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Our 18 months Budget to Travel Australia by Indefinite Leave

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Welcome to our third expenses report for Indefinite Leave, having previously provided details after 7.5 months which you can read here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/much-cost-trip/
and 12 months which you can review here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/12-months-costs-expenses-travelling-australia/

This third comprehensive report is after completing 18 months around Oz and we have broken it down to provide a 6 monthly comparison, percentage of expense, some averages plus a total amount.

We left Brisbane February 1st 2016 and went North in our 8m Winnebago Esperance Motorhome. It’s a 3L Turbo Diesel and we don’t tow any vehicles. This Expenses report covers from the day we left until end of July 2017.

The changes over 18 months are really intriguing. The longer we travel the cheaper it gets. Experience definitely plays a major part.

Each 6 month period our costs have reduced. Since our 12 month mark, the time frame most people do their big lap for, we have seen a significant drop in costs. This potentially means for some travelling Oz, maybe they are finishing just as they become most skilled at travelling on a budget? Or maybe we’re just slow…… :)

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It is important to read this report carefully. We really do include every single dollar we spend. Everything is included, nothing is missed!!

Usually when we produce our report we do get feedback that we have spent a lot. It’s true, we have.

We always planned to see as much as we could on this trip and that included doing tours and seeing many of the tourist spots. When we left we didn’t think we’d have another opportunity to see Australia again, it wasn’t our plan. It was to be a one-off two and half year adventure and then go back home. That has changed now but that was the original plan. It’s also important to note that if a dollar comes out of our account or wallet we record it, no exceptions, so comparing our report to others might be misleading. So yes, we have spent a lot but we sure have experienced a bloody lot too.

For the record, the only things we don’t include are our mortgage payments which are covered by our tenant and our Motorhome loan repayments. Also our Phones and Telstra Wifi dongle are not in our expenses.

Kevin has 2 phones, 1 personal phone, an iPhone 6s with Vodafone at $40 per month which provides free calls and texts plus 12gig of data and 1 for his business with Telstra, an iPhone 7, which costs $95 per month and provides 12gig of data. Adele has her Samsung 8 with Telstra at $145 per month which provides 25gig of data. The Telstra wifi dongle is a Nighthawk which costs $70 per month and provides 20gig of data.

Therefore we have 57gig of Telstra data and another 12gig with Vodafone at a cost of $310 per month with Telstra and $40 per month with Vodafone. We don’t record the phones as they are business related expenses paid by our Company.

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Wallaman Falls, Nth Qld

As you can see it costs us a fortune to run our business plus the travel blog but it has reduced a lot from when we started our trip. Most of that data is used in uploading videos to YouTube and our Social Media and if you are following us at Indefinite Leave you will have seen our YouTube channel where we now have over 150 videos of every Campground, Free Camp, Caravan Park, Rest Area and Pub Stay across the country. We do that entirely to help other travellers plan their adventure.
https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave.

Also, we are 3 adults and our son Matt is 24yo, so if you are a couple only, you need to consider there’s probably an extra 30% of our costs which would be attributed to having Matt with us. Matt pays his way by keeping the fridge and freezer full of fresh fish and squid :).

We love having Matt with us and to share this experience with him is incredibly special.

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Krys the croc, Normanton Qld

Throughout our 18 month trip we have:

• Replaced all 6 Tyres on the Motorhome

• Completed 3 full services on the Motorhome

• Had radiator replaced plus coolant sensor, coolant tank and 1 windscreen plus had another windscreen repaired.

• Have had the awning, air conditioner and roof hatch replaced under insurance.

• Said goodbye to our beautiful dog MACKS as her arthritis became too bad.

• Completed 45,112kms, visiting every State and Territory except NSW and ACT.

Our Favourite places have been:
Kev – Karijini National Park, Uluru, Quobba
Adele – Natures Window in Kalbarri National Park, Tasmania, Uluru.
Matt – Bruny Island, Darwin, Litchfield National Park

Best things to do:
Kev – swim with Humpback Whales in Exmouth, snorkel at Quobba, Horizontal Falls, Margaret River, swim with Seals in Portland Vic
Adele – Dubbo Zoo, Horizontal Falls, Pennicott Tasman Island cruise, swim with Humpback Whales at Exmouth
Matt – fishing Kangaroo Island, fishing Darwin, Territory Day Darwin, BuleyRockpools

We have flown home to Brisbane 4 times since we left, from Mackay, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide. Flight and taxi costs are included in the report.

Number of Boat Trips = 10 – Lady Musgrave Island, Great Keppel Island, Airlie Beach x 3, Horizontal Falls, Rottnest Island, Tamar River, Tasman Island, Bruny Island
Number of Ferry trips = 6 – Fraser Island, Magnetic Island, Daintree River, Sorrento, Spirit of Tasmania, Bruny Island
Plane trips = 6 – To home and back Mackay, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide. Also Cairns and Broome for adventure.
Fishing Charters = 5 – Airlie Beach x 2, Mission Beach, Broome and Karumba

States covered – All except NSW.

