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Adventurers Diary

Mackay – Whitsundays region, so much to see and do

Mackay

We arrived in Mackay just after Easter (2016) and for the next 3 weeks the region quickly became a place we felt relaxed and at peace with.

With the help of some friends who live in Mackay, we received some great tips on what to see and do and the caravan park manager, Macca, was such a chilled dude it was really hard to stress about anything.Photo1-IMG_6198

We had terrific weather most of the time, all except our day at Cape Hillsborough but we made the most of that day too.

There’s so much to see and do in Mackay and the Whitsundays

Here are our tips on what to do in Mackay and the surrounding region.

Sarina

Sarina is a small town just 34kms south of Mackay. Whilst it might be small, it packs a huge punch when you consider Sarina and Mackay provide two-thirds of Australia’s sugar. Sarina is the sugar capital of Australia with cane field farms a key component to driving the local economy.

Sugar Shed Tour in Sarina

Whilst staying in Sarina we visited the Sarina Sugar Shed. Adele’s cousin Lyn and her husband David own a local sugar cane farm and Lyn now volunteers as a tour guide at the Sarina Sugar Shed. We were able to take a tour with Lyn as our guide and it was very interesting to go through the process of Sugar Cane farming, taste the sugar cane and then some of the final products such as fairy floss and there own brands of Rum, Rum Liqueur, Butterscotch Schnapps and more.

Book your Sugar Shed Tour here>

Sugar Shed Tour Sarina

Sarina is also very close to the coastline with local beaches such as Armstrong Beach and Sarina Beach less than 10 minutes from town.

Hay Point

Hay Point is nearby, just 15kms further north of Sarina and is one of the world’s biggest Coal distribution terminals. We took a drive to the Hay Point lookout where we had spectacular views of the coastline and islands and we counted the many coal ships waiting offshore.

Hay Point

islands off Mackay

Mackay is one of regional Queensland’s largest towns with a population of approx. 75,000. Several islands are located just offshore from Mackay including Brampton, Keswick and St Bees Islands. They offer great fishing, beautiful beaches and a quiet, tranquil location to visit by boat.

Brampton Island was once a thriving Island resort location until it was closed in 2011 for renovations, which have never occurred. It was reported in 2015 that redevelopment plans had been approved, let’s hope Brampton is back as a tourist destination sometime soon.

Keswick Island offers a range of accommodation including Glamping or a Beach House. Camping is also available on the island.

Eimeo Pub

Ever wanted to relax at a pub with magnificent ocean views, overlooking beautiful islands with boats moored in their coves, where the water is that spectacular blue and green colour and you sit up so high you can see it all and feel like it’s literally at your fingertips.

The Eimeo Pub has all that and more.

Eimeo Pub Mackay

The food is also good. I ate a seafood linguini and it was as delicious as any I’ve ever had. Adele enjoyed the Calamari the first time and on our second visit the Pork Belly.

Did I mention the views?

Eimeo Pub has great views

All up we visited the Eimeo Hotel 3 times during our stay in Mackay. Some meals were great, others not always but the views steal the attention, especially on a clear day. It sits high in the mountain looking out over the cliff face to Brampton Island, Keswick Island and the Southern end of the Whitsundays.

www.eimeohotel.com.au

Mackay Beaches

Our stay was spent at Bucasia Beach. It’s long beaches and fantastic views makes relaxing and romantic beach strolls enjoyable.

You can fish from the beach or try the mouth of the river nearby. Yabbies are plentiful and make great bait for an assortment of fish you can catch.

Fishing at Bucasia Beach

The Bucasia Beach Caravan Resort at first glance may not be the most modern park in which you will stay but the facilities are good and clean. Most of all it is right on the beach with incredible views. The park is dog friendly, it has a pool and good free wifi. Talk to the managers about how they can help your stay more enjoyable, it’s amazing what they will do to assist you.

Being dog friendly and absolute beachfront it was a perfect location for MACKS to enjoy numerous swims at the beach. A short stroll across the dune and she was swimming for as long as we were prepared to keep throwing the stick.

Bucasia Beach

Both the sunsets and sunrises from Bucasia Beach were fantastic. We would often take the time to watch as the sun rose in the morning and set in the afternoon.

Bucasia Beach Sunset

We also had plenty of local birdlife and Possums to entertain us. Lorikeets, Ducks and Cockatoos would often come to say hello as did the Possums at night. We fed them fruit, mainly apples or grapes. Bread is not ideal and can kill them whereas fruit is much more natural for them.

