Sunshine Coast to Cairns & Further North – Road Trip, Australia

After I finished my time as an AuPair on the Sunshine Coast, my plan was to travel up north once again so that I could leave Australia from Cairns to go to Bali.

Even though I’ve already travelled the East Coast with my family in a caravan from Cairns to Sydney, we only had a very short time for this long distance and therefore I didn’t felt like I had actually seen much of it.

Luckily a friend of mine, that I met right at the beginning of my travels in Melbourne about 8 months before wanted to join me for this trip and so we had a really great road trip together.

Before, we already did a little mini road trip in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria for a few days, to see if we would fit together travelling in a small camper and after travelling on my own for a long time, I was really happy to share this experience.

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Home on Wheels

We rented a camper at travellers-autobarn for little over a month in Brisbane and he picked me up on the Sunshine Coast, where we stayed for the first two days.

In the beginning, when you get your new car, everything feels weird, not homie and you might wonder how you are going to survive five weeks in this little space. But after everything has it’s place and you are into a routine, you can really imagine how people live in vans fulltime.

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On the Road

Because we had over 5 weeks for our trip, we could really stop wherever we wanted and only had to plan for a few days in advance, never rushed to get anywhere in time.

I know that is not the case for everyone, but I will just share out experience and the best places we visited and you can pick and choose what places you actually want to/have time to go to and I bet that there are still places that we haven’t visited ether – Australia just has so much to offer!

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Money Money Money

I tried to write down what we spend on this trip, but it is really hard to remember. Also, the costs really depend on season, if you try to find free camps as much as possible, if you eat out or do lots of activities and trips.

I’d say we spend around 700$ + 600$ for the costs of the van for those 5 weeks. So it was definitely not a cheap month on my travels. But on the other hand we went to soo many places, did so many amazing things, had the freedom of our own car to go places and that was definitely worth it.

When you first hear camping and van life, you think of a very cheap way of travelling. But actually renting a car, fuel & campgrounds are pretty pricey. It’s probably cheaper to travel by Greyhound Bus and sleep in cheap hostels but you don’t have the freedom of your own car to go places…

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FOOOOOD

As I said, the costs of your trip also really depend on what you eat, what you buy & cook and how much you eat out. And we definitely weren’t super thrifty.

Food is a really big passion of mine. I love eating out, trying restaurants and healthy eating and cooking is important for me and I would rather spend a bit more money on it – in my opinion, that’s worth it.

We did cook mainly vegan (meat and cheese is pretty expensive anyways). Lot’s of chickpea curries, wraps with egg or falafel, avo toasts, porridge, burgers & sandwiches…

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But we also loved a good Aussie brekkie in a nice café and with an epic view. Coffee is also pretty expensive, so I’d recommend not having coffee out all the time.

App Recommendations

There are some apps that have been really helpful to plan our trip, find free camps, find campgrounds, free toilets, water to refill our tank and to find cheap fuel.

  • Campermate
  • Fuel Map
  • Here we go
  • Wikicamper

As well as google maps obviously :D

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Our Trip

Our trip started on the Sunshine Coast, where I was living with my AuPair Family at that time. James picked me up and we spend one day in the Hinterlands of the Sunny Coast with another friend of mine.

We went to the Glasshouse Mountains, Maleny & Montville. A very beautiful landscape and drive and two very cute little mountain towns, that are pretty touristy (in a good way) and offer a lot for daytrippers.

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Then we continued to Rainbow Beach and had a night in Maryborough, before we went to Hervey Bay & Fraser Island.

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In the Bundaberg region we went to Coral Cove and Mon Repos Conservation Park. A very beautiful place where you can learn a lot about sea turtles and if you are lucky (and there at the right time) you can even see baby turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean.

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We further north to Rockhampton and Yeppel, where we stayed for two nights to have one full day on Great Keppel Island. A very small and beautiful tropical island where you can hike, explore, snorkel and enjoy – without many other tourists!