Our 20 favouriteLow cost Campgrounds are all here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/20-best-free-low-cost-camping-grounds-australia/
Our 13 favourite Free Camps are all here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/13-best-free-camps-australia/

Funniest moments – Adele sand boarding at Sandy Cape in WA and getting down low which generated so much speed she ended up in the bushes – https://youtu.be/BcilkWaEAsU

This was almost matched by her excitement of catching a big Salmon at Spring Beach in Tasmania – https://youtu.be/WEi7lszApxI

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Corella Dam, Qld

Ok now on to the expenses.

Groceries $17,664.36

First 6 months = $4673.79
Second 6 months = $7370.23
Third 6 months = $5620.34

The middle 6 months was our longest period of time on the road at 179 days. This was when we were in Western Australia where food costs are generally higher.

Whilst it’s easy to think it’s irrelevant, as we have to eat whether we are at home or on the road, the difference is what we pay. At home you know your local grocery stores and where the best buys are. The prices remain relatively consistent and you can easily budget your food costs week to week.
When travelling Australia you don’t know the best local supermarkets and sometimes they’re not available. Sometimes you pay higher prices to access necessities quickly or you may find fantastic markets where you can buy some groceries at great prices.

Then of course prices do vary, sometimes quite significantly, depending where in the country you are. Therefore costs when travelling can be different to your normal costs at home.

$981.35 Average Grocery cost per month
Groceries are 16.7% of overall costs.

Takeaways $2,610.37

First 6 months = $518.77
Second 6 months = $1544.42
Third 6 months = $868.32

We don’t eat a lot of takeaway, I’m surprised we even spend this much. We do like to drop in to Maccas occasionally for a Frozen Coke and ice cream cone lol.

Takeaway is 2.5% of overall costs

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Walkabout Creek Hotel with “that” knife, McKinlay, Qld

Drinks $2,694.15

First 6 months = $602.55
Second 6 months = $1,294.90
Third 6 months = $796.70

This is our drinks cost when not dining and not takeaways.

Drinks are 2.5% of overall costs

Dining out $6,391.69

First 6 months = $3255.52
Second 6 months = $2,304.37
Third 6 months = $831.80

The more we have travelled the more we enjoy our own cooking. We love cooking on the campfire and creating our own meals. A benefit of having a Motorhome is our kitchen is with us everywhere we go. A lot of this cost would be with the wineries we have visited.

Dining out is 6% of overall costs

Alcohol $3,964.98

First 6 months = $1,370.46
Second 6 months = $1,524.46
Third 6 months = $1,070.06

Alcohol is our bottle shop purchases. We have cut back alcohol costs when we discovered some good cheap wines, I buy my Cider by the carton, I’m back to Original Bundaberg Rum and Matt is buying his own beer again in this last 6 month period.

We are known to enjoy Happy Hour :)

Alcohol is 3.6% of overall costs

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Island Cocktails , North Queensland

Accommodation $12,763.43

First 6 months = $6,880.70
Second 6 months = $4,572.63
Third 6 months = $831.80

Average per night First 6 months = $36.41
Average per night Second 6 months = $30.87
Average per night Third 6 months = $7.62

Following is First 6 months – second 6 months – third 6 months = total
CaravanParks 153 – 102 – 13 = 268
Free Camps 2 – 21 – 64 = 87
Campgrounds 6 – 9 – 43 = 58
Relatives or Family 0 – 39 – 43 = 82
Pub stays 0 – 2 – 8 = 10
Ship 0 – 1 – 1 = 2
Golf Clubs 0 – 3 – 0 = 3
Station stays 3 – 1 – 0 = 4

Nights on the road
First 6 months = 164 nights
Second 6 months = 179 nights
Third 6 months = 172 nights

Our costs to stay has been our biggest change, we now almost exclusively Free camp. We also find the longer we travel the more new friends we make and sometimes are offered places to stay.

We sure have learnt a lot since that first 6 months travelling however it was summer and very hot so not sure even now we would do much different. We sure appreciated air conditioning at night and a pool during the day over those first 6 months.

In the last 6 months accommodation has only been 5.6% of overall costs

Our most expensive stay was Lake Argyle at $61.60 per night.

Accommodation is 12.1% of our overall costs

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Ormiston Gorge, West McDonnell Ranges NT

Fuel $10,249.73

First 6 months = $2,020.99
Second 6 months = $4,346.66
Third 6 months = $3,882.08

The middle month was NT to WA and down the WA coastline, travelling long distances and driving into a headwind. Some days I thought I could almost watch the fuel gauge go down.

The third month included coming up the middle of Oz. More big driving days with long stretches in between towns.

