Bali, Indonesia’s Island Paradise

The Island of Bali

The Indonesian island of Bali is renowned for its beautiful coastline, rugged volcanic mountains, stone temples, luxury spas and friendly people. Together, these helped to secure Bali the top spot in Tripadvisor’s 2017 Travellers Choice Awards. Millions of travellers vote on the travel website for the World’s top destination. This magical island is this year’s pick of the crop and was placed ahead of iconic destinations such as London, Paris and Rome. Following the announcement, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I booked my tickets and flew off to the beaches of Seminyak. After a few days I headed inland to Ubud. After just nine days I returned to Perth with almost two thousand photographs and many fond memories. I will be publishing some of these in the coming months.

Taman Ujung Water Palace, Karangasem, Bali

The Taman Ujung Water Palace was built by the King of Karangasem in the period 1909 to 1921. It is situated in east Bali just a few kilometres from Amlapura. The magnificent sprawling buildings are set amongst three large pools with ornate bridges and beautiful gardens. If you arrive before nine in the morning you are likely to miss the crowds of tourists and be able to experience the magnificence of the water palace virtually on your own.

Taman Ujung Water Palace

Pura Gubug Temple, Lake Tamblingan, Bali

The strong spiritual nature of the Balinese people has resulted in them building thousands of temples and shrines.  No trip would be complete without visiting a few of these. Some of my favourites include Pura Gubug, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.

Visitors to these temples will often encounter colourful wedding parties and interesting spiritual leaders.

Pura Gubug Temple, Lake Tamblingan

Net Fisherman, Sanur, Bali

Native Balinese have a very close relationship with both land and the sea. Early risers can catch scores of small outrigger boats being loaded with goods for delivery to the surrounding islands. In addition, farmers attend to their rice fields and livestock. You might even be lucky enough to come across a fisherman with his cast-net in the shallows close to the beach.

Fisherman, Sanur, Bali

Bali Culture & Religion

Culture and religion play a central role in the lives of the vast majority of Balinese. Religious offerings are visible everywhere and ceremonies are commonplace. The predominant religion is Balinese Hinduism which originated from Java.

Whilst in Ubud, I was extremely fortunate to be invited to a cremation ceremony for a local spiritual leader. Furthermore, I was allowed me to bring my camera to the ceremony. I will be sharing some of the photos from this event in coming weeks. Bali Culture & Religion

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, Lake Bratan

Pura Ulun Danu is a Hindu water temple on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. The King of Mengwi built the temple in 1633 as a dedication to the water goddess, Dewi Danu. His objective was to ensure plentiful water and bountiful crops.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple

Bali Sunrises & Sunsets

Bali is renowned for its brightly coloured sunrises and sunsets. The picturesque coastline and mountainous interior help to further enrich these wondrous images.

Bali Sunrises & Sunsets

Tirta Empul Spring Temple, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali

Bali temples mostly follow a common architectural theme. However, not all the temples are renowned for this unique architecture. Some have verdant gardens or scenic backdrops. Others, such as the Tirta Empul Spring Temple, have spiritually cleansing springs.

Tirta Empul Spring Temple

The People of Bali

The people of Bali are thought to be a combination of a number of different ethnic groups. These include Chinese, Indians, Arabs and other groups coming directly from the mainland to the West of the island. Balinese are extremely friendly and warm people. Ultimately, they are the essence that makes Bali such a wonderful place to visit.

People of Bali

Duke of Orleans Bay – Esperance

Duke of Orleans Bay is an eighty kilometre drive east of Esperance. It is situated just outside Cape Le Grande National Park. It might seem like a long drive but the surrounding coastline has some of the best beaches in Australia. Wharton Beach is one of the gems in the area and, for me, it is the most stunning beach I have ever visited.

Wharton Beach Twilight, Duke of Orleans Bay

As the sun dips below the horizon it is sometimes possible to get a clear image of the landscape coupled with the beautiful colours of a sunset. I was lucky enough to get the image below of my favourite stretch of coastline, Wharton Beach. Notice the only footprints on the beach are my own. This is paradise!

Wharton Beach, Duke of Orleans Bay

Duke of Orleans Bay – Sandspit

Duke of Orleans Bay is is nestled between Cape le Grand and Cape Arid National Parks. The sixty metre high granite headland at the car-park end of the bay is a superb place to take in the sunset.

Duke of Orleans Bay

Wharton Beach Surfing

Wharton Beach is located less than three kilometres west of Duke of Orleans Bay. It is the most popular surfing spot in the area. My nephew, Matteo, braved the cold water and tricky rip to have an afternoon of surfing that he will remember for life.

Duke of Orleans Bay - Surfing

Duke of Orleans Bay Silhouette

The Duke of Orleans Bay beach slopes very gradually out to sea. This makes it a perfect spot to capture the clouds reflecting off the water as the tide reaches towards the highest point.

Duke of Orleans Bay Silhouette

Wharton Beach Sunset, Esperance

Wharton Beach at the end of the day is very likely to be deserted. It is also very hard to beat the beautiful sunsets that you will experience on a partly cloudy evening.

Wharton Beach Sunset, Duke of Orleans Bay

Return to South Western Australia

I just don’t seem to be able to get away from the stunning southern coastline of Western Australia. The beaches in this area are some of the best in the world and the ocean is crystal clear. My nephew has been visiting from Italy and it gave me another opportunity to travel to one of my favourite destinations. Our itinerary included Busselton, Denmark, Esperance, Margaret River and Cowaramup. We were both captivated by the beauty that we experienced!

Kangaroo on the Beach

I have for a considerable time wanted to photograph a Kangaroo on the beach, which is easier said than done. Kangaroos usually feed at night and spend much of the day sleeping. They look for shady spots and hide in thick foliage. A prime spot for beach kangaroos is Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grande National Park close to Esperance. I have visited this spot on a number of occasions in the past, and have seen kangaroos in the surrounding bushland, but never on the beach. On this trip I was most fortunate to see a kangaroo on the Lucky Bay beach more than once.

Esperance Kangaroo

Sunset at Duke of Orleans Bay

Duke of Orleans Bay is approximately eighty kilometres east of Esperance. It is not only stunning but has the added advantage of being uncrowded. Lucky Bay might be the most renowned beach in the Esperance region but, for me, Wharton Beach is the most beautiful. It might be a long trek back to Esperance but, if you are able to, try to catch a sunset in the Duke of Orleans area. You will mostly likely be totally on your own and the view will not disappoint.

Esperance Sunset

Busselton Jetty

Busselton is just over two hundred kilometres south of Western Australia’s capital Perth. It is known for its sheltered beach and seasonal humpback whale populations. It is also home to the two kilometre long Busselton Jetty which was originally constructed in the 19th century. Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the world and is a popular tourist, recreation and fishing spot. Attractions include the jetty train, an interpretive centre and an underwater observatory at the very end of the jetty. Busselton Jetty

Wyadup Rocks

Wyadup Rocks are at the south end of Injidup Beach a short drive from Yallingup. It is a great place to catch the many colours of the rocks at sunset. Yallingup is a small resort town between Busselton and Margaret river. It is renowned for its stunning rocky coastline, limestone caves and closeness to Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

Wyadup Rocks

Margaret River Wine Region

Margaret river has within a relatively short period of time become a world renowned wine producing region. This area produces almost twenty percent of Australia’s wine from over five thousand hectares under vine.

Margaret River Winery

Elephant Rocks, Denmark, Western Australia

Elephant Rocks is a sheltered beach in the William Bay National Park close to Denmark, Western Australia. The rocks look like a herd of elephants, paddling in the shallow waters.

Elephant Rocks, Denmark, WA