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VISIT: WAIHEKE ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND.

For those in Auckland for the day, Waiheke Island makes a great day trip for those eager to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. I recently visited thanks to Fullers, the main provider of ferry services to and from the island.

First on the list was Onetangi, this was recommended by a local bus driver as the best beach on the Island and didn’t disappoint. Beautiful even on a not so beautiful day, Onetangi screams kiwi beach with its white sands and deep blue waters. Check out the cafe Charley Farley’s for a taste of Waiheke’s famous wines, most are produced in the local vineyards, and the killer chicken quesadillas. Transport to Onetangi is easy from Matiatia Wharf (where the ferry lands), bus services run direct. You can pick up an all day bus pass from Fullers for $10.

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A five minute-ish walk from Charley Farley’s is the Forest and Bird Reserve, The main gate is cunningly hidden on Waiheke Rd, take care not to walk past it. Part of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Reserve, this 2 hour walking track allows visitors to get a glimpse into native New Zealand bush and the local flora and fauna that inhabit it. Keep an eye out for Tui, Fantails, Kereru and more. The signposts directing you through the bush leave much to be desired so allow plenty of time to get lost.

Hop back on the bus across the road from where you arrived in Onetangi and head toward Palm Beach. This beautiful beach makes for a well deserved rest on the way to Oneroa, the centre of life on Waiheke.

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Waiheke Gallery and Library are a must see.

When you arrive in Oneroa, take a moment to just relax and wander around this lovely little town and check out the many Kiwiana shops that line the main street. Oneroa is also where you can uncover the more artistic side of the island and hosts a variety of galleries and art shops. Opt to complete the 3km Waiheke art walking trail, taking you down the main street of the town to the ferry terminal. Make sure to start with a caffeine hit from Double Shot Espresso, who make good coffee and even better anzac biscuits. Highlights of the trail include Toi Gallery (Contemporary art), Waiheke Library (Architecture),  Alison Park (Sculptures) and my personal favorite, Waiheke Community Art Gallery.

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Sculptures in Alison Park.

This is a lovely little gallery and I was pleasantly surprised by both the quality of the gallery itself aswell as the artwork that it contained. This gallery even featuredin the New York Times book: 36 hours in Asia and Oceania, grab a copy from the gallery – it’s a great read.

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Some of my favorite pieces from the Waiheke Gallery.

Finally, take the walk back to Matiatia Wharf through Atawhai Whenua reserve, a 15-20 minute walk that pops out on the beach next to the ferry terminal and is a great alternative to catching the bus direct from Oneroa. You can find the entrance across the road from Alison Park near the main street. Say goodbye to Waiheke as you head back across the water to Auckland, making sure to check out the views of Rangitoto Island and the city on your approach.

All in all, Waiheke makes for a beautiful day trip from Auckland, as well as an idyllic holiday spot that I will be heading back to soon and encourage you to do the same.

Thanks again to Fullers for the complementary Ferry tickets and bus pass.

Happy travels!


HOW TO GET THERE:

Fullers provide ferry services on a daily basis to and from the Island between early morning till dark. The ferries depart regularly from Pier 2 at ferry terminal located in Britomart, Auckland CBD. A return fare costs A$36/C$18 NZD. There is a variety of accommodation ranging from backpackers to luxury lodges on the Island for those wishing to extend their stay.


Bali! Things to do in Ubud – Part One.

Ubud Town Centre.

Ubud palace is located in central Ubud and was built in the early 1800’s. You can easily find it along Jalan raya road in central Ubud. This is where you can find evening performances of Balinese dance, including Kecak, Barong and Legong. These are all great to watch and the years of training which go in to learning the precise hand, arm and even eye movements of the various dances are shown off well. Make sure to check out the famous Ibu Oka Warung which has some of the best Babi Guling (suckling pig) in Bali. It’s a bit touristy and overpriced but definitely delicious. The local markets are close to the Ubud Palace, this is a great place to tick of all your souvenirs in one go.

Taking a breather at Ubud Palace
Taking a rest at Ubud Palace

 Check out the White Herons of Petelu.

A short drive out of Ubud is the village of Petelu. Every evening hundreds of white herons come here to roost at sunset and have done for years and years. The story behind why these birds consistently return dates back to the 1965, where a failed couplead to up to 5% of the Balinese population being brutally slaughtered. At the end of the year, the locals of Petelu held a cleansing ceremony and the next week hundreds of white herons started to roost along the road leading to the local village temple. It is said that each bird is the reincarnation of those killed in the unrest, and are protecting the village from further harm.

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The view from the top is incredible.

Climb Mount Batur.

Ok this one isn’t technically in Ubud, it’s more of around a 45 minute drive away. But Ubud makes a great base for those willing to make the 5 hour-ish sunrise hike to the top of Mt. Batur. The views here are INCREDIBLE, and even the more unfit of us, myself included, were so glad that we did it. Be warned, the internet generally agrees that this hike is relatively easy, but it was definitely tougher then I thought it would be. Make sure to bring proper shoes and a big bottle of water. If you want to check out more of Mt. Batur you can check out my video here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-s7hAzT9hU&list=UUh-YnYgIrJ5TsMNTX0qZzgA

Happy travels!

 

Bali and Lombok: My Top Five Travel Tips.

I learnt ALOT during my brief visit to Bali and Lombok, most of which I would have had no idea about untill I got there, even more of which I didn’t learn untill it was too late.

So, to prevent you from making the same mistakes that I did, I present my top 5 travel tips for Bali/Lombok.

