Connect with us

Adventurers Diary

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping

Places for Free Camping from Brisbane to Darwin are readily available as we travelled out through Mitchell to Longreach, up and over to the Queensland Border and along the Barkly Highway over to Darwin.

On our recent trip, our goal was to travel from Brisbane to Darwin free camping all of the way.

However we couldn’t resist stopping in at just a couple of our favourite campgrounds.

These are 3 that you simply can’t miss!

The distance from Brisbane City to Darwin City is 3,425.6 kms. If you were to drive straight through it would take approx 38 hours!

We drove from Brisbane to Mataranka in the NT in just 2 weeks but we recommend taking a little more time to relax and enjoy these awesome spots.

Since we have arrived in Darwin, we have been able to relax and enjoy free camping right opposite the beach.

Free Camping from Brisbane to the Queensland/Northern Territory Border

Read more: Our Best Free Camps in Australia

16 Great Free Camping Areas and Must Stop Campgrounds from Brisbane to Darwin

Here is our list of 13 great Free Camping Areas from Brisbane to Darwin along with 3 awesome unmissable campgrounds.

Yes, our list of Free Camping does include 3 paid Campgrounds, because they are amazing and worth visiting along this trip.

Naturally this is only a guide and there are other places but these are the best free camping areas we have discovered as we travel from Brisbane to Darwin.

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping - Gatton

Free Camping Brisbane to the Qld/NT Border

1. Gatton RV Friendly Park, William Kemp Park, Gatton

The Gatton RV Friendly Park is a great free stop over for Self -Contained RV’s.

The William Kemp Park is in a perfect location, right beside the river and only 150 metres to the main street of town.

Only fully self-contained RV’s are allowed as there are no toilets. Sleeping in tents, swags and  normal passenger vehicles is not permitted.

Drinking water is available and there are picnic tables, barbecues and bins also. Naturally, there is no power. Generators are allowed.

A limit of 48 hours applies and cost to stay is Free.

The William Kemp Park has a Dump Point and is pet friendly. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.

We had good Telstra phone reception and our stay was on 4th May 2021.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Gatton is 91.9kms.

It takes about an hour and a half from Lawnton on Brisbane’s Northside, where we left from, to get to Gatton.

Phone: 07 5466 3425
Address:  23 East Street, Gatton, Queensland
Website:

Gatton RV Friendly Park

___________________________________________________________________

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Miles

2. Miles Rest Stop, Moraby Park, Miles

The Miles Rest Stop at Moraby Park is just under 1km out of Miles next to the R.J. Simpson Bridge.

On the other side of the road, there is plenty of space that may also be used as a free stopover.

Please be aware that this free Miles Rest Stop is a combined heavy vehicle and motorist rest area therefore please do not park in the truck area and ensure there is plenty of room for trucks to pull in both day and night.

These rest areas are designed as a 20 hour stop and rest area. They are not to be utilised as long term camping sites.

Cost to stay is Free.

Toilets, picnic tables and bins are provided as well as barbecues.

The Rest Area is accessible to Motorhomes, Caravans, Camper Trailers, Big Rigs. Also tents are allowed.

Water is available at the Miles Information Centre as there is no potable water available at the Miles Rest Area.

We had good Telstra phone reception and stayed here overnight on 8th September, 2017 and for a lunch stop on 5th May 2021.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Miles is 336.6kms and the distance between Gatton and Miles is 244.7kms.

It takes approximately 4 hours to drive from Brisbane to Miles.

Phone: 13 74 68
Address:  Warrego & Leichhardt Highway, Miles
Website: 

Read more: Miles Rest Stop

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping Miles Rest Area

___________________________________________

Brisbane to Darawin Free Camping at Mitchell
Brisbane to Darawin Free Camping at Mitchell

3. Neil Turner Weir, Mitchell

The Neil Turner Weir has an extensive camping area right on the bank of the Maranoa River and alongside the weir wall.

There is plenty of space for all size vehicles.

Just 4kms from the heart of town, the Neil Turner Weir is an fabulous place to camp while you explore Mitchell.

Don’t miss a visit to the Great Artesian Spa while you are in Mitchell. The natural hot artesian pool water is 39 degrees but there is also a cold pool as well!

Cost to stay is free.

If you enjoy staying at the Neil Turner Weir, a donation would be appreciated to help maintain this great camping area. There is no maximum night limit.

Toilets, picnic benches, barbecues and a small playground is provided. There is also a boat ramp available.

Pets are allowed and you are permitted to have campfires.

There is no Dump Point at the Neil Turner Weir Campground however there is one at the Showgrounds just 5 minutes away.

We had good Telstra phone reception and our stay was 4th & 5th May 2021.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Mitchell is 565.6kms and the distance between Miles and Mitchell is 229kms.

Brisbane to Mitchell takes about 6 and a half hours to drive.

Phone: N/A
Address: River Street, Mitchell, Queensland
Website: N/A

Great Artesian Spa at Mitchell

_______________________________________________

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Tambo
Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Tambo

4. Stubby Bend by Barcoo River, Tambo

Stubby Bend right on the banks of the Barcoo River in Tambo offers an awesome free camping spot.

Only fully self-contained vehicles are permitted as there are no amenities.

There is plenty to see and do in Tambo which is just a minutes and within walking distance to town.

Don’t miss a visit to the Tambo Teddies and check out the hilarious Ben’s Chicken Races at the Carrangarra Hotel Tambo where proceeds go to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Ben's Chicken Races in Tambo

Facilities are limited but there are picnic tables, seats and bins.

Take care of this natural environment and keep it clean, please do not throw any rubbish into the river.

Take the Coolibah Walk along the river bank from the Stubby Bend Camping Area and check out the historic Qantas Crash Site.

Cost to stay is Free but there is a 72 hour limit.

Generators are allowed at the Stubby Bend Camping Area and it is pet friendly. Care should be taken in wet weather as the river is subject to flooding.

Parking on the gravel area is strongly recommended during these times.

We had Telstra phone coverage during our stay on 7th May 2021.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Tambo is 864.2kms and the distance between Mitchell and Tambo is 298.6kms.

Driving from Brisbane to Tambo will take around 9 and a half hours.