Feeding the Lorikeets at Bucasia Beach

Like most beaches in Queensland, midgies are an issue so remember to apply a repellent as often as required. Talk to Macca the manager, he has a repellent worth giving a try.

www.bucasiabeach.com.au

 

Mackay Harbour Marina

The Mackay Harbour Marina is a new modern facility with 500 berths, a large upmarket residential complex and is also an important base for large boats including Super Yachts.

Locals will often spend Sunday lunch at one of the restaurants or enjoy fish and chips whilst listening to a local band playing. The food is great, the bar has plenty of drinks on offer and the outlook over the marina and the yachts provides an excellent ambience for a Sunday sesh.

Lunch at the Lighthouse at Mackay Harbour

Mackay Harbour Marina

You can also take a walk or short drive out to the point from the Marina where a rock wall provides excellent fishing and a great spot to watch the sunset.

Take a drive up to the Slade Point Lookout, which is just 5 minutes from Mackay Harbour, for a fabulous viewpoint back towards Eimeo and down on to Lamberts Beach.

From here you have clear unobstructed views of the ocean and beaches nearby and can see any boats or ships in Harbour.

 

Eungella National Park

You will need at least a full day to visit Eungella National Park and Finch Hatton Gorge, a short drive west from Mackay. An overnight trip is probably ideal.

Eungella National Park is one of the things to do in Mackay & Whitsundays

Eungella is one of the few places where you can view the ever elusive Platypus swimming in the wild. Broken River offers terrific viewing locations, you just need to time it right and be a bit lucky. We were lucky enough to find one, swimming and playing in the river and we stood and watched “him” for an hour. Also swimming with our new Platypus friend were a number of turtles of all sizes.

Platypus in Eungella National Park

We went for a walk upstream and found some beautiful river streams and bushwalks plus we saw Kangaroos and Wallaby’s and a range of beautiful birds and some amazing rainforest.

Be prepared, the temperature atop the range is normally around 10 degrees cooler than Mackay.

Whilst in Eungella, have lunch at the Eungella Chalet, which provides incredible views out over Pioneer Valley. From the rear of the Hotel, Paragliders would jump off to fly through the valley, soaring high above the range.

Paragliding Platform at the Eungella Chalet

Finch Hatton Gorge

Finch Hatton Gorge is located at the foot of the range and within a short drive in from the main road. From the entry point a walk of just 1.6kms begins a journey through Rainforest to the first waterfall. Another short walk and you will find the Wheel of Fire cascades, more waterfalls and a large rock pool. There are some lookouts with fabulous views also.

 

Melba House

On our way back to Mackay we stopped at Melba House, the home of Dame Nellie Melba who was a world renowned Australian Operatic Soprano singer in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Born in Melbourne, where she took her name Melba from, the family moved to Mackay after her mother’s sudden death in 1881 where her father built a new sugar mill.

Melba House is full with Memorabilia and information about Dame Nellie Melba and her life as an Australian who made International fame.

Melba House out from Mackay

Her death was front page news throughout many countries around the world. She died of Septicaemia in 1931 at the age of 69.

 

Cape Hillsborough National Park

A visit to Mackay has to include a stay at Cape Hillsborough National Park. The Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the region. Located just 30kms north of Mackay, a feature is the Kangaroos and Wallabies that make their home throughout the Tourist Park and especially along the beach at Sunrise each morning. In the early morning they go to the beach to eat the weed washed up overnight by the tides.

Seeing the Kangaroos at Sunrise at Cape Hillsboroough is one of the best things to do in Mackay
The Wallabies are much more timid than the Kangaroos who allow you to get quite close, but remember, these are wild animals and not pets. You should never pat a kangaroo in the wild.

There are 3 walking tracks which take you around the mountain with various lookouts with great views. Unfortunately the day we stayed there was 100mm of rain and we didn’t get the opportunity to do the walks. Due to the rain I decided to catch up on some work at reception and was kept company by Bridget and Emily, the local kangaroos who don’t like the rain either, so they shelter in the games area next to reception.

Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park resident kangaroos

The park also provides other facilities including an excellent big pool, Mini putt putt, pool tables and table tennis.

Birds are plentiful and the black cockatoos and kookaburras are easy to find.

www.capehillsboroughresort.com.au

Cape Hillsborough & Nearby Beaches

Not far from Cape Hillsborough are the beachside towns of Seaforth and Haliday Bay. Here you can find some beautiful beaches with safe swimming opportunities with stingers nets available. We tried some fishing from the beach without success but it was a very enjoyable few hours on such beautiful beaches.

