An adventurous trip to Sewu Mountains geopark, Yogyakarta

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The Sewu Mountains, a plateau that stretches along Yogyakarta, Wonogiri and Pacitan, is home to amazing hills with tops adorned with black rocks that one usually finds under the ocean. When exploring the site, expect to find deep trenches on the southern coast of Java and remnants of an ancient volcano at Nglanggeran in Gunungkidul, said to be formed by the removal of a seabed thousands of years ago.

Besides offering the beautiful landscape of thousands of small hills and the unique view of sea corals on hilltops, the Sewu Mountains also provide an important asset for geological research and conservation. Since 2012, it has been designated as the National Karst Geopark, managed jointly by three regions since it covers the Central Java, East Java and Yogyakarta provinces.


Yogya is home to 9 unique geo-heritage sites

The mountains’ most interesting spots to visit include Pathuk Hill, Wanagama Forest, Jomblang Cave, Grubug Cave, Pindul Cave, Sri Getuk Waterfall and the ancient Nglanggeran volcano. The Jomblang and Grubug caves are particularly great for adventure seekers since they must be conquered by going down underground hundreds of meters using a rope. Pindul Cave offers an unforgettable journey venturing on an underground river.

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Sri Getuk Waterfall, which supplies millions of cubic meters of crystal clear water to the Oya River and never runs dry even during the dry season, is also an icon of the Sewu Mountains. While the ancient Nglanggeran volcano, which is a monolith of granite and home to remnants of a volcanic eruption that occurred thousands of years ago, provides a perfect spot for camping and enjoying the sunrise and sunset.

To end the journey in style, head to the beach; the hills of the Sewu Mountains actually hide a dozen beautiful white sandy beaches. Thus, after a full day of adventure on the rocky hills, visitors usually close the day by relaxing alongside the ocean, enjoying the clear water, playing with the silky white sand and simply embracing the quiet ocean breeze.

How to get ther

From Yogyakarta’s downtown, the easiest path to explore the Sewu Mountains is through Piyungan, which is around 30 kilometers away. As an alternate route, visitors can also explore the place through the Imogiri area, which is considered to be more challenging and thus offering more adventure sensations.

For those making their way from Surakarta, there are two routes that can be taken to reach Gunungkidul: Gantiwarno and Karangdowo. Traveling through Gantiwarno means enjoying a view of green woods and hills, while traversing via Karangdowo means passing through rural areas.


  • Prior to traveling in the Sewu Mountains, be sure to learn about the conditions of the roads and the weather. The road on the Sewu Mountains is mostly in good condition, but the terrain is rather winding and steep.
  • Specify the location that you will be visiting on the map and keep these points in a GPS unit if one is available.
  • To avoid getting lost, consider bringing a local guide with you.
  • The weather in the Sewu Mountains is usually very hot during the dry season and it often rains heavily during the rainy season. Do prepare with both a raincoat and sunblock during the transitional season.

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