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Travelling Australia is far More than just Adventures

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It normal to start off on your adventures of travelling Australia with big beady wide eyes looking for the sights, thinking of the places you will go and the incredible things you will see. You will be expecting to see amazing beaches, massive Gorges, climb mountains, swim, play and meet some wild animals.

But you probably don’t realise all of what is in store for you.

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When you leave to Road Trip around Oz be ready to challenge all the ways you currently think.

This life takes you on a journey beyond the sightseeing and adventures. It will challenge you in ways you never expected.

Lets take a look at how the experience of your trip may change you.

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• You will learn a different perspective of life. To live life for an extended period of time in a small confined space, lots will change.

• It will change the way you feel about your possessions. You really don’t need all that “stuff” you think you do when at home.

• You will make so many friends, some new friends with personalities you may not have befriended if you were home. That’s one way you’ll know you’ve grown.

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• You will experience so much kindness.

• You will realise, regardless what the media portrays, good people are the majority.

• You will learn new skills.

• You will have the time of your life.

• You’ll come face to face with big, wild, dangerous Australian animals you’ve had nightmares about and you’ll surprise yourself with how close you’ll get and survive.

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• Your relationships will likely face new challenges but you’ll face them together.

• You’ll realise your children only ever really wanted one gift from you…….your time.

• Stress will leave you so quickly.

• Happy Hour will start much earlier.

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• You’ll learn to budget better than ever before.

• You’ll discover places you’d never imagined.

• You’ll be amazed at the simple pleasures of a sunrise and sunset and the beauty of stars at night.

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• You’ll fall in love with new places, new things and new people. Mine is a 4yo girl named Millie. She is so gorgeous and her parents Jason and Denise are now valued friends.

• To drive around Australia challenges your body, mind and soul far more than you imagined.

• You’ll come across people with all sorts of talents, skills, crazy stories and abilities to entertain.

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• The adventures create so many lifetime memories.

• It’s an escape far from life as you know it.

• Discover more than just a country. Discover a new you. You’ll be wiser, kinder, more grateful, more aware and your family will be richer for the experiences you share.

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• You’ll meet some people over and over. Maybe you’ll find such great new friends you will travel together for months.

• Wonderful people you have just met will invite you to come and stay in their homes

• You will cross oceans and deserts, mountains and caves and each will leave you inspired, amazed and yearning for more

• You may never go home

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Don’t live life to be happy, live life to be exhilarated.

You deserve everything life can offer you.

Has travelling changed you?

Tell us how it has effected you in the comments section below.

Safe Travels.

Kevin & Adele
Indefinite Leave

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A Tribute to MACKS the Best Dog I’ve ever known

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If you’ve ever owned a dog and grown to love it then you’ll understand the devastation we are feeling. We  just made the decision that it was time to let our 15 and a half year old, incredibly beautiful Golden Retriever, be relieved from the challenges and difficulty of her arthritis and uselessness of her back legs.

Our sons were just 7 and 9 when MACKS joined our family in January 2002. To put that in perspective, in January 2002
Ansett was still flying in Australia,
Kelly Clarkson won the first series of American Idol and
Sanyo released the first ever mobile phone with a camera built in.

MACKS has been with us a long time.

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MACKS as a puppy

There hasn’t been much time in my life that I can remember not having a 4 legged mate. Rusty was my first dog growing up and once Adele and I married I brought Snowy home from the markets unbeknown to Adele. I remember arriving back with our van loaded with the furniture I used to make and sell back in those days. It was fully loaded and I asked Adele to open the sliding door and help unload. As she pulled out a box there was this little white ball of fluff. Adele wasn’t fussed on dogs but from that day on she was sold. Snowy lasted until he was 9 and a half and died just a month after moving into our current home.

It took us a full 12 months before we got over losing him and came to the conclusion it was time to find another “Man’s Best Friend”. We spent weeks searching, looking specifically at Golden Retrievers.

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A very young MACKS.

MACKS came from a home at Narangba in Brisbane. I’ve always felt she found us, not we found her. There was an instant connection, we were in love the moment we saw her. She was only weeks old and it was hard having to wait until she was 8 weeks old to bring her home with us.