Most expensive fuel was Kings Station at Kings Canyon at 198.9c/l
Cheapest fuel was at the start of our trip, Curra and Bargara at 99.9c/l
Our average cost per litre of fuel is 133.9c

Cost per month for fuel is $610.61.

Fuel is 9.7% of our overall costs

Vehicle Expenses $$11,271.47

First 6 months = $3,483.17
Second 6 months = $5,600.71
Third 6 months = $2,187.59

Our first service in Cairns, in the first 6 months period, was expensive and included a new Coolant Sensor and Coolant Tank.
Our second service in Perth found we had a leaking radiator and it wasn’t repairable so we had to completely replace it. A chip in the windscreen also cracked and it needed to be replaced.

Vehicle expenses are 10.7% of our overall costs

Speedometre 81,769

We started our trip at 36,657 on the speedo and have now completed 45,112kms in 18 months.

We have been to every state and territory except NSW and ACT.

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Fitzroy Island, off Cairns Qld

Entertainment $15,928.31

First 6 months = $8,258.41
Second 6 months = $5,733.90
Third 6 months = $1,936.00

This is another area of our expenses that has been slashed. The first part of our trip included the Whitsundays, Cairns and Darwin where there were so many big ticket items to experience.
The second 6 months included Lake Argyle, Horizontal Falls and a fishing charter in Broome.
We found as we got to the bottom of Oz there weren’t such big tour expenses.

That first 6 months gave us so many memories which we will never forget. 3 weeks in the Whitsundays was amazing.

Our biggest Entertainment expense has been Horizontal Falls which cost $1706.90 for just Adele and Kevin.
Reef Sleep in the Whitsundays is our second biggest cost at $1366.10 for all 3 of us.
You can read all about Reef Sleep here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/us-swag-pontoon-lot-water/

In the last 6 months Entertainment has been only 8.3% of costs.

Entertainment is 15.1% of our overall costs

Travel $6,389.43

First 6 months = $1,752.84
Second 6 months = $3,064.50
Third 6 months = $1,572.09

This is our costs to fly home 4 times plus our return trip on the Spirit of Tasmania. It also includes our return trip to Kangaroo Island plus ferry trips to Bruny Island and the Sorrento Ferry in Victoria.

Travel is 6% of our overall costs

Gas $590.66

First 6 months = $122.98
Second 6 months = $165.84
Third 6 months = $301.84

We have 2 x 4kg bottles and mostly we fill them at any BCF around the country. Most BCF stores cost $13.99.
I don’t know exactly but believe we get about 9-10 days out of a bottle.

Our gas cost has significantly increased as we now almost exclusively free camp. Still, it’s a very very inexpensive cost.

Gas is less than 1% of our overall costs

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Hemingway’s Brewery, Port Douglas Qld

Medical $1,275.54

First 6 months = $412.71
Second 6 months = $449.72
Third 6 months = $413.11

Since leaving Brisbane February 2016, I don’t recall any of us having a cold or flu. One of the many aspects we love about road travel is you don’t get the bugs and viruses we did back home.

Medical is 1% of our overall costs

Vet $3,456.68

First 6 months = $928.53
Second 6 months = $2,084.77
Third 6 months = $443.38

For the first 16 months we travelled with our beautiful Golden Retriever MACKS.

You can read about us Travelling Australia with MACKS here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/travelling-australia-dog-macks/

Just prior to Christmas 2016 she contracted Geriatric Vestibular Disease and spent 6 nights at the amazing Lincoln Veterinary Centre, Port Lincoln on a drip and being fed and cared for. The care they provided her was First Class and the bill we received was much less than we expected. https://www.lincolnvet.com.au/

Sadly in July whilst in Darwin we had to make the decision to let her go and you can read my tribute to her here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/tribute-best-dog-ever-known/

As much as it’s so much easier travelling without a pet, we miss her everyday.

Vet is 3.3% of our overall costs

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Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton Qld

Dog Sitting $959

First 6 months = $928.53
Second 6 months = $2,084.77
Third 6 months = $0

We had no further dog sitting costs from our 12 month report.

We always used Mad Paws wherever possible to look after MACKS when visiting National Parks or flying home to Brisbane to visit. We found them fantastic wherever we used them. https://www.madpaws.com.au/

Dog sitting is less than 1% of our overall costs

Adele’s nails $769

First 6 months = $270
Second 6 months = $229
Third 6 months = $270

What can I say!!

I am to blame after all, it was my idea all those years ago for Adele to have her nails done and now she loves them. It’s a small cost that keeps Adele happy and that’s what matters most isn’t it?

Their current colour is purple.

Adele’s nails are less than 1% of our overall costs

Hair and Beauty $250.90

First 6 months = $0
Second 6 months = $184
Third 6 months = $66.90

Adele does her own hair and Kevin’s too. A quick Number 3 and Kevin’s is done in minutes.