Phone: 07 4621 6600
Address:  Dawson Development Road, Tambo, Queensland
Website:

Tambo Teddies
Tambo Teddies

_____________________________________________

Lara Wetlands - Favourite Campground between Brisbane and Darwin
Lara Wetlands – One of our favourite Campgrounds between Brisbane and Darwin

5. Lara Wetlands, Patrick

Since experiencing the magnificent Lara Wetlands for the first time in 2017, we cannot miss staying at this awesome campground whenever we pass through this region.

It’s not Free but it is amazing and is worth staying.

Lara Wetlands is just 30kms south of Balcaldine and is part of the 15,000 acre working Lara Cattle Station.

There is plenty of space to camp right alongside the edge of the lake which provides an awesome setting at sunrise and sunset with the colours reflecting on the water.

The birdlife is amazing and a photographers dream!

Enjoy a swim in the natural hot thermal pool or the cold spring pool.

Kayaks and bicycles are complimentary during your stay so you can paddle around the shallow lake or cycle around it for a bit of fun!

All sites are unpowered and cost to stay is $25 per night for 2 people. Single Adults are $15 per night and Families (2A & up to 4 C) are $45.

Day Visitors are $10 per person and $40 per family.

No bookings are required and Motorhomes, Caravans, Camper trailers, Big Rigs and Tents are all welcome.

Lara Wetlands at sunrise

There are flushing toilets and hot showers, a Camp Kitchen, barbecues and playground. Also drinking water is available but not for hook-up.

A Dump Site or Funny Dunny as they call it is available. Pets are allowed but your dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

Generators are permitted between 8 – 10am in the morning and 3 – 5pm in the afternoons.

Fire pits are readily available and firewood may be purchased from the office.

Mobile Phone reception is very limited, basically there is none.

Our stays to date include 3rd & 4th September 2017 and 8th & 9th May 2021.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance from Brisbane to Lara Wetlands in Patrick is 1042.0kms and the distance between Tambo and Lara Wetlands is 177.8kms.

Lara Wetlands is 11 1/2 hours drive from Brisbane and approximately 20-25 mins from Barcaldine.

Phone:  0457 661 243
Address: 39052 Landsborough Highway, Barcaldine, Queensland
Website:

Read more: Lara Wetlands

Lara Wetlands Hot Pool

___________________________________________

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Barcaldine
Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Barcaldine

6. Barcaldine East Rest Area, Barcaldine

Barcaldine has two free Rest Areas and on both occasions we have chosen to stay at the Barcadine East Rest Area.

It is located alongside the Capricorn Highway and only just over 3kms east of the heart of Barcaldine.

The other is the Barcaldine South Rest Area on the Landsborogh Highway as you head up to Barcaldine from Lara Wetlands but further out of town.

Barcaldine is famous for the Tree of Knowledge, the birth place of the Australian Labor Party and the Great Shearers Strike.

Tree of Knowledge under lights at night

Barcaldine East Rest Area is suitable for Motohomes, Caravans, Camper Trailers and Big Rigs. Tents are allowed also.

Please note this is also a Truck Rest Stop Area so make sure not to park in the truck bays.

There are toilets, sheltered picnic tables and bins provided. It is pet friendly and there is drinking water available.

A Dump Point is available at the Showgrounds just a few kilometres away.

Cost to stay is free but limited to a 24hr stay only.

We had good Telstra phone coverage during our stays – 2nd September 2017 and 10th May 2021.

Barcaldine is usually called Barcy by the locals.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Barcaldine is 1071.9kms and the distance between Lara Wetlands and Barcaldine is just 29.9kms.

It will take the most part of 12 hours to drive to Barcaldine from Brisbane.

Phone: N/A
Address: Capricorn Highway, Barcaldine, Queensland
Website: N/A

Read more: Barcaldine Travellers Rest Stop

Aramac
Kev butting heads on the Aramac/Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail hehe

__________________________________________

Apex Riverside Bush Camp Longreach

7. Apex Riverside Park on the Thomson River, Longreach

Longreach offers a very low cost camping area right on the Thomson River for just $5 per night.

At such a reasonable low cost per night we have included it in our Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping list as the cost is negligible.

Camping Fees can be paid at the Longreach Visitor Information Centre in Eagle Street. Alternatively, you can place the cash in the honesty box on site under the sign.

The Apex Riverside Park does not have any powered sites and has limited facilities providing just bins and toilets but no showers.

Potable water and a Dump Point are just a short drive into town at the Caravan Day Parking Area in Kite Street.

Thomson River at sunset

Although the camping area is a dirt surface and a little dusty, it is more than adequate to camp up for a number of nights while you explore the fabulous town of Longreach.

It is suitable for Motorhomes, Caravans, Camper Trailers, Tents and Big Rigs and when busy there is an overflow area across the road.

Cost to stay is $5 per night or $27 for the week and our stays to date are 29th August to 1st September 2017 and 11th May 2021.

It is pet friendly and you will find chickens, roosters and brolgas roaming freely throughout the campground.

We had good Telstra and Optus Phone coverage.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance from Brisbane to is 1178.8kms and the distance between Barcaldine and Longreach is 106.9kms.

Longreach is almost 13 hours drive from Brisbane.

Phone: 07 4658 4150
Address:  Landsborough Highway, Longreach, Queensland

Read more: Apex Riverside Park, Longreach

Qantas Founders Museum

_______________________________________________

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Winton
Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at The Long Waterhole Winton

8. Long Waterhole, Winton

The Long Waterhole is a great free camping area just 2 kms out of town and a great base to explore all of the awesome attractions in Winton.

It is a man-made waterhole and was once home to the World Crayfish Derby.

Winton locals use the waterhole for swimming in the hot Summer months and we camped right alongside the water’s edge.

Even though it is a large area, it can get busy therefore if you are looking for a spot by the river, you are best to arrive early in the day.

There are no facilities at this camping area.

As there are no bins, you need to take all of your rubbish out with you. Rubbish should not to be burned, buried or dumped.

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Winton

Care should be taken in wet weather as the Long Waterhole Camping Area can be affected by rain and flood water.

You will need to evacuate the area in these types of conditions.

It is suitable for all types of RV vehicles and tent camping.

The Long Waterhole Campground is pet friendly with cows roaming freely and although we missed seeing them, emus roam the area as well.

Cost to stay is free and our stay was 12th May 2021. No maximum night stay applies.

Fires are permitted as long as there are no fire restrictions in place at the time. Please extinguish all fires water after use.

We had good Telstra phone coverage during our stay.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Winton is 1357.4kms and the distance between Longreach and Winton is 178.6kms.

