Nusa Dua is Bali’s prime resort area of the island. Targeted mainly towards families on holiday, the area has no party scene such as the likes of Kuta, Seminyak or Canggu. However, it does have a range of consistent wet season waves for those that want to surf every day. The reef at Nusa Dua is an open ocean reef stretching long and wide around the coastline of Geger Temple Beach, Geger Beach and Nusa Dua Beach for over 2 kilometres, protecting the beautiful white sand beach that is home to Nusa Dua’s long stretch of luxury resorts. Known as Bali’s premier big wave surf break the Nusa Dua reef is the most consistent right-hand reef break in Bali and has a various number of waves that break on different tides and slightly different conditions. Most are imperfect but on the right day can provide that all-time surfing experience.
Starting at the top of the reef situated directly in front of Geger Temple are a few different waves along the Nusa Dua reef reef known as The Temple Peaks. Temple peaks at the start of the Nusa Dua reef include:
Temple Lefts – At the very top of the reef there is a small left closest to land with a large channel between the start of the reef and the land. This first section of the reef that breaks left into the channel is a good spot for the less experienced surfer on a small day.
However, be warned that venturing any further out along the reef is an extremely bad idea if you are not experienced enough to handle the conditions and strong currents. Attempting to surf this section of the reef on bigger days when there is a lot of water flowing out of the channel is also a bad idea for the inexperienced. No matter how strong of a paddler you are you won’t beat the current if you try to paddle back in through the channel.
Elevators is the right-hand wave that breaks into the keyhole and has a gnarly end section that sucks up and closes out on a shallow section of reef. However, sometimes the odd one is makeable. When it’s well overhead and mid tide or less Elevators becomes a heaving slab where the bottom of the wave drops out as it pitches and the lip throws. If you pick the right one and backdoor the peak on take off you might just get the wave of your life. But chances are the end section will suck extremely shallow and close out on the sharp section of reef. To add to the intensity of the wave this small end section of the reef before the keyhole has a few holes in the reef with coral heads. When its solid it is seriously only for hell-man surfers that know precisely what they are up to.
Keyhole Left is the left that breaks back into the keyhole (towards Elevators) where you can paddle out over the reef. With the right conditions and a nice westerly blowing up the face of the wave, you can take off and cruise into a nice long hollow section before finishing up in the keyhole.
Keyhole Right is a right-hander breaking on the same peak as the Keyhole left. Generally, it’s a long wall that dumps you off down near the main peak. A real threat here if you don’t make the wave is being dragged further down the reef into the next section on the widest part of the reef known as “Main Peak”. Here there is a long section of flat reef that can suck up dry on bigger swells and put you in a life-threatening situation. When the surf is a decent size and you don’t make the wave from the Keyhole Right you are best to paddle in straight for the temple, over the reef and into the lagoon before the strong current pulls you further down the reef and into the inside section of the main peak where you can end up in a lot of trouble.
From the widest part of the reef and below you will be surfing the following sections of reef:
Main Peak comes out of the DEEP water closest to the beginning of the Lombok Strait, between Bali and Lombok. This straight experiences some of the strongest tidal flows on earth, being one of the main through flows between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean where the ocean plummets down to 4000m further to the south. You can imagine how serious this wave is due to it being located roughly 1 kilometre offshore. It is the widest part of the reef breaking over a long flat section of reef that can get dangerously shallow on the lower tides. The Main Peak is Bali’s big wave spot and at times reaches 15ft plus on the Hawaiian scale. Somewhat of a mini Jaws that can produce a heavy, top to bottom right-hand barrel when a large groundswell comes all the way up from the roaring forties. On a lower tide, you can see one rock sticking up on the inside of the reef. Be very cautious here as there is usually a lot of current and on a lower tide with a decent sized swell you can end up stuck on the inside with 6ft waves sucking up off the dry reef. DON’T end up in this life-threatening situation. If you don’t know how to handle a situation like this, don’t paddle out.
Chickens is the last section of Nusa Dua’s long reef that breaks out to sea from Geger and Nusa Dua beach. It loves smaller swells and can give you a right hand breaking wall to play with for a couple of hundred metres at times. Ideal for practising your turns and going vertical to hit the lip of the wave.
Overall there is always a wave breaking somewhere along the reef at Nusa Dua in the wet season. The rule of thumb is that the various waves that make up Temple Peaks at the top of the Nusa Dua reef work best on a lower tide and the waves at Main Peak and below work better on a higher tide. Because there is such a big lagoon between the beach and the reef when it is a full tide the wind chop travels over the reef and into the oncoming sets, therefore, higher tides don’t like any wind. Where the low tide loves the wind with the exposed reef preventing the above issue.
