Your hosts at Bali Eco Stay, eco accommodation in the heart of Bali, are Australians John & Cath Blundstone and son Huey, and traditional land owners Agung & Mini.
Feeling largely unfulfilled with the treadmill existence of western life, our family embarked on a journey in search of new horizons. We camped throughout Australia for four months, and during our travels we met Norm and Linda VantHoff, an Australian couple on holiday from Bali, who had created Sarinbuana Eco Lodge – stunning eco accommodation. Their incredible stories inspired us to visit them later that year, in their mountain lodge back in Bali.
We were delighted by the prospect of a nature based business opportunity in which we could practice conservation and sustainability, and perhaps just as importantly, utilise John’s extensive hospitality expertise and my passion for horticulture. Norm and Linda helped to make this a reality by working with us and sharing their incredible skills and expertise in sustainable tourism, which enabled us to bring Bali Eco Stay to life.
We were blessed to find this valley with its mesmerising beauty and natural spring water, our landowners, and fantastic local staff. It is hugely rewarding to be able to inspire locals and guests to live more sustainably, caring for nature as she provides and nurtures us.
We hope you have a wonderful stay with us at Eco Bali Stay and enjoy all the natural marvels this incredible area has on offer.
Cath and John
Watch Our Video Stories
Light Stays interview
Way Back in 2010...
Brighten your day with Light Stays interviews discovering more on inspirational people from around the globe. Tameera Kemp speaks with...John Bludstone, the owner of Bali Eco Stay with his wife Cath and 8 year old son. (Feb 2012)
The Blundstones arrived from Australia in March 2010, opened 27 December 2010 and haven’t looked back.
"My wife our son and I were looking for a new direction and went on a camping trip around Australia for some inspiration. Half way throu the trip we camped next to The Van't Hoff's from Sarinbuana Eco Lodge and struck up a friendship. They suggested that after the trip if we still had not found a new diretion to vist them in Bali.
We did and where totally inspired with the whole ECO concept and what Norm and Linda and achieved as well as the wonderful contribution they make to the community.
We spent a month looking around The Island but returned to The Mountain and The Eco Lodge as we all felt this was The Bali we were looking for. Linda mentioned that there wonderful chef Mini and her husband Agung had some land 20 minutes down The Mountain that they where hoping to lease. Norm took us down for a look and as we turned around The Kupe Kupe bend, we knew we had come HOME! Fast flowing stream,12 meter waterfall,magnificent rice paddies, complete food forest,stunning views ! We could not have wished for more!
"We went back to Australia after agreeing to lease the land for 50 years – we don’t buy the property, as we have to respect the traditional indigenous owners. To get started we had a bungalow suite built for us, they were beautiful right by the stream so we went ahead with the whole thing and Bali Eco Stay was built within 9 months, with a hydro system. The whole thing was very serendipitous."
There are certain cultural differences, as the Balinese don’t like asking how to do something so we were there to watch over the build. All the materials were sourced locally and the builders were local too. Norm and Linda Vant Hoff from Sarinbuana Eco lodge were a great help – they’ve been operating for about 8 years now and won two awards for eco tourism and are pioneers in this area. We’ve become great friends of course.
This was a completely new experience for us in terms of learning about eco systems. Cath got her certificate in permaculture before we left. Chakra runs the permaculture in Ubud and has been invaluable too; he did the initial hydro system. The hydro system is a simple process from a mountain fed swimming pool, it’s a large wheel with scoops on it, just before it hits the peloton wheel the pipe goes from a 6 inch to a 3 inch and drives the wheel around then drives the generator which gives us 58% electricity. We’re just getting a new one, then hoping to move to an even bigger one then buy solar panels which only need heat not sun so we’re totally self sufficient.
We had to sell our house back in Australia and it’s just been a leap of faith – it’s been amazing for all of us really. We have our son home tutored by volunteers, they come stay with us, he’s doing amazing now and really enjoying his new education as he was struggling in Australia.
We’re 90 minutes from Ubud, about 2 hours from the airport. There is a swimming beach 50 minutes away by car; we have a great mountain bike ride to a beach near us. Most of the beaches in Bali are black sand very different to Australia.
There’s 30,000 expats living in Bali from all over the world, most of them doing business – we’re getting a lot of people from Western Australia with holiday homes. It takes a while to go through the paperwork process though!
I’m originally from Tasmania and Cath is from Mount Tambourine, which is around the Gold Coast, Australia.
Our 8-year-old son already speaks Balinese! We’ve had a lot going on – we want to learn. For the moment our son is our interpreter but we can’t wait to learn more.