It takes around 14 hours and 40 minutes to drive from Brisbane to Longreach in Queensland.

Phone: 07 4657 2668
Address:  Winton- Jundah Road, Winton, Queensland
Website:

Waltzing Matilda Centre Winton
Waltzing Matilda Centre at Winton

________________________________________

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Corella Dam
Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Corella Dam

9. Corella Dam and Clem Walton Park

Corella Dam is located half way between Cloncurry and Mount Isa and is one of the most awesome free camping areas in Australia.

The lake was created with the construction of the Clem Walton Dam in 1959 to provide a water supply for nearly town and uranium mine at Mary Kathleen.

Camp right beside the lake at Corella Dam or behind the dam wall down by the Corella River.

On both occasions, we have camped beside the water’s edge with views of the lake and Corella Dam.

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Corella Dam
Corella River

There are no facilities when bush camping at Corella Dam therefore campers must be self-sufficient and take all rubbish with you when you leave.

At the adjacent Clem Walton Park Campground by the Corella River, there are toilets, picnic tables and bins for rubbish to be disposed of properly.

Both Corella Dam and Clem Walton Park are pet friendly. Pets must be controlled at all times and you must also pick up after them.

Cattle do roam freely in the Corella Dam and Clem Walton Park camping areas.

Cost to stay is free and our stays include 22nd – 25th July 2017 and 13th -14th May 2021.

We had no Telstra phone coverage and no Vodafone service. Basically there is one spot at Corella Dam you might get some basic coverage.

Generators are allowed at Corella Dam.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Corella Dam is 1761kms and the distance between Winton and Corella Dam is 403.6kms.

It takes approximately 19 hours to drive from Brisbane to Corella Dam.

It is about 35 minutes to Corella Dam from Cloncurry and 50 minutes from Mount Isa.

Phone: N/A
Address: Clem Walton Park Road, off the Barkly Highway west of Cloncurry, Queensland
Website: N/A

Read more: Corella Dam

Mary Kathleen

___________________________________________

Camooweal

10. Camooweal Billabong, Camooweal

Bush Camping is available right beside Lake Francis, a spectacular billabong on the Georgina River just south of the town of Camooweal.

The Camooweal Billabong has no facilities at the camping area so campers must be self-sufficient.

As there are no toilets or bins you must taken all of your rubbish with you.

To access this great camping area, head south down a gravel road a short distance from the Barkly Highway after crossing the Georgina River west of town if travelling from Camooweal.

It is accessible for Motorhomes, Caravans, Camper Trailers and Big Rigs and tent camping is allowed.

Cost to stay is Free. Pets are permitted and there is Telstra Phone reception available.

Camooweal is your last stop before the Northern Territory border just 10 minutes away.

Distance from Brisbane

Distance by road from Brisbane to Camooweal is 2015.3kms and the distance betwen Corella Dam and Camooweal is 254.3kms.

Phone:  N/A
Address: Gravel Road to the South between bridges off Barkly H’way west of Camooweal, Qld
Website: N/A

5 Essentials – Camping Accessories

A good Tent or Swag is the first decision for going camping. We like the Coleman Tent from Tentworld or the Wanderer 7 Man Tent from BCF. For a Swag, we were so close to buying the Kings Double Swag from 4WD Supacentre .

We like our BCF Wanderers Camping Chair which gets a lot of use as we travel Australia.

No more lugging around a huge BBQ and gas bottle now that we have a brilliant Gasmate Dual Burner Butane Cooktop from Tentworld

A good Portable Fridge Freezer we have found to keep the beers cold and steaks frozen are the Kings 70 L Fridge Freezer in the budget range, the Waeco 75L Dual Zone Fridge Freezer or the ever popular and long lasting Engel 75L Fridge Freezer.

A good quality Hand Held UHF is ideal and I like this Uniden UH750 5 watt UHF for long range and quality. The 5 watt range will give you maximum distance, especially if you need help!

NT Qld Border
Free Camping from Qld/NT Border to Darwin

Free Camping – Qld/NT Border to Darwin

There are quite a number of free camping spots after you cross the Queensland/Northern Territory Border along the Barkly Highway and up the Stuart Highway to Darwin.

11. Soudan Bore on the Barkly Highway, Ranken

Soudan Bore is a great free Highway Rest Area on the Barkly Highway at Ranken.

We liked it because we could set up camp back a little from the highway and had little problems with noise from the road.

The area was flat and easy to get level and there was heaps of space.

It makes a great stopover when you are looking to break up your journey when doing a lot of highway driving in the Northern Territory.

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Soudan Bore
Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Soudan Bore

There are no toilets so you must have a fully self-contained vehicle. It is accessible to Motorhomes, Caravans, Camper Trailers and Big Rigs.

Bins are provided and there are BBQ plates that can be used over an open fire.

Cost to stay is Free and limited to 24hrs.

There is no phone coverage available but it is pet friendly.

Distance from Brisbane and Darwin

Distance by road from Brisbane to Soudan Bore is 2146.3kms and the distance between Camooweal and Soudan Bore is 131kms.

Soudan Bore is 1,276 kms and approximately 13 hours drive to Darwin.

Phone: N/A
Address: Barkly Highway, Ranken, Northern Territory
Website: N/A

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Soudan Bore
Soudan Bore Sunet

___________________________________________

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Newcastle Waters Rest Area
Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Newcastle Waters Rest Area

12. Newcastle Waters on Stuart Highway, Pamayu

Newcastle Waters Rest Area right on the Stuart Highway is another great free Rest Stop that you can stay overnight to break up your highway journey in the Northern Territory.

There are toilets, picnic tables and bins provided. It is also pet friendly.

There are limited spaces so best to arrive as early in the day as possible although we did arrive mid afternoon and snared a spot.

The Newcastle Waters Rest Area is accessible to Motorhomes, Caravans and Camper Trailers.

Big Rigs are allowed but navigating and finding a spot might be challenging. Tents are also allowed but would be difficult to find a suitable space to setup.

Cost to stay is Free and limited to a 24 hour stay.

Our stays include 24 May 2017 and 16 May 2021.

We had Telstra Phone Coverage but no Vodafone or Optus service.

Distance from Brisbane and Darwin

Distance by road from Brisbane to Newcastle Waters is 2616.3kms and the distance between Soudan Bore and Newcastle Waters is 470kms.