Seaforth

 

The Leap

The turnoff to Cape Hillsborough is just past a tiny town of The Leap. The town consists almost entirely of The Leap Hotel where we stopped for lunch on our way back to Mackay.

The Leap Hotel near Mackay

The Leap derives its name from an historic event in 1867. Local farmers had been losing cattle to suspected Aboriginals who were spearing the cows for food. The police were called and in those days it has been noted by historians that the local police would actually kill full tribes of aboriginals. Once trapped on top of the mountain a mother with her child jumped from the cliff rather than face the police. The 3yo daughter survived and later married an Englishmen and had 2 children, a boy and a girl. Descendants of one of the children now live in Brisbane.

The Leap History

 

Whitsundays

The Whitsundays are an amazing aquatic playground made up of 74 islands and every one seemingly more amazing than the last. The town of Airlie Beach is the gateway to this amazing marine wonderland of tranquil turquoise waters and pure white sandy beaches.

Hill Inlet is one of the best things to see in Whitsundays

The Whitsundays provides something for everyone regardless if you are looking for somewhere to relax or an action packed adventurous experience.

Spend the day captaining your own yacht and sailing around the islands or take a tour including free drinks and make your own party. Relax in Airlie Beach’s man made lagoon or go Parasailing. Or try Stand Up Paddleboarding or take a fishing charter to some of the best and closest reef fishing you will find so close to shore. Relax at the many fine restaurants and party at night in the nightclubs or pubs in Airlie Beach.

Here are just a three of the fantastic tours we took around the Whitsunday Islands from Airlie Beach, simply click on the link to book your tour:

Reefsleep

Ocean Rafting Adventure

Camira Sailing Tour

Whitehaven Beach is one of the best things to do in Whitsundays

Regardless of your preference you can find a lifestyle to suit you right here.

For more about Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays read all about it here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/top-13-must-airlie-beach-whitsundays/

Whitsunday Crocodile Safari

The Proserpine River is known to have the highest population of Salt Water Crocodiles on the Eastern coastline and the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari is fantastic at taking you on an educational tour of the river and spotting Salt Water Crocodiles. They also take you on a Wetlands tour, exploring the area and teaching you some fantastic survival tips and interesting features of the region.

Crocodile Safari Prosperpine

The Mackay Whitsundays region is a travelers paradise. With so much to see and do it will provide something for everyone. A trip to Queensland should always include a visit to Mackay, it’s an area you can always see more than once.

There’s is so much to see and do in Mackay and surrounding region. Did we miss anything?

What was your experience of Mackay?

Kev, Adele and Matt

Indefinite Leave

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Photography and Socials

Our camera equipment we use for all our photos and videos are:

Canon 800d – https://amzn.to/2vGuQUt – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.
Canon 50mm lens – https://amzn.to/2Llh4BD. This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAtF9b. This is my all round, every day use, zoom lens. Amazing quality, great price.
Canon 70-300mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAuxKZ. I use this one a lot for long range shots.
Sigma 10-20mm lens – https://amzn.to/2JcLDqn. My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

The new Go Pro 7 – https://amzn.to/2vyuP4X –  is an awesome piece of equipment. I use this for all underwater, action video and some general use. Buy here brand new and great value.
Mavic Pro Platinum Drone – https://amzn.to/2URtUXG. This is an absolute ripper of a drone. The Fly More Combo will provide you with everything you will need. I use this for all my aerial footage and this price is well below other retail stores. ________________________________________________________________

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Adventurers Diary

A Day Trip to Fitzroy Island in Cairns

While staying in the beautiful North Queensland city of Cairns, Fitzroy Island is the idyllic Tropical Island paradise for a Day Trip.  We were celebrating our anniversary, the August weather was perfect and it’s just a short boat ride and a great day trip from Cairns Harbour. Perfect!!

Fitzroy Island – A perfect Day Trip from Cairns

The idea of a fun day snorkeling and swimming on the Great Barrier Reef while enjoying cocktails and a great lunch at Foxy’s Bar was exactly what we were looking for. Adele had a Mango Weiss Bar cocktail while I enjoyed an Expresso Martini. Our friend Denise enjoyed an Echo Gecko!

