The Bacuit Archipelago is one those places you see in travel ads and say to yourself “I have to go here one day.” It’s probably been pinned on Pinterest like 34830948 million times. Or maybe not. Maybe it hasn’t made to the big leagues yet as far as tourist destinations go. And maybe that’s what makes it so desirable.
We bid farewell to the comforts of the western world when we stepped on an airplane and flew to Indonesia. We arrived in the middle of the night and were greeted with sweltering heat and a million taxi drivers all trying to rip us off. Yep, we were back in Southeast Asia! After overnighting it near the airport we were ready to begin our adventure in Indonesia. It was our first time in the country, and we were excited. We were in Bali!
Being the total beach bums that we are, we were long overdue for some simple island time in Indonesia. We wanted that near-deserted island feel to feel like castaways in our own little paradise. But we also wanted to be able to eat at some restaurants and not forage for our food, haha!
Enter Gili Air.
Indonesia was the first country of our Asia leg on our big trip. We spent a total of 16 days there. Overall it was a really great country. Indonesia had a lot to live up to with Bali being on the top of nearly everyone’s bucket lists. It goes without saying that we had really high expectations. Indonesia totally lived up to our expectations.
As you may have read in an earlier blog post, we came in amazingly under budget for our two awesome weeks in New Zealand. We spent most of that time in a small van, eating ramen and campground meals. Would Australia be the same? Would road tripping up the eastern coast of one of the largest countries in the world break the budget and ruin our hopes of a $100/day average? Lets find out!
We spent a total of 26 days in Australia— some bad, some outstanding, most of them pretty good. Australia toyed with our emotions quite a lot, it was a constant up, down, up, down, as we adjusted to long-term travel and learned how to get into the groove of living on the road. The first Kangaroo we saw in the wild was roadkill, and we thought it might be a bad omen for the rest of our trip.
We entered Sydney with mixed emotions; we were excited because we were in a new place, we were sad to say goodbye to New Zealand, we were frustrated as I had recently sprained my ankle. After spending five days in Sydney we left to begin our great road trip along the east coast of Australia. We pictured stunning beaches, lots of amazing wildlife, cool surfer dudes, and overall a chilled-out vibe from the whole country. We did get some of that, but not until later on, as we made our way further north.
We ended our great Aussie road trip in Cairns, the biggest gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef. Like everyone else in the world, the reef had been on both of our bucket lists since forever. It was a no-brainer that we were going to spend a day out there.
Disclaimer: We were way too busy enjoying ourselves and wrapped up in the moment that we didn’t take any photos ourselves. Sometimes you just gotta live without a camera in your hand and enjoy the moment in the present. The pretty photos below we did not take. They came with the photos we ordered of the two of us, (which are pretty ugly but we still wanted them to remember the day) and we didn’t steal the off the internet.
Choosing a Tour Operator
I once thought that it was overwhelming simply to chose what company to cruise with for our Milford Sound cruise in New Zealand and our Halong Bay Cruise in Vietnam. Psh, the number of cruise companies in those places pale in comparison to the number of operators running tours on the Great Barrier Reef! There was a myriad of options for us to choose from, all offering their own unique tour of the reef.
The maximizer in me was starting to get stressed! We were going to be spending a lot of money on this day-long trip, way more than our daily budget. We obviously wanted to get the most bang for our buck and not be stuck on a boat with 300+ people all trying to swim over one shallow reef.