To Darwin, Newcastle Waters Rest Area is 737 kms and approx 7 hours and 45 minutes to drive.

Phone: N/A
Address: Stuart Highway, Pamayu, Northern Territory
Website: N/A

Read more: Newcastle Waters Free Camp

Daly Waters Pub
The iconic Daly Waters Pub

_____________________________________________

Feeding the buffalo at Little Roper Stockcamp
Feeding the buffalo at Little Roper Stockcamp

13. Little Roper Stockcamp, Mataranka

One of our favourite campgrounds in Australia is the Little Roper Stockcamp at Mataranka.

The Little Roper Stockcamp is not only a great place to stay but also offers a enjoyable and entertaining experience as well.

There are farm animals including buffalo, pigs and chooks and it is great fun for kids of all ages to hand feed hay to the buffalo.

They also have pet snakes and lizards for you to hold.

There’s even a pet salt water crocodile! Petting the salty is not recommended nor is it allowed!!

Little Johnny Cakes are available for $1.50 and cooked up each morning at around 8am. They are delicious.

It is usually after Breakfast that Des will bring out the pet snakes and lizards.

The Community campfire is lit every evening. You can cook dinner in your own camp oven or one of the ones provided.

They also do special Camp Oven Dinner Nights.

Little Roper Stockcamp

Cost to stay is $35 for a powered site for 2 people and $30 for unpowered. Our stays include 25th – 27th May 2017 and 17th May 2021.

Little Roper Stockcamp is pet friendly and there is Telstra coverage but no Vodafone or Optus.

Distance from Brisbane and Darwin

Distance by road from Brisbane to Mataranka is 3001.6kms and the distance between Newcastle Waters and Little Roper Stockcamp is 385.3kms.

From Little Roper Stockcamp it is 454 kms and a 5 hour drive to Darwin.

Phone: 0427 880 819
Address: 547 Homestead Road Mataranka NT
Website:

Read more about: Little Roper Stockcamp

Bitter Springs

________________________________________

Gravel Stockpile site
Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at the Gravel Stockpile Site, Coomalie

14. Gravel Stockpile Site, Coomalie Creek

At Coolamlie Creek on the Stuart Highway is the Gravel Stockpile Site, a free campground which is close to the turn off to Litchfield National Park.

We wanted to pull up to a free camping area as close to Litchfield National Park so we could arrive early and secure a site at the busy Florence Falls Campground the next day.

This is a very basic gravelled camping area and has absolutely no facilities.

The Camping area is pet friendly and therefore dogs are permitted to stay here.

It is set back from the highway and is easily accessible by Motorhomes, Caravans, Camper Trailers and Big Rigs. Also it is suitable for tent camping.

Cost to stay is free. There is limited Telstra phone reception.

Distance from Brisbane and Darwin

Distance by road from Brisbane to Coomalie is 3356,7kms and the distance between Little Roper Stockcamp and Gravel Stockpile Site is 355.1kms.

Coomalie Creek Rest Area is 116kms and a hour and a half drive to Darwin.

Phone: N/A
Address:  Stuart Highway, Coomalie Creek, Northern Territory
Website:  N/A

Florence Falls Campground LNP

15. Florence Falls Campground, Litchfield National Park

The Florence Falls Campground, located in the magnificent Litchfield National Park, is one of the best campgrounds in Australia and we think the best spot to stay in Litchfield.

It’s within walking distance to the spectacular Florence Falls which includes 135 steps to reach the plunge pool but if you are able, it is definitely worth it.

Camping is available all year round and camping fees are payable upon arrival.

Place the correct amount of cash in the payment box at the pay station and clearly display the carbonised copy on your vehicle and you’re done.

Update March 2022: An on-line booking system is now available through the NT Government website

Florence Falls Campground Pay Station

There are toilets and showers. Both a Dump Point and potable water is available nearby in Batchelor.

A fire pit with barbecue plate is available at each site.

Some sites at the 2WD Campground are very spacious and suitable for all sizes vehicles and tents.

Cost to stay per night is $6.60 Adults, $3.30 Children and $15 for Families.

Our stays include 25th-27th June 2017 and 19th – 20th May 2021.

Update March 2022:
$10 per Adult per night, $5.00 for Children 5 – 17 years and $25 for Families (2A & 4 C)

There is no Telstra coverage at the Campground. Sometimes network comes on but it’s so little you can’t use it and it doesn’t stay for very long.

Florence Falls Campground is in Litchfield National Park so pets are not permitted.

Generators are not allowed.

Distance from Brisbane and Darwin

Distance by road from Brisbane to Florence Falls Campground is 3391.7kms and the distance between the Gravel Stockpile Site and Florence Falls is 35kms.

Florence Falls Campground is 169kms to Darwin and takes around 2 1/4 hours.

Phone: 08 3999 3973
Address:
Florence Falls Trail off Litchfield Park Rd, Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory
Website:

Read more: Florence Falls Campground Litchfield National Park

Wangi Falls
Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park

__________________________________________

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Gunn Point

16. Gunn Point, near Darwin

There is a fabulous free camp about an hour out of Darwin where you can camp right on the open beachfront.

Fabulous views of the ocean with stunning over water sunsets are just a couple of reasons that make this a spectacular place to camp.

Fishing can be enjoyed off the beach or at the mouth of the creek although it is much better if you have a boat.

Catching crabs out from Gunn Point

There are no toilets so camping is only suitable for self-contained vehicles.

Access to the Gunn Point camping area is via a rough dirt track with a lot of mounds and ditches.

We were only able to navigate our way in with our Motorhome as we had the help from our friends.

In wet weather, access would be impossible for us.

Potable water is only available from in town at Palmerston or Coolalinga, approx. 35 minutes from Gunn Point and the only public Dump Point in Darwin is at the Greyhound Club at Winellie, about 50 mins away.

Pets are permitted as well as campfires.

Having a campfire with the Top End sun setting over the water, a smokey haze from back burning in the background, is outrageously stunning.

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Gunn Point
Firey Sunsets

Crocodiles, Sharks and Stingers including Box Jellyfish are in these waters so swimming is not advisable.

Cost to stay is free and we have enjoyed camping with our friends for a number of weeks.

We have had better Vodafone reception with 2-3 bars of 4G compared to only 1 bar of 4G with Telstra.

Telstra drops in and out whereas Vodafone has been consistently pretty good.