Hair and Beauty is hardly a blip on the radar of our overall costs. Phew, reckon I dodge a bullet there……

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Swinging for our Anniversary this year

Taxis $645.66

First 6 months = $327.59
Second 6 months = $221.00
Third 6 months = $97.07

Taxi costs have mostly been taking us to the airport and back again on return.

Taxis are less than 1% of our overall costs

Clothes $2,118.97

First 6 months = $1,149.84
Second 6 months = $785.67
Third 6 months = $183.46

We spent our first 12 months in hot or warm weather but once we reached Tasmania we quickly needed some more warm clothes. Otherwise there’s been some swimwear and new thongs required, presents bought at Christmas etc. We also had some Indefinite Leave branded caps and shirts done for us too.

Clothes are 2% of our overall costs

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Matt’s 3 big Queenies off the beach in Darwin, NT

Fishing $1,896.83

First 6 months = $912.83
Second 6 months = $307.13
Third 6 months = $676.25

Between the 3 of us we carry 10 rods and 9 reels and all the gear to match. For tackle, mostly we use metal slices and squid jigs. We carry lots of extra fishing gear we don’t need.

Also included in fishing costs is a Spear, Spear Gun, new Wetsuit and Opera house pots for Red Claw that we have bought along the way.

Fishing is 1.8% of our overall costs

Laundry $667

First 6 months = $298
Second 6 months = $195
Third 6 months = $174

We use Laundromats mostly now to do our washing. We can’t receive receipts from Laundromats and this is an estimated figure.

Laundry is less than 1% of our overall costs

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Sand Pumping Jetty at Southport, Gold Coast Qld

Photography $695.95

First 6 months = $0
Second 6 months = $695.95
Third 6 months = $0

A new lens, backup battery and lens hoods make up this cost.

Photography is less than 1% of our overall costs

National Parks $250

First 6 months = $0
Second 6 months = $142
Third 6 months = $108

We have been in National Parks all around the country and as you can see it’s a very tiny cost of the overall trip. Pay the cost to enter Kakadu and Uluru and enjoy it, they really aren’t that expensive in the overall scheme of things.

National Parks are a non existent expense of our overall costs

Miscellaneous $1,978.41

First 6 months = $442.93
Second 6 months = $980.65
Third 6 months = $554.83

Misc items have included gifts, hardware required, toilet chemicals and all sorts of odd small things over the course of 18 months.

Miscellaneous is 1.9% of our overall costs

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Sunrise at Crab Claw Island Resort, Bynoe Harbour NT

This leaves our final cost tally’s.

First 6 months = $38,217.63 at an average cost per week of $1,469.91
Second 6 months = $44,221.51 at an average cost per week of $1,700.83
Third 6 months = $23,363.92 at an average cost per week of $898.61

Our total overall expenditure is $105,803.06

Our total average cost per week is $1,339.28

We have experienced so many amazing memories that we will cherish forever. It’s been worth every cent, we have no regrets.

Hope this helps you, if you have any questions feel free to ask or message us anytime.

Safe travels,

Kevin & Adele Hockey
Indefinite Leave

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/indefiniteleave

Instagram: indefinite_leave

Website: www.indefiniteleave.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave

Twitter: IndefiniteLeav3

Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

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Wallaman Falls has the Wow factor

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When we left Brisbane in February 2016 and headed north, one of our must see places we had marked was Wallaman Falls, 49kms west of Ingham in North Queensland. It is the highest permanent single drop waterfall in Australia and we were really looking forward to seeing it.

As we came through North Queensland the weather was bleak, overcast, wet and we were advised against doing it in the Motorhome so we didn’t end up seeing it. With a second opportunity 18 months later we weren’t going to miss it this time but as we came down the Highway we passed bush fires just north of Ingham and the region was under a smoke haze. Again the opportunity looked unlikely however after staying the night at Ingham we awoke to a clear morning and no obvious signs of smoke filled haze covering the skies. We quickly packed up and made our way out to the range.

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The first 20kms approx. was an easy drive at 80-100kmh until the next 5 kms where cows take over and make the road and grassed edges their home. Some move off the road quickly whilst others are in no rush so we had to take it slowly and stop when necessary.

The following 15kms is steep winding road around the mountain. We did it comfortably in our 8 metre Winnebago Esperance Motorhome in the dry conditions. We’ve driven much worse Ranges such as the Gillies Range from Atherton to Gordonvale near Cairns, the Daintree and the Lyell Highway in the South West of Tasmania through Queenstown to Strahan. Those made this seem pretty easy.

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Wallaman Falls from lookout above

A sign at the bottom of the range says it is unsuitable for Trucks, Buses, Caravans and Trailers. I figured we didn’t fit any of those categories and nothing was stopping us now. There were some tight bends and narrow road but we made it to the lookout 15kms from the top and stopped to admire and absorb the stunning views.

