UBUD & SURROUNDS



1 DAY EXPLORING UBUD & SURROUNDS

Now this time round in Bali was a work trip, and I was lucky enough to have 4nights.
I decided to make the very most of it… And as always, I managed to jam pack a full day. 



The day prior I had messaged my Driver – WAYAN BALI TOURS – with an idea of what we would like to see and do in our day with him. Now what I sent him was rather extensive, but in the end we only cut out ONE part of the day – and that was a restaurant – which we swapped for an even better hidden gem.

And here is how our day went…

  • Tegenungan WaterfallThe falls are located halfway between Ubud and Denpasar – making this a perfect first stop on our day exploring.
    Tickets are only IDR 10,000 each for entry ( less than $1 )
    The area on the way down toward the falls is lined with art and souvenir shops, together with small local ‘warung’ stalls selling snacks and cold drinks. We stopped and brought fans after the walk back up the stairs as we were all so sweaty!
    Getting down to the falls is only accessible via descending stairs…and quite a lot of them.
    But totally worth it – The water volume is impressive at almost any time of year.
    And if you are prepared, take your bikini and a towel to cool off in the plunge pool beneath the falls for some insta worthy snaps!And since you had to go down the stairs to get to the falls, this can only mean one thing – the way back up is gruelling in the heat of the day. 
  • Goa Gajah Elephant CaveNext stop was Goa Gajah an archaeological site of significant historical value that makes it a special place to visit.
    IDR 15000 per person entry cost, and they will provide you with a Sarong on arrival.
    Don’t get disappointed when you arrive but there isn’t any elephants here. Ill leave that up to you to research and see the reasons behind the name.
    We didn’t spend longer than 45minutes here, but I am glad I have seen this beautiful place.
    Again, on leaving there are market stalls selling all your favourite balinese cheap clothes or AMAZING leather goods at one of the stalls. Get your barter on <3 so much fun!
  • Pura Tirta EmpulPura Tirta Empul is built around a bubbling spring, an interesting place to observe Hindu devotees purifying themselves by means of ritual bathing.One of the most beautiful places of worship for spiritual cleansing with the Holy Water.
    IDR 30,000 entry fee, and Sarongs are provided if you don’t have your own.
    It is a beautiful place to sit and watch, enjoying the peace and tranquility. But I recommend if you do wish to get in to the water, do some research first. Each Fountain has a different blessing/meaning – and as explained by our driver – there is a particular way to approach each fountain as well. The staff are happy to assist you aswell, but make sure you understand & obey the rules and instructions.
  • Bali Boni RestaurantNow this is a Hidden Gem!
    We had originally planned to go to Jungle Fish for the afternoon, but Wayan had advised we wouldn’t have enough time to fit everything in… and so he took us to one of the most beautiful restaurants I have eaten at in Bali.
    Overlooking the Rice Terraces, you are greeted on arrival with a cold towel and an arrival drink. The atmosphere is so serene , quiet & peaceful and the air so fresh you instantly feel so relaxed.I would highly recommend visiting Bali Boni Restaurant if you ever get the chance. Great Food, Great Prices and the Staff are amazing!!
    *Free wifi too <3
  • Sacred Monkey Forest  Ubud Monkey Forest is one of Ubud’s most popular attractions! A Natural Forest that is home to loads of wild Macaques.IDR 50,000 Entry per adult
    Buy bananas if you’re brave, but be prepared to be jumped on if you do. The monkeys are friendly, but aren’t afraid to climb you like a tree, especially if you’ve got food.
    And that being said… they aren’t always Friendly! So keep your wits about you, and observe and obey the signs – They are wild animals after all.Leave your Hats, Sunglasses and any loose jewellery in the car. I had one cheeky monkey jump from the railing and try to take out my stud earrings. He didn’t have any luck (and they are cheap) but just a heads up!
  • Bali SwingNow this was the one thing that was at the VERY top of my Bali Bucketlist this time round #doitforthegram. 
    Located in Ubud, this is a relatively new experience that anyone who has seen my Instagram is just bound to want to do!
    Now in saying that, its not cheap… But 110% worth it.IDR 25,000 entry – this covers Entry Fee & a drink when you arrive.
    IDR 260,000 for the Swing… You can swing as many times as you like.They have a platform in which you are required to be harnessed in, then you swing out over the Jungle. Or if you would prefer to swing without the harness, you start from a lower platform (still strapped in, just around the waist this time)

