Flores, In­done­sia

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

It may be only a 90-minute flight east of Bali, but Flores re­mains a mys­tery to trav­ellers.

Most of those vis­it­ing Flores went for one rea­son: to see a Ko­modo dragon.

The dragons are the largest lizards on earth and are known to eat buf­faloes, baby lizards and, oc­ca­sion­ally, peo­ple.

Ko­modo dragons live on only two is­lands on Flores’ west­ern tip, Ko­modo and Rinca Is­lands.

They are part of Ko­modo Na­tional Park, an­other hot spot her­alded in the New7Won­ders of the World.

The warm wa­ters be­tween Ko­modo Na­tional Park and Labuan Bajo, the ram­shackle har­bour town ser­vic­ing Ko­modo Air­port, are in pris­tine con­di­tion. They are home to more than 20 word­class dive sites, in­clud­ing Manta Point, the sec­ond best place to swim with gi­ant manta rays af­ter Queens­land’s Lady El­liott Is­land.

Dol­phins, marine tur­tles and whale sharks are also com­mon, along with car­pets of brightly coloured coral reef.

Fancy a trek? Try Mt Ke­limutu in Cen­tral Flores. Af­ter com­plet­ing the dawn as­cent to the 1713m-high peak, vis­i­tors are treated to views of multi-coloured lakes that vary from red to blue to green ac­cord­ing to the sea­sons.

“Be­ing named as one of the New7Won­ders brought great at­ten­tion to Flores and a sense of an­tic­i­pa­tion,” says Richard Collins of the Ko­modo Yacht Club.

“We’re all won­der­ing what’s com­ing next.” Garuda (www.garu­dain­done­sia.com; 1300 365 331) flies daily from Bali to Ko­modo Air­port on Flores from $140. Blue Mar­line Dive Ko­modo (blue­mar­linko­modo.com; +62 812 3775 7892) in Labuan Bajo has a dive cen­tre, rooftop restau­rant, dorms for $20 a night and mod­ern suites for $95 a night.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.