A short drive further around the range and we were at the top. From here the last 5-10kms was fairly straight road mostly 60-70kmh. Lots of signs saying to watch for Cassowaries which may cross the road with one sign saying don’t exit your vehicle. Cassowaries are known to be aggressive at times although that didn’t stop Adele last year at Mission Beach when she got close up for some photos.

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From Ingham it was about an hours drive to Wallaman Falls.

We found the carpark and it’s a very short walk to see the incredible Waterfalls from above. There are 3 view points each providing stunning views to this beautiful waterfall flowing over the edge into the 20 metre deep pool below.

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Once we completed our photos and selfies and admired the Falls it was time to decide if we would walk to the bottom of the Gorge. Adele was talking herself out of it fast and with signs saying it was very steep, needing a certain fitness level and notifying us that people had in fact died attempting to walk this path to the base, I must admit I had plenty of doubts also. We decided to check out the Gorge Lookout which was just 400 metres away at the top of the walk down and decide from there.

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The Gorge was equally as impressive and spectacular and it just seemed to be drawing me to it. It seemed natural that I had to explore all that there was to see about Wallaman Falls and with that I began the walk. Adele quickly followed deciding to start and see how she went.

All up it is a 4km round trip from the Top lookout to the bottom and back again. Signs varied but mostly stated it to be a minimum 2 hour walk with one sign saying 2-3 hours.

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Part of the path to the base of the Fall

The journey down began and we knew immediately this was going to be a challenge for us. There is a chain rail to the side to assist those climbing up.

As we left the very top I noticed a young girl who had just arrived back after obviously doing the track. She was covered in sweat so I knew immediately we were in for some hard work.

The first section is bitumen but gets quite steep. From there it’s a dirt track, the first part steep but generally ok. Then it gets rough and the further down you go it seems to get worse. We walked sideways between two rocks which only offered a narrow path, climbed over fallen trees across the path, stumbled over rock outcrops and stealthed along narrow edges but luckily didn’t have to ward off any snakes unlike the German travellers we met at the base of the falls.

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They told us how they came across a big black snake on the path. They jumped up and down in the hope that the vibrations would scare it off but it didn’t work. They threw some rocks near to the snake, not to hit it but just close enough to get it to move but that too was in vain, this guy wasn’t moving. So last resort was they threw a stone at it. This time it moved along but they waited a few minutes just to make sure it was long gone into the bushes before taking off along the track again.

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It took us 40 minutes to reach the base of the Falls and when we did, it was seriously worth it. Wallaman Falls from below was majestic.

We could feel its power and were amazed by it’s beauty.

Once we were finished at the base it was time to trek our way back to the top. With an expected minimum 2 hour return and knowing what we had in store I guessed it would be an hour and 15 minutes to make our way back up.

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Let’s do it again…….

We started our walk and took a few rests and one stop to replace the battery in the Go Pro. All up we stopped 6 times on our ascent and it took us just 50 minutes. At one stage I figured I’d try to take Adele’s mind off the challenges of the walk and get her mind thinking about something else so I asked about our dinner plans. Adele muttered something inaudible back and so I asked again. Once more I couldn’t understand the answer so I asked a third time. Her response left me in no doubt of her thoughts. “Stop asking me questions” she demaned, “I can’t breath, my chest is in pain, I can’t talk and we’re having Kangaroo”.

That was the end of that discussion and any other attempts!!

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Maybe not haha

We didn’t see any Cassowaries but we did see lots more cows on the way out again. We had to stop in the middle of the road and this time a cow didn’t want to move. It seemed friendly and inquisitive and eventually came over to the Motorhome and began to look at itself in my side mirror. I put my window down and it began to lick my hand and was happy for a pat. The most amazing and incredibly experience. Every other cow we’ve seen moves away if you get close.

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Wallaman Falls is a genuinely stunning natural wonder and definitely worth any challenges in getting there and seeing it in all it’s awe.

Remember to take with you:

• Good walking shoes
• Plenty of water
• A good camera
• Sunscreen
• Bathers and a towel if you want to swim in the pool at the base
• A hat
• Sunglasses
• Insect repellant, although we didn’t and had no issues but it is rainforest.

When deciding to walk consider:

• Your fitness level
• The temperature. It was August 2017 and only around 27c the day we went.
• Time of day, don’t leave it too late
• If you are doing it on your own let others know when you expect to be back
• Allow 3 hours all up, we spent a good hour at the base

Have you been to Wallaman Falls?

Tell us about your memories there.

Safe Travels

Kevin & Adele
Indefinite Leave

Facebook: www.facebook.com/indefiniteleave

Instagram: Indefinite_leave

Website: www.indefiniteleave.com

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Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

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Things to See and Do in Top End Darwin, Northern Territory

darwin

Darwin in the Northern Territory (NT) is home to some of Australia’s most incredible natural and iconic landmarks and has fantastic Things to See and Do.

Even without taking into account Uluru, Kings Canyon or West MacDonnell Ranges, the spectacular and historical locations of the NT have left us completely in awe.