Open ocean reef break
Sand in the lagoon
Recommended on low tide
Shortboard, semi gun, gun, big wave surfboard
Can get crowded on smaller days
Uncrowded on bigger days
There are a lot of hazards and potential possibilities for things to go wrong when surfing the reef at Nusa Dua and we can’t emphasise it enough – do not put yourself in a situation that you can’t handle. The reef is a long way from shore, there are no lifeguards to rescue you and fellow surfers can only do so much. Therefore you really are all alone when you are out there.
The main concerns are long hold downs, being dragged underwater for long periods of time, strong currents and getting consecutive sets of waves on the head. Getting waves on the head here is unavoidable and surfing here with a bit of size will most certainly end up with a broken board and a long swim back to shore. At the widest point in the reef where the main peak is situated 6-foot waves sucking dry off the reef in big swells is a real threat if you are caught inside and is a life or death situation. Sea urchins, there are plenty of them in between the cracks and holes in the reef so don’t be clumsy or heavy footed.
Lower tide top half of the reef
Higher tide bottom half of the reef
Up the reef likes outgoing to low
Down the reef likes incoming to high
Ultra consistent in the wet season
Wet Season; October – April
Most surfers that surf Nusa Dua are cruisey dudes and have a lot of respect for the wave as they know full well the potential for danger and how frequently unassuming surfers end up in trouble.
You have three options when venturing out into the surf at Nusa Dua.
Option 1: Directly in front of the temple is a keyhole that you can paddle out through on a higher tide or make the walk across the reef on a lower tide bringing you out the back between Keyhole Left and Elevators.
Option 2: Paddle out through the channel at the very top of the reef from the car park at the temple bringing you into the lineup at Temple Lefts.
Option 3: Take a boat from either of the two pick up points on Geger Beach or Nusa Dua Beach, getting dropped off out the back of the reef. The one-way ride will cost you 50,000Rp. Don’t expect to catch a ride back in because the boat won’t be waiting around for you out there. To be honest, if you can’t make the long paddle out there and back then you shouldn’t be in the line up at Nusa Dua.
Tips: If you decide to paddle up the reef from Nusa Dua Beach you will most likely be paddling against a current. On the lower tide don’t try and paddle out over the reef anywhere except for the keyhole.
Geger Beach (southern end of the beach) and Nusa Dua Beach (northern end of the beach) is one long stretch of extremely well groomed and immaculately maintained white sand beach. The beach leads up into beachfront resort areas constructed of large grassy areas, pools, sun lounges, bean bags, daybeds and all the types of luxuries that the top of the line resorts provide. A long path separates the beach and resort frontages which makes for the perfect leisurely stroll any time of the day. It is a prime spot for watching the sunrise and hanging out for the day as all holiday goers take in the sun, unwind and relax to the fullest.
There is a huge amount of luxury resort options in the Nusa Dua area. Particularly along the Geger and Nusa Dua Beach stretch looking out over the lagoon with the surf in the distance. Most of these accommodation options are well out of the average surfers budget, although at any one time there is usually one or two resorts with reduced room rates around $150aud per night. There are a few cheap accommodation options in the Nusa Dua area however these are situated 1 km or so from the beach as you pay a premium price for any beach front accommodation in Nusa Dua. The good news is that the beach is only a short scooter ride away which coincidentally is about the same time it will take you to walk from your room and across the huge area that each resort covers to get to the beach or your scooter.
Allia Residence is a simple modern hotel style accommodation that is located 2 km from the beach which makes it the most affordable style of accommodation for surfers wanting to stay in Nusa Dua. The hotel holds a few lesser-known perks that make for a great stay. Because the hotel is situated on higher ground inland, from the patio area on the top floor you can see sections of the reef at Nusa Dua in the distance and get a slight idea of what the surf is up to from the hotel. They also supply an endless supply of free drinking water, coffee and tea in the common areas and mini fridge in each room. Inside each room are cozy corner table and seating that is perfect for working remotely. Allia Residence is a great option for longer stays.
Moving closer to the beach and surf in Nusa Dua is the Santika hotel. Located outside of the Nusa Dua beach resort area and 1 km from the beach the Santika hotel is in the heart of Nusa Dua. However, it is an easy drive from here turning right at the roundabout to make your way out to Geger Temple where you can park up, check out the surf and paddle out through the keyhole or channel if it is on. The facilities have a long pool perfect for any swim training and also a business centre if you are lucky enough to be on an extended surf trip and are working remotely.
One of the best resorts in Nusa Dua and the most expensive. As far as staying as close as you can possibly get to the surf in Nusa Dua The Mulia is as good as it gets. From the resort walk across the beach and make the long paddle out to the keyhole in the reef. The Mulia features some of the best restaurants in Nusa Dua, each a fine dining experience and features a different international cuisine. Beachfront suites, Lagoon suites and Villas make up the accommodation options in The Mulia, with all providing a remarkably exclusive experience. Including the following facilities: 6 Luxurious pools, 4 Restaurants (some award-winning), 5 Bars, Tennis Centre and a Cutting edge Fitness Centre and Spa. If you aim to surf your brains out at Nusa Dua and have got the money to burn on one of Nusa Dua’s best beachfront resorts then The Mulia maybe for you!