I’ve always been environmentally aware and health conscious. Many years ago in Hobart in the early 80’s I had a health food shop, and was a huge supporter of the free Sheppard Conservation Society and a founding member of the Wilderness Society. I was working in America on a yacht and got really sick from putting a knife through my hand-shelling oysters. I went to see a naturopath then changed through natural therapies, yoga and nutrition. It all moved forward from there.
It’s really interesting because when I got involved healing myself with raw food and yoga in the 70’s with juices, fasting and yoga it seems to have all come back again now in a full circle.
One of the main reasons people keep coming back to Bali is the Balinese connection with their spirituality. It’s quite a complex form of Hinduism and Buddhism with 96% of the population Balinese Hindus.
Our dry season is May to October and the wet is November to April. Dry means cool night with sunny days and occasional afternoon rain with temperatures ranging around 18 to 30 degrees celsius.
The wet season is beautiful in the morning then heavy rain in the afternoon with temperatures around 22 to 35 degrees celsius but the humidity is much higher.
When guests visit they can expect a sense of sense of space and the freshness and green and open. Most people just go “wow how did you find this place?” because the views are just stunning, we’re the only people in the valley.
Visitors are mostly Europeans from July to August, around Christmas and Easter we have lots of Australians. We’ve recently had some visitors from Shanghai and Beijing, they were into Taoism, a form of standing meditation. Being an eco lodge we attract likeminded people and have been really lucky.
I start my day going for a jungle walk or with some yoga, have a swim in the stream then have breakfast with the family then do emails. I then check how the guests are, there’s always lots of gardening to do. In the afternoon we have English classes, we teach English there and setting up a library. It’s a amazing how the day goes, sometimes we take guests for walks or up to the mountains. When we have six bungalows we’ll stop building – we like to spend more time with our guests if needed, giving quality time.
We don’t grow all of our own produce but we’re getting there with lots of trial and error as well! Had to build shelters over the lettuces because of the rain. Growing vegetables is new for all of us, we do most of this ourselves, we try and grow as much seasonal fruit we can. We grow our own organic rice as well; it’s delicious and healthy.
My signature dish is called Pepisikan a traditional Indonesian dish of fish, wrapped in banana leaves baked in the oven with lemon grass in tomato salsa. I also love a Nasi Campur, it’s like a Balinese version of a tapas plate. Little bits of all the favourites you can sample!
I feel inspired by trying to live in the moment - watching the Balinese live in the moment and I’m trying to learn from this. They give so much in how to be in the here and now. I think this is why their smiles are so infectious.
My favourite part of the Balinese culture is sitting around talking; they just want to talk and communicate and are not in a rush.
One thing Bali Eco Stay has taught me is patience!!
We have a real mixture of activities for example the kids want to do carving and kite making and the adults like to do trekking and walking. Some people just like sitting and reading and we have some self guiding walks too. Our cooking classes have become quite busy after our guests sample the food here!
We’re trying to bring more wildlife in and teach the locals about animals. We don’t have many monkeys around here, although there are some in the rainforest.
Our most popular attractions are walking and trekking. We have 7 fantastic walks! And carving, learning how to carve, one Balinese guy just turned 18 had been carving since age 7, he’s now a master carver and people love going to see him.
The favourite part of my job is watching peoples faces when they arrive. It’s just a blast really! It’s a bit a of a rough ride getting here but once they arrive it’s like WOW!!
My worst job was in a chicken farm it was the most horrendous experience knowing how cruel humans can be.
My motivational tip is to just have some faith and trust in your intuition. For instance meeting this family whilst travelling in Australia, visiting Bali and realising we didn’t know exactly what we were doing but having faith in the process. For us it was perfect timing all round. You don’t know until you jump in and immersing yourself in another culture is such a rewarding experience.
I don’t like talking about my lack of Indonesian!
My most treasured possession is a whale a friend carved for me from timber called huon pine only found in Tasmania and very slow growing, they can make fabulous boats out of this it’s totally water proof. The whale had just eaten a whaler it’s beautiful.
My happiest moment was when my son was born.
I’m very bad at being romantic…my poor wife!
Friends say I’m a pretty good friend to have, I’m also very hospitable.
If only I could stop greed on the planet.
The hardest thing I’ve done was my last math exam.
I’m always being asked how on earth did you find this place?!
At the moment I’m listening to the new Siddharta by the Buddha Bar and I also really like Angus and Julia Stone.
I often wonder if we really are reincarnated. Do we really come back?!
More Interesting Articles and pages about Bali Eco Stay
Our Eco Policy -Read Eco Policy
Our Eco Community Projects -Read Community Projects
Guest Reviews - from our guest book at Bali Eco Stay