Owner, WaterWays Surf Adventures

The Inertia

Rote is a small island in the Nusa Tengarra region of Indonesia, Southwest of Timor and a world away from the increasingly overrun surfing areas of Bali, Sumatra and the Maldives. On the southwest side of the island, the Nemberala Beach Resort offers thoroughly modern tropical lodging with access to a half dozen plus, top-quality reefs.

The nation of Timor has a long, interesting and sometimes troubled history. Timor is where Captain Bligh ended his impossible 3600-mile crossing in a small boat after the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789. (If the photos have already sold you and you are packing for Rote and need a good book, the Bounty Trilogy is fascinating and appropriate to the area.

Timor was divided between the Dutch and the Portuguese for many centuries. Japanese forces occupied the whole island from 1942 to 1945. In 1975, the nation of Indonesia annexed East Timor and was proclaimed Indonesia’s 27th province. After a prolonged guerilla war East Timor won independence in 2002.

Rote is only 20 miles from the mainland but far removed from the past violent nation-making on the main island.  The Nemberala Beach Resort is on the Southwest side of the island, facing into all that world-famous, well-traveled swell. Swell which originates in the turbulent storms of the Southern Ocean, organizes itself as it crosses into the Indian Ocean and arrives 4,000 miles later on the reefs of Rote, falling gracefully on a wide selection perfect reef setups.


Rote is not the area most people go looking when they go to Indonesia for surf. The five-acre beachfront property is located directly in front of the main break providing all rooms  – along with the bar and restaurant – a view of the 300 plus yard long left reef/point which lies 500 yards off shore. The weather in the region is affected by the huge deserts of Northwest Australia and the Wallis line giving warm dry conditions almost year round except for a brief wet season from December to March. Given the marginal rainfall this area sees only a small fraction of the mosquitoes and insects that one would expect in the more northern areas. The predominant trade winds are southeast and blow off-shore at Nemberala most of the year. Given any break from the standard trade winds there are other waves in the region that work better on north, south or glassy conditions.

The bungalows feature a beautiful rock construction with louvered windows to keep the bungalows cool and breezy day and night. The central pool is a beautiful area to lay back with a drink and soak up the environment. The spa and games room are welcome distractions from the day’s activities. Surf transfers are provided on your schedule so you can choose when, how long, and how often you would like to surf. The four-duplex bungalows provide eight rooms each with a private bathroom. All rooms have running water and 24 hour electricity, the kitchen serves up four meals each day, a variety of western and Asian dishes.

Rote has empty sandy beaches for walking or thinking, 60 foot visibility for diving, world-class sport fishing, miles of dirt road for mountain biking and plenty of time to read the Bounty Trilogy.

Check out more from Waterways Travel here.

Find out more about Nemberala Beach Resort here.


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