Her name is all our initials because we are hopeless with coming up with names but it turned out to be perfect. Whenever someone asked what is her name we would say “MACKS, but it’s spelt with all our initials”.
Matthew
Adele
Cameron
Kevin
Snowy, our previous dog.

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Running on the beach near Dunsborough WA. Only 1 foot on the sand.

Each time we would get to explain her name it gave us a sense of pride and positioned her as being a paramount part of our family.

With 2 young boys the yard always had a tennis ball about and MACKS liked to chew them to bits. She also learnt to chase the ball and bring it back, I’d throw a ball and this was how it went.

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First throw, bounds away running after the ball and brings it back
Second throw, runs to the ball, picks it up, brings it back
Third throw, jogs to the ball, picks it up, walks halfway back, gets distracted by the smell of a flower or a passing butterfly, stops for a moment and then brings the ball back.

Fourth throw, jogs to the ball, looks at it, sniffs around, picks up the ball, slowly walks about some more. I have to call her and encourage her, where’s the ball MACKS, good girl, bring the ball. Slowly she’d bring back the ball.
Fifth throw, wanders off towards the ball, does a pee in the corner, has a wander around, picks up the ball, drops it again, looks around some more, picks up the ball, sits down and begins to chew it. I go over and grab the ball.

Sixth throw, she would look at me, look at the ball, look back at me as if to say, You keep throwing it so you go get it……..
And that was that.
Time for me to pour a drink.

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Flooded waters in the park at home always provided MACKS a lot of fun

I had 2 rules with MACKS. No jumping, no licking.

Given I had a Real Estate career at the time I mostly wore black pants and her white hair would cling to my trousers or her sometimes muddy paws would make a mess of my clothes, so jumping up wasn’t allowed.
The other one was licking, I really don’t like dogs that lick. Have you seen what your dog licks with their tongue. That thing wasn’t coming anywhere near me.

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She just loved chasing sticks in the water.

Now Golden Retrievers are known for being a little dopey, it’s part of their charm, but they are so easy to train. Want to train a Golden Retriever, just use food.
Confirmation of a good act, just provide a biscuit.
A negative act is a firm No and no rewards.
Pretty bloody easy.
MACKS was no different, so easy to train.

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Adele and MACKS on her last time at the beach at Lee Point in Darwin

While I was MACKS master and she knew that, it was always clear Adele and her had a special bond. It’s a girl thing. MACKS was always a very gentle dog, kind, affectionate and eager to please. Her beautiful nature gelled perfectly with Adele and when she was young, if she saw Adele and I hug she would bark and glare with an anxious look of concern. She was definitely in protection mode. She may have known her place in the pecking order but I certainly knew mine too.

Our home in Brisbane backs onto a park and when we lost our last dog Snowy due to heartworm we chose to bury her in the backyard at the gate to the park to symbolise her role in protecting the property. It was intended MACKS would be buried on the opposite side of the gate entrance.

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Like all Golden Retrievers, MACKS loved the beach

We didn’t expect MACKS would last this long. Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer and often lose that battle somewhere between 11-13 years of age. Luckily when MACKS got cancer we caught it in time and it was successfully cut out. Still she seemed to be slowing down in the last year or two at home so when we were asked when are you leaving on your Trip around Australia our answer was “after MACKS is gone”.

As months passed by and MACKS was still with us we quickly had to come up with Plan B. If we took her with us though, she wouldn’t get to be buried at home. As I thought about it I figured what better way for her to go then by spending whatever time she had left in close proximity to us and she could have endless swims at the beach. It was obvious she had to come with us, I knew she was going to love it.

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MACKS at Rainbow Beach, Qld

Our first stop was Rainbow Beach and wow, she instinctively knew what she wanted. She had never been to a surf beach ever. We had taken her to creeks and rivers a few times but never to surf and when she saw the sand and the ocean she began dragging me with so much excitement.

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Her absolute love, passion and enthusiasm for the beach never waned, right up until her last Saturday, when she dragged her failing hind legs across the sand until she made it to the water.

It was sad to watch and it was then that I knew her time had come. It was time for me to face the agony of letting go of the most beautiful, courageous, loving animal I’d had the privilege to meet.

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Everyone has always loved MACKS. She is so popular.

Each time she was dog sat, our greatest concern was they might not give her back. On numerous occasions we were asked, can I keep her?