Green Island Vs Fitzroy Island

We tossed up between Green Island vs Fitzroy Island and finally decided Fitzroy offered more for us and we are so glad we did. The island is a registered National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is metres from the beach providing an amazing snorkeling opportunity.

 

Indefinite Leave on Fitzroy Island

Indefinite Leave on Fitzroy Island for the day

Fitzroy Island Ferry

We booked and paid for our full day trip to Fitzroy Island plus our friends joined us for the fun day of vitamin D and Sea. The full day trip starts with a 45 minute ride on the Fitzroy Island Ferry which allows you around 5 hours of free time to enjoy your day on Fitzroy Island before the return trip to Cairns.

Fitzroy Island Glass Bottom Boat

Our friends also chose the Glass Bottom Boat as part of their day trip package but we had just done a Scenic Flight tour so were keen to go snorkeling for the day. It turned out we were glad they did as they provided us some great snorkeling information.

 

A day Trip to Fizroy Island

Leaving behind Cairns and our wake

Foxy’s Bar and Nudey Beach

Once you arrive on the jetty you have the choice to go left or right. We went right and given it was our anniversary we started out with a celebratory Cocktail at Foxy’s Bar. What better way is there to start a great day right?

Next we made our way along the walking path through the rainforest looking for Nudey Beach. Despite its name Nudey Beach is not clothing optional but it is voted as one of Australia’s most spectacular beaches. Our first look at the beach was a massive wow moment.

 

Cocktails on our Day Trip to Fitzroy Island

Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island

Cocktails first then it was on to Nudey Beach

Fitzroy Island Snorkeling

It didn’t take me long to begin snorkeling and enjoying the clear turquoise waters of this pristine location. The others simply relaxed on the beach and enjoyed the tranquility.

 

Adele relaxing on Nudey Beach

Adele relaxing on Nudey Beach

Once we finished swimming we both took a walk along the beach. We were in awe of this spectacular beach with the stunning views.

Fitzroy Island Turtles

Remember I mentioned our friends gave us some great snorkeling information. They had spotted Green Sea Turtles close to shore so we had lunch and ventured up for a look. We walked back past the Jetty to the other side and to the end of the beach where we jumped straight in for another snorkel and it didn’t take long to see what they had in the Glass Bottom Boat.

 

Turtle spotting

Turtle spotting on Fitzroy Island

There were numerous big Turtles in the water just metres from the beach. It was a thrill to encounter them and enjoy time watching them feeding and swimming in the shallow waters.

Fitzroy Island is also home to the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre which officially opened in early 2013 and this world-class facility has raised the success rate for the rehabilitation of the turtles from 30% – 80%. Educational Tours are held on Fitzroy Island every day at 1pm except Fridays when the Vet visits.

 

 

As the day began to fade we spent time on the beach, playing on the swing under the trees, walking across the rock ledge and absorbing an amazing time on another gorgeous Queensland day.

 

Swinging for our Anniversary

 

How long does it take to get there?

The Ferry trip over was 45 minutes, cruising out of the Cairns Marina, along the Cairns coastline and past various beaches and boats to Fitzroy Island. We had great weather, smooth ride over and a mostly calm ride back in the afternoon.

 

Plenty of place to relax

Tropical Island Paradise

Plenty of places to relax on Fitzroy Island

What is there to do on Fitzroy Island?

  • Take the walking tracks for a hike across the island
  • You can hire a canoe or kayak or have a try at Stand Up Paddle boarding
  • Go snorkeling and swimming on the many beaches
  • Play on the ocean trampoline out in the middle of the water
  • Swim with the turtles just metres from the beach
  • Enjoy nature within the National Park
  • Sunbake on the beach or just relax on your towel
  • As an optional extra ride in the Glass Bottom Boat
  • Visit the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre – Educational tours daily at 1pm (except Friday)

We can also recommend Foxy’s Bar for some drinks and food to eat.

 

Our friends brought their 4yo daughter who had a fantastic time, so it’s a great day for children too.

 

Beautiful turquoise waters on Fitzroy Island

Beautiful turquoise waters on Fitzroy Island

How much does it cost and where can I book?

For the cost to do our day trip to Fitzroy Island simply follow this link and book your day on the Ferry to the island plus all the adventures you would like to enjoy. We found the Ferry times gave us more time on the island which suited us.

 

Some of the activities on the island are an extra cost such as hiring the Stand Up Paddle Board, Kayaks and Canoes. We were there in mid winter and therefore didn’t need my wetsuit but for most of the year it is very advisable to wear one. You can hire them there along with snorkeling gear if you don’t have your own.