Enjoy!

1: DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER.

This doesn’t mean don’t just not drink the water, avoid any situation when tap water could end up anywhere near to your mouth, including ice cubes, fruit that can’t be peeled and brushing your teeth. I took so much care buying bottled water, avoiding ice etc thinking I was being super safe while brushing my teeth with tap water. I ended up getting really sick and not being able to take part in a chunk of my tour through Lombok, all because it didn’t even cross my mind.

2: Make sure you can carry your suitcase/backpack or whatever around with ease.

More importantly, make sure that you are able to lift it and throw it, carry it above your head when wading through waist deep water and generally just be able to give it a really rough time. Make sure you ONLY take what you need and nothing more. Because, sometimes, these things happen, and you will find yourself in a situation where the extra weight from those clothes/lack of straps on your nice wheely bag makes getting around a nightmare. Obviously this is dependent on where abouts you are travelling, a wheely suitcase that maxes out your luggage limit may be fine in Europe but become the bane of your existence in South East Asia. A good tip is to only pack half of what you intend to take with you.

3: Take malaria seriously.

The risk for malaria is high in Lombok and can be present in parts on Bali, increasing in the wet season and in rural areas. Malaria tablets are expensive and can have side effects, but not nearly as bad as getting Malaria, or something worse like Dengue fever. Make sure that you cover up in the evenings and keep some mosquito repellent handy in your day pack. It’s pretty easy to prevent and can save you an early end to your dream trip.

4: Be mindful of the local customs.

Bali is predominantly Hindu and the Balinese are generally forgiving of skimpily dressed tourists or the accidental stepping on of offerings (which is harder then it sounds not to do). Lombok is mostly Muslim and it pays to dress more conservatively, especially around the more rural areas. However, it doesn’t take much effort to cover up in either place, little things like keeping the bikini for the beach and covering up around temples make a difference and can stop locals from feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable.

5: Be safe.

Travelling always has its dangers, especially for solo travellers, and even more so for female solo travellers. It’s important to always keep your wits about you and to trust your instincts. Most of it is pretty obvious, don’t go walking down dark alleys, try to avoid arak unless you know it to be safe ( this is a local type of alcohol in Bali that has been linked to deaths of tourists when incorrectly made) and be careful of drink spiking in clubs. The less obvious stuff, like checking to make sure that any boat you use is seaworthy and has enough life jackets, and not going out on water in bad weather can be a (literal) lifesaver, the waters can be rough around Bali and Lombok so it pays to double check. I got caught out in some rough weather off the coast of Nusa Penida in a tiny fishing boat and it was terrifying. Don’t eat anything that looks dodgy and try not to get run over by cars/scooters and possibly horses that you will encounter on your travels

Lastly, have fun! All the safety stuff saying don’t do this and don’t do that can make travel seem daunting or can seem to be over the top at first, but speaking from personal experience and of the experience of the fellow travellers that I have bumped into along the way, a little bit of extra care can make your trip hassle free and awesome. You won’t regret it if you do, but you will definitely regret it if you don’t.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below or just say hi.
Happy travels!

DCIM100GOPRO

New video! Rainforests and waterfalls, Senaru, Lombok.

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Morning!

Check out my latest video from Senaru, Lombok. Hope you enjoy!

We stopped here for 2 nights on our ‘Discover Lombok’ tour with Intrepid adventures. Senaru is the main base for travellers planning on attempting the Mt. Rinjani climb, and is home to many traditional villages which give a great insight into the local way of life in Lombok. For those looking to make the trek, the walk is around 2-3 nights and is easily arranged through your hotel or online. Be careful when choosing as the standards vary, I heard from a friend that one girl broke her leg while climbing and the guides couldn’t do anything so she had no other option but to climb back down with a broken leg and no pain relief (eek). Be prepared! Guided walks through the villages or just enjoying the view is a great option for those who aren’t attempting the climb. Although most people who pass through Senaru are climbers, our group didn’t do the climb and Senaru was still one of my favourite places in Lombok.

Try Pondok Senaru cottages if you are looking for accomodation, they make a killer Mi Goreng.

Hanging out in Senaru, Lombok
Hanging out in Senaru, Lombok.

We stayed on the borders of the Rinjani National park, this is a beautiful location with easy access to scenic walks through the jungle (make sure to get a local guide) and awe inspiring waterfalls. Make sure to make to 45 minute ish trek through the jungles to the Sendang Gile and surrounding waterfalls, it is well worth the trip! Keep an eye out for monkeys, although if you are staying anywhere near the national park you will probably see them hanging out around your hotel grounds anyway. Make sure to keep an eye on your shoes!

Happy travels!

Freyagoestravelling

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New Video! Meeting the locals in Tetebatu, Lombok.

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Hello!

Excited to announce the first of my video series from Indonesia is up!

The footage is from the first bit of my 8 day ‘Discover Lombok’ tour. We were shown around the villages surrounding Tetebatu, and were given local demonstrations of traditional pottery, weaving and tofu making, aswell as indulging in a traditional Sasak feast.

The Sasak are the indiginous people of Lombok and are distantly related to the Balinese. However, Bali and Lombok are vastly different. The main differences are of the dominant religion, Lombok being predominantly Muslim compared to the mainly Hindu Balinese. I would definitely recomend for anyone who is travelling to Bali to make the crossing to Lombok, the contrasts are eye opening and it is definitely worth the trip.

Hope you enjoy!

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"It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien

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