Distance from Brisbane and Darwin

Distance by road from Brisbane to Gunn Point is 3490.7kms and the distance between Florence Falls Campground and Gunn Point is 99kms.

From Palmerston it is about 45 mins to Gunn Point and approx. 1hr 10 mins from Darwin.

Phone: N/A
Address: Dirt Track Off Gunn Point Road, Gunn Point, Northern Territory
Website:

Read about: Darwin Camping at Gunn Point

Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping at Gunn Point

Distances by Road between each stop

Here is a rough guide to the distances by road from Brisbane to each of the campgrounds we stopped at as we travelled from Brisbane to Darwin free camping all of the way plus 3 favourite campgrounds you simply cannot miss!

Name of Place Name of Free Camp/CampgroundKms from BrisbaneKms from Prev. Stop
GattonWilliam Kemp Park91.9kms91.9kms
MilesMoraby Park336.6kms244.7kms
MitchellNeil Turner Weir565.6kms229kms
TamboStubby Bend by Barcoo864.2kms298.6kms
PatrickLara Wetlands1042kms177.8kms
BarcaldineBarcaldine East Rest Area1071.9kms29.9kms
LongreachApex Riverside Bush Camp1178.8kms106.9kms
WintonThe Long Waterhole1357.4kms178.6kms
Corella DamCorella Dam/Clem Walton Pk1761kms403.6kms
CamoowealCamooweal Billabong2015.3kms254.3kms
RankinSoudan Bore2146.3kms131kms
PamayuNewcastle Waters Rest Area2616.3kms470kms
MatarankaLittle Roper Stockcamp3001.6kms385.3kms
Coomalie CreekGravel Stockpile Site3356.7kms355.1kms
Litchfield National ParkFlorence Falls Campground3391.7kms35kms
DarwinGunn Point3.490.7kms99kms

Other great places to stay along the way

Here are some other free camping areas, campgrounds and caravan parks that are also great to stay at when travelling from Brisbane to Darwin.

Pin – Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping

Saving money on accommodation allows us to spend this money on tours, attractions and other general travel expenses.

Our goal to travel from Brisbane to Darwin free camping all of the way has been successful!

Read more on Free Camping:

Have you travelled from Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping a lot of the way?

Tell us about your Brisbane to Darwin Free Camping experience.

Safe travels   

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

We are Adele & Kevin, an Aussie couple from Brisbane in Queensland Australia who have embraced our adventurous spirit and ventured out to explore the world around us. We had spent so much time overseas we decided it was time to see our own truly amazing country and we needed to take some time to see everything it has to offer.

Our Aim is to inspire others to travel and help design the greatest adventure they can experience.

_________________________________________________________

Photography and Socials

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

Samsung Note 10 Plus Phone – http://ebay.us/9vMXEH – Most of our photos are simply from our phones. The Samsung phone cameras are pretty insane. Our phones have 512gb storage in ours but the 256gb in this one is heaps. We have sourced this one which is approx $500 less than we paid for ours.

Samsung s21 Phonehttps://ebay.us/QAdwva – this looks an insane camera within a phone. We have friends and our son who own one and it seems quite extraordinary with their camera quality. If you’re after a new phone this is what I’d be looking at.

Canon 800dhttps://ebay.us/Q0UV1z – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.

Nikon Coolpix p1000https://ebay.to/37cORUV – We have the Nikon P900 and this is the new model. The zoom lens is unbelievable and so awesome when travelling and you want to capture photos from a distance.

Lenses

Canon 50mm lens – https://ebay.to/2yQwPed  This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lenshttps://ebay.us/br9MeO This is my all round, everyday use, zoom lens. Amazing quality, great price.
Canon 70-300mm lens – https://ebay.to/2XlOZ0I – I use this one a lot for long range shots.
Sigma 10-20mm lenshttps://ebay.to/2TWt0vA  – My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

Our Go Pro 9 Hero Black – https://ebay.to/38wMc7V  –  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://ebay.to/2ARPxTo  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.

_______________________________________________________________________

Where to Find Us

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/indefiniteleave

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

______________________________________________________________________

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.

Adventurers Diary

Mataranka, What to do and where to stay

Mataranka Feaature

Mataranka is a small town in Northern Territory and the Capital of the Never Never, just 431 kms south-east of Darwin.

Coming from the south on your road trip, you’ve probably just enjoyed a fantastic Barra Burger and a beer at Daly Waters Pub less than 2 hours drive away.

The Stuart Highway has now brought you here to Mataranka and if you’ve seen the photos from other travellers you’ll know why this is a must stop destination.

This is a great place to pull up stumps for a few nights after some long days driving and just relax and enjoy the Australian outback.

Mataranka Capital of the Never Never

About Mataranka

Mataranka to Darwin is still a 4 and a half hour drive away yet, with many great sight still to see along the way.

Katherine is just up the road and only 115 kms, just over an hour’s drive between the two towns.

The population of Mataranka is approximately 350 people but thousands of tourists arrive in town during the winter dry season.

The region has a strong Indigenous history and you can witness Aboriginal Art at the Stockyard Gallery’s exhibit and visit the Never Never Museum to learn more about their local stories.

Mataranka

Mataranka Weather

The weather in Mataranka is consistently warm during the day and the best months to visit are April to September during the dry season.

Our first stay was in July and our other two stays have both been in the month of May.

Apart from the winter months, the average temperatures for the most part of the year range between 19.7°C to 37.9°C with the hottest month on average being October.

July is the coldest month with an average maximum of 30.5°C and the minimum temperature down around 13.6°C.

The area is generally very dry in the winter months but during the wet season roads may be cut off for long periods.

Bitter Springs is one of the main attractions in Mataranka
Spectacular Bitter Springs

Things to do in Mataranka

Bitter Springs

One of the most popular attractions in Mataranka is Bitter Springs.

An amazing 30.5 million litres of water rises from underground and it is heaps of fun to float down with the gentle flow of water.

You will find the water temperature sits at around 34°C all year round but the springs are generally closed from November to May due to flooding in the wet season.

This amazing crystal clear naturally fed spring is lined with paperbarks and cabbage palms.

There is now a paved pathway from the car park to this ever popular swimming hole.

The entry and exit points from the springs is via a small set of stairs with a handrail.

Bitter Springs is located in the Elsey National Park and is just 2 kms from the township of Mataranka.