 

Kev & Adele on the boat after the awesome Day Trip to Fitzroy Island

How to get there?

Cairns is in Far North Queensland and is approximately 1680 kms from Brisbane.

Flights are available from most of the major airlines and it is about a 2 and a half hour flight from Queensland’s capital city.

 

Where to stay in Cairns?

There are some great places to stay along the Cairns waterfront within easy walking distance to restaurants, bars, markets, shops and the fabulous Cairns Esplanade Lagoon.

Book your Hotel stay here

 

Cairns Caravan Park Accommodation

When looking for Caravan Park accommodation, we have stayed at a number of parks in Cairns during each of our stays. Simply click on the link to check out our video review on each.

Cool Waters Holiday Park

First City Caravilla Caravan Park

Lake Placid Tourist Park

Cairns Holiday Park

Plus the Babinda Rotary Park Rest Area  just near Cairns is a great free camp!

 

Things to See and Do in Cairns

There are so many things to see and do in Cairns. We can highly recommend these tours and attractions in and around Cairns but these are just three of the many tour options available:

So if you are looking for more information on Cairns and if you are doing the drive from Townsville to Cairns, you may enjoy reading these blogs:

Things to See and Do in Cairns.

Driving from Townsville to Cairns

 

 

We are Kevin & Adele, originally from Brisbane in Queensland Australia.

Adele has visited 24 countries and since Feb 2016 we have been driving around Australia exploring all there is to see. Our passion is to assist you to plan your adventures.

You can find us on YouTube and follow us Facebook.

 

_____________________________________________________________

Photography and Socials

Our camera equipment we use for all our photos and videos are:

Canon 800d – https://amzn.to/2vGuQUt – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.
Canon 50mm lens – https://amzn.to/2Llh4BD. This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAtF9b. This is my all round, every day use, zoom lens. Amazing quality, great price.
Canon 70-300mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAuxKZ. I use this one a lot for long range shots.
Sigma 10-20mm lens – https://amzn.to/2JcLDqn. My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

The new Go Pro 7 – https://amzn.to/2vyuP4X –  is an awesome piece of equipment. I use this for all underwater, action video and some general use. Buy here brand new and great value.
Mavic Pro Platinum Drone – https://amzn.to/2URtUXG. This is an absolute ripper of a drone. The Fly More Combo will provide you with everything you will need. I use this for all my aerial footage and this price is well below other retail stores. ________________________________________________________________

Follow us, Subscribe, Like, Share, and Comment on our website and social media here:-

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/indefinite_leave/

Website: https://indefiniteleave.com.au/

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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/indefiniteleave/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

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Adventurers Diary

Australia Road Trip Ep1 – Springbrook National Park

Australia Road Trip Ep 1 Springbrook National Park

Australia Road Trip Ep1 is the first of our series of videos!

First of all, we leave Brisbane and head south with our first stop at Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland. We visit Purling Brook Falls, Natural Bridge and The Best of All Lookouts before crossing the border and heading off to Fingal Head in Northern NSW.

First Day, First Hour…. Ohhh No, What have I done!!

Hope you enjoy the Australia Road Trip Ep1 video and be sure to stay tuned for more episodes.

Subscribe to us on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave and check out where to stay from our video reviews on the hundreds of Caravan Parks, Campgrounds and Showgrounds all around Australia!

_______________________________________________________________________

Photography and Socials

Our camera equipment we use for all our photos and videos are:

Canon 800d – https://amzn.to/2vGuQUt – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.
Canon 50mm lens – https://amzn.to/2Llh4BD. This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAtF9b. This is my all round, every day use, zoom lens. Amazing quality, great price.
Canon 70-300mm lens – https://amzn.to/2vAuxKZ. I use this one a lot for long range shots.
Sigma 10-20mm lens – https://amzn.to/2JcLDqn. My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

The new Go Pro 7 – https://amzn.to/2vyuP4X –  is an awesome piece of equipment. I use this for all underwater, action video and some general use. Buy here brand new and great value.
Mavic Pro Platinum Drone – https://amzn.to/2URtUXG. This is an absolute ripper of a drone. The Fly More Combo will provide you with everything you will need. I use this for all my aerial footage and this price is well below other retail stores. _______________________________________________________________________

Follow us, Subscribe, Like, Share, and Comment on our website and social media here:-

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/indefinite_leave/

Website: https://indefiniteleave.com.au/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/indefiniteleave/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

___________________________________________________________

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through a link on this page we may receive a small commission. It will not cost you any more, in fact we’ve sourced out some great deals for you. Thank you for supporting us.

