Nusa Dua is a Bali tourist bubble next to the Tanjung Benoa peninsula, just twenty five minutes drive from the airport. It was built in the 1970s to be a gated compound of luxury hotels offering a haven away from the occasional choas of the rest of the Island of Gods. For this reason it doen't have any of the rich history of Ubud, or the liveliness of Seminyak but it's still a good intro to Asia if you're first timers or a family looking for a total relaxation in the sunshine. You can still head out on day trips if you crave a bit more of a cultural experience. It's home to Bali's most popular golf course and a huge conference centre meaning it is always busy in and out of season, it never feels too crowded but it means that hotels can charge a bit more than in the rest of Bali.
The whole compound is gated with security checkpoints to drive through on entry which makes it feel very safe, all the hotels check bags at the front doors and there are numerous security guards in all the hotels, along the beach and at the shopping centre. There is a stroller friendly foot path along the length of Nusa Dua beach ending at the Bali Collection Shopping Centre which makes it super easy to get to all the hotels and nip to the shops. (we did nearly get plowed down by bikes a few times so keep your eyes open!)
Nusa Dua isn't known for having loads to do, most activities are centered around the hotels and many will have excellent kids clubs which will entertain the children all leaving you to relax by the luxourious pools or take a stroll along the beach. We stayed at the Westin Resort and Spa which was home to the most fabulous kids club Piper's ever visited, some days we struggled to pull her out to explore the rest of the area! As we had just spent some mega busy days in Jimbaran and Ubud we were happy to just relax, play in the pool and take advantage of the many nearby hotel restaurants but we did manage to get out and explore a few of the local activities.
Do Not leave Nusa Dua before you have visited this restaurant/play area. The kids absolutelly loved playing on the tree swings, hammocks, see saws and play pirate ship. There's also a fun bamboo tree house you can eat your dinner in although this was slightly too wobbly for us!
You can't enter unless you are having a drink or some food but the prices are so reasonable it's not a problem. We popped in for lunch and stayed over two hours, the pizzas were lovely, and the beer refreshingly cold.
When in Bali a visit to a waterpark is a must simply to cool off. The main waterpark is Waterbom Bali, in Kuta but we couldn't face the hour or so drive so found this little one just ten minutes walk from our hotel. Again it's freen to enter and use the facilities but you need to buy extra wristbands for the slides and flowrider. We also got the kids some food and took full advantage of their two for one cocktails - great prices, very strong and totally delicious!
This is a very small water park - a few slides and a flow rider which look pretty fierce so we stayed away from that! There's a large main pool and a tiny todders pool with some play equipment which went down a treat with the 2 year old! When we visited it was pretty clean and very quiet, as our kids are not huge fans of crazy water rides it was a great choice not to waste time going to Kuta.
This is the main shopping centre in Nusa Dua, prices are very expensive compared to Seminyak or Ubud but it has a reasonable selection of surf style shps, restaurants and souvenirs. There are a few spas which are much cheaper than the ones in the hotels and is a nice place to get your hear braided. We had lunch at one of the restaurants which as very reasonably priced but if you're wanting to fill your suitcases I would recommend a trip to Seminyak
Beach massages are available all over Bali and it's a lovely way to spend half an hour. If you head in the opposite direction to the Bali Collection there are some friendly, local women with shaded massage beds who will braid your hair, paint your nails, give you a full body massage - just be sure to negotiate your price - they start high for Bali standards!
White sands, safe water and refreshingly few beach sellers make this a perfect spot for a day at the beach. There are various watersports available, the paddle boarding looked great fun but due to the lack of waves, this isn't the best place in Bali for surfing.
Nusa Dua is an expensive place to eat, most restaurants are located within the hotels but you can easily visit during your stay. Are favourites are:
Located at the Nusa Dua Beach hotel, it's the style of this restaurant that really sells it. Essentially a huge bamboo made tree house with some very funky swings to sit and sup your cocktails. Situated right on the beach, kids can happily play in the sand where you can keep a watchful eye on them.
Situated just 5 mins taxi ride outside of Bali in Tanjung Benoa, this is my very favourite restaurant in the area. They serve authentic Balinese food in pretty surroundings with great, frienldy staff. Be warned, the portions are huge, we went a little over the top and the waitress had to reign in our order - we still ordered way too much. They will drive you back to your hotel when you have finished if they have a shuttle available which is a lovely touch. The food can be quite spicy so if you are catering for sensitive little tums just ask them to tone down the heat.
Gorgeous Indonesian restaurant in the Westin hotel with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. We ate here during one of there buffet nights and the food was excellent with a huge selection - what kids doesn't like to fill their boots trying a little bit of everything!
Have you been to Nusa Dua with kids? We'd love to hear what your thought of the area, just leave us a comment below or even better write us a review to help other familes plan their Nusa Dua adventure.