Simply turn off the Stuart Highway into Martin Road.

Just 500 metres past Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping you will arrive at the Bitter Springs car park.

Kev enjoying Bitter Springs

________________________________________________

Mataranka Thermal Pools

Mataranka Thermal Pools

The Mataranka Thermal Pools are just one of the two natural thermal pools in the Elsey National Park.

These paperbark, palm fringed Mataranka Hot Springs offer a safe place for swimming in crystal clear waters that are consistently warm all year round.

Easily accessible from within the Mataranka Homestead and just a short walk from the car park.

Anyone can visit the Hot Springs by walking through the Mataranka Homestead, easy free parking is available at the front.

Mataranka Giant Termite Mound

Giant Termite Mound

Right in the heart of Mataranka is a giant termite mound. It is the world’s largest man-made termite mound.

There are over 2000 species of termites and nearly 90 can be found within the Northern Territory.

Termite mounds are a very common sight in The Top End as their homes dominate the landscape.

Barra Feeding at the Territory Manor Mataranka
Our son Matt feeding the barramundi at the Territory Manor

Territory Manor Barramundi Feeding

Territory Manor is a local Motel and Caravan Park which is both family and pet friendly.

You can stop and stay or drop in for lunch any day.

Twice a day, the Territory Manor feed the Barramundi in the dam beside their licensed restaurant.

If you want to brave it, you can even take part in the barra feeding. The Barra have a very explosive action when being fed which is amazing to witness close up.

Admission to the barra feeding at the Territory Manor is free but a gold coin donation is appreciated.

Meeting Nathan Whippy Griggs

Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs

A visit to Mataranka is not complete without catching Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs in action at the Mataranka Homestead.

Nathan is an extremely talented whip cracker and holds five Guiness World records.

One of his World records being for the most times a whip can be cracked in a minute.

Unbelievably Nathan can crack a whip 697 times in just one minute.

Nathan has been cracking whips since he 14 and performs regularly in Mataranka from May to August and in other towns around the country throughout other months of the year.

Admission is free to the Mataranka Homestead to see Nathan perform live and he simply relies on people making a donation or purchasing a whip and other merchandise after the show.

Mataranka Falls

The hike to the Mataranka Falls is an 8 km return walk from 12 Mile Yards.

The track is well marked with blue arrows and is mostly flat with a hard surface but some patches are sandy.

There are some scenic view points as it follows the Roper River along the way to the falls.

If you are expecting a high plunging waterfall you will be disappointed.

The Mataranka Falls consist of small cascade of less than a metre in height.

Note there is definitely no swimming at Mataranka Falls or in the river as salt water crocs inhabit these waters.

Read more about Darwin & the Top End: Things to do in Darwin, NT

5 Essentials – Ryobi Tools for Traveling

  1. A chainsaw certainly is an essential tool while traveling especially when camping and 4WDing. Perfect for cutting up wood for the campfire and ideal for clearing tracks of fallen branches when 4WDing. I really like the Ryobi Chainsaw and will be looking to buy one very soon to match all of my other Ryobi tools.
  2. The Ryobi Cordless Hand Vacuum has been super handy for the motorhome while traveling and now it is also great to use in our 4WD.
  3. Even prior to traveling, I have always used a Ryobi Cordless Drill. They are an essential tool for use at home and while on the road.
  4. We have had heaps of use from our Ryobi 18v Area Light. It’s great for fishing, camping and outdoor entertaining and even when we want to save power at night while free camping. Just charge it up the next day when you have solar.
  5. There are so many uses for our Ryobi Blower while traveling. Blowing the leaves off the top of the slideout before bringing it in, accelerating the campfire, clearing away any dirt, grass or sand from around your campsite.
Our preferred place to stay in Mataranka - Little Roper Stockcamp

Mataranka Accommodation

Mataranka caters for all travellers with a wide variety of accommodation to choose from.

There’s bush camping, motel rooms, cabins as well as powered and unpowered caravan park sites.

Between the Homestead, Caravan Parks and Motels the area has you covered for whatever accommodation you require during your stay.

Little Roper Stockcamp

Enjoy an incredible and unique outback experience at the Little Roper Stockcamp.

Every morning at 8am except Sundays, owner Des boils the billy and cooks up little johnny cakes.

It is great gathering around with fellow travellers for a chat over a free cup of tea while enjoying a couple of johnny cakes for just $2 each.

After morning smoko, stick around as at 9am Des brings out the resident snakes and lizards for kids big and small to get up close and personal with.

Campfire Cooking Little Roper Stockcamp

The Communal Fire is lit every afternoon at 5pm and offers another great gathering point at the Little Roper Stockcamp.

Cook dinner over the fire in your camp oven or you are welcome to use one of the camp ovens provided.

There are rustic showers and toilets, washing machines and water but it is bore water.

A number of friendly farm animals on-site are also a great way to keep the kids entertained.

Contact Details for the Little Roper Stockcamp:

Phone: 0427 880 819
Address: 547 Homestead Road Mataranka NT
Website:

Read everything to know here: Little Roper Stockcamp

Des cooking up johnny cakes at Little Roper Stockcamp

____________________________________________

Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping in Mataranka

Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping

Located just 3kms from the Mataranka township the Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping is also just a short walk to the magnificent Bitter Springs.

Right on the banks of the Little Roper River, it not only provides an informal camping area in a relaxed natural bush setting, it is also an awesome spot to go barra fishing.

The spacious Campground has powered sites with bore water on tap where you can choose your own site and you can stay unhitched if you wish.

Pet Friendly Bitter Springs Camping

Facilities include toilets, showers, a camp kitchen and laundry.

An on-site kiosk stocks bread, milk and ice and be sure to try their frozen fresh locally grown mango!

Unpowered sites are available alongside the bank of the river.

Campfires are allowed in the unpowered campground but not in the main powered camping area.

Pets are welcome and we were able to stay with our beautiful Golden Retriever MACKS.

Generators are not permitted.

Contact Details for Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping:

Phone:  08 8975 4838
Address:  255 Martin Road, Bitter Springs, Mataranka, Northern Territory
Website: 

Read more: Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping

Bitter Springs Caravan Park - our first stay in Mataranka
Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping

______________________________________________

Mataranka Homestead at night

Mataranka Homestead

The Mataranka Homestead is home to the We of the Never Never Homestead and the Mataranka Thermal Pools.