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Adventurers Diary

Get the F###ing Fire Extinguisher!!

There’s a major story that we have never told, but a lot of time has gone by and I feel the time is now right. The air conditioner on our Motorhome caught on fire.

You know, flames from the roof, bellowing smoke, fire brigade, campground jam packed with hundreds of people all around us.  All of this with Adele inside the Motorhome while the roof was alight with flames and smoke!!

Extinguishing the fire from the air conditionerAfter I put out the fire

It was Easter Friday 2017. Earlier to this, we had been to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. We arrived back on the mainland a few days prior and went straight to Rapid Bay Campground. Our YouTube channel has a video of the campground when we arrived and another the day of the fire. We were told there were 900 people camping there over Easter.

It was as simple as I plugged in the Generator and started it. Whenever we plug into electricity the Air Conditioner unit the standby light comes on. It’s our way of knowing the power is connected. On this occasion however Adele was inside and heard a fizzing sound and there was no light. She came out to tell me what she heard so I went inside myself to see why the light hadn’t turned on. I checked the unit and tried manually turning it on but nothing. Then I tried the remote control, still nothing.

Next minute absolute mayhem as someone came running over yelling to us we were on fire.

motorhome air conditioner caught fire

As you can imagine, it was immediate panic and the following few minutes are a blurr. Immediately I raced to the back of the Motorhome and climbed the ladder to see flames coming from the air conditioner unit. Someone had already unplugged the Generator and raced away from the Motorhome with it to take that risk out of the equation. I quickly asked for my 20L container of water to put out the fire when someone yelled out not to put water onto an electrical fire.

I’m glad someone was thinking with common sense!!

Adele grabbed our fire extinguisher and it was thrown up to me. I’d never used one before but very quickly worked it out and began giving the Motorhome a foam bath. It worked fast but this stuff went everywhere.

On the roof of the Motorhome there was powder residue all over it but the gift kept giving. When we got back inside, it was all over our bed and all throughout the Winnebago.

Fire damage - motorhome air conditionerNo other damage, just the air conditioner.

It was obvious the fire was contained to just the air conditioner unit for which we were thankful. Fortunately there was no damage at all to the Motorhome or the roof. 18 months later now and the air conditioner has been replaced, twice actually, but I’ll discuss that in a minute.

Matt was out fishing with our mate Mick in his boat so we had Mick’s wife call him to get the message through to Matt to come back.

The Fire Brigade was called to check everything and gave it the thumbs up. They looked right over everything and told me they believed the compressor had shorted and that did make sense.

Fire Brigade callout

So here we were, Easter Friday, nowhere to go, no-one to speak to about repairing it until Tuesday when shops opened again. Foam was everywhere, inside the Motorhome as well as outside.

We were the talking point of the Campground and for all the wrong reasons and photos began being posted on Instagram of our Motorhome on fire. The people there though were fantastic and very helpful.

Why the air conditioner decided that moment for the compressor to short out we don’t know.  We were thankful it did do it then, when there were so many other people about to notice it. This also meant there were others to help us to put it out properly, rather than just days before when we were free camping in isolated locations around Kangaroo Island.

 

Here’s what I do know though!!

End of the drama you’re thinking? No No No, it was only just beginning.

The air conditioner that had been in our Motorhome was wayyyyyy too small and therefore was working too hard when it was used. It only barely cooled the Motorhome down when it was on and it was a hot day.

We bought our Motorhome second hand and it came with a Dometic B2200. It looked to be the original air conditioner unit but there’s no way for me to know for sure. What I do know is that the B2200 Dometic Air conditioner unit is designed for a 5m vehicle.  This unit was too small in capacity for our Motorhome.

I didn’t know about all this until afterwards when I did some research.

Fortunately, we did manage to get on to our insurer CIL straight away the next day, they were awesome even though it was Easter Saturday. We decided to go see CaraRest in Adelaide and arrange for them to do the insurance work of replacing the air conditioner. Soon after Easter we were due to fly back home to Brisbane as I was the MC for my niece’s wedding. This meant we could leave it with them for the 10 days while we were away and they would have plenty of time to see to the repairs.

When we dropped off the Motorhome, the owner of CaraRest said to me he would be installing a Dometic Harrier Air Conditioner, the model suited to our Motorhome.

Fantastic, no problem.

