Here’s their blog about their trip and what they got up to…
June 19 was finally here and our amazing adventure with Air New Zealand to Bali was about to begin.
The kids were farmed out, the lists were written and we were off on our first holiday together in 12 years! From the moment we were greeted by Wayne at the Bali-themed send-off for the inaugural first direct flight to Bali, we felt like royalty! Air New Zealand made us feel like stars and every step along our journey exceeded our expectations.
Having not been to Bali before, our minds were like clean slates (apart from what we had read in the Lonely Planet Guide).
Our direct flight over was a mere eight and a half hours and we were there before we knew it.
Our first impression of Bali was that we were about to see and experience something different.
As we were driven to the resort at Nusa Dua in the early hours of the morning our faces were pressed to the car windows in awe of the volume of motorbikes on the road. Where were these people going at this time of the morning? We were soon to realise the motorbikes were more common than cars and often the key transportation for entire families – Mum, Dad sandwiched in between with a sleeping child.
We stayed at the Novotel Bali Benoa, an impressive Balinese-themed resort with all the comforts of home. With the hotel bordering the beach, the feeling of being by the sea helped to evoke the sense of relaxation. Watching the video on the hotels website before we left New Zealand showed a couple having a massage down by the beach – it looked romantic and idyllic. And we were not disappointed in the slightest. Seventy five minutes of heaven – our massage quickly made us know that we were truly on holiday and had no kids with us!
The Balinese people for the most are incredibly genuine, grounded and kind people. They don’t have much and therefore don’t expect a lot. Their philosophy for a good day is to make you happy and that they did!
Our trip was a mixture of relaxation and exploration and we had four full days to do lots of both.
We headed off to Kuta for some serious shopping at Discovery Mall. We were under strict instructions by our two girls to come back with pressies for them, so we thought we’d get this out the way in the first day. Our driver Putu waited for us wherever we went. We soon realised he had this uncanny knack of miraculously appearing when we were ready to leave and move onto the next place. With pressies in hand, we headed back to the resort for some R & R, a swim in the pool and a serious cocktail!
That night we put Lonely Planet’s dining out recommendation of Bumbu Bali to the test. As soon as we walked into the restaurant all the waiting and cooking staff looked up from what they were doing and greeted us in their national language. A flower quickly was tucked behind each ear and we were led to a welcoming candlelit table. The food was out of this world – the standard was set high and we could’ve easily eaten there every night of our stay.
Today was a day for rest! After another beautiful breakfast, we headed down to the beach for a walk. Although not a quiet walk, it was interesting. Water sports galore were on offer and there were plenty of salesmen trying to convince us that this was the way to spend our day. They were out of luck, as it was more interesting to watch than participate. The rest of the day was whisked away with relaxation – lying on lounger, reading a book, swimming and cocktails and then a massage to finish off the day blissfully. We decided to partake in the ‘Indonesia Night’ themed buffet at the resort – what a spread of delicious treats. The satays were to die for!!!
Putu our wonderful driver picked us up at 8am for a day of an adventure.
We crammed two days into one including:
• Watching a Balinese dance
• Watched Batik clothing being made
• Visited a UC Silver- a silver factory, including a magnificent shop of quality and affordable silver jewellery
• Visited a traditional Balinese house
• Walked through a village temple
• Bali Zoo- rode and hand feed the elephants – just magnificent. Holding the parrots, bear cat and touching a Sumatran tiger were pretty cool too!
• Walked with the monkeys in a small forest –for some reason the monkeys mistook Chris’ iPhone for a potential banana in his pocket.
• Shopping at Ubud village- well-known for its art
• Viewed the rice padi terraces
• A great day finished off with seafood dinner at Jimbaran Bay on the beach with the sand between your toes. We were serenaded to James Blunt ‘You’re Beautiful’. The chorus was sung in high pitch by a Balinese man with little teeth – so funny! I will always remember this occasion whenever I hear than song now!
Putu collected us for a tad more shopping at Seminyak and Matahari shopping centre to enable us to tidy up our shopping list. After that back to the resort for a workout at the gym, more swimming and reading by the pool and a delicious dinner at Coco’s Beach, a restaurant not far from the resort.
All too quickly our holiday was over and Sunday morning came to farewell us from this amazing place.
We sure will be heading back!