Uluru: The Big Rock Northern Territory, Australia

Uluru/Ayers Rock is one of Australia’s most iconic sights. In fact, a picture of Uluru is like a synonym for Australia and of course it ranks high on any traveler’s bucket list. But is it really the greatest sight in the country? The one place you absolutely have to see if you’re going to Australia? A…

West MacDonnell Ranges: Gorgeous Gorges Northern Territory, Australia

Stretching east and west of Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges are a series of mountains with spectacular scenery, gorges and gaps, and diverse flora and fauna. West of Alice Springs, a road leads along the mountain range and to some of the gorges. An unsealed road then continues all the way to Kings Canyon. Gosses Bluff At…

Karlu Karlu: Where the Devil Dropped His Marbles Northern Territory, Australia

Karlu Karlu, or the Devils Marbles (yes, without an apostrophe. Really.) 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 big area rise…

Kakadu National Park: Open Air Gallery Northern Territory, Australia

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…

From Darwin to Litchfield Northern Territory, Australia

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: to Australia. Australia is different in many ways – landscape, geology, wildlife – from all the places we’ve visited so far. Arriving late in Darwin,…

Ibu Volcano: The Ultimate Camping Experience Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia

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

Dukono Volcano: Playing With Fire Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia

Force of Nature It’s dark. You walk up the steep crater, on loose ash. 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 faster your heartbeat. You’re scared. You know this is crazy and you should better turn back,…

Morotai: Back in Time Morotai, North Maluku, Indonesia

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

Island Hopping Indonesian Style Morotai, Dodola, and the Bandas. Or not.

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 Maluku, Indonesia

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 West Papua, Indonesia

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 the Arfak Mountains and just a handful of tourist guides offer tours and accommodation in the Arfak region. One of them is Hans Mandacan, a…

Bunaken: Overwhelming Underwater World Sulawesi, Indonesia

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…