A large camping area is available with both powered and unpowered sites as well as cabins and motel style accommodation.

Facilities at the Mataranka Homestead include a pool, bar and restaurant plus a store which stocks bread, milk, souvenirs and basic clothing and fishing supplies.

There are three amenities blocks and two laundries throughout the grounds.

Nathan Whippy Griggs regularly performs at the Mataranka Homestead
Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs

Pets are permitted but restricted to Campground One only due to the fact that the homestead is located in National Park.

Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times in the campground. Pets are not permitted in the Elsey National Park.

There are no on-line bookings available, it is simply a first in best dressed basis or you can call them on (08) 8975 4544.

Be sure to witness Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs in action at the Mataranka Homestead.

He performs every night except Monday nights from May through to August.

Contact Details for the Mataranka Homestead:

Phone: 08 8975 4544
Address: 642 Homestead Road, Mataranka, Northern Territory
Website:

Mataranka Homestead

______________________________________________

Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park - one of the places to stay in Mataranka

Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park

Just 500 metres from the heart of Mataranka township is the Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park.

Powered Sites, Family Rooms and Double Share Motel Rooms are the accommodation options on offer.

Facilities include a swimming pool, spa, a huge camp kitchen, barbecue and laundry.

Territory Manor Buggy from We of the Never Never movie

There is also an outdoor undercover licensed restaurant which is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

The old buggy from the ‘We of the Never Never’ movie features in the restaurant as a buffet bench.

One of the other features of the Territory Manor is the Barra Feeding and the camping area is pet friendly.

Contact Details for Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park:

Phone: 08 8975 4516 or 08 8975 4612
Address: 51 Martin Road, Mataranka, Northern Territory
Website:

Territory Manor Barra Feeding Mataranka

___________________________________________

Elsey National Park on the outskirts of Mataranka

Jalmurark Campground

Located in the Elsey National Park, the Jalmurark Campground offers a large camping area with unpowered sites providing 2WD access for caravans, motorhomes and tent camping.

Facilities at the Jalmurark Camping Ground include toilets, showers and barbecues.

There are no bins so you need to take your rubbish with you.

The use of generators not permitted. Pets not allowed in the National Park.

Fires allowed in the designated fire pits only. Collection of firewood from the sides of the main roads is permissable.

You must be at least 50 metres away from the water when washing with soaps or detergents.

Bookings are to be made prior to your arrival. Book on-line through the Northern Territory Parks Booking System.

Contact Details for the Jalmurark Campground:

Phone: 08 8975 4560
Address: John Hauser Drive, Elsey, Northern Territory
Website:

United Mataranka

Mataranka Fuel Stations

There are actually 3 fuel stations in the small town of Mataranka.

Ampol Fuel is at the Mataranka Store & Service Station plus there’s the Mataranka United Service Station and the BP Mataranka Roadhouse.

All three are located within metres of each other in the main street of Mataranka.

On the three occasions that we have visited Mataranka over the last few years we have found diesel prices at the United and BP are slightly cheaper than at the Ampol.

There is however a 5c Fuel Discount Offer for Mataranka Central when you stay at the Mataranka Homestead.

We always use Petrol Spy app to find the cheapest fuel prices for any location throughout Australia.

Read more:  How to Save Money on Fuel

Mataranka Main Street

Take your time and experience everything to see and do in Mataranka.

It is a genuinely interesting and fascinating Australian outback town with many features and intriguing things to experience.

Other places to stay in the region:

Pin – Mataranka

Pin - Mataranka
Pin - Mataranka
Pin - Mataranka

Have you visited or spent some time exploring Mataranka?

Tell us about your experience in Mataranka.

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

We are Adele & Kevin, an Aussie couple from Brisbane in Queensland Australia who have embraced our adventurous spirit and ventured out to explore the world around us. We had spent so much time overseas we decided it was time to see our own truly amazing country and we needed to take some time to see everything it has to offer.

Our Aim is to inspire others to travel and help design the greatest adventure they can experience.

_________________________________________________________________________

Photography and Socials

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

Samsung Note 10 Plus Phone – http://ebay.us/9vMXEH – Most of our photos are simply from our phones. The Samsung phone cameras are pretty insane. Our phones have 512gb storage in ours but the 256gb in this one is heaps.

Samsung s21 Phonehttps://ebay.us/QAdwva – this looks an insane camera within a phone. We have friends and our son who own one and it seems quite extraordinary with their camera quality. If you’re after a new phone this is what I’d be looking at.

Canon 800dhttps://ebay.us/Q0UV1z – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.

Nikon Coolpix p1000https://ebay.to/37cORUV – We have the Nikon P900 and this is the new model. The zoom lens is unbelievable and so awesome when travelling and you want to capture photos from a distance.

Lenses

Canon 50mm lens – https://ebay.to/3nx5pyG  This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lenshttps://ebay.us/br9MeO – This is my all round, everyday use, zoom lens. Amazing quality, great price.
Canon 70-300mm lens – https://ebay.to/33xYeht – I use this one a lot for long range shots.
Sigma 10-20mm lenshttp://ebay.us/zWvfuI  – My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

Our Go Pro 9 Hero Black – https://ebay.us/6CQOVC  –  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://ebay.to/2ARPxTo  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

___________________________________________________________

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.

Continue Reading

Adventurers Diary

The Story of John, The Highway Man

John the Highway Man Feature Image

At just 23 years of age, John The Highway Man as he is now known, took leave from his bank job of 5 years and went for a walk.

His intention was to go for 3 months, just to wander and feel free.

John never went back.

He was missing for 25 years.

This is the story of John The Highway Man

John the Highway Man walking down the highway in NSW

While travelling Australia and traversing the long highways all around our vast country you really do see and meet some amazing, interesting and quirky people.

Way out in the middle of absolutely nowhere you see people riding bicycles, unicycles, postie bikes, riding tractors, in cars so old they out date some of us and making their way from A to B by extraordinary means.

But this is a story of a man who has chosen a completely different mode of transport, his legs.

He’s been using them to walk the country’s roads now for over 40 years.

It really is a fascinating story of a man who found peace and solitude walking the highways of Australia.

In his words ” I’m just a wanderer”

We met John in NSW and chatted and this is his story.

Who is John the Highway Man?

His real name is Grant John Cadoret.

As Adele and I approached the town of Forbes in regional NSW in our Winnebago Esperance Motorhome we both noticed a fellow on the side of the highway walking north.