In Agnes Water we had to cancel a dog sitter as our neighbor at the Caravan Park insisted they had to look after her for the day. The couple took her to the beach and fed her steak while we went on the Lady Musgrave Island tour.

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On the lounge during a storm

MACKS didn’t like loud noises. Storms and fireworks would make her frantic. She knew she wasn’t allowed on the lounge on our back deck but that’s where we’d find her if there was thunder about. One New Years Eve we were out and received a very late night call to say our dog was out and had been found by someone. She had burst her way out and gone to visit neighbours down the street where she felt safe with people around. Again, they loved her.

There’s just so many stories of people’s affection of MACKS to tell.

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At Port Lincoln Vet with Geriatric Vestibular Disease

The dose she had of Geriatric Vestibular Disease just before Christmas last year really aged her. She no longer looked like a young puppy after that. It was a harrowing time and we are quite amazed she has lasted a further 6 months.

I woke up in the morning and got out of bed. As MACKS would always do, she figured that meant it was time for her to be fed. She tried to get to her feet and immediately crashed to the floor with a thud. Further attempts she made to stand up were in vain, she couldn’t move and within a minute she knew she was in trouble. She trembled in fear, a look of terror was in her eyes. I held her head as her eyes looked at me so scared. None of us knew what was happening, I just tried to keep her calm.

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Recovering at caravan park in Port Lincoln

We were in Ceduna in South Australia and there were no vets in town. We googled and found the closest vet was an hour away in Streaky Bay. We quickly packed everything and took off, Adele in the back with MACKS all the way. I looked in the mirror a few times to see the tears streaming down Adele’s face. Adele thought she’d had a stroke.

We arrived in Streaky Bay and drove straight to the Vet, we were so relieved MACKS was still alive. To our horror we found a note on the door, the clinic was only open a few days a month, we would need to drive another 4 hours to Port Lincoln. We filled with fuel and asked if there was another Vet closer but they told us that’s where they have to go too.

What a nightmare.

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MACKS enjoying the beach at Moonta SA

For 4 more hours we drove all the way to Port Lincoln where we came across what must be the best Vet Clinic in Australia. They were amazing. Immediately they diagnosed her with Geriatric Vestibular Disease and put her on a drip. For the next 6 days she was cared for by the Vet staff and force fed water and food. We visited as much as we could.

After 6 days she wasn’t responding but clearly we could tell she liked our visits. It was decided she might respond to being with us and back in familiar surroundings. The Vet said it was the most severe case they had ever seen. We took her back on the Monday and we would attempt to force feed her but she just fought back. She hated it!!

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MACKS in the flooded creek with our son Cameron

On the Wednesday we went back to the Vet to let them know we hadn’t had any luck and it was decided that if she hadn’t begun to eat and drink by Friday we would need to “consider her options”. We all knew what that meant.

One suggestion they provided was to sweeten her water with a little cordial and it was the first thing we did when we got back. My next thought was instead of providing her nice food like chicken and meat, go for what she knew as a treat. I was having some biscuits and dip and knew how much she loves them so I offered her a chicken crimpy biscuit. It was a winner!!

Saved by a Chicken Crimpy!!

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She then drank some cordial and that night enjoyed some of our roast dinner. We were delirious with excitement. In the morning it was our scrambled bacon and eggs which got shared. She was back on the road to recovery and the Friday deadline was thwarted.

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Even though she was so sick, being in the water at Moonta made her so happy

It took weeks to recover. We left Port Lincoln to Moonta and the next time we took her for a swim she fell over and ended up upside down under the water. I had to quickly grab her. It happened 2 more times but we knew each time to be close by and we were right beside her. Slowly she got her balance back but ultimately it had taken a big toll. Life for MACKS just got that little tougher with each day from that moment on.

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We all ate on the floor together for her last dinner

Her last 24 hours we tried to make as special as possible. We cooked for 4 that night, she ate what we ate and then we sat on the floor and ate dinner with her. We ended up sharing parts of our meals with her as well. She had a feast.

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Bathed and drying in the sun

We gave her a bath the next morning and got her spotlessly clean. Then we sat together in the sun, letting her dry out. MACKS was no fan of the bright sunlight so I put my sunglasses on her. Then we decided she would wear my Indefinite Leave cap, to symbolise she would always be with us on our adventures no matter what.