Knowing where to eat in Nusa Dua can be a tricky one. In comparison to areas such as Canggu or Berawa where there is a huge cafe scene, there isn’t a big array of restaurant or cafe options. Most Nusa Dua restaurants are located within the resorts or the main shopping centre in the resort area known as “Bali Collection”. However, outside of the immediate Nusa Dua resort area, there are some hidden gems that really are the go-to places to eat in Nusa Dua! These are listed below.
The Secret Café – Amazing service, fantastic food, great portions and more than fairly priced. Owner-operator Indra personally takes the time to source fresh and healthy produce to serve up to her customers, all of which are repeat customers. One trip to the Secret Café and you will be returning every other day of your surf trip to Nusa Dua. Except for Wednesday, it’s the only day of the week they are closed. Try the Satisfaction Salad, it is a hearty meal and a favourite of those who wouldn’t usually order a salad and it’s sure to keep you going for your next surf.
Gendis Coffee and Kitchen is a great step up from local food with a brilliant combination of western food and amazing Balinese meals. If you like pork you have to try their crispy pork belly served with the best Balinese sauce you will ever try. The chefs at Gendis have a passion for good food and coffee. They can even suggest other great places to eat and drink throughout the rest of Bali. Get down there and check it out while you’re in Nusa Dua or even just passing through. It is located off the main roads in an up-market local back street of Nusa Dua so make a little extra effort to get there because it is well worth it.
Warung Kedai N’deso is a reliable place to try some local food. The staff are extremely friendly and the bill will be the cheapest you get on your surf trip in Bali.
Beach Time – For most the thing to do in Nusa Dua is hanging out and relaxing on the beautiful white sand beach. The most popular sections of the beach are right in front of the parking areas at Geger Beach and Nusa Dua Beach. You can check these on the map at the top of the page. Geger Temple Beach is a small section of beach that disappears on the higher tides but is a nice little spot to relax in the sun and out of the wind.
Snorkeling – The long stretch of sand along Geger and Nusa Dua Beach leads into a large lagoon that is created by the long outer surfing reef at Nusa Dua. This makes for a great area to get your snorkel, mask and flippers on and explore the crystal clear water.
The Bali National Golf Club has been awarded Best Renovated Golf Course in Asia in 2014, Third Best Renovated Golf Course Worldwide in 2015, Fifth Best Golf Resort in the Asia Pacific in 2016 and the Best Golf Resort Indonesia in 2017. The 18-hole course features three distinguishable playing environments throughout.
Holes: One through to nine feature creeks, canyons and native vegetation filled with tropical birds
Holes: Ten through to sixteen offer lush and gently sculptured fairways through a mature grove.
Holes: Seventeen and eighteen are challenging holes which test every golfer.
If the surf looks about 6 foot or double overhead from the shore it is most likely 8 to 10 foot, triple overhead or bigger. Be warned a bigger set will clean you up sooner or later so be prepared to make the long swim back in over the reef and through the lagoon without a surfboard.
Nusa Dua is located on the south-east side of Bali, 14 kilometres south-east of the Ngurah Rai International Airport and approximately 25 minutes when travelling the Bali Mandara Toll Road from the international airport.
If you are not staying in the area then a local surf guide is a great option to get you to the surf in Nusa Dua. They will provide you with a reasonable daily rate and transport you by car. Otherwise, if you’re staying in the area then hire a scooter and make your own way. The streets are a little quieter in Nusa Dua than other areas of Bali so it is a good spot to get used to the Balinese traffic and how the traffic flows before you venture on to the busier areas of Bali.
When surfing Nusa Dua you will have to pay parking fees to the local village upon entry. Below are all the parking options and the cost involved if you are travelling by scooter:
Waterblow / Bali Collection Parking – 3.000Rp per scooter
Nusa Dua Beach Parking – 2.000Rp per scooter
Geger Beach / Surfers Beach parking – 3.000Rp per person
Geger Temple Parking – 2.500Rp per person
Step 1: From the airport drive along Jalan Airport Ngurah Rai for 2.8km.
Step 2: At the roundabout take the second exit to Bali Mandara Toll Road and follow signs to Nusa Dua.
Step 3: When you exit the toll road turn left at the next set of lights onto Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai.
Step 4: Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai is a dual lane, move across into the inside lane and at the next set of lights turn right onto Jalan Siligita.
Step 5: Follow Jalan Siligita for approximately 2km through a crossroads and around a 90-degree bend.
Step 6: You will then arrive at a roundabout, turn right onto Jalan Terompong and drive for 2.1km during this time the road will become Jalan Raya Nusa Dua Selatan.
Step 7: After 2.1km take turn left onto Jalan Pura Puget. There will be signs for Nusa Dua Beach Grill at the turn-off.
Step 8: In 600m you will arrive at Geger temple, parking and the lookout over the Nusa Dua reef.