“Bom’s Away!” I lurch forwards and begin rapid descent. My insides flutter and I become a human rocket. “Keep your arms and legs crossed,” was the last instruction I heard from the supervisor. All I want to do is fling my limbs towards the sides and bring myself to a screaming halt. I realise this action is likely to cause injury. Time slows. I am falling.
We are at Waterbom Park in Kuta, Bali. My husband thought it was a good idea to start with a Level five waterslide. Five being the most advanced. If you were in the vicinity you would have seen me cowering and glowering at the top of a double slide that is known as the Race Track. I spent at least ten minutes at the top of the slide undertaking tense negotiations with my husband and the Pool Supervisor. I elicited obvious signs of fear and they worked as a team to convince me it was fine. “Come on, it’s not that bad, once you get on, you’ll enjoy it, I promise.” In a moment of madness, I went for it.
I have built an impressive repertoire of theme park experiences over the years. It began in Auckland, New Zealand with my first rollercoaster experiences at Rainbow’s End. The biggest boasting rights go to my visit to Disneyland in Tokyo, Japan. There was lots of screaming on Space Mountain that day. Next was a visit to Sydney’s Wonderland where I rode a rickety wooden roller coaster that looked like it had seen better days. The park closed down soon after. As I get closer to middle-age, my youthful adventurous streak has severely diminished.
The acute angle and the velocity from skin against slide was a bit much. I lost my stomach and my last remaining scraps of confidence. At the bottom another Supervisor asks me “How was it?” “Awful” I reply honestly, still shaking. “Really? Oh.” He obviously hadn’t heard that response much before. I greeted my husband with a cold look of discern. He knew he was in the dog box before I opened my mouth. Later research revealed that I would have travelled for nine seconds at fifty kilometres per hour. That’ll explain it then.
I got to pick the next ride. With my nerves shot to hell, I selected the most tranquil ride in the whole park, the Lazy River which involves floating in a tube along a sedate man made stream. Ah, now that’s more like it.
Waterbom Park is spread over almost four hectares of pristine tropical backdrop interspersed with an impressive collection of water activities. If you’ve had enough of plummeting metres on a waterslide, you can jump nine metres skywards on the Euro Bungy, no water involved. Or you could propel water balloons at your friends on the Water Blaster. You can rent lockers, towels and gazebos. Hunger can be sated with one of the many food and beverage options at the park. I saw a Bintang vending machine. For those that have a similar tolerance to wild waterslides, activities like massages, nail treatments, fish spa therapy might be of interest. Forgot your bathing suit? You can duck into the onsite surf shops and you’re set.
My husband decided to embark upon more rides at level five and I elected not to. I’d had enough level fives for my lifetime. He went to the top and I lined up the camera for the action shot. Much more my style. The Climax waterslide begins in a vertical position sixteen metres high. A trap door opens and the slider experiences no less than two point five G-force speed. Not to mention they do a loop-de-loop upwards before being spit out at the other end in a spray of water.
I stood with post traumatic stress disorder at a Number four slide called the Constrictor. Partaking in ‘market research’ is what I called it, watching other suckers plunge into oblivion. I’d make a good mother. I observed the platform and where others would stare in wonder and a myriad of safety risks rushed to the front of my mind. While conducting my market research, I observe a couple go down the slide backwards, on a double tube. The girl gets out, turns to him and exclaims “asshole”. I chuckled to myself. I’m not the only one.
Bali’s Waterbom Park was voted Best Amusement Parks & Water Parks in Asia for 2013. They were too good if you ask me. I’ll be going for the more sedate pool and massage next time.
Waterbom Park is located in Kuta, Bali. Costs to visit for a day are around $30 USD per adult and $20 for children. For more information, click here.
We began on our knees, begging. The moment we hauled our overweight, glad-wrapped bags to the check in counter, the departures board clicked over from ‘boarding’ to ‘closed’. Bugger. That little sign triggered a stack of interconnected flights to fall like dominoes.
We dropped the ‘H’ word (Honeymoon) and did our best to appear disappointed, dishevelled and most importantly, defiant. These people needed to know that we weren’t going to go away quietly. We had just been on the roller-coaster that weddings often bring.