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Ice creams all round

Next it was a trip to Maccas. Debbie has been following us since the beginning of our trip and had fallen in love with MACKS as she had an identical Golden Retriever herself. A photo of us at an ice cream shop in Robe brought a comment from Debbie, did we buy MACKS one too? We had never thought of her having an ice cream, so her last morning was a trip to Maccas for an ice cream cone.

She wasn’t sure of it at first, she sniffed it but I think she thought she’d get in trouble if she took it. I kept offering it to her and then when I said, it’s ok have it MACKS, she took a lick and she loved it. She licked it down to the cone and then I put it on the ground and she swallowed it. She was so excited.

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It was almost time to make the Vet appointment but Adele had noticed a park with a lake and fountain close by and she decided she wanted some last photos there. At first MACKS trembled from the sound of the fountain and water propelled into the air. She was so gentle natured and scared easily. We took lots of photos, gave her hugs and kisses and she was the brightest we had seen her in awhile. All these treats and being near water gave her zest once again but her legs were struggling as bad as ever. We had to carry her back to the Motorhome.

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For the rest of the afternoon we sat at Nightcliff Jetty in Darwin and let the tears flow.

I’ve never loved an animal this much. She really was one of a kind.

We will always miss you MACKS and we will always remember you.

Love always,
Matthew
Adele
Cameron
Kevin
Snowy

Indefinite Leave

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An Australia by Road Adventure

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We met a young family from Newcastle by the pool at Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park and they told us about their adventure they were currently pursuing. Dad, Mum and their 6yo daughter are in a sedan and tenting their way around Australia in 3 months. I couldn’t help but to gasp at the thought and explained we were doing the same but we had it planned over two and a half years.

The whole of Oz in 3 months – Wow!! Good on them.

Cape Hillsborough Cape Hillsborough

For what feels like the zillionth time they showed envy at our planned 2.5 year sojoin. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to us “we’re so jealous” we could have funded this trip entirely. That night, it got me thinking……

How did I really get to this point where I’m doing something so amazingly ambitious as packed the house up, left family and friends, bought a Motorhome and just departed on a whim.

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Leaving my brothers place the first morning of our adventure

Two and a half years is such a long time to be away. There’s likely to be lots of things we will miss and with both our Mum’s now in their early 80’s it wasn’t an easy decision. We are both very very close to our Mums. Our youngest son is just 22 and with his work commitments, he has remained in Brisbane.

Reflecting back recently, Adele and I always have loved to travel. When Adele and I met she was 9 weeks from leaving to travel around Europe for 3 months. There were no Mobile Phones, No Facebook, No Instagram and no text messaging back then. Just postcards and snail mail!! Everyday I’d check the letterbox in anticipation but so often nothing would be there.

Soon after we married we bought a 4wd and our first trip was with a tent to Stradbroke Island, a beautiful place easily accessed by Barge in Brisbane. We loved it so much we began making regular trips to Straddie and Moreton Island, with other trips to Double Island Point and Fraser Island thrown in.

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Christmas on Moreton Island about 1989. My first 4wd.

Since we left, I’ve received news that two friends have lost their mothers who have passed away, another friend has lost her sister after losing her short battle at just 42 years of age, my cousin has just passed away after a short battle with Brain cancer and others too have received terrible news. It was the passing of my Father in 2008 that changed my life and has taken me on a journey to discover what I’m really meant to do in my life and it has turned out to be entirely different to what I thought.

When my Dad succumbed to melanoma in January 2008 I was a Company Director and Board Member of Australia’s second fastest growing franchise (*according to BRW Feb 2009). My role was travelling around Australia and New Zealand supporting and training new franchisees and all of a sudden I didn’t want to leave home, I just wanted to be with Adele and my two sons.

The passion for working long hours and making massive wealth died the day I buried my father. It no longer provided any interest to me.

DadMy Dad

In fact, it was then I realised that life does have an end date and for me, working my arse off was taking me away from everything I had enjoyed in life.

We had loved going camping and once travelled down the NSW coastline from Brisbane with friends to North Haven and back, just stopping a few days wherever we thought the beach looked perfect.

