The beach towns of Kuta and Seminyak have long enchanted
Australian travellers, but as Aleney de Winter discovers, there is
much to be discovered beyond their boundaries.
With its beautiful beaches and
locals that love children, Bali
is one of Australiaís favourite
family holiday destinations.
While the appeal of the
islandís busy resort areas is undeniable, those
seeking to experience the real Bali might want
to venture beyond Kuta and Seminyak to
experience a place thatís high on culture and
natural beauty and low on crowds.
In the Southern part of Bali youíll find the Bukit
Peninsula and some of the islandís most
beautiful beaches and best surfing. You can
also explore Baliís spiritual side with a visit to
Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of its most iconic
Perched high on a steep cliff that overlooks
the ocean, the 11th-century temple is the place
to watch a traditional kecak dance with one of
Baliís spectacular sunsets as a backdrop.
The Bukit Peninsula also boasts some of the
best beaches in Bali. Experienced surfers will
relish the waves at Uluwatu, while the whole
family can stroll down and along a cliff-side
path to check out this famous break. Other
locations worth a visit are beautiful Belangan,
rated by some as Ďthe beachí in Bali, with
deckchairs to laze on and warungs serving
local dishes, Dreamland and Padang Padang.
Jimbaran Bay is also a major drawcard of
this region. At the northern end, watch the local
fishermen hauling in their morning catch at
Jimbaran fish market, then join local families
who congregate to watch the sun go down and
dine at the seafood warungs that line the
beach. Jimbaran is home to some excellent
family resorts and villas including perennial
favourites such as the beachfront
InterContinental Bali Resort, the boutique
Karma Jimbaran and AYANA Resort and Spa
Bali which offers both hotel-style
accommodation as well as luxury private villas.
InterContinental Bali Resort
Surrounded by rice paddies and incredible
beaches about 20 minutes north of Seminyak,
itís no surprise that the village of Canggu has a
rising profile. Popular with surfers, each of the
areaís beaches has its own special charm.
Echo Beach is the most popular with great
waves as well as warungs and restaurants
lining the beach. Pererenan Beach is quieter
and prettier by comparison with swimming
spots more suited to younger kids.
A horseback riding tour along the beach or
through rice paddies and small villages with
the Bali Equestrian Centre is the stuff of
holiday dreams, as is a sunset visit to Pura
Tanah Lot. Located on a rock island just off
the coast of Tabanan, it is Baliís most famous
temple and only a 15-minute drive from the
village of Canggu.
Image credit: Canguu Club
The areaís newest attraction is Splash
Water Park at the Canggu Club. With its
speedy Giant Racing Slide and the Crazy
Creek tube raft ride, this one is a must for the
kids. And be sure to check out Deus Ex
Machinaís Temple of Enthusiasm, a cool cafe
where you can enjoy your cappuccino
surrounded by custom motorcycles,
surfboards, skateboards and art.
There is a variety of accommodation choices
for families but for something out of the
ordinary, the stunning Villa Sungai, a bespoke
luxury villa situated in lush jungle overlooking a
river, lies just 10 minutes from Canggu in the
village of Cepaka. With it comes personal
service fit for royalty and incredible access to
local experiences that the kids will adore.
InterContinental Bali Resort
Beaches may be Baliís biggest drawcard, but
lovely Ubud is its cultural and creative heart.
While its delightul location among fields of rice
paddies offers an alternative to Baliís
beachside towns, families can still go wild.
The Bali Bird Park is home to almost 250
different species of birds in walk-through
landscaped aviaries, while you can find critters
of the cold-blooded variety next door at the
Bali Reptile Park. At the Elephant Safari
Park, a world-class elephant sanctuary, the
kids can see, ride and feed the elephants in
their natural tropical surroundings and even
wake up with them at the Safari Park Lodge.
Thereís more than just wildlife to keep you
busy! Youíll also find craft and cookery classes,
art galleries, whitewater rafting, temples and
even a chocolate factory where you can
witness cacao beans become delicious treats
before your very eyes.
Touted as the Ďnext big thingí these three little
islands, fringed by white-sand beaches and
coconut palms off the north-west coast of
Lombok, are holding increasing appeal for
families looking for a quieter and more
authentic experience. Technically itís not Bali,
but with speedboats ferrying visitors direct
from Candi Dasa, it might as well be.
The three islands have their own personality
but each remains unspoilt. Trawangan Island
has the most facilities which is handy for
families, but the smallest and most peaceful of
the islands, Gili Meno, is our pick. Its pristine
white-sand beaches and clear-blue waters
provide the perfect location for spending lazy
days swimming and snorkelling with the kids.
There is also a range of accommodation to suit
families but there are no cars or motorcycles
allowed on the island, so be prepared to walk
or cycle to get around.
Elephant Safari Park Lodge