop to the festival.

There were a lot of people coming and going, sitting and watching.

There were a number of stalls selling food and various items plus info on Chinese friendship, language, etc.

The main stage had entertainment continuously. There were karate demonstrations, dancing, singing and musical instrument performances. I liked the Chinese musical instruments the best.

A good day.

INDONESIA - BALI - KUTA - 28 July to 12 September 2013

This trip was very different. Most things didn’t seem to go to plan. I found myself going from one place to another and not quite sure if that was where I wanted to be.

I travelled from Kalimantan to West Timor, seemingly going from one disaster to another. So here’s the story…

I put Kuta last in this blog series on Indo even though I started in Kuta as I went back a number of times and finished in Kuta...

 Bali - 28 July to 30 July

I started in Bali. I usually meet up with Nyoman. He drives me around and gives me advice on where I’m thinking of going on this trip. He wasn’t at the airport so I caught a taxi.
I stayed in Kuta at Hotel Lusa for two nights. I went to nightclubs that night – met Steve who works at mines in WA and listened to good music.
The following day I booked a flight with Ruri - A travel agent just down the street from Hotel Lusa- to Balikpapan in Kalimantan  via Surabaya with Lion/Wings – 1 020 000R – 10:30 to 14:10. I booked the Ibis hotel in Balikpapan for 500 000R per night. I cashed a lot of dollars for rupiah for a number of reasons – 1 I like to have cash and didn’t know how long I was going to be in Kalimantan. 2 banks were going to close or trade at reduce rates because of the end of Ramadan.
Had great massage opposite Hotel Lusa with Ayu 50 000R. Talked with Shanti in Hotel Lusa who told me her ‘sad’ story (I heard a lot of sad stories this trip all with the same ending of giving them money) which was basically, she wanted me to give her 2 000 000R for her kid’s school. She owned a new motor bike and had a blackberry in her hand. Hard life! She told me that a number of guys from Europe and Australia sent her money every month to ‘help’ her. I explained I worked for my money and I just don’t give it away. Smile ended! Am I becoming cynical, hard or apa pun?
Went to the clubs again… good music. Had lots of hellos and want ‘massage’ on the way home from the darkened shadows and crevices of buildings. A motor bike pulled up behind in a quiet dark part of the street… here comes to robbery… luckily, a group of people came around the corner and away he/she went.

In the morning, I couldn’t open the safe, which was a big problem as I was flying out that day and they couldn’t open it to the afternoon. Luckily, the owner came especially and my problem was solved.
I put my bag and boards in storage and caught a taxi to Domestic airport 50 000R. I definitely need a new small bag for lighter travel Domestic departure tax 40 000. Met Ed, who had worked in Balikpapan for 5 years.

Kuta – 6 august to 8 august
Nyoman was there to meet me at the domestic airport in Bali. We checked out a hotel he had heard about but it was too far along a narrow unlit lane so I settled for the Kumala Indah I. It had an air con new room for 170 000R. A friend from home Michael was staying there. I also met Sid and Yafit who were friends of Michael.
Michael and I motor biked it to somewhere to eat. We were supposed to meet with Sid but it didn’t happen.
The next morning, I spent the day checking out flights, eating, massage and hanging around the beach.
Later that night I did the clubs at Kuta. I had a great night at the Expresso Bar sitting at the back and listening to good music and drinking beer for 20 000R a bottle.
The next morning, I just had to go. Balian seemed closest and relaxing. Yafit shared the car and off I went to Balian 400 000R.

Kuta 13 august to 16 august
Settled into the Kumala Indah I hotel. Nyoman hung with me most o the day while we did things around Kuta. I went to the BMCI clinic to check up on the fever in Balian. A blood test was negative so I was right to move on to other parts of Indo.
I went to dinner that night at the warung Indonesia. It took a long time to get there as I kept having chats with all sorts of interesting people. Made, an Australian, was so funny and he had heaps and heaps of stories to tell. We had a few beers. I ran into made two more times that night at different places.
I arrived at the Warung Indonesia just as Fransi, Steven and Yafit were walking out. We end up having a big night out drinking, dancing and singing. It was so much fun!!!. It was also so great going out and not having to watch up back all night.
I wandered around –m cashed money for Rote, massage, pulsa and checked again on flights.
I did the beach 'have a beer scene' and enjoyed it.
Later, I went to Kuta clubs and Bali Bobs (ladyboys club), it was really good fun and relaxing.
The next day, I decided to go to rote. I organised flight 3 200 000R returns to Kupang with Garuda at 11:05am; booked accommodation in Kupang at hotel on the Rocks and Rote with Lualembar Homestay; organised pick up and fast book drop in Kupang with Joshua; and finally booked a car pick up in Ba’a, Rote to Nemberala. Too easy!
Clubbed it at Kuta again! Always good music!
Off to West Timor day – I put gear in storage and caught a taxi to domestic 100 000R. No domestic tax as I was flying with Garuda 30kg bag allowance. Great for surfboards.