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Sunset at Territory Day in Darwin 2017

Darwin maintains its place in Australia’s history through events such as the attack by the Japanese in WW2 and Cyclone Tracy which devastated the city in December 1974. Despite these disasters Darwin has rebounded and is now a winter getaway for travelling southerners and International tourists.

The opportunities to see Salt Water crocodiles in their natural habitat and fishing for the big elusive Barrimundi are tourism drawcards for Darwin and the Northern Territory. July 2016 was our first time here and we loved it so much we came back for 6 weeks in June and July 2017

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Litchfield National Park, near Darwin

Here are our tips of places not to miss when you visit the Top End in Darwin.

Territory Day in Darwin is a must. It’s the celebration of the Northern Territory gaining its place in it’s own right here in Australia and is the only day in the NT where anyone can buy and let off fireworks. It’s the only place in Australia that allows public to let off fireworks.

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Territory Day Fireworks in Darwin are truly spectacular

There are some conditions to their purchase and use but it’s so much fun and seriously amazing to watch.
The fireworks can only be purchased on the day, July 1st.
Fireworks can only be let off between 6pm until 11pm.
Fines of $1250 apply to letting off fireworks outside these time periods.

Mindil Beach is the place to be in Darwin for Territory Day. We watched Killing Heidi and Pete Murray perform in concert before a fantastic fireworks bonanza took place on the water in front of us. The Markets are open and all this with an amazing sunset display.

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Right next to the stage for Killing Heidi concert at Territory Day Darwin 2017. They were superb.

This year in 2017, we shared the beach with 15,000 others for a great night.

The Casino let off fireworks all night and we could see an incredible fireworks display happening at East Point from our vantage point at Mindil Beach.

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Dinner with friends Ash, Amy and baby Ripley

Never one to pass up a dinner invitation we had 2 nights out with friends and both were fantastic value with incredible sunset views. We met friends for dinner at the Darwin Sailing Club where the Beers and Ciders were great, the food was good but it was the Sunset that stole the show. A fire in the distance provided a perfect haze which completely enhanced the sunset’s effects.

www.dwnsail.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/TheDarwinSailingClub/
Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay
08 8981 1700

The Trailer Boat Club next door to the Sailing Club is another great place for a meal. They have excellent value dinner and drinks and you can relax under the Darwin winter skies and stay cool in the breezes directly off the ocean. Enjoy the sunsets that will leave you breathless.

https://www.facebook.com/Darwintrailerboatclub
8 Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay
P: 08 8981 6749

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The Trailer Boat Club was a great place to enjoy dinner with friends from home who were visiting Darwin


Seafood on Cullen
at Cullen Bay is an enormous smorgasbord with a huge range of delicious food for $40 per person. This is the best smorgasbord I’ve been to in many years. It’s also located directly on the beach with amazing sunset views to enjoy with your dinner.

You’ll need to arrive very early or book to get the best seats in the house though, it’s always busy here.

www.facebook.com/seafoodoncullen

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The Road Kill Cafe at Mindil Markets in Darwin

An evening out at the Mindil Markets at Mindil Beach is a must whenever you visit Darwin. There’s an incredible array of stalls and so much choice for food. There’s also plenty of entertainment and once the sun begins to set the beach right behind the markets becomes a sea of faces ready to watch another incredible sunset.

There’s heaps of parking and lots of stalls. Make sure you visit the Mindil Markets.

www.mindil.com.au

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Chilling out at Stokes Hill Wharf

Stokes Hill Wharf was our first night out when we were in Darwin. We sat on the wharf edge watching the boats as they went by, the big fish that swam below and as the sun set we had front row seats to seeing day turn to night. Darwin was quickly becoming a location we were falling in love with.

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The Darwin Wave Pool is very popular

The Wave Pool and Darwin Lagoon were close by at Stokes Hill Wharf and we made sure we enjoyed a swim. It was a public holiday and plenty of locals were enjoying another fantastic winter day in Darwin.

The lagoon is safe to swim and there’s floating pontoons and balls to climb on and enjoy as well.

The Wave Pool is $7 per day
The Floating Pontoons are $15 per hour

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Inside the Darwin Military Musuem

The Darwin Military Museum is fascinating. It recounts the war times for which Darwin was at the coal face.

The Theatrette provides raw live video of the day Darwin was bombed by the same Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbour. Did you know more bombs were dropped on Darwin than Pearl Harbour?

Inside are Timelines, details, photos and videos, interactive displays and so much information.

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Outside, there are many artifacts and equipment from WWII including canons, vehicles, bunkers, weaponry and lots more.

The Darwin Military Museum is an ideal place to visit to learn more about the history of when war came to our Country.

Cost to visit is
$18 Adults
$8 Children 5-16 years old
Free Children under 5 years old

www.darwinmilitarymuseum.com.au

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The Underground Oil Storage Tunnels in Darwin

Near Stokes Wharf is the Underground Oil Storage Tunnels where it was planned to store oil during the war period. After many issues, by the time the tunnels were ready the war was over but it’s a fascinating insight into those times with a lot of information.

