Karlu Karlu: Where the Devil Dropped His Marbles

Karlu Karlu, or the Devils Marbles (yes, without apostrophe and yes, that does look terrible) are huge granite boulders that are of great cultural and spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people of the area. After hours of driving through flat, never-really-changing landscape, the boulders come as a real surprise. Huge pieces of rock strewn over a…

Kakadu National Park: Open Air Gallery

The area of UNESCO World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park has been continuously inhabited by Aboriginal people for over 50’000 years. Aboriginal history and culture is illustrated by some 5000 recorded rock art sites; however, only very few of them are accessible to tourists. The national park covers a huge area (about half the size…

Australia: From Darwin to Litchfield

Welcome to Australia! After four months (I guess it was four… I kind of lost track of time) in Asia, we headed even further south and further away from Europe. Australia is different in many ways – landscape, geology, wildlife – from all the places we’ve visited so far. Arriving late in Darwin, the first…

Ibu Volcano: The Ultimate Camping Experience

Another active volcano on Halmahera Because Dukono was great and because on Halmahera island there’s another one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes and, also, because we were told that there we’d be even closer to the action (is that even possible?!), we absolutely wanted to go to Mount Ibu. Our guide for this tour was Alex…

Dukono Volcano: Playing With Fire

Force of Nature It’s dark. You walk up the steep crater, on loose ash, and the ground shakes with every thunder from the active volcano underneath you. The closer you get to the smoking crater, the louder the thunder and the harder your heartbeat. You’re scared. You know this is crazy and you should better…

Morotai: Back in Time

Exploring Morotai Daruba, Morotai’s main town, has at least one very good restaurant; Rumah Makan Irfamas (Ikan Bakar, what else.), but apart from eating fish there’s not much to do. You have to get out of town. Muhlis Eso, the guy from the WWII museum (a small private collection, but a big museum is currently under…

Island Hopping Indonesian Style

Banda Islands: Sounds like a plan Plans are just that; plans. Where you really end up is another thing altogether. Our plan was (and we were looking very forward to it) to go to the Banda Islands. From Ambon, they’re accessible by plane or by speedboat, at least that’s how it should be but, for…

Pulau Saparua: Dream & Reality

Who doesn’t dream of a tropical island with white sand beaches, palm trees lining the shore, and colorful fish swimming in the corals off the coast? Dream islands like that exist, yes, but unfortunately, in reality they often look a bit different. The white sand beach is strewn with garbage and it’s not uncommon to swim among…

Arfak Mountains: A Bird’s Paradise

Situated on the east of West Papua’s Vogelkop, the Arfak Mountains are the habitat of some of the world’s most unique and astonishing birds: birds-of-paradise. Only few people live in remote villages in the mountains and just a handful of tourist guides offer tours and accommodation in the Arfak region. One of them is Hans…

Bunaken: Overwhelming Underwater World

A change of plans Back from Tangkoko, we booked a flight to Ternate for the next day. Ternate is practically just a volcano sticking out of the ocean. Unfortunately for us, that volcano decided to spit out some big ash clouds the day we wanted to fly and all flights to Ternate were canceled indefinitely. Since…

Thousands of Dolphins & One Boat

Batuputih is not only the gateway to wonderful Tangkoko National Park, it’s also a great place to go snorkeling, diving, or dolphin watching. Lea, the local guide and divemaster (find her contact info below) with whom we booked a snorkeling and dolphin watching tour promised us that, if we’d go, our boat would be the only one, there…

Tangkoko: Where the Wild Things (Still) Live

On the easternmost tip of North Sulawesi lies Tangkoko National Park. According to the Lonely Planet, it’s possible to get there by public transport, including from Manado Airport, but in reality this proved to be close to impossible and not necessarily cheaper than a taxi from the airport directly to Batuputih, the village next to…