Kuta 1 September to 12 September

I got to Bali from Kupang and checked into the Grand Kumala and taxied it to the clinic. On arrival they hospitalised me for the next four days. They were concerned that I bleed from the brain or go into shock/coma as my blood pressure was erratic and very low.
A friend, Michael arrived in Bali and visited me and got some things from the hotel for me. The hotel had put my gear in storage. Nyoman visited. An a few days later my wife arrived from Australia.
Eventually, I was out of hospital and was moving around slowly. Lost heaps of weight.
We spent time around the hotel pool and in the afternoons went down the beach. Jacinta had a few beers and I watched.
I started feeling more mobile. We went to a Beatles night that was excellent and danced my head off.  Sat at the cocoon and drank cocktails. Ate a number of restaurants. Went to Kuta nightclubs one night but Jacinta thought the music too loud. Fine to me but then again I am half deaf.
We shopped and I bought a ‘my wife is awesome’ T-shirt and wore it around the hotel and Kuta. I copped heaps from guys but true is true.
Back in Australia and it took another two weeks before my energy levels were back to normal.

Retrospect Kuta

1.       Fun place to go out at night

2.       Watch your back when you go out at night.

3.       Avoid dark quiet areas at night.

4.       Getting sick is not fun

5.       Heaps of great eats

6.       Sunset beer the best

7.       The stories told to me were varied, amazing and some were just bullsxxt

8.       Beware the smiles and stories as it leads to ‘why you should give me money’. It’s okay to say ‘no’ and not feel bad after all did you work hard for your money.

9.       Easy to be critical of the bullsxxt but then again everyone wants a better life.

10.   My wife is awesome. 





INDONESIA - WEST TIMOR AND ROTE - 16 August to 1 September 2013

A nice flight from Denpasar to Kupang, West Timor and here I am! Josua was at the airport to pick me up or rather his son. Strangely, his son kept ringing me to see if I was there. It is only a small exit so I don’t know how he missed me but eventually I found him 10 metres away. Seeing I was the only bule there at the exit, I didn’t get what the problem was.
Onward to Hotel on the Rocks 538 000R. I checked in and had a swim at the pool and a few beers.

After that it was into town to the night square for hot corn and few more beers at Teddies. I had a number of chats with locals while sitting there. It is a friendly and social place. Time for dinner at the ‘club 666’. The food was okay and the karaoke bad. My taxi driver, took me to the Crystal hotel where e said there was music. There was no music there but the receptionist suggested the ‘dancing hall’.  So off we went. We drove into a very seedy dark spot behind a building. One door with light emanating was the entrance. Inside it was a brothel to the right and music to the left. I chose the left. Inside there was great music but there was no one in there. Ah well, maybe some other time!
I went back to the hotel, had a coffee, went to bed and then there was a knock on the door. One of the staff said I needed to pay the hotel bill. To cut it short he offered me a massage and with a swift manoeuvre his hand went on my shoulder and he said for me it was free. Thanks but no thanks. Enough for one night!

Today is Independence Day for Indonesia

Josua was picking me up at 7am for the fast boat to Ba’a Rote. While having breakfast, out walks John a guy I met in Sumba a few years ago. We had a chat but I had to go.

The fast boat was pleasant in the VIP area. On arrival at Ba’a, the boat had to wait an hour due the Independence ceremony taking place near the dock. I had a shared car to Nemberala 150 000R. I arrived at lualembar homestay and settled. Next door the guy Dan was very sick. There were two other guys there peter and ???.
I had a good surf that afternoon 1 to 1 1/2 metres.
A good dinner and sleep.
The next day, there were good waves at Bo’a. About 1 m and fast. The wind increased and it was all over red rover. Had an easy day and watched the sunset on the beach.
Before breakfast, I checked the surf and decided on a mountain bike ride

Distance 8.8 km
Time 43 minutes
Av speed 12.1 km/h
Max speed 27.9 km/h
After breakfast there was a 1 to 2m excellent surf at T-land.
The next morning was the morning market. I rode the MB to the markets
Distance 3.1 km
Time 16 mins
Av speed 11.4 km/h
Max speed 22.4 km/h
The markets were interesting selling food and bits and pieces of everything.

I had a small but fun surf.
Another bike ride and I met Charlie(met also in April) and Brian.
Today is Dave’s birthday, the owner of the homestay. We had a big feast. There were so many members from his Rote family attending. It was a good night for him.

No surf today. I rode the bike around and had a snorkel on the reefs in front of T-land. The reef was a bit boring at first but turned into a coral garden the further out I went. There were large schools of fish in the deep water and a large variety in the shallow waters. The light lit up the seaweed to amazing bright green.

The next day, I cycled to the beach but it was flat again.
I hired a motorbike and drove south through villages and took some back roads to return in a sort of circle. In one of the villages a baby had died from a snake bite. Another village was powered by solar power. Some of the villages looked very poor but they managed to have a satellite dish and a motorbike. Seaweed farming seemed to be the major income earner.
Distance 51.37 km
Time 2:41 hours
Av speed 19.1 km/h
Max speed 56.5 km/h
The surf was flat again today so I rode the motorbike north. I went over two dry river beds. Chatted with heaps of locals. The area was very dry but the people were friendly.