How much does it cost to travel to Kangaroo Island
Our 18 months Expenses to Travel Australia
Ante Chamber Bay campground, Kangaroo Island
Our fun stay at Discovery Parks Tanunda, Barossa Valley SA

External rooftop view of Motorhome Air Conditioner

It was 10am and our flight was 4pm, thankfully we had plenty of time because 40 minutes into our taxi ride, when we were almost to the airport, I realised I left my wallet back in the Motorhome. Without my license I had no identification to show at the airport, so we had to turn around and go back. When I arrived the owner’s daughter served me and took me out to the workshop to our Motorhome. They were already working on it so I jumped in through the open side door to the back of the Motorhome. I reached through into the front cabin, grabbed my wallet and we were back on our way.

During the week I followed up with a phone call to the Owner to check on progress, yes everything will be ready by Friday, the day before we were due back to pick it up. Again on Friday, I rang to check on progress and was assured it was almost complete, it would be ready when we got there on Saturday. Ohhh and by the way he said, we couldn’t fit that Air Conditioner, the solar panels on the roof were in the way so we put in a B2200 Freshjet. I figured he knew what he was doing so ok, see you Saturday.

When we arrived the Motorhome was brought around to us. It was 11.30am and they closed at midday. The owner stood there with his pad and biro watching us while we all had our suitcases and luggage in our hands, over our shoulders and basically our hands were more full than a centipede’s sock drawer.

Motorhome Air Conditioner

Given he showed no signs of opening the door, even if it was for a lady with her hands full, Adele decided to open the door to the back of the Motorhome and when she did the handle just fell off in her hands. We all stood there wondering what was happening before asking what the deal was. The Owner immediately responded that Adele had applied too much pressure and broke it.

You’re kidding right!!

A few minutes back and forth, I just wanted to get into the Motorhome and put down the bags. We knew what we were being told wasn’t adding up because one thing he said was they never used the back door. That seemed so odd, that they would lug their tools and an air conditioner unit over the front seats, squeeze their way between the two front seats, over our Waeco 40L fridge/freezer which at that time sat between our seats to access the rear of the Motorhome when there was a perfectly good side door. Besides, I had to come back to get my wallet remember and guess which door they had open!!

I went inside and looked at the air conditioner unit and straight away it looked odd. It was clearly much smaller in size to the previous one and that one hardly worked as it was. Quickly I googled it and found out it is made for a space of 25m3 (we are 49.5m3) and a vehicle of maximum length of 5m (we are 8m). Our Motorhome is W2780 x L8000 x H2230 internally giving a total approx area of 49.5m3. I asked him about it and he just said the one he wanted to put on wouldn’t fit and he put a like for like in it. He insisted that was all he had to do.

Check specifications here

Check more specifications here

At no time were we angry or swear etc, we simply asked questions and believe we made valid points such as why didn’t he call me to discuss options before deciding not to install the one he said he would. It was at this point he decided to yell at us to leave and walked off, slamming the door to the premises and locking it.

Did that reaction suggest he was feeling guilty about something, I guess only he could answer that!!

Here we were with a broken door handle plus an air conditioner totally unsuitable to our Motorhome. It was a Saturday and again the Monday was a Public holiday so we had to wait 3 days before we could get answers to the issues. We were ready to leave for Uluru but had to spend more unknown amount of time in Adelaide.

Before leaving, we rang CIL and told them what we knew and asked do we take possession of the Motorhome to which they said yes. So back to Rapid Bay we went for 3 more days.

Lets just say, we will never darken the doors of Cara Rest in Kilburn in Adelaide ever again and I highly recommend you don’t either.

Throughout our entire ordeal, CIL were magnificent. It’s why we were so disappointed when we had to change companies, you can read all about that here –https://indefiniteleave.com.au/caravan-motorhome-insurance/

By this time we wanted to leave Adelaide, we were pretty shattered and were looking for some positive experiences. It was also by this point we had run out of funds, nothing left, zip, zilch, zero. The stress was starting to tell. We spoke to CIL on the Tuesday and they said obviously we didn’t want to go back for them to fix the repairs and we confirmed we didn’t want them anywhere near us or our Motorhome. We said there was no point testing the air con in Adelaide in 22c cool weather, it will always seem cold.

So they agreed we should leave Adelaide and arrange repairs further up the road, maybe in Coober Pedy or Alice Springs. The door handle worked from the inside, just not the outside.

