I saw it before he did. About five metres deeper, the size of an adult wombat. Dark, menacing, malevolent face fixed on us in a smouldering scowl. Before I could alert Andrea in a black and yellow bared-teeth blur it burst forth hurtling towards his head. It shot past his left ear then u-turned around […]

Whenever diving in Komodo is discussed–or rather feverishly frothed over–the formidable strength of its currents dominates. Komodo National Park off West Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, is widely considered to be home to some of the world’s most challenging recreational diving. The frenetic currents are caused by the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF), first noted by Polish oceanographer […]

The first time I went to Pasar Badung I was so overwhelmed by its size I didn’t even go in. I’d ojeked into Denpasar from Ubud for the day to scope out somewhere to live. In Bandung my shoe box boarding house room was eight minutes’ walk from work and there I walked everywhere, or […]

With apologies to my father, Greg Winterflood, and to Kuning Fellow volunteer Toni’s career history is riveting. She’s worked as an archaeologist with Indigenous people in Arnhem Land and as a maritime archaeologist in Victoria, searching for shipwrecks with the kind of undersea gadgets I thought only existed in sci-fi. Some of her diving stories […]

Pada hari pertama tahun 2012 aku terbangun oleh kejutan: garis pantai Jawa Selatan yang memusingkan dalam keindahannya. Dalam gelap gulita malam sebelumnya, kami tergelincir, mengutuk dan berteriak melewati lumpur ke atas bukit. Di sana ada rumah dibangun oleh satu warga Australia (di belakang pintu kamar kecil ada kalendar oleh Leunig, kartunis Australia yang terkenal). Dalam […]

On the first day of 2012 I awoke to a spectacular surprise: dazzling, dramatic South Java coastline. In pitch-black the night before we’d slipped and squelched and cursed and yelped our way up to a house built by an Aussie (Leunig calendar on the back of the toilet door) atop a rice terraced hill skirted […]

I farewelled my mother Meredith and her husband Richard at Denpasar airport today after nine days at Griya Santrian, a grand old beach resort in Sanur. I then swung by Warung Santai, one of my regular joints, for a late arvo lunch. While seated at a bench in front of a window adorned with seasonal […]

I love Indonesian food. I love it so much that when I lived in Bandung last year I compiled an A-Z of My Favourite Indonesian Cuisine. This year, for the inaugural Ubud Food Festival blog, I wrote articles on the cuisine of West Java, Central Java, Lombok and North Sulawesi. My list of recommendations for […]

There is a festival every day in Indonesia, I’ve often heard remarked. (When in India I heard the same.) I’ve certainly been to a few during my time here. Two were entirely unlike anything I’ve seen in Oz: the Sanur Village Festival traditional kite competition, and SoundrenAline, a major contemporary music festival funded entirely by […]

Today is Indonesia’s 70th Hari Kemerdekaan, Independence Day. This morning I spoke with a young man from Amed in northeast Bali as he drove a French couple and I from there to Sanur. Normally around a three hour trip we arrived in just under two. Wayan drove furiously, frequently pummeling the horn with clenched fist […]

On a one-day Singapore visa run earlier this year I queued at Bali airport from five in the morning for over two hours. A fellow AVID had warned the early Air Asia flight is always delayed, but I was still confronted by the kilometre-long queue furrowing through the terminal when I arrived. Sipping a mango […]

After my first solo international jaunt in Vietnam in December ’09, I met my former boyfriend Nicholas Combe in Bali for Christmas. It was my first trip to Indonesia. Nick and I overnighted in Padang Bai before fast boating to Gili Air, one of the three Gili islands lying like a trio of thought bubbles […]

Before he jetted off overseas for a few months Chriswan and I embarked on a final food adventure. Our delicious destination: the small city of Singkawang, 150ks north of Pontianak, capital of West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The majority of its population is of Chinese descent; Hakka comprise about 40%, another major group […]

We didn’t think we’d make our flight let alone the 12-hour ferry. On the way from our hotel to the Manado airport we hit horrific traffic, crawling a metre every few minutes. At the time we needed to find a taxi it was raining heavily and there were none around, so Chriswan flagged down an […]

After a few delicious days devouring perkedel nike in Manado, Chriswan and I folded ourselves into the front seat of a battered old bus bound for the small port city of Bitung, where we hopped on a speed boat sent to meet us by Two Fish Divers of Lembeh, an island on the northeast tip […]