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North Haven, just south of Port Macquarie in NSW

I also love playing cricket but business and my career took over.

I got back to playing cricket when I turned 40 and in June and July 2015 Adele and I travelled to London and Wales where I played cricket with Cameron, my youngest son.

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Cameron and I playing cricket in London in 2015

It was early 2015 we had met some backpackers from Germany who had just hired a Motorhome and been to Cairns and back. I knew it was something we should do and when we drove home that night we began to talk about it and I couldn’t believe it when Adele, the conservative one in the relationship, didn’t hesitate in agreeing. The travel bug was still living inside us.

My brother suggested hiring a Motorhome first to see if we would like it but we knew, this was meant to be. We weren’t daunted in any way.

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The Great Australian Bight

I believe we need to find what it is that we are here on this planet for. Why were we put here, what is our purpose?

It might simply be to be the best partner and parent you can be. Or possibly it’s to achieve great things in your career. It might be sport or it might have something to do with your artistic talents. For me, it’s time now for adventure and travel.

Work funds life – it isn’t life.

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Sunrise at the Bay of Fires in Tasmania. The dawn of another magical day.

Working my butt off for long, long hours and going through the motions of the daily grind until one day the stress has me carried out in a wooden box has zero interest to me any more. There just has to be more to life than working, mowing the grass, watching TV, paying bills and doing it all over and over again like Groundhog Day.

There has to be more to life!!

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Whitehaven Beach in the amazing Whitsunday Island on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland

We are given just one shot at this earthly existence, don’t waste it!!

If you’re like us and you love to travel, make it happen. Don’t wait until the kids are old enough, until you have enough money, until the house is paid off or any one of another multitude of reasons you may be hesitating. With great planning and preparation you can do it very cost effectively if necessarily. You can home school your children and experience all that life can offer at the same time. Let the highway be their greatest education.

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Loch Ard Gorge, the Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Here’s a Tip from someone whose children are now in there 20’s and I can reflect back on fatherhood of youngsters. It may not seem like it while they are young but the thing they crave from us as parents the most is Time.

We just need to be there.

It’s not what we leave for our children but what we live in them.

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Karijini National Park, Western Australia

If budget is an issue, everything you need to buy, buy it as cheap as you can. Look for great value second hand items and stay patient until it happens. The old adage “you get what you pay for” isn’t actually true any more. With thorough research you don’t have to buy the most expensive of anything. Great research, patience and product knowledge will help you buy what you need without having to sell a kidney.

We have a storage shed full of “stuff” back home and to be honest, I don’t need anything more than I have in the Motorhome.

Australia is an amazing country. Each state is so different and provides incredible sights and lots of fun things to see and do. There is also so much to see and do that costs very little or nothing at all.

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Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park Tasmania

So what are you waiting for?

Get planning, create a deadline and make it work for you.

Enjoy your travels.

Thanks
Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

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Our 12 months Costs and Expenses for Travelling Australia

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February 2017 represents 12 months since we left the safety and routine of our home and embraced life on the road, the uncertainty of every day, waking up in entirely new surroundings and starting off the day with a new group of strangers as our neighbours. Read more

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How much does it cost to do our trip?

How much does it cost to do our trip

Are you planning your trip and trying to work out a budget?

This expenses list of our adventure so far should help provide some sort of guide for you. Read more

The Privilege of being able to travel Australia is not lost on us

Privilege of being able to travel

The Privilege of being able to travel Australia is not lost on us.

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. We certainly aren’t wealthy, we don’t have any other assets other than our home. My business is a poor cashflow business, I can go for months with no income. I could make more if I wanted to sell real estate again but it doesn’t provide any flexibility with time. That no longer works for us. Read more

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Travelling Australia with our dog MACKS

travelling with a pet

When we began to put together this adventure not a lot was planned around our Golden Retriever, MACKS. As our departure date got closer though we had to re-think our plans. She is part of us, an important part of our family and leaving her behind was never an option. Read more

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Always take the weather, the weather with you

bring the weather

When I think about weather the song by Crowded House always seems to enter my head. Don’t ask me why, it just happens. This song will be stuck in my head all day now. Read more

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Life after 3 weeks travelling the Land Down Under

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It’s been just 21 days since we left home and already it seems so long ago. We have packed so much in that it’s already amazing to reflect on so many things we’ve done and achieved. Life after 3 weeks travelling has been a learning lesson.

