A day in the life of an expat.

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The first in a series of ‘a day in the life of’. Today we have a short yarn from me, the Enjoy Bali Editor, feel free to comment!

The noun, ‘waterfall’, is used without thought everyday to name those wondrous occurrences of nature. They are aptly named, if not a tad unimaginatively, due to the uncanny knack of water, when presented with a lack of terra solida, to fall. This is almost, but not completely, beside the point.

The point is Sunday afternoons. The point more specifically is sunny Sunday afternoons.

Originating from the UK, sunny Sunday afternoons (which are rare) seemed to ignite an extraordinary fire of ambition and enthusiasm in even the habitually apathetic and lethargic souls. Greenways would be driven and cycled down, cattle grids would be rattled, coastal paths jogged, walked and rambled, even the odd Munro (enormous Scottish super mountains) would be attempted. The need to achieve absolutely nothing at home is replaced with the inexplicable need to achieve absolutely nothing in the middle of nowhere instead. Under no circumstance would this glorious day be in vain, no sir.

Bali Waterfalls Adventure

Except, you did achieve something, you had a nice day out, the dogs and the kids ran themselves ragged, you had at least one falling out over map directions  then ice-creams to calm down again and you spent some time re-connecting with our planet. It also turns out that everyone everywhere does it all the time too.  So, feeling nostalgic and inspired by some visiting old uni friends, I declared in the middle of their sunny holiday that we were going for a sunny Sunday afternoon walk, no two ways about it.

There are several groups who you can join so you don’t get hopelessly lost in the wilderness, namely the kindly lunatics of the Hash House Harriers. However, I was determined for a spur of the moment adventure and in that moment decided water that falls would be the mission. After a vague internet search and the obvious ones struck off for being too obvious we set off to a region of the island I’d never been to, nor for that matter, had anyone else. The one piece of genuine research conducted was to learn the translation of waterfall in Indonesian. Apart from the fact it would be useful in asking directions, I was rather hoping Indonesian had some magical word that reflected the majesty of nature’s giant water features. Air Terjun translates to ‘plunging water’. An improvement on the English I think but all too practical still for my sense of adventure. Undeterred and with dogs excitedly enthroned in the boot we set off.

Bali Waterfalls Adventures

The drive was without much ado, the route takes you west along the coast until you reach the ridge between two great valleys, the road splits, either to continue along the coast or, as we did, winds its way upwards, clinging to this backbone of land. The views are spectacular and a fortunately placed petrol station confirmed we were close to the plunge. It seemed however that our UK nostalgia had been brought into existence, clouds rolled over from the north and rain began to fall. Of suitably stubborn stock (bloody drove here, bloody going to go for a walk hell or thunder) we pressed on. Our Air Terjun senses tingling we saw an ancient sign pass us by in the middle of a town, a quick u-turn later and we were adventuring down a one track lane until it appeared to disappear into a foot path, right next to a local family’s drive way. We were enthusiastically ushered to park in the drive and offered their son and his friend, messers kadek and possibly kadek, as guides. The confident smiles of the carefree 8 year olds won us over immediately.

Bali Waterfalls Adventure

After reassurances that the dogs wouldn’t devour them they set off down the path keeping one eye on the marauding hounds and, to our surprise, one eye on tasty treats left in the Hindu offerings, always keeping one step ahead of our retriever who is particularly adept at this scavenging himself.

The road wound off down a valley and our guides proved their worth almost immediately as a small staircase rose from nowhere and vanished into the undergrowth with no signs. We would still be wondering down the valley now I dare say. With the group being well herded by our Kelpie and the path ahead being trail blazed by our retriever (along with multiple other paths almost simultaneously) we dove into the lush and dense looking jungle. Or was it? Orderly lines became apparent, red berries abundant and a stark lack of diversity. The whole fairly steep valley side had been converted into a coffee plantation. I was raised out of my mixed thoughts on the matter by the clearing of the rain clouds and the sound of water, plunging.

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I had been hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I was in fact genuinely impressed. It is a decent unbroken terjun, the water galloping off an overhang into a surprisingly shallow pool. A little more detective work and you deduce the pool is continuously being filled with rocks from the cliffs above, a fact I worked out after diving in and thrusting my head into the main body of the fall. Retreating to the safety of the pool’s edge the kids had just become our retriever’s best friends and vice-versa when they worked out he’ll chase a stick and bring it back for more. We instantly put bets on whose enthusiasm would wane first, 8 year old boys with a new toy Vs 18 month old retriever with new friends. It was a tough call.  We wallowed for a short time in the refreshingly brisk pool, discussing the peculiarities of mankind’s fascination of H2O combined with gravity. After our subconscious soaking in the healing ways of Mother Nature, we donned our garments, rescued Maximus the retriever from the torment of multiple sticks at once, grabbed a few pics and set off back through the coffee.

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I had to call a halt to the battle of retriever vs child and declare a draw as we neared the car so that we could try and remove half the mountainside from Max’s coat. We renumerated our happy guides and parking attendants and after much shouting and a 98 point turn were back on the open road. There had been a spattering of signs for restaurants we had noticed on the way up and we randomly selected one halfway down the ridge. The Dutch run villa complex with lovely views and most importantly surprisingly edible food was set in lovely grounds and steeled us for the inevitable sunset traffic jams of home and the absolutely necessary 30mins of inexplicably getting lost only kms from home.

A cold beer in hand once home brought on the old feelings of achievement, the weariness of accomplishment and the smugness of a day in paradise not wasted. The hounds, the friends and I were all content with our venture to nature. Cheers to Air Terjun.

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