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In Mackay, we stayed at my friend’s families place and explored Eugella NP. I would really recommend going there as you can very likely see wild Platypus at Broken River
– which is really special, as they are super shy. And the Finch Hatton Gorge is very nice to have a cooling bath as well.

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Afterwards, we went to the famous Cape Hillsborough NP where you can experience a sunrise with Kangaroos at the Beach. Unfortunately, it was foggy in the morning, but nevertheless, this place is really beautiful.

Also, I can highly recommend doing the walk to the Turtle Lookout as we saw soo many turtles and the water has an epic colour.

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We spend a few nights in Airly Beach. Had breakfast at the Fat Frog with a beautiful view. Went to the Cedar Creek Falls, did a two-day sailing tour with Southern Cross to the Whitsundays and to snorkel & I also did my very first SkyDive which was such an epic experience and a really awesome view!

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Further north we stopped in Bowen for a night and went snorkelling at Horseshoe Bay – a really nice place to go to.

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I really fell in love with Townsville. The view from the Castle Hill for sunset is amazing and we also enjoyed an adventurous day on Magnetic Island.

Magnetic is really great for snorkeling, hiking, exploring and they also have some cute cafés, but it is definitely a more common and more touristy place than the Keppel Islands – very worth it though.

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Next up was exploring Little Cristal Creek, Jourama Falls and Wallaman Falls. A very beautiful area and we had so much fun exploring all day, swimming and wondering around.

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Mission Beach is probably a really beautiful place, but unfortunately, it was not the best weather, so we couldn’t really enjoy it to the fullest. We still did some rainforest walks and did a little Lookout drive around.

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Somewhere I really wanted to go was the Milla Milla waterfalls circuit. A bit off the Coastline but so worth going there in my opinion.

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In Cairns, we again stayed at my friends families place at Palm Cove / Clifton Beach and I can really recommend this area. Central Cairns isn’t really that special, but the northern Beaches are so beautiful!

The lagoon in Cairns is really nice as it is a free swimming pool area and the Art Gallery is really nice as well if you like to see some local and aboriginal art – it’s free to visit too!

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We went on a day-trip to Fitzroy Island, which I can really recommend, to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef from the Island.

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Also went to the rainforest village Koranda for a day to explore the markets and go to the Butterfly Sanctuary.

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Obviously, we had to do another boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef for a day. They are so worth the money as it is so fun to snorkel and I also did my very first scuba dive trial which was a lot of fun as well.

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From Cairns, we went up further north: along the famous beach with stone architecture to Port Douglas, to then go even further to Daintree Village to do a Croc Tour on Daintree river.

We crossed the river with the ferry to go into Daintree rainforest. The ice cream at the Ice Cream Company is really amazing and so worth a stop as they have flavours of fruits you have never seen or heard of before – and they taste so epic and tropical!

That’s why I also decided to do a fruit tasting in Cape Tribulation to try all different kinds of tropical fruits and learn about them – so interesting, fun and delicious.

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We had such an epic time on our road trip and even though I would say I’ve seen a lot of Australia and had such a long time there – I still feel like I really need to come back to explore more and to go back to places I love.

Being in Australia for 10 months and really feeling like I belong there. I am already excited to come back!

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My last picture in Australia <3

Exploring Bali – Amed, Ubud, Lovina, Canggu, Seminyak

This is part 2 of my Indonesia travel guide and report of our one month trip through Indonesia. We started on Bali, went to Nusa Penida, Lombok and did a boat tour around the Komodo Islands for five days – so if you want to read about that and don’t miss anything from our Indonesia trip, head to part 1 first!

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Amed

So after our five-day boat tour ended on Lombok, we had one more night before we headed back to Bali, to be exact: to Amed, by fastboat.

We stayed in Amed for a few nights and really just relaxed after the adventurous days on the boat tout. We had a really nice massage, snorkelled in the bay in Amed and also went to the Japanese Ship Wreck to snorkel there which was so cool! (second video)

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I can highly recommend Amed, if you are looking for a quieter place. More relaxed, families, lots of divers and chilled people and not much partying and clubbing going on.