Distance 32.52 km
Time 1:55 hour
Av speed 16.9 km/h
Max speed 56.9 km/h

Spent the afternoon swimming and watching the sunset.

Today no surf. I rode the bike further south. The coast became mangroves and the villages had more and more kids.

The afternoon I spent swimming.

No waves on this new day. I went for a snorkel on T-land reef. It was even better than the other day with three sea snakes and a scorpion fish.

The afternoon and the waves have returned. There were1m waves. Crowded but good shape and fun.
Met a nice couple, Karoline and Peter from Austria.

The following day, the waves were good at 1m. Once again it was crowded but not too bad. The wind got very strong.

Today, I returned the motorbike to use the cycle more.
The surf increased to double overhead. It was very intense so I went for the smaller ones between sets. Bad move as I kept getting caught inside and dragged down the reef for the long paddle back.

The second surf was heaps better as my timing improved. Had heaps of great waves. Two couples arrived from WA. A fun dinner that night!

Today was the best surf so far. Had great waves in the morning and the afternoon.
Coming in on the boat, I was feeling a little hot. By dinner, I wasn’t t all well. I went back to my room and was very sick that night.
This was the start of the dengue fever which lasted awhile. High fever like your brain is cooking, aches all over, thirsty, headache, can’t move. I stayed in Rote for three more days. My condition wasn’t improving so I had to leave and get to the clinic in Bali.
I don’t know how I managed it but I booked car to ferry, boat ticket, pickup in Kupang, hotel in Kupang, drop off airport next day, changed flight to Bali and hotel in Bali. I had a lot of help from Josua on the Kupang end of the trip.
I left Nemberala and had a shared taxi to the fast boat. An angel was in the car! A wonderful caring Danish girl ( ashamed I don’t remember her name) helped me to the pier, with my bags, drinks, seating on the ferry and getting my gear off the ferry. I was so lucky!
The car to Ba’a was okay but the boat ride was horrendous. There were no VIP seats so I was in the main cabins. It was hot and I was soak with sweat. During the last part between islands the seas became rough
and I broke out into cold sweat. It took a lot of effort to stop vomiting.

Josua was there to pick me up. I checked into the hotel but waited 2 hours for the room to be ready. The air con was a saviour. Still that night I wasn’t sure what was happening and I had lots of conversations with people that weren’t there. Nice to have company!

Retrospect on West Timor and Rote

1.       Getting sick is not fun!

2.       Have an escape plan

3.       Rote is very pretty and adventurous

4.       The locals are nice

5.       Surf awesome



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

INDONESIA - BALI - BALIAN - 8 to 13 August 2013

Arrived Balian so keen to get into waves but arrived to blown out surf and settled into Ayu’s in the upstairs room. Such a great view 150 000R. … Ah well time for a chit chat.
The next day had waves with a 3 hour surf, then 1 ½ hour surf then a 1 hour surf. All good!
A walk to the south of Balian.

Met Chad, Steve and a heap of other people that I forgot the names. All nice people. End up having a few beers that night.

Woke up feeling seedy. Once settled I had a 1 ½ hour good surf, then chatted, videoed and rested. Went for another surf. Had a good time but got feeling temperature as rising! The walk up the hill was so hard! I got water and went to my room and laid down. I didn’t move till the following day as I had high temp, aches everywhere, gut pains, glands aching and a heavy head. I just drank water and waited.
I woke feeling bad but not as bad!  By lunch, I was still aching but good enough for a surf.
Sat around the pool at Pitaiya and chatted with Karen with 2 kids who works at Canggu.
In the afternoon, I caught up with Chad, Panana girl, another guy and drank rum. Later, I was drinking with Steven and Fransi. Later, we went to the beach warung but I’d hit the wall and wanted to sleep.

The next day was ‘story day’ from the night before at the warung on the beach:

1.       Oz guys knocking on room doors late at night because they couldn’t find their keys. Then wanted fight the people in the room.

2.       Girl nearly fell off concrete steps.

3.       Guy slept on beach…thought he’d drowned but turned up later.

4.       A mate’s friend returned home late, knocked on his door then threw up.

5.       Girl dancing at warung threw up and was carried home.

Sort of glad, I went home when I did.
Did a walk along the coast to the north of Balian.

The next day it was time to leave. Nyoman picked me up and off I went to Kuta and check up on the fever – still had some aches in the glands.

Retrospect Balian

1.       Met some really nice people – Michael who is married to a local girl. Great stories to e told; Chad and Steve; Fransi and Yafit; Panama and indo girl; couple – Danish and Brazil; Ziggy; Karen; and a heap of others whose name I can’t remember but I never forget a face.

2.       This trip in Balian was a mixed social, surfing, and sick trip… always different.

3.       Ayu’s was great as usual.

4.       Never get tired of the Balian walks – always something has changed/adapted.

5.       Locals are so friendly!



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...