    I had such an amazing feeling swinging out over the tree tops – gets the adrenaline pumping thats for sure <3



WAYAN BALI TOURS – My Private Driver.
Message him on Facebook and let him know what you would like to do and he will tailor make your day , and arrange the drive so you aren’t 
backtracking etc. 

He was only 600,000IDR for the whole day.. which split between 4 of us was so cheap so we ended up paying him 200,000 each and told him to have a few Bintangs on us! <3  He did not expect this at all, but was a nice to do if you are in the same position.



Photos From the Day <3

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EXPLORING SOME MORE OF NORTHLAND
>> TAUPO BAY, CAPE REINGA & TE PAKI DUNES << 



18.5.17

Well I was lucky enough to have three clear days off, so figured better not waste them!

I am incredibly lucky to have my grandparents live in Taupo Bay, so this amazing hidden gem has been my holiday spot for as long as I can remember.
I also spent a few years living here as a kid too.

Im not going to go on too much about this, but if you ever get the chance – pop on in to the bay.
The drive in is seriously beautiful.



CAPE REINGA

Scott had never been to the top of NZ before, so I was super excited to take him on this journey!

Following the signs for “Cape Reinga” you wont pass many others on the road once you turn off past Awanui.

At the very edge of our country is Cape Reinga Lighthouse – an iconic spot for many NZer’s who have made the drive to the top!

This is truly a MUST for any visitor to our beautiful country – looking out you are even able to see where the two oceans meet!



TE PAKI SAND DUNES

A Trip to Northland is not complete without visiting Te Paki Sand Dunes for some serious cardio work up the dunes, and epic speeds & laughs on the way back down!

 

You can hire Sand-boards from many places sign posted along the main road, or once you turn down towards the dunes there is one last place so you don’t miss out!
$15 a board, and you just hand over a licence or passport as a bond whilst you get amongst these giant dunes.

No time limit, so you truly could have hours of fun here – just depends on how many times you can brave the run/walk back up the top to slide down again.



RARAWA BEACH

On the way home from exploring we popped into Rarawa Beach for a little slice of Northland Paradise.
Pristine perfectly WHITE sand , incredibly smooth and if you scuff your feet along the soft sand it even SQUEAKS! The beach gets it white colour & squeak due to the high percentage of pure silica sand.

The best part about this beach is not many people know about it, so its likely you will only see one or two other people , and a strong possibility of it just being you!



<< FOOTAGE OF THE DAY >>

 

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The Tongariro Alpine Crossing



Tongariro National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Crossing is described as New Zealand’s BEST day hike, and one of the best in the World! If you haven’t yet completed this 19.4km day trek across incredible volcanic scenery then you are truly missing out!
Completing this hike has been on my NZ bucket list for quite some time now, and I am beyond stoked with the fact Scott & I just did it.



Length – 19.4km ( with added side tracks if you choose – highly recommend adding the summit in)

Time – 6-8hours depends on how long you spend stopping and admiring the breathtaking scenery.
We did the Tongariro Summit as well, spent about an hour down at the Emerald Lakes flying the drone and it took us just over 6hours.

Here is the government website brochure with timings and detailed information about each section.
http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/tongariro-taupo/tac-brochure-2011.pdf

Getting there – We stayed in Taupo the night before which is roughly an hours drive from the starting carpark. We organised a Shuttle to take us to the start of the track, and parked at the finish point.

Shuttles – I booked with MOUNTAIN SHUTTLE , $30 per person and they drop you at the recommended starting point of the track.



WHAT DO I NEED TO TAKE? 