The city is on the east side of Bali and basically spread along the coast, which is why it’s the paradise for divers as there are so many bays and riffs.

There is not really any of these fancy famous restaurants or cafés in Amed but we still found some nice places to eat, nothing special and more local.

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Sunset Beach, Amed

How we went places

Anna and I both had no experience driving a scooter and we figured that Bali’s traffic was not the best place to try. Next time, I would definitely want to get a scooter to go places and be able to explore more, but at that time we didn’t feel safe doing it.

Also, we had quite a lot of bags and it would have been a big struggle to take everything with us, especially when we’re not good drivers.

That’s why we always booked a private driver when we had to move to the next city and that was still pretty cheap, very comfy and practical.

In the towns, we always tried to walk most distances, which isn’t really safe either (probably even more dangerous as most of the times there is no walkway). Or we took a GoJack / Uber scooter, where you ride on the back and the local driver really knows how to ride this crazy traffic :D

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Ubud

From Amed, we went to Ubud and stayed right in the centre in a really beautiful AirBnB / Homestay called ‚The White House‘ with a really nice garden and pool area and super cute little bungalow rooms.

Ubud is a really busy but also a very nice area in the middle of the jungle and rice fields, that is popular for its hippie and yogi vibe.

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We can highly recommend looking for things to do on AirBnB! We did a batic class and made our own colourful cloth.

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If you like Yoga, or want to try it out, we can also highly recommend ‚The Yoga Barn‘ where you can book in for one single class or get a pass for several classes or even do Yoga retreats and teacher trainings there.

The room we practised in had huge windows and it felt like practising in the jungle and the Yoga teacher was really great as well.

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We also did a rafting tour which was a lot of fun and so great to see the beauty of nature from the river! I can highly recommend doing it.

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There is also so many good restaurants in Bali. As everything is super hippie, there is so many health food cafés and fancy foodie places that we tested.

We went to ‚KAFE‘ several times and loved it there! The card is so huge and full of delicious stuff that it was so hard to decide what to order and we had to come back. They have some really delicious smoothies, a lot of vegan & healthy food and really great iced mocca and coffee.

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We can also highly recommend the ‚Atman Nourish Kafe‘ which is a completely vegan place that has so many delicious options (perfect to convince someone that vegan is delicious!) and I really loved their gluten-free pizza!

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When in Ubud, you also have to do the Campuhan Ridge Walk. The best time would be just before sunset for the perfect light over the hills!

Monkey Forest is also really famous and it was nice to go there – just so we’ve been there, but not really that epic. We’ve seen lot’s of monkeys before and you basically see them everywhere, but it’s still a nice thing to do.

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It is also really fun to do a coffee and tea tasting on a plantation. There is so many around Ubud and it is great to taste all different kinds of coffee and tea they make and sell there. You can also try the worlds most expensive coffee (about 8€ per cup, so not that expensive), where the coffee beans get digested by wild cats :D sounds weird but tastes really good!

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The North – Lovina

Our next stop was Lovina, which is in the north of Bali. Not super touristy and crowded at it is a bit further away, but if you have time, I really would recommend you to go there!

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We stayed in a beautiful AirBnB ‚Oaza Bali Bungalows‘ with a pool and not far from ‚Spice Beach Bar‘ a beach club that we spend 1 days at – just relaxing, sunbathing, reading and enjoying.

The highlight in Lovina is, that you can go on a sunrise boat tour to see and swim with dolphins (video 3). A tiny boat takes you out to find a big family of dolphins and then you get to go in the water and see them underwater. It was such a magical experience and definitely one of my favourites in Bali!

I’ve always dreamt of swimming with dolphins and did not expect this to happen on Bali.

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Temple, Waterfall & Rice Terrace Tour

Another one of our favourite days where we got to see so so many famous places of Bali. Because we had no scooter, we couldn’t ride around and visit any places outside the cities, so we booked a tour over AirBnB where a private driver took us around all the beautiful places that we wanted to see.