We enjoyed our visit here and reading all about when the war came to our shores here in Australia.

$8 Adults
$7 Seniors
www.waterfront.nt.gov.au/darwin-waterfront-precinct/history/world-war-ii-tunnells/

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Entering Kakadu

A visit to Darwin has to include one of Australia’s most iconic and historical locations of Kakadu. Give yourself 3-5 nights and spend time exploring this amazing region.

There are so many highlights to discover in Kakadu including:

Fogg Dam
Adelaide River Jumping Croc Cruise. Meet big bad Brutus with a missing leg thanks to a fight with a Bull shark
Bark Hut. Enjoy lunch and a drink and meet the Emus and animals.
Window on the Wetlands. Check out the amazing informative display and head upstairs for the awesome view out over the wetlands of Kakadu.
Corroboree Park Tavern. See Buffalo, Crocs, pigs, kangaroos and more
Cahills Crossing. Access from Kakadu to Ahnem Land. If it’s flooded, forget it. Watch as the Barrimundi try to cross the shallow waters from one side to the other and Salt Water crocodiles wait for their meal on the other side. No swimming!!
Ubirr. Incredible art work on the rocks here at Ubirr. Climb to the top for incredible views –https://youtu.be/9DHT1Zq1IO0

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Standing on top of Ubirr

Jabiru. The main township of Kakadu.
Crocodile Hotel. From above the Hotel forms the shape of a crocodile. Enter the foyer and see the incredible aboriginal artworks.
Yellow River Water Cruises. Discover these amazing wetlands teaming with wildlife.
Gunlom Falls. A generally safe location to swim with magnificent naturally formed infinity pool.
Jim Jim Falls. An amazing plunge waterfall which falls into a pool below. It is registered on the Australian National Heritage List

These are just a few of the many amazing places to see in Kakadu.

Also take a closer look at the incredible termite mounds, which are such a common part of the landscape.

You will need a National Parks pass to enter Kakadu.

Cost to enter Kakadu
$40 per adult
$20 per child 5-15 years old
Free for children 0-4 years old
$100 family pass
Northern Territory residents are free
Tickets provide access throughout the Dry Season 1st April – 31st October.
* prices as at 2017

www.kakadu.com.au

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Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park is nearby to Kakadu and provides an entirely different experience.

With great swimming holes and fantastic waterfalls Litchfield is perfect for swimming but it’s still important to remain croc aware.

Magnetic Termite Mounds. The magnetic termite mounds are unique to the area. You will notice they all face North/ South direction to provide the best shelter from the harsh climatic conditions. These mounds hide an amazing and complex engineering design under the clay. This clay is also so rock hard it has been broken down and used to build homes.

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Buley Rockholes, Litchfield National Park

Buhley Rockholes are a cascading water flow over the rocks, in and out of small but deep rock pools. It’s a very popular and fun location for cooling off in the top end.
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Florence Falls. After a walk along the track looking down into the valley below we took a walk down 135 steps to access Florence Falls. This was our favourite location in Litchfield NP. An incredibly beautiful and tranquil location to swim and have lots of fun.

Wangi Falls, another ideal swimming hole with flowing waterfalls. It was closed the day we were there but if you can, take a walk to the lookout above.

Litchfield is truly fabulous with so much fun things to see and do. We don’t compare it to Kakadu, these are two very different locations and both are exceptional.

Read more about Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks here –http://indefiniteleave.com.au/kakadu-litchfield-national-park-motorhome/
We recommend staying at the Florence Falls Campground in Litchfield – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvKZ1E-ytrw

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The amazing Katherine Gorge

Katherine is a 3 hour drive south of Darwin and is the turnoff from the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory to head west to Western Australia.
Katherine is also home to Katherine Gorge which is best seen by tour or kayak, we chose the 3 Gorge tour.

Katherine Gorge is made up of 11 Gorge’s of which 8 are accessible. Most common however are the first 3 which remain the easiest to access. Tour guides can really make or break a tour and we were lucky this day to have Chris as our guide, he was funny, informative and provided fantastic insights via his own aboriginal heritage.

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Swimming in Katherine Gorge

The tour guides explained the aboriginal art in the rocks which were thousands of years old. From the first Gorge we made our way further by boat to another Gorge and were taken past amazing cliff face formations, caves, sandy beaches and on to the third Gorge on our tour.

We saw fresh water crocodiles throughout the Gorge so when it came time for a swim some were reluctant but not us. The opportunity to swim in Katherine Gorge doesn’t happen every day so we made the most of the fresh cool waters.

Visiting Katherine Gorge is an incredible experience you won’t forget.