ALL WEATHER CLOTHING (RAIN/WIND-PROOF JACKET/PANTS/ WARM CLOTHING)
FOOD/DRINKS/WATER (None available on track, Do not drink water from streams!)
FOOTWEAR Sturdy comfortable hiking boots or closed in footwear with good solid grip soles. I wore just Nike trainers which were fine, however make sure they are comfortable and not going to give you blisters – I couldn’t imagine doing the track with sore feet!
HATS x2 (sunhat & beanie)
GLOVES
THERMALS (warm clothing/wool/fleece) We completed the Hike on 14th May 2017, it was a high of 4degrees all day, so check the weather and pack accordingly!

The Start of the Hike – 7am, beautiful Sunrise but -2 degrees. All rugged up in my thermals and puffer jacket.

EXTRAS:
Sunglasses, First Aid Kit, Sunscreen, Camera & Toilet Paper!


TOILETS  – there are toilets along the track, with signs telling you how long until the next one. There is no toilet paper so pack some in your bags.
Also – a tip, dont wait until the LAST toilet as you are likely to have a rather long wait with everyone queuing up!



You can walk the track in either direction, although there is less climbing if you walk from Mangatepopo (1120 m) to Ketetahi (760 m) – This is the option I would highly recommend!

Shuttle buses operate for walking in this direction, with services to Mangatepopo in the morning and back from Ketetahi in the afternoon. Allow an extra hour to walk the track in reverse from Ketetahi to Mangatepopo.

We parked at Ketetahi Carpark, and caught the shuttle from there to Mangatepopo to start our Hike.
Ketetahi Carpark gets extremely busy, so arrive early to make sure you get a carpark as you just park along the side of the road.



Mount Tongariro Summit

Personally , I feel no Tongariro Crossing is complete without getting to the Summit!
In saying that, it is an extra 1-2 hour return hike, and clear visibility with no strong wind is required to safely climb Mount Tongariro.
At the Summit you truly get some of the most spectacular views of the National Park including Mount Ruapehu & the perfectly formed Mount Ngauruhoe.

Emerald Lakes

The Emerald Lakes have to be the most photographed part of the Tongariro Crossing and for very good reason!
Look how stunning they are!!!

The incredible colour is formed by minerals leaching into the thermal areas which are still steaming around the lakes and red crater areas.
The water is cold and acidic, and they freeze over in winter ( or even parts of them in MAY!) We were watching people throwing rocks onto the Ice to try and crack it but they were having no luck at all.

Drone photo of us to show a little perspective of how big this place truly is!



HERE’S A COLLECTION OF PHOTOS FROM THE DAY TO GET YOU INSPIRED TO DO IT TOO!



AND A VIDEO TO CAPTURE IT FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE <3

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For those of you who are like my Partner and I, and LOVE getting outdoors and exploring what Auckland has to offer then here is a list of some of our favourite Walks/Hikes around the Auckland Area!

**Ill add to this as I discover more <3



Okura Bush Walkway – An easy walking track (with a number of stairs thrown in the mix) This bush walk is said to be roughly 3hours return, taking you through the coastal forest and eventually down to Karepiro Bay and a historic Cottage. A beautiful spot for a secluded Picnic if the weather is nice! I used to run this track in just under an hour to the beach and back, so it can definitely be done quicker than 3hours too!

Getting There: The Track begins at the End of HAIGH ACCESS ROAD, Park at the end of the Road and follow the trail towards the Bridge, and then you are on your way!



Mercer Bay Loop Track – A new favourite track through low coastal scrub, the Mercer Bay Loop Walk is a great spot to stop and watch the sunset of the wild west coast of Auckland. Only an hour round trip, this is a great addition to your afternoons.
The track even has some spots to get the adrenaline pumping where you make your way along the top of the highest sea cliffs in the Auckland region.

Getting There: Head towards Piha, taking TE AHUAHU ROAD, Which will take you onto Log Race Road and down to the parking area.



Goldies Bush Walkway & Mokoroa Stream Track – Goldie Bush Scenic Reserve offers a variety of walks through coastal kauri forest, taking in the impressive Mokoroa Falls and even allowing you to follow the track up stream too!