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Our first stop was the famous ‚Gate of Heaven‘ that we really wanted to go to because it just looks so so beautiful. The funny thing is though: it doesn’t actually look like that in real life :D There is no lake, they take a mirror to reflect the sky and you also have to wait about one hour in a line to get your minute of standing in the gate and getting your picture taken. Still worth it though in my opinion – it is so beautiful!

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Next stop was the water palace. Another really famous and picture-worthy place and really so beautiful in real life as well.

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Then we went to two waterfalls that were really nice, but so so crowded that we couldn’t even take a nice picture without anyone in the back :D Oh well!

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The last stop was the ‚Tegallalang Rice Terraces‘. The most famous and most photographed rice fields. On pictures, they probably look even better at sunset/sunrise but live they were beautiful anyways!

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Another brekkie at ‚Crumb & Coaster‘

Canggu

Our last few days together where spend in Canggu. Shopping, strolling around, watching surfers and having a surf lesson as well, enjoying cheap eating out, getting massages and all that good stuff.

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Bali has so so many nice places for shopping. Local wood art and dishes, bamboo interior, beautiful swimwear and clothes in general! Next time I’ll bring only one dress and a bikini and shop a whole new closet and interior for my future home :P

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One of the best pizza crust I’ve ever had at ‚Luigi’s Hot Pizza‘ in Canggu. They also have vegan cheese and the place is really cool!

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Our last breakfast together at ‚The Avocado Factory‘. Anna left a few days earlier and I stayed in a hostel by myself to reflect, spend some more time solo, think about my whole year of travelling and everything that happened before going home.

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I went to Yoga classes every day at ‚Yoga 108‘ which I highly recommend! It was so much fun and the people there are really nice.

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I took myself out for breakfast by myself a lot. Might be totally weird to some, but I actually enjoy being alone sometimes – just not too often. And if I felt lonely, I loved listening to podcasts. It’s like listening to a friends conversation while eating :D

But I also felt lonely at some points. That’s part of travelling solo as well.

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‚Shelter Café‘ was by far my favourite place! The spirulina smoothie was heaven, the wrap amazing and the vegan waffle to die for…

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I also went to ‚Peloton Super Shop‘ and ‚KYND‘ by myself for dinner or breakfast. Two very famous vegan foodie places.

The food part is definitely one of the main reasons to go (back) to Bali! It is a foodie heaven and looking at this now really makes me want to go back ASAP :P

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I really enjoyed the last few days, not as much as my time with Anna, but I still made the most of it and really took the time to myself, reflect, meditate, yoga and soak up the last bits of sunshine.

I mean – look at me – don’t I look super zen, relaxed and tanned :D

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That’s it! That was my time in Bali… And now, take me back please!

Indonesia – Bali, Lombok, Nusa Penida & Komodo Islands

At the end of my big Australia trip – I’ve been travelling, living & working there for 10 months – I decided it wasn’t quite time to go home yet and I really wanted to also see a bit of Asia on the way back to Europe.

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So I flew from Cains to Bali and reunited with one of my best friends, Anna, that came from Germany, so we could have an epic time together exploring Indonesia. I was really glad at that stage, that I had her as my travel buddy. Travelling solo is so amazing and so much fun, but I’ve done it for quite a while and was really looking forward to having my best friend by my side and share the experience.

As we had a whole month in Indonesia, we could really see a lot of this beautiful country and not just Bali, but we still spend the majority of our time on that island as we really wanted to see a lot of Bali and travel slow.

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Our First Days in Kuta

Our trip started in Kuta, where we met after I flew in from Australia and Anna from Germany – we haven’t seen each other for 10 months and it still felt like we haven’t been apart really :D

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Kuta, as long as you are not really into partying. That area is mostly for big hotel / package holiday kind of visitors and not really for travellers like us. But it was still great to get used to the cultural differences slowly, there were some nice and cheap massages, shopping centres and a beautiful (crowded) sunset beach with nice waves.