Tour cost $129 – Adults
$63.50 – Children

www.nitmiluktours.com.au

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Bitter Springs, Mataranka

Mataranka is best known for Bitter Springs, a slow flowing river of hot thermal springs with a constant temperature of over 30 degrees Celsius.

Take a pool noodle with you and float for a few hundred metres downstream enjoying the crystal clear, warm waters. Be warned, the walk back can seem quite cool after your warm “bath” in the hot springs.

The Thermal Pools are further upstream and provide two pools to relax and enjoy. These natural springs have crystal clear waters and are a warm temperature all year round.

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Race Slides at Palmerston Waterpark, awesome fun.

Palmerston is an outer suburb of Darwin and has a fantastic free Water Park. There are small wading pools for the kids and a giant waterslide for those a little bigger. We had a great time racing to the bottom on the waterslide.

My Tip: Keep the front of your mat up to increase your speed, keep your elbows tucked in and hold on.

The waterpark is closed on Tuesdays. The slides open at 2pm.

More details and opening times here – https://nt.gov.au/leisure/sport/find-a-sports-facility/palmerston-water-park

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Leanyer Waterpark is fantastic

Leanyer is home to another Free water park in Darwin. This one has a pool, fun park and 3 big water slides.

The Leanyer Recreation Park is about 10kms east from Darwin and offers great fun for all the family. Lifeguards are on duty at all times, there’s lots of shade and area to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Leanyer Recreation Park is closed on Mondays.

More details and opening times here – https://nt.gov.au/leisure/sport/find-a-sports-facility/leanyer-recreation-park

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Sunset at Nightcliff Jetty, Darwin

Nightcliff Jetty is a perfect place to cast a line, enjoy dinner or view another magnificent Darwin sunset.

Matt caught a few squid and no doubt we will go back for more. You can buy fish and chips from the food vans or utilise the BBQ’s in the park to enjoy dinner or a Sunday lunch. The Nightcliff pool is an easy walking distance away too.

This was our chill place, where we would go to relax. For this reason it’s where we went and sat for hours immediately after we had MACKS put to sleep. We sat here for hours, reflecting, shedding lots of tears and consoling each other. For us, it was the perfect place.

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Swimming in Berry Springs

Berry Springs is just 57kms from Darwin and only 38kms from Palmerston and is a genuine must see.

A small waterfall of beautiful clear spring waters flow into a big open pool.

It is generally safe to swim at Berry Springs during the dry season with more precautions to be taken during the big wet.
* Late July 2017, Berry Springs has just been closed for 5 days due to a 1.6m Saltwater Crocodile being spotted.

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Under the waterfall in Berry Springs

Take a noodle with you and use the current flow from the waterfall to take you downstream to the big pool perfect for cooling off.

Enjoy lunch at the BBQ’s and many tables available. Have some chocolate covered mango ice cream from the kiosk or home made creamy passionfruit ice cream, both are ideal on a warm day in the Top End.

You ‘ll really enjoy a visit to Berry Springs and you only need a few hours from Darwin.

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The view of the beach from the deck at Crab Claw Island Resort

Crab Claw Island Resort is a short hour and a half drive west of Darwin through Berry Springs. The last 15kms is dirt road but it’s well graded and a really easy drive regardless if you are in a Motorhome or Caravan.

This is a fairly remote region so don’t expect 5 stars. This is a perfect location if you like to relax by the beach with a cocktail and love fishing.

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Sunrise from the beach at Crab Claw Island Resort

There are 2 pools plus a great restaurant and bar overlooking Bynoe Harbour. You can hire a boat for half a day or a full day and explore the area by water and go crabbing and fishing. Wallabies, Peacocks and Scrub Turkeys have all come wandering through our campsite.

Don’t enter the ocean waters here, there can be big crocs and big sharks very near the shore. In fact, we saw both just a short cast of our line into the water. Stay on the beach and you’ll be safe.

The Resort campground is surrounded by mangroves so make sure you bring your insect spray.

www.crabclawisland.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/CrabClawIslandResort/

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Dundee Beach

Dundee Beach is a 45 minute drive further past Crab Claw Island Resort. This is a very small fishing town which is very popular with boaties. Offshore are a number of reefs and perfect fishing environments.

The beach is beautiful and the sunsets spectacular. Dundee Lodge is located right at the beach and offers accommodation as well as pub meals and drinks to enjoy for lunch.

The road to Dundee Beach is fully sealed and an easy drive from Darwin.

 

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Matt with one of his hauls of Queenies

Looking for a great location to go fishing?
The fishing in Darwin is superb. Directly from the beach at East Point Matt has caught Queenfish, Mackerel, GT’s and more.

Matt fished sunrise and sunset and flicked silver metal lures. Low tide is best as it allows you to get out past the rocks, but beware of the fast incoming tide.

If you have a boat or can access one the offshore fishing is sensational with many reefs located all around the harbour.

What do you love about Darwin?

Tell us in the comments section below.

Thanks
Kevin & Adele
Indefinite Leave

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Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

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