Getting There: Goldie Bush Walkway can be walked from either Constable Rd or Horseman Rd. 
From Constable Rd the walkway descends through the Motutara Scenic Reserve to cross Mokoroa Stream. The track then enters the Goldie Bush Scenic Reserve, climbing through coastal forest with regenerating kauri, exiting at Horseman Rd.



Shakespeare Park – A Nature park located at the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.There are numerous walking tracks on the park for all levels of fitness so there’s no excuses not to take a stroll.
At the peak of most tracks you will experience stunning views of the Peninsula, the Hauraki Gulf and Islands such as Kawau Island, Tiritiri Matangi & Rangitoto.

Getting There: 1468 Whangaparaoa Road, Army Bay, Auckland – pop the address into Google Maps and enjoy the road trip! Heading towards north Aucklands Army Bay will set you on the right track to get to the Regional Park.



Kennedy Park – Auckland’s very own STAIRS OF DOOM , a 150-step climb from the North Shore’s Castor Bay up to the top. Something my friends and I love to do for FUN, Crazy huh! But seriously such a good workout . Highly Recommended.

Getting There: Now to get to these stairs you need to go to Beach Road Castor Bay – Kennedy Park and there’s a trick to it. Once there you’ll see a playground to the left and then to the right near the cliff is the public toilets. Head that way, follow the others in “active wear” and you will find the stairs of doom. Good Luck!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Hillary Trail – The Official Hillary Trail is a four-day (approx. 75km) tramping trail through the Waitakere Ranges and along Auckland’s west coast. Named the ‘Hillary Trail’ after pre-eminent mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary. We are yet to complete the trail in one go, however LOVE doing parts of this Incredible Trail. The photos below are part of the “TE HENGA WALKWAY” part of the Hillary Trail.

Getting There: Well that depends on where you want to start from! Do some research and see if you are up for the 4day challenge, or tick parts of it off on a day hike !



Rangitoto Island – A short ferry ride from the city or Devonport will get you across to Rangitoto Island. From there its up to you to explore the island, and of course – get to the top for some incredible views of Auckland City and surrounds. This would be a MUST DO activity for any visitor with some extra time in Auckland . And if you live here and haven’t done this yet, make a plan and GO!

Getting There: FULLERS FERRIES, from either Auckland City or Devonport!



KiteKite Falls – The Kitekite Falls are one of the most famous waterfalls in the Waitakere Ranges with six drops into a large pool at the bottom. The falls are reached by walking tracks at the end of Glen Esk Road.From the base of the waterfall you can take a track up the hill to the top of the falls, and have some incredible views from above! And, if you are brave enough – I have seen many people take a dip in the pool at the top…  but be careful, this is the cliff edge of the falls!

Getting There: Kitekite Falls Walk located at the end of Glen Esk Rd, Piha – Google Maps! And since you are already out there, add the Mercer Bay Loop on afterwards for the Sunset <3 = Perfect day!



Hunua Falls – about an hour out of Auckland hidden away is this gem!
Hunua Falls located in the Hunua Ranges is a must see if you are a Waterfall Lover! A short walk too making it easily accessible for all fitness levels. Plenty of space for a Picnic in front of the falls, or if you are brave – a swim in the warmer months !

Getting There: Address: 203 Falls Rd, Hunua. Located out South Auckland, so possibly an option as an add on to a road trip further south!

 

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AUCKLAND IS HOME FOR ME, SO HERE IS A LOCALS LOOK AT WHAT I CLASS THE BEST OF AUCKLAND TO BE.



BEST SPOTS TO WATCH THE SUNSET

Muriwai Beach, in particular – Maori Bay <3

Mercer Bay Loop Track – an easy walking track with cliff top views.

 



HIKES & WALKS



PLACES TO EAT/DRINK

Have you heard of FIRST TABLE!? 

You Pay $10 to book a First Table at participating New Zealand restaurants and you’ll get 50% off the food bill for 2 to 4 diners.

Click on this link to get your first booking for just $5!



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