We emerged from the wedding mostly unscathed and with some happy memories to boot. I’d be dammed if this woman with a walkie-talkie and a nice hair-do was going to tell me I couldn’t have my honeymoon. The woman quickly came into favour as the gate re-opened just for us. Phew.
We touched down at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (also known as Denpasar International Airport) in Indonesia and fell into an array of men in blue polo shirts, tripping over each other to grab our attention.
Outside the airport hotel we set eyes on Komang, our lifeline between the perils of transportation in Bali and cultural boundaries. “Terima Kasih,” (Thank You) he said, as I handed him my oversized bags. Through the thick weave of newly imported, government regulated Japanese cars and motorbikes, and along the battered Balinese highway we went. Slowly, we began our ascent into the mountains. The roads narrowed, and the heavens opened. Our status officially became ‘lost’ as poor Komang braved the rain and a lack of parking to ask several of his fellow countrymen where the on earth our remote and exclusive (only five villas) accommodation was.
The number of street stalls had dwindled to none. We were rural. The car stopped opposite a rice field in front of a large red gate. We juggled the heavy baggage through the monsoon rain to the stunning reception of Nefatari Exclusive Villas. Nefatari means ‘beautiful companion’ and she was, with open-air reception walls that were surrounded by tropical foliage and bright splashes of floral colour.
Komang stood at the entrance to our private villa and, with a chuckle, said “Good weather for honeymoon, I’ll leave you alone.” The square footage of our villa rivalled any Melbourne apartment. The canopy bed presented beautifully as well as serving a more practical purpose. Nefatari describes its accommodation as “Balinese Tradition with a Modern Touch”. Quite accurate. Balinese carvings, stonework, and furniture were interspersed with modern technology. The unique villa layout with an outdoor bathroom and an outdoor dining room was spectacular.
A flat screen television allowed us to stay in touch with technology. Kim Kardashian with Balinese subtitles was the first thing to appear on screen. The mini bar is replenished daily with drinks and snacks and is included in the price. If we weren’t already spoilt enough, we could hop into our private pool. This was a great way to reduce our body temperatures in the midday heat of the Balinese wet-season (October to March each year).
Bicycles can be hired from the hotel for venturing into the wonderful Ubud countryside or for those that want to stay indoors DVD’s are available. Complimentary shuttles can take you to central Ubud and back and airport transfers are around $25AUD each way. Friendly employees are eager to cater to your every desire and they have a high standard of service.
So, what did we do? What everyone would do in this situation. We cancelled all activities and with the help of room service and an on-site day spa, we hid in our villa in the hills, not re-surfacing to the world until reluctantly checking-out two days later. Bliss.
Nefatari offers room service to your villa where you can make the most of your private outdoor dining room. Guests can also opt to dine at Bidari Restaurant two stories above, overlooking the beautiful garden. The chicken and vegetable spring rolls were my favourite entree, crispy and moreish. The local Bintang beer washed down a generous sized main of chicken Nasi Goreng with a fried egg oozing yolk onto rice – sumptuous. Breakfast was a delight, with banana pancakes drizzled in maple syrup or a bowl of exotic local fruits like mango, melon, banana and I added Salat (snakefruit) from the complimentary fruit bowl.
A thorough inspection of the day spa was required and we were up for it. A friendly staff member escorted us from our villa. Down the stone carved staircase we found the tranquil setting next to a stream, with a grassy bank separating us from the farmers in the rice fields above. Each room in the spa had three walls, allowing nature to substitute the fourth. We lost three hours in that spa, with a heavenly combination of massaging, soaking, polishing and scrubbing. I nearly nodded off listening to the water trickle past us and enjoying the sensation of soft hands gently massaging creams onto my face. The place left all those poky little chemical-infused, pop-up nail salons back home for dead.
I grudgingly closed the door on our palatial villa, and headed down the gravel path to Reception. Komang’s smiling face greeted us and he asked “good honeymoon?” with a little chuckle.
The Facts: Nefatari Exclusive Villas are priced from $137USD per night for double 1brm villa (incl. private pool) and $188USD per night for 2brm villa (incl. private pool). Honeymoon packages available. For more information, click here.