Lake Eildon

A 2 – 3 hour drive from Melbourne and my 3rd time sleeping under the Australian stars. Another ‘bush’ experience to add to my repertoire after Ayres Rock & Fraser Island. I’m lucky that for the boyfriend camping is like a national sport, complete with the family boat to play with & ski-biscuits to drag your nephews around on. A lovely weekend road trip, thankfully with a tent mattress!

Scepan Polje, Durmitor National Park

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We booked a rafting tour through Old Town Hostel Kotor and headed up to the National Park as a day tour (74 euros). It’s a winding 3 hour drive each way, with some pretty spectacular views that give Lake Bled a run for its money on neon blue water. The white water is apparently level 2 – 3; enjoyable with a few drops & splashes. With river temperatures of 4 degrees you wouldn’t necessarily want to fall in, even with a wetsuit. After the travel, a nice breakfast & lunch, you spend about 2.5 hours on the water. The best bit was during a waterfall stop when our guide casually remarked that we were in Bosnia! Apparently border control is pretty relaxed on the Montenegro / Bosnia border since we had no passports. A shame, as I’d love to add ‘raft’ to my list of border crossings.

Croatian Island Hopping

Here are my top 3 Croatia spots;

Split
Ok it’s part of the mainland not an island, but along with Dubrovnik it’s the main jumping off point. It was our first gateway to Croatian heaven AKA; platters of red wine, prosciutto ham & olives. Mediterranean food bliss after two year’s living in Asia. We walked it all off climbing up the Marjan look out point over the old town, plus a rather perilous climb up the crumbling Bell Tower of Diocletian’s Palace; much like a scene out of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. I chickened out before the top!

Hvar
‘Party island’ namely due to Carpe Diam’s beachfront club on a private island just across the harbour. We went during the day when it was very Cafe Del Mar or Tanjong Beach Club in style; i.e pleasant, chill-out, with comfy bean-bag to lounge on for free untill the staff catch you. The absolute highlight of Hvar however (or in fact everywhere!) is to hire your own 10cc motor boat and explore the hidden beaches and coves of the Pakleni islands. Luckily the BF has a boat licence, but even without one, anyone can do it. The rental guys are as blase as hiring a scooter in Thailand. For 500 kuna they even fill it with petrol. Pack yourself a bottle of red, some bread and cheese and a hand drawn map (al la Leo’s on The Beach) and you’re away on the open sea for 10 hours. The best spots are the hilarious nudist beach, the popular ‘sandy beach,’ and well, anywhere you feel like dropping your anchor.

Korcula
Just when you think you’ve had your fill of super yachts and quaint medieval Stari Grads (Old towns) Korcula blows everything out of the water. Despite being the size of a postage stamp, it’s one of the downright prettiest places I’ve ever seen. Tiny, low-key and gorgeous. Perhaps we loved it so much because of the amazing grandma’s attic room where we stayed, with its own Romeo & Juliet style balcony terrace overlooking the harbour & old town ruins. Our host must have been in her early 90’s.

All of our accommodation for Croatia was found by rocking up at the port/station and being ‘kidnapped’ by the private pension touts (usually cute old pensioners) that invite you into their homes. Obviously it’s a bit hit and miss; we paid between 300 – 350 (35 – 45 euros) some required a 10 min walk, and one featured a bedroom full of Mary statuettes & biblical paraphernalia. But it’s a worthwhile gamble for a more authentic Croatian experience, but unfortunately we don’t know the name of anywhere we stayed. Sorry blog!

 

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Slovina’s picture postcard shot is the almost neon-blue Lake Bled. The gothic fairytale Church of Assumption island floats pretty in the middle, surrounded by a 2 hour / 6 KM round circuit. An old stone hotel on the West bank feels very ‘Great Gatsby-esq’ and it’s still hauntingly stunning even in the rain. You can hire gondolas, or for the brave, swim in the 20 degree clear water. Brr!

Where we stayed; 2 bed apartment at Jazz hostel – owned by the most helpful guy in the world! Amazing service.

Getting there; Direct mini-bus from Ljuijana airport, 30 mins, 13 euros.

Batam, Indonesia

Ah the perks of ‘popping’ to Indonesia for a Sunday day out! Here are 10 reasons to try wakeboarding in Batam…

1) Dust off Sunday’s hangover and do some exercise, if only for the month of January.

2) You get ‘express service’ for the $10 USD visa so can hop straight from the ferry, no queues.

3) Unlike East Coast Park you pay for the day (7 hours!) and not by the hour.

4) $2 SGD Bintan beers!

5) $20 SGD massages by the lake.

6) Great instructors, friendly, patient and fun; “Welcome to Batam where the time difference is 1 hour and twenty years behind Singapore.”

7) A motobike pick up service when you stack it on corners 2 or 3.

8) Jumps and a separate ‘pro queue’ so everyone gets fair time on (or under) the water.

9) Loud surround-sound and a nice balanced party vs chill playlist.

10) Sunloungers and a gorgeous deck to spectate when it all gets too tiring!

How to get there:
Visit: http://www.cable-ski.com/

Price: $108 SGD for everything. Includes two way ferry, rental gear, buffet lunch, transfer bus and 7 hours of wakeboarding time. Unfortunately not a magic wand when your muscles ache so much even typing this is hard the next day!

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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