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First dinner at „Fat Chow“ a really cute place and really delicious food. 
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Sunset over the ocean is just magical.
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Our little hotel that we booked via AirBnB with a shared pool. 
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On of our favourite breakfast places: Crumb & Coaster. Really delicious food and the iced Mocca is a dream! 

Accommodation booking

We ether booked over AirBnB or Booking, but mostly AirBnB. If you are early, you can find really beautiful and still super cheap treasures there. Little bungalows with your own pool, treetop houses or jungle villas.

We wanted to be very free and spontaneous on our trip, so we always only booked a few days or a week in advance and that worked really well.

If you are used to European or Australian prices, everything seems really cheap anyways and there are some really luxurious places to stay at for not much money.

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Nusa Penida

From Kuta, we booked a day-trip via AirBnB to go to Nusa Penida. We had a private driver and guide that picked us up at our hotel, drove us to the jetty and guided us around on the island.

I don’t really know what to think about Nusa Penida really… I mean, the touristy sights that we went to were really really beautiful but also crowded, the streets were awful and I really would not want to drive around on a scooter myself and there was sooo much rubbish and plastic EVERYWHERE. But then the water is so turquoise and cristal clear.

I would probably go again, but stay for a night and also go to Nusa Lembogan and/or Nusa Ceningan – they are supposed to be less touristy.

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The water in Nusa Penida is so epic.
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The famous Kelingking Beach with the dinosaur cliffs. 
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The water down there at the beach looked incredible, but the hike down is really crazy.

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Broken Beach

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Booking Trips & Activities

We always booked our day-trips and activities via AirBnB because it felt safe to us and there are so many options. We did a surfing class, batic-art class, Yoga, a sunrise boat tour, a waterfall & temple tour… but I will talk about all of these when I get to the location, so it makes more sense.

Just know that AirBnB offers really great options, mostly with a private guide.

We also booked a boat from Bali to Lombok at the counter, but it was more stressful. You have to make sure that you book the right thing and the person understands what you want, you need to haggle over the price for quite a while and you only get a little piece of handwritten paper as your confirmation – still worked out fine though.

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5 Day Boat Trip

Lombok – Komodo Islands – Kinca Island – Flores

We got recommended to do a boat tour with Parama Tours by a friend, to see more of Indonesia and it was a hell of an adventure. Not always easy, not always comfortable, but a real adventure and looking back, we are so glad we did it and would do it again.

From Bali, we had to take a boat to Lombok, which was already quite stressful and uncomfortable, especially because Anna wasn’t feeling really great. We had one night on Lombok and then went on the Parama Bus. First, we drove around Lombok and got to see some more of this island and at night time we arrived at the boat and our home for the next few nights.

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You could book cabins or sleep in a „dorm“ that was basically outside but with a roof.

As we always had to go places overnight, the motor was always on and that made it so hard to sleep the first nights. Especially because Anna was really sick the first two nights it was hard, but we got used to it and everything we did and saw was totally worth it.

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We always had several stops on different islands, did hikes, watched the sunset, went swimming, snorkelling, exploring. We got food on the boat and could relax and sunbath while we went to the next location.

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One of the highlights for me was a tiny island with only palm trees that you could walk around in about 3 minutes. A little paradise, besides the plastic. We snorkelled there and had some time to take pictures and relax.

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Komodo Island was another highlight of the tour. The national park is home to the biggest reptiles on earth. They can get around 4 meters long and their bights are deathly, but we had rangers with us and they don’t commonly attack humans.

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Pink beach, that isn’t really that pink anymore. 

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We also went past an active volcano and watched the smoke coming out of it. And we went to pink beach, that isn’t really that pink :P

Our tour ended in Lombok and at that time we were really glad it was over and we were on land again :D Five days on a ship can be quite exhausting, but it was such great time!

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Our travels continued to Amed, Lovina, Ubud, Canggu & Seminyak, but I will write a second post about these stops and more information (about how we got around & more places to eat epic food), as this would get too long!

If you have any further questions or topics, comment down below and I will get back to you and include those in the 2nd part of my Bali posts!