Looking closer at street life.
I travel a lot. Aussies can travel a lot. But for near perfect beaches, many Aussie beaches can't be topped. Compare the beaches in South Australia (let alone Australia) to Bali or Phuket - beach destinations we flock to.
10 South Aussie differences:
1. White, smooth sand that doesn't hurt to walk on
2. Clean sand and water
3. Beautiful clear water (most of the time)
4. You leave the water without itching from sea lice
5. No touts to harass you
6. You can drive to a number of suburban beaches within half an hour of the CBD. An hour drive to the Fleurieu beaches of awesomeness.
7. Litter doesn't float to shore as you swim or surf
8. You don't have to sniff some strangers armpit as you lie on your towel, squeezed on a snippet of beach
9. Experienced surf lifesavers patrol sections of beach for safety
10. There is a beach for everyone - placid kids splash-around beaches (Horseshoe Bay, Glenelg, Kingston Park), trendy 'be seen' beaches (Henley), nudist beach (Maslin), all to your own beaches (KI, Eyre and Yorke Peninsula), and surf beaches (Mid Coast, Middleton, Waitpinga, Chiton, Parsons… all close to Adelaide).
Anyone have any favourites?
BK… before kids.
We travelled a lot. We lived in various parts of the world. We penny-saved our way around Europe. We had adventures. We did an around the world trip in 6 weeks. We hiked. We home stayed.
And then kids came.
Having kids halts many, but it didn't stop us. Before our daughter turned one, she had been to Bali. Before our son turned one, we took them both to Phuket. And now, at three and five, they have returned to Bali. We've also had plenty of camper trailer holidays, interstate trips and holiday home getaways. Yes, the travel has tamed down, and surely nowhere near as adventurous as our travels before, but we are doing it.
Here are some tips to get you to Asia...
1. Don't call it a holiday. It's travel. With kids. These are two very different types of 'getting away', do not get confused.
2. Resorts. Pay for the luxury. The pools, the other adults, the restaurants and room service. It all comes in handy when you need to hang around for sleeps and early nights (before restaurant opening time in Asia).
3. Don't expect to tour much. Can you imagine going on an organised day tour with two little ones? Crying, toilet stops, noise, long day... Instead, hire a car and driver, and go at your own pace. You can see what you want, stop for nappy changes, not worry so much about screaming kids and go home when you have had enough.
4. Meet the locals. The locals love to get to know kids, and it is so much fun for everyone. Sit and play with local kids then laugh as restaurant staff fight over who looks after baby while you eat. You are spoken to more, and not just to sell.
5. Take nappy wipes and antibacterial spray. You will need it. Use everywhere, all the time.
6. Strollers are handy in the heat, even if they have outgrown them at home. Whiney kids are kept quiet when they don't have to walk. And soon enough, you will be used to sharing the road with the cars, tuk-tuks and motorbikes. I believe they know what they are doing, so trust in them, and just walk straight.
7. Take snacks and known food from home. Packet fruit, crackers etc are handy when you have fussy eaters.
8. Make sure your room has dark curtains for sleeping during the day - and doors that completely close to keep mosquitos and bugs out.
9. Get a nanny. We got Holiday Nanny Berta, and LOVE her. The kids took to her within minutes, whisking her away to show off our resort.
10. Take a trip without the kids.
It is worth it - no matter how hard.
[gallery] So, Bali is boganville. Right? Well, if you go to Kuta area, yes. But go just thirty minutes north to Canggu, and it's completely different. Sitting at Echo Beach, watching the sun set, we see one hawker, a handful of locals, a few handfuls of surfers, a bunch of expats and some more tourists. All calm, all chilled, all getting on with the relaxed life. No smutty stickers, no drunk obnoxious grots. I find myself saying many times that I can see why people fall in love with the place, and live here. Expats sit at beachside cafes, tapping away at their laptop while swigging a beer. Everyone(well, nearly) rides a motorbike down, except for me and hubby, on our bicycles. Everyone knows them though too, branded with The Chillhouse, an accommodation in the area. It's like one big, happy family. Even further north is The Menjangan. It's the quietest part of Bali I've set foot on. Well, that is, until , we, and particularly, my kids, get there. The squeals of excitement that echo through the forest as we bump along the dirt rocky tracks in a double decker open minivan surely scare the monkeys back a step or two. The deer grazing at the beach don't seem to mind the curious kids sneaking up on them either. And the calm bay, bordered with white sand beach, framed by mangroves, is perfect to burn energy. After coming back from a canoe exploration, we wander the boardwalks through the mangrove, chancing upon a Monitor Lizard. The huge lizard watches us as we scuttle past, then slowly moves on.
So, for somewhere different, but still easy and cheap - Bali can deliver. Think outside the square - or from the stretch of hectic tourism that is Kuta, Legian and Seminyak - and head up. Canggu, Medewi, and Menjangan. Treat yourself. We met a few travellers from Australia, travelling up around the North West of Bali, and all of them were very impressed, and so glad they made the effort. Even the girl that wobbled around like a walking bandage after coming of her motorbike on the way up.