Shredded tyre

As we drove out of Adelaide just an hour or two…. Boom!! One of the tyres disintegrated and blew out. It was one of the rear dual wheels. So we limped into the nearest town just nearby, a place you’ve probably never heard of called…..Snowtown!!

Ohhh shit……!!

Needless to say, we weren’t thinking an overnight stay here was something we were looking forward to. If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, just google Snowtown. Our headspace was already very ordinary, this felt like another blow. I kept telling myself, this is a test, the universe is asking me how much do you really want this life?

Tyre Blowout Snowtown

My business for reasons I couldn’t understand just wasn’t happening. I was doing a lot of work as we were traveling but contracts kept crashing and I was left without being paid anything for all my time and costs. Instead of the normal 1 in 5 contracts not proceeding on finance or other issues I had lost 8 out of 9 contracts while traveling. Each one that crashed was a dagger in my back and totally unexpected. Financially, we were now having to go into debt to continue.

This was when we became super awesome at traveling on a budget.

Only very few people know about this dark time we went through, that is our great friends we had met and traveled with and were keen to catch up with again. Jason, Denise and little Millie from the Facebook and Instagram page West Aussie Nomads and Mick, his wife L and their 2 boys all of whom we now proudly call great lifelong friends. We didn’t discuss details with any family or friends back home, we didn’t want to worry them when they were so far away.

Luckily we had been doing this long enough now to know there were going to be great times again, we just had to get through it.

Motorhome Air Conditioner repairs at Mobile Caravan Repairs Darwin

We got ourselves to Darwin and went to see Paul who does Mobile Caravan repairs there and he was sensational. He showed us a caravan he was renovating and it was probably half the size of our Motorhome and he was putting a bigger air con in it, the B3200. Also he said he hoped the Insurers wouldn’t want him to keep the one installed in ours as it was so small he’d never use it.

Once he spoke to the Insurers and provided other really damning evidence and opinion, CIL backed us up entirely, organising the Harrier air conditioner to be installed plus replacement of the door handle, we were told the cost of it was sent back to the original repairer. Whether that is what happened I’m not privy to but it’s what we were told. Needless to say, CIL’s representative told us they were very disappointed with the original repairer.

There’s a comment made by two people within the industry that reflects so poorly on the original repairer that I’d love to share but it’s opinion and not fact, so that one you’ll have to ask me about if we meet one day.

We had the air conditioner replaced in a day, yes the solar panels had to be re-positioned but it was obviously easily done and could have been done originally, and a new door handle was installed. That was a huge relief but the Travel Gods decided we needed one more devastating blow, the time to make a call on our beautiful Golden Retriever MACKS. It was time to say goodbye.

Now we were truly shattered, our souls were basically destroyed.

Macks on her last days in Darwin

Let me tell you, this is so hard to write, tears are beginning to flow as I go back in time to share with you about this horrific two month period of our life on the road. They were cruel times.

The repairs were completed and we’ve had no issues with them since. We went heavily into debt and had to spend some time back in Brisbane getting control of our finances again. Therefore we headed home for Christmas and spent 4 months focused solely on getting back on track. Just when we got back in front we had to replace the rubber membrane of our roof in the Motorhome and that blew $8000 and left us with no surplus cash once again.

It had been fun times…. not!!

We honoured MACKS our beautiful Golden Retriever in every way we could think and today the Motorhome is called Darwinny, in remembrance of her and her resting place. She will always be part of Indefinite Leave and her collar, mat and lead stay with us.

We thank our great friends we mentioned for getting us through. More importantly, we have remained mates and catch up often and they feature in our e-book now available called Travel Chat with Indefinite Leave.

Motorhome Air Conditioner - Repairs in Darwin

We can’t thank Paul from Pauls Mobile Caravan Repairs enough, he really knew his stuff and couldn’t have been better to deal with. Contact Paul on 0438 120 571 if you are in Darwin and need any help.

Also we remain very thankful to CIL for what they did for us even though we are now with a different insurer.

To everyone who followed our journey on our pages and offered us a friendly comment, chatted to us, messaged us and inspired us to keep going, and there were so many, thank you, you really don’t how much you helped us through that journey of our adventure but we sure do.

Our Blog became our place where we could go, put on a brave face and share positive thoughts and get back more in return.

Now go check your Fire Extinguisher, check it is accessible, in good working condition, isn’t out of date and all of you know how to use it, it may save your vehicle or even your life.

Safe travels

Kev& Adele
Indefinite Leave

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