is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.


When a friend invites you to their wedding in an exotic land, you say yes. You don’t think about it, you just get on that plane and wipe that credit card debt from your memory and GO.

At least that’s what we did last month, when our dear friends Jesse and Trevor from Oliver Grand got hitched in Uluwatu, a little nugget of paradise on the southeastern tip of the Bali. Luckily, these are friends with fabulous taste, who chose Uluwatu Surf Villas (USV) as their wedding destination of choice.

With a cliff top location that offers 260-degree views of the southern Indian Ocean (which also happens to be one of the best surf breaks on Bali), its own private beach and yoga studio, and stunning thatched-roof villas that mix luxury, tradition and just the right amount of surfer chic, it was the perfect place to celebrate with some of our dearest friends for those four magical nights.


Let’s get the view out of the way first. I cannot understate how magnificent it is, and the pictures definitely don’t do it justice. Which, of course, makes it THE spot to watch the sunset every night as that big orange ball drifts down into the endless blue, and the surfers catch the last of those big rolling sets for the day.

There are three three-bedroom villas and one four-bedroom villa on the property, all with private pools and incredible views out over the ocean. Each has a master bedroom and two or three smaller bedrooms, and the living areas have glass folding doors giving you an alfresco vibe – which is great for partying into the wee hours as that tropical breeze blows in off the ocean.

The villas are beautifully designed, with tasteful ikat print pillows and wall hangings, and vintage surf posters and maps of the island set in batik-carved wooden picture frames. Some of the resorts or villas I’ve stayed in on Bali try to do the ultra modern thing and as a result can feel quite sterile, but USV uses these elements to get a fantastic sense of character in each of their villas.

My husband Pete (aka The Bearded One) and I stayed in the newly added loft apartment, which is right below USV’s Morning Light Yoga studio. A secluded hardwood and glass loft hideaway amongst the trees, it was perfect for us two lovers, although it did get rather noisy once the yogis started jumping around above our heads at 7am each morning. Which was especially painful on a post-wedding hangover. But you know what they, if you can’t beat ’em… I was up there with them by day two.

There’s also a traditional Javanese two-bedroom teak bungalow with a wraparound deck in the forest behind the yoga studio, which is surprisingly good value for money.

You know those day dreams you have? The ones where you start your day with a yoga class, then someone brings a sumptuous breakfast spread straight to your room, then you simply laze by the pool for the rest of the day, maybe grab a massage, before your sunset cocktail?

Yes well that’s how it is at USV.

Every. Single. Day.

We also had the wedding of course, which meant drinks at nearby Uluwatu surf beach’s Single Fin bar (hands down the best spot to party in the area, ten minutes’ walk away down some VERY steep steps), having the lawn transformed into a magical fairy land for the wedding itself, and a 50’s tropical-themed traditional Indonesian barbecue on the lawn the next day.

But most of the time we just lazed. We chatted the hours away as we watched the waves roll in below us, venturing down to the private beach a couple of times when we needed some salt water healing (read: needed to get rid of our horrific hangovers) and doing, well, nothing much at all.

Exactly how I like it.

An $18 AUD massage or cream bath (which mixes a super long head massage with a moisturising treatment for your hair) at Esthetic Day Spa. A luxurious experience at an insanely good price, open until 8pm. Visit

I paid for my own stay at Uluwatu Surf Villas.






Virgin Australia operates daily direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Denpasar with fares starting from about $750 return. See


Rates at Uluwatu Surf Villas start from $75 USD single occupancy a night for one level of the bungalow.


Single Fin – a rocking cafe, bar and surf shop – is the place to head for sunset drinks, cuddled up in the booths on their huge outdoor deck. They do a mean taco and some fun live music events too. Check out what they’re up to on their Facebook page HERE.


The infamous Uluwatu monkey temple is just a few minutes’ drive away from USV. Just beware, these monkeys have balls and will crawl all over you to get what they want (namely food and jewellery), which may not be everyone’s cup of chai. 



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