Iconic, exotic: This is paradise with a capital 'P'
THE boat glides over water so clear it's like looking in a mirror.
There are 50 shades of blue and dozens of colourful fish dart among the rocks as the speed boat cuts its engine and we drift closer to shore.
Friendly locals carrying baskets of tropical fruit wave from the beach and I'm on sensory overload as I shield my face from the tropical sun.
I've just arrived at Nusa Lembongan - an island about a 30-minute speed boat ride from Sanur in Bali - and its paradise with a capital 'P'!
Skillfully balancing our suitcases on their heads, the boat crew wade through knee-high water and deliver our luggage to a waiting truck which will transport my group of 13 adults and two children to our dream destination - the gorgeous Hai Tide Huts at Mushroom Bay.
It's been 10 years since I've stayed at the resort and I'm looking forward to the iconic and exotic thatched-roof lumbung (hut) accommodation where the sand and surf beckons, just a few steps from your door.
We're greeted at the resort like long-lost relatives and I'm happy to see that many of the staff are still working here after all these years.
I head straight to the beach where I see jukungs (traditional fishing boats) bobbing in the crystal-clear water, fishermen casting their nets in hope of a good catch and children wandering the foreshore collecting shells.
It's picture-perfect and I can't wait to dive into the turquoise waters.
Surrounded by coral reefs, white sand beaches and low limestone cliffs, Nusa Lembongan has some of the best scuba, snorkelling and surf breaks in Indonesia.
The men in my group quickly organise a boat to take them out to the surf break, while the women and children enjoy a refreshing swim before heading to lunch at the resort's restaurant - the Hai Bar and Grill.
Open on all sides, the restaurant boasts fabulous views of Mushroom Bay and has a menu to satisfy young and old.
We spend our days swimming, beachcombing, paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, eating, relaxing, being pampered in the resort's spa and exploring the island on motorbike.
The resort has its own pontoon moored offshore where guests can snorkel, dive, explore the underwater world in a glass-bottomed submarine, have fun on the waterslide and enjoy banana boat rides - and best of all - it's free!
On our last day, we hire a boat and head around the island to the renowned Crystal Bay where we get lucky and snorkel with magnificent manta rays and schools of colourful fish in all shapes and sizes.
It's a dream come true and an experience we will long remember.
Sadly our time on the island and at the Hai Tide Huts comes to an end all too soon, and as we head back to the main village of Jungut Batu where we will catch the boat back to Bali, I reflect on three days of pure bliss!
This is heaven on earth!
The author paid for her own trip.
IF YOU GO: The author's trip to Nusa Lembongan, stay at the Hai Tide Huts and boat transfers (by Rocky Fast Cruises) were organised by The Lembongan Traveller - an Australian owned and based business. For more information email email@example.com or phone 0478 928 925.