Children ran from one end of the boat to another, tired backpackers slept as the boat rolled gently through the water, and snap-happy tourists clicked away, desperate not to miss any of the ocean scenery we were passing by.
The boat was a hub of activity, that is, until the island came into view. White sand beaches, colourful huts, scooters zipping around, boats bobbing along the dock, and of course, lush forests sprawling up and over the towering mountains.
Expecting a relaxing island getaway from our Balinese island getaway, we were somewhat pleasantly surprised to be hear that as far as lounging on deck chairs all day sipping on mocktails goes, we were on the wrong island.
Just a short boatride from Bali’s mainland, Nusa Penida takes the idea of a tropical oasis to a whole other level. Think sun, sand, and surf, surrounded by some of the most untouched landscapes you can find in this part of Indonesia.
If Bali’s roads are a bit sketchy, then Nusa Penida’s are basically non-existent. The only way to get around is by scooter, and as it so happens, this is also the only way to fully take in all the beauty of the scenery.
Forget your ideas about tropical holidays, stepping foot onto the biggest of the Nusa Islands is taking a step into adventure. Make sure to pack your sunblock, hat, and water bottle, because soaking up all the island has to offer means you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside chasing waterfalls, scooting around hills, and trekking through fields of coconut palms.
One of the most famous spots on the island – and it’s easy to see why – is Kelingking Beach. From the viewpoint above, you’ll see a rock formation jutting into the ocean mimicking the shape of a T-Rex, but that’s not the coolest part. If you up for a little bit of adrenaline seeking, then make the trek down the cliff front track to the beach below. The sea is the most crystal blue turquoise imaginable, and could convince even the most water averted person to abandon their beach position to take a dip.
From there take a trip to Angel’s Billabong and neighbouring Broken Beach. Angel’s Billabong is a natural infinity pool that drops off into crystal clear turquoise water – if you’re looking for a sweet shot for your Instagram, then this is the place to do it. A short walk from here is Broken Beach. With its crashing waves and panoramic views, this is spot that is definitely a must see.
Once you’re done adventuring you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. A benefit of staying on this island is that there’s plenty of local warungs to eat at. So while staying in Bali usually means indulging on matcha lattes and smoothie bowls, a trip to Nusa Penida will see you delving into traditional Indonesian food – one of the tastiest ways to soak in the culture like a local.
From adventure to food, and all the beauty in between, it’s easy to see why this place is popping up on travellers’ radars.
Words: Georgina Shearsby-Roberts