We have fed dolphins, been part of tiny turtles hatching and escaping to the beach, been to amazing Fraser Island in a Hummer 4wd, swam in the crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie, marveled at the beautiful beaches of Rainbow Beach, been in a flight simulator at Bert Hinkler Aviation Museum and enjoyed a few hours at the Bundy Rum Distillery.

Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach

We’ve learnt a lot too, from living in our Motorhome to the disparities in caravan park accommodation to dealing with so many insects that all want your blood.

You hear and read so much about the dangers of wildlife in Australia. Snakes, sharks, crocodiles and spiders are always first mentioned when the dangers of living in Australia are discussed but dealing every day with mosquitos, sand flies and those damn horse flies seems far more annoying. Maybe not as dangerous but you can avoid the dangerous ones with a little effort whereas those bloodsuckers are everywhere.

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Snake at Burrum Heads

It’s probably inevitable that heading off on such an adventure with little recent expertise or experience meant we would have some early issues to deal with. I experienced serious back pain for the first 2 weeks after moving our belongings into storage. Massive rookie error in trying to do it ourselves, dumb, dumb, dumb!!

Telstra continued to prove why it’s the worlds worse company. By being in cahoots with the Governments they have created a monopoly in the market even though we supposedly have competitors. But they can’t compete as they have to use all Tesltra’s cabling etc to provide their service and naturally Telstra limit and restrict their capacity to compete in real terms. So we have one company who can over charge and provide the worlds worse service and still get away with it. Aren’t we the lucky country.
So learning the art of using our expensive mobile wi fi modem with limited data at high cost is going to cost me a bucket load for this first month. Not to mention the many lost hours and cost it took to simply update my data plan but I’m running out of space so let’s continue right along.

The Motorhome has already worn a bit with simple things like latches and clips breaking already. Kitchen drawers, doors, overhead cupboard latch, my drivers side visor, ladder clip have all perished and needed to be replaced or screws replaced. Maybe they just haven’t been used enough as the vehicle is a 2009 model with only 35,000 kms so it’s obviously been sitting for lengthy periods of time. Most of these have now been fixed thanks to David and his team at Casey RV in Bundaberg and hopefully from now the rest are ok.

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David the owner from Casey RV, Bundaberg

Space in the Motorhome quickly became an issue and we ended up sending 2 boxes and 2 bags of “stuff” back home. This made a big difference but it’s likely we will take home more yet when we return in April for my Mum’s 80th birthday.

So far we’ve kept to Caravan Parks. We really needed to have some good sleep early in the adventure after all we went through packing up and we’ve liked using the air conditioning to help us sleep, using park amenities and not having to worry about where to find water. As we continue on we will take the opportunity to free camp.

We’ve learnt a bit about life for those living regionally. I knew they drove long distances at times but my cousin story seems insane. She told me about living in Mount Isa and to go shopping if they wanted something special or specific, they would drive 10 hours to Townsville for the nearest major shopping precinct. Now that’s commitment :)

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MACKS at Rainbow Beach Hotel

Life on the road with a dog is that little bit more complex. Whether it’s accommodation or places to visit, pets create limitations which we need to deal with. As we’ve found so far, most Caravan Parks directly on the ocean front won’t accept dogs and National Parks are almost definitely a no go zone for family pets. In Hervey Bay we were able to find a fantastic dog sitter to mind MACKS whilst we went to Fraser Island and hopefully we can continue to find similar services throughout our trip.

So we’ve survived our first 3 weeks, we’re still married, still happy and enjoying the excitement of something new each and every day.

Thanks for joining us and remember you can follow us on our daily adventures at:-

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/indefiniteleave

Instagram:     Indefinite_Leave

Twitter:          IndefiniteLeav3

Website:         www.indefiniteleave.com.au

Cheers Kev, Adele and Matt

How will life look when we finish our trip?

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 We haven’t even left yet but as we pack up our home of 15 years, the place we’ve loved and called home for most of our boys lives and we’ve enjoyed the most successful and enjoyable period of our married life, it’s hard not to wonder what our life will be like when we return.