Sun, sand, surf, you can find that on any beach right around our beautiful Australian coastline at any time of year. So why fly north to Bali?
Most Aussies fly to Bali for a sun drenched holiday where they can sit back , relax, be pampered, surf and party.
However, there is so much more to see and do around the island beyond the beach resorts.
As a family, we first experienced the exotic island over twenty years ago. This was when my idea for an adventure chapter book set in Bali was born.
Throughout the years since then, I have nurtured its growth and believe it is now ready to fly the nest just like the rest of my children.
In recent days I have with hesitant fingers pressed the send button on my submission to two publishers. The harrowing wait begins.
Perhaps now is the time to revisit this beautiful tropical island, its people, culture and mystique.
Did you know the Balinese are a very spiritual people? Their religious belief system is steeped in history and mythology.
Animism is an ancient form of Hinduism that combines Hindu gods with primitive ancestor worshipping. It includes the battle between the forces of good and evil.
Animism holds the belief that large stones, trees or other natural objects may house invisible spirits. Consequently, a small shrine is often built for them either nearby, or as a protective covering. Offerings of food and flowers are placed on the ground in bamboo trays to deter demons or evil spirits.
You may find an effigy of an animal god or a pair of mythical demon statues guarding many temple entrances. These too, are places to present offerings.
There are many places to visit around Bali where you will find evidence of this spiritual belief. Below are a few such places, that the Bradberrie Brothers discover as they follow their adventure trail around the island in their quest to find 'secrets hidden below'.
In my chapter book one of the places the boys are amazed by, is the drive through the village of Ubud. Here they encounter streets along the roads that wind through lush green tiered rice fields lined with spirit poles, presenting offerings to appease evil spirits.
Ubud is only about an hour drive north inland from the main tourist beaches around Kuta, yet it is where you encounter a hub of the traditional Balinese lifestyle. It is known for it's culture, arts, crafts and market stalls set among the cooler climate of the rice paddy backdrop. Ubud is also where you will find health and yoga retreats, as it is a place of calmness and well-being.
Tanah Lot Temple
Not far up the coast from Kuta, stands this magnificent and iconic temple. Sat on a rock surrounded by water, it is accessible at low tide.
One of many along the coastline, including Uluwatu, this temple was built centuries ago in order to worship the gods of the sea.
Nowadays, tourists flock to this destination for photo opportunities, particularly at sunset. A note of caution at these Temples, not only are they guarded by spirits, (good or evil) but monkeys too, all too willing to grab your food, bag or jewellery.
Along with the mystique of the culture, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from both intruders and evil spirits.
I wind this into my story as the boys encounter something lurking in the shadows of the caves in and around Tanah Lot Temple.
There truly is something for everyone on this island. If you are not into sun, sand and surf, history and culture, or arts and crafts, there are volcanoes.
Mt Batur is an active 700 m tall volcano to the north of the island. It is formed between two craters. At its base in one of the craters is Lake Batur.
The volcano rises above several small villages nestled among rice fields within the craters and can be quite a formidable sight It is well worth the day drive to watch the volcano quietly smoulder among the clouds.
Within the pages of my book a thirst for adventure, temptation and intrigue lead our mischievous boys on a dangerous path to this volcano.
Like most Aussie kids, the brothers in my story have grown up loving water sports. Whether it's at the beach learning to surf or in a backyard pool, we all learn to swim. Water is in our nature and swimming is a big part of our culture. So when visiting Bali we are all drawn to the beaches. Brian, my main character, has discovered the perfect snorkelling location. It is a small coral reef made from the remnants of a sunken World War 2 Japanese ship wreck. The coral and fish that are to be found there are renowned to be some of the most spectacular in the world. Found in the middle of the 'Coral Triangle' just off the coast of Amed beach, it is in shallow enough water to allow snorkelers and divers a chance to see her many treasures. The boys are however, in search of another treasure. Does Brian ever manage to have his day snorkelling? Maybe one day, you will be able to read my story to find out.
Have you ever visited Bali? Basked in her sun and culture?
Have you ventured out of the beach resorts to discover her natural wonders?
The Bradberrie Brothers discover much more than they bargain for in "Secrets Hidden Below.'