Mount Batur summit hike


The warmth of Bali we’d known for the past week turned into an icy chill that cut through our thin jumpers. The beads of sweat pierced through the heat of our fatigued bodies as we cautiously watch our footing over the slippery shale. There are points when we are on our hands and knees feeling for the next foothold as our local guide pulls us up the rocky mountain. The only light to guide us is that of our Kmart head torches and the stars above us. 

Three hours ago we were fast asleep in our luxury Ubud villa, now it is 4am and we are a third of the way up Mount Batur, an active volcano in the North East of Bali.

We started the ascent at 2.30am with the intention of reaching the 1,717m summit by sunrise. We met our guide, Ketutt at the base of the mountain in a small village. The start of the two and a half hour hike was a nice stroll through a forest. The forest opened to reveal a sky packed full of stars. This was the start of the hurt! 

The next hour felt like five! The forest was far behind us and the peak was a long way ahead of us. We’d stop for a break every few minutes, I kept making the mistake of looking at my watch, asking myself how much longer to go.  I think we said all of ten words to each other as we scrambled up the steep, bare mountain. The higher we got, the colder it got! 

When we reach the summit, a thick blanket of cloud had rolled in, smothering any hope of me shooting some astro whilst on the summit. Ketutt had told us to get comfortable in one of the makeshift shelters as he prepared a warm tea while we waited. Sunrise was still about 40 minutes away.

We watched as the area filled with tired tourists. As first light started to break Ketutt came and slipped us away from the crowds, to a higher, but more dangerous outcrop. He said it would make for the best photos on the mountain if the clouds cleared, though our chances were slim as yesterday there was a lot more cloud than normal and the views weren’t great.

I set up my camera on the tripod and waited. As the sun came up, the clouds started to moved and part, creating long gaps. It reminded me of standing next to a creek watching the water run around the rocks. There would be gaps, where we could just see the rest of the climbers 50m in front of us, then nothing but cold wet air. The higher the sun rose, the thinner the clouds became, until finally there, in the distance was Mount Aung, Bali’s highest mountain at 3,000m. What a view!  

We hung around the summit for an hour before heading back down.  The walk back wasn’t as tough as the way up but it did put a lot of pressure on the knees and ankles, especially carrying all my camera gear. 

The trek to the peak of Mount Batur was one of the highlights of our Bali holiday. I’d strongly recommend it to anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to get off the beaten track and away from the tourist traps in Kuta and Ubud.

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Veterans Instameet #12


Come and join the Veterans Instameet team for another over night expedition outside of Sydney on Saturday 12th August 2017.

This Instameet with see us escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney, instead heading south toward Picton. The plan is to arrive around 3:00pm on Saturday 12th August 2017 at our over night camp site.

The plan is to get there early enough to give us enough time to set up camp and then catch the sunset over the gully and river. Once the sun goes down we will try a spot of light paining and steel wool spinning whist waiting on the stars.

Once it gets dark enough and the stars are out in full force Warrick and Joel will take us Astro-rookies through the tips and tricks to shooting the stars.

We have left the plan for Sunday open, we'd love to hear your suggestions on places to explore South of Sydney.

Click on the below link to find out more information and to register:

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Sugarpine Walk - Laurel Hill


The Sugar Pine Walk in Bargo State Forest, just outside of Laurel Hill has always been high on my ‘To Shoot List.’ 

The pines were planted in the early 1920’s and have been left to grow untouched for almost one hundred years. I have seen a handful of photos from friends that visited the forest, and now not even my photos can do this place justice!

We decided to take a long weekend off to explore the Snowy Mountains. We left Sydney late on a Friday night and took the five and a half hour drive to Laurel Hill with the intention of sleeping in the car for a few hours to catch the sunrise through the pines.

It wasn’t hard to find, signs along the road point you on the right direction for the turn off. 100m down the dirt road, on the right, you will see a small carpark. This is the start of the 400m walking path. 

When we arrived, it was pitch black and freezing cold. We found a secluded part of the forest, close to the walking track and pulled in for a few hours’ sleep. Unfortunately there was a bit of cloud cover blocking out the stars.

As the sun broke the horizon, the clouds thickened and blotted out the orange light that I was hoping for. The cloud cleared after an hour to illuminate the inner forest. Fallen pine needles carpeted the floor from which the pine giants emerge. It is a sight you have to see for yourself to understand the true size of these trees.

We had hoped to see snow but from what the locals told us, we were a few weeks too early. I am contemplating an overnight run once the snow falls!

We had an amazing few hours in the forest, well worth the drive!

To see more photos visit my Facebook Page:

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