We’ve been to Bali a few times now, and we’d never considered going on any sort of ATV tour as we’ve always had very tiny people in tow. This time however, we decided it was time for a bit of adventuring, and after running the idea past the bosses (our two daughters who are 4 and 7), we decided that the family beach tour with Aussie Bali Adventures looked like the type of fun we were looking for.
A big bonus with this tour is that pickup and drop off is included, so we didn’t have to worry about the extra cost and hassle of arranging transport. We were picked up from just outside our villa near Ubud and driven about an hour south to the Aussie Bali Adventures base in Tabanan Regency. Once we’d signed some paperwork, had our complimentary pre-tour drink, and re-applied our sunscreen we were shown to our ATV’s. The girls were of course very pleased to have matching red ones! After a quick demo of how to turn them on and off (a sequence which I forgot every single time), we strapped on our yellow helmets, plonked our small people on the special small people seats on the back, and off we went in a little convoy in to the Bali countryside.
If you’re worried about not being able to drive one of these things, don’t be. They’re pretty foolproof. With your thumb controlling the throttle, and no gears to change, you really just have to concentrate on steering the thing in the direction you want to go. If you’re not confident in your ability to do that 100% of the time, that’s ok too, as we had two additional guides bringing up the rear who helped us out when we were heading through any tricky spots. Our guide was also obviously very good at recognising the less confident drivers among us, and kept things pretty slow at first. This allowed us to get used to the whole concept of the thumb throttle, and gave us a chance to look at the countryside without veering off in to a ditch!
Seeing rice paddies from the road is one thing, but driving along the tracks that separates them literally gives you a whole different perspective. The countryside is full of sights and smells that you’d usually miss when you’re speeding past in a car, but it didn’t feel like we were intruding. The paths are used by walkers, cyclists and scooters, so the locals are used to people zipping by and often took a time out way from what they were doing to smile and wave.
Heading out of the rice paddies, we zipped through a small village and then on to the vast black sand beach which seems to go on forever in either direction. By now we’d had time to get used to the ATV’s, and with the added space that the beach gives you, it was time to really hold on tight. Guided through the surf and around spectacular rock formations, we sped along the coast, passing fisherman mending their nets, locals swimming, strolling tourists and even a couple of cows. With a series of stops at points of interest (with a quick clamber up some cliffs and the chance get close – but not too close – to a funky smelling cave full of bats thrown in for good measure), there were plenty of opportunities to make sure we got some great photographs before we turned around to head back to base.
As we’d booked the afternoon tour, we started back as the sun was getting lower in the sky. We took a different route through the rice fields past women picking flowers for offerings, kids heading towards the beach with fishing poles and farmers tending to their rice fields. I don’t know if I just didn’t really take it all in on the way out as I was concentrating on not bunny-hopping my 4 year old out of her seat, but the scenery was even more amazing than before. Our guide was happy to stop whenever we wanted to take pictures, and pointed out ever increasingly beautiful views along the way. We’d been on the ATV’s for almost two hours by this point, and with some angry looking clouds on the horizon, we decided it was time to head back for some food.
Back at base, we had a quick wipe down (you will get mucky!) and a drink before piling back in to the van and heading for our dinner by the pool at the Amarta Beach Retreat. After we’d had such a great time on the ATV’s we would honestly have been happy for a bottle of water and a sandwich, so we were very surprised when we arrived to a poolside table and a view of the coastline that would be hard to beat. Though the choices for dinner were pretty limited, the meal was delicious and was exactly what we needed, and though we could have gone swimming, it was getting late so we instead chose to dip our feet in the pleasantly warm infinity pool as we watched the sun set on a truly great family day out.
We had an awesome time with Aussie Bali Adventures. The staff were great, the scenery was amazing and it was something that we just wouldn’t have a chance to do back at home. If you’re considering an ATV tour whilst in Bali, I’d highly recommend you try out Aussie Bali Adventures.