Surabaya for nature lovers

Enter Surabaya, the gateway to some of Indonesia’s most spectacular natural wonders.

Mount Bromo volcano with trees in the foreground and mountains in the background on a blue-sky day. Image credit:
  • Jetstar
  • August 2023

Nestled in the lush landscapes of Indonesia, metropolis Surabaya is the gateway to east Java’s natural wonders: picturesque mountains, breathtaking waterfalls and stunning beaches. Here are the best ways to discover this tropical paradise.

Hike the blazing beauty of Mount Ijen

Standing in the tranquillity of East Java, between the Banyuwangi and Bondowoso regencies, Mount Ijen is a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of Central Bali. Here, you get an authentic taste of Java’s allure –the magnificent composite volcanoes and the serene absence of crowds. The dry season from April to October is ideal for visiting, but trips outside these months are quieter.

Person standing on the edge of Mount Ijen volcanic crater with blue-coloured lake and sulfur gas below. Image credit:
See the magic of this volcanic landscape first-hand.

See the surreal Ijen Blue Fire

Ijen Blue Fire, a phenomenon caused by sulfur-mining activities, has made the Ijen Plateau famous worldwide. Holding the title of ‘world’s largest acid lake’, this destination promises adventure. Your hike starts with a 1-hour journey to the Ijen Plateau base camp, followed by a 2-hour ascent to the peak. Although not too demanding, the terrain can get pretty steep. When you reach the top, your guide gives you a gas mask for protection against sulfuric gas. Then, at around 4–5am, you see an extraordinary display of blue fire that emerges from below.

Tourists and sulfur miners standing in the Ijen Crater looking at the blue flames of burning sulfur emerging from below. Image credit:
The surreal blue flames at the Ijen Crater.

Start the day with the Mount Bromo Sunrise

In Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Mount Bromo beckons you to experience a celestial spectacle amid a landscape of volcanic wonders. The name ‘Bromo’ pays homage to the Hindu creator god, Brahma, a testament to the spiritual aura that envelops this natural marvel. To capture the illuminating magic of the first sun rays painting the horizon, take a Jeep tour and make sure to arrive by around 5.30am.

Mount Bromo and surrounding mountains at sunrise. Image credit:
A marvellous way to start the day.

Fall in love with Tumpak Sewu Waterfall

Feast your eyes on Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, a masterpiece that lives up to its Javanese name ‘many waterfalls’. Take the short stroll from the parking area to the main overlook, and soak in the grandeur of the many cascades. But don’t stay there too long – the real marvel awaits below! Head down to experience the magnificent scale of the waterfall – it will leave you feeling as tiny as an ant. Go in the early morning for the best lighting at the many photo spots in the area. Be mindful of slippery rocks, and if you plan to get within 90m of the falls, remember to protect your electronics from the spray.

The Tumpak Sewu Waterfall cascading over greenery and moss-covered rock at sunrise. Image credit:
The flowing cascades of Tumpak Sewu Waterfall.

Explore the serene Goa Tetes Cave

Just a stone’s throw away from Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, 55km south of Lumajang, this cave of colourful stalagmites and stalactites is easily accessible by motorcycle or car. Though reaching the cave demands a challenging 1km walk, the reward makes it all worth it – the sight of a calm, flowing river inside. Embrace the serenity and tranquillity in this underground sanctuary.

Small waterfalls cascade over cave openings, rocks and greenery at Goa Tetes, East Java. Image credit:
Goa Tetes is surrounded by waterfalls.