We were around 30 kms south from the town when Adele recognised him and said, “that’s John the Highway Man”.

I looked in my mirrors and checked the side of the highway and made sure it was safe for us to pull over.

Fortunately we had no vehicles behind us and space off the side of the road.

So we stopped and had a chat.

John the Highway Man

About John

John grew up in the Victorian country town of Minyip, just over 300 kms north west of Melbourne.

It was 1977 and at the young age of 23, John decided to take some leave from his good banking job, just to go for a walk.

It was only meant to be for a short time, certainly not for the decades how it has ended up.

Out here as he trod the earth, looked out over farmland, and searching within himself, he found solitude and peace as time went by.

3 months turned into 3 years, then 5, then 10 and before he knew it, he’d been gone a long, long time.

John said to me as we chatted, “when I first started out no-one would give me a ride when I wanted one. Now everyone offers me a ride but I prefer to walk”

Communication in the 1970, 80’s and even early 90’s of dial up was nothing like it is today.

There were no mobile phones, no internet, no Facebook, no Social Media at all.

The way we communicated was very different and much slower.

We did have pay phones and postcards though so his family struggled over the many years not hearing from him and believed he must have died.

John understood he’d been gone a long time and the longer he left it the harder it became to reach out and contact his loved ones.

Ultimately, he chose to let sleeping dogs lay.

His parents, he thought, would likely be dead by now so he continued on his marathon walk along the Australian Highways.

Where did he get money from?

He didn’t have any money, he didn’t need any.

At no time has John stopped to work along the way nor has he received any benefits or Government money.

Without property, without a vehicle and having no material needs he didn’t need money.

How did he survive?

John ate and drank what he would find on the roadsides of the highways.

He would come across food that had been thrown out car windows plus bottles and cans of drink tossed to the sides of the roads.

Along the way the kindness of other people would sometimes provide him food to eat.

Pools of water would otherwise be a source for somewhere to drink.

He became a modern day Swagman and learnt the survival tactics he needed.

Kev talking to John The Highway Man

During our chat I said to him, you should write a book. His response was “I prefer to read them”.

John stops at libraries and always has a book or two with him.

He does now have a small Kindle pad with him that he charges with a little solar panel you see on top of his backpack as he walks.

I found John to be very humble. He was happy to chat but I needed to lead the way with questions.

People stop and talk to him, some say they’d love to be doing it. John says, it’s always a fine day when they say it.

Finding John the Highway Man

Decades had gone by when a journalist heard about him having gone missing and decided to try to find him.

Amazingly, he did.

He stopped his car and chatted with him on the side of the road, talking about where he had been and listening to his stories.

The journalist went back and told his family, who had long decided he must have died, why else would he have never contacted them after so many years.

His sister broke down in tears and desperately wanted to see him.

John’s mother was at first unsure, not believing it was actually him.

In time her emotions went to anger, mad that he would still be alive and not contacted her.

Understandably there were a huge range of emotions for everyone involved.

The Journalist returned back to find John, once again travelling the Highways, looking for that needle in the haystack of the contented Swagman on his unique journey.

Eventually he found him once again, this time providing John his sisters phone number and told him his family wanted him to contact them.

Grant John Cadoret

Reuniting with his Family

It took a little time, some months, before John made the call.

His sister Michelle, a school teacher, was interrupted during class. There’s a phone call they told her, you need to take it.

It was John!!

The family reunited and now John returns regularly to visit. 

He discovered that his mother and father had split up over time and his father now lives in Queensland.

Where can you see John?

He doesn’t walk as far any more.

When I asked him if he was heading up to Queensland he said no. “Everything up there wants to kill you” he told me.

Ohhh, you mean snakes, spiders and dingoes I asked.

No he said, “Ants”.

“Any time I sit down they swarm all over me up there.”

He said he doesn’t go past Warwick now.

John told me he walked to Western Australia once in his earlier years but he doesn’t go back now.

Mostly you find him along the Highways of NSW and Victoria or maybe just a little over the border into Queensland.

In his early days, John says the police would pull him up for hitchhiking but now they all know him.

“They would ask me for ID, the problem is I’ve never had a credit card or any form of identification”, John said.

I asked John where he was aiming to get to today.

“I don’t know” he said. “I’ll just keep going until I’ve had enough and then I’ll stop”.

We asked him does he have an idea of where he wants to get to each day, “No” he said.

He has no plan each day, he just meanders along at his own pace in his own space.

Although introverted and quiet, John is friendly and kind also.

Pulled over when we spotted John The Highway Man
We pulled over when we spotted John the Highway Man

John the Highway Man on Social Media

John himself is not on Social Media, he has no idea what it is, just that it’s a thing and how people now know about him.

Today there are several Facebook pages dedicated to the adventures of John the Highway Man.

People watch out for him and post online where is he and how he is doing. 

They share their stories of him and what was said when they met.

One page is called The Highway Man: A: Grant Johns journey. The original page.

Another is The Highway Man, Grant Johns Helping Hands.

Please keep in mind John’s safety when sharing information on social media.

Don’t make him a target for thieves or leave him in a vulnerable position to anyone who may take advantage of his lifestyle.

What to do if you see John

Ensure before you apply the brakes on your vehicle that there is no-one close behind you and where you pull over you do it safely, for the sake of you, your family, John and other travellers.

Find somewhere that’s safe to stop to talk and it won’t hinder or be a distraction to others.

John is actually usually quite social, he likes to chat and is often happy talking for as long as you want to.

Remember, he chose this life and has been doing it a long time.

It’s his life and he’s happy so don’t talk with him as if he’s poor or suffering. He is doing exactly what he has chosen to do.

He doesn’t accept lifts so if you offer he’s very unlikely to do so.

John can only carry so much gear so while he appreciates gifts, he may not always be able to take it with him.

He likes coke and people bring him food and water, batteries and new boots or clothing.

I’ve learnt since we met that he likes a Rum too. Wish I knew that at the time and I’d have poured one for us both.

Apic with John The Highway Man

This is an incredible story of a true Aussie character.

A guy who chose to be different. In fact, he has said he knew he was different and just wasn’t fitting in.

Society can be a real challenge for some of us and John found his own space and his own place.

Hopefully we will get to meet him again.

Pin – John the Highway Man

Pin - John the Highway Man
Pin - John the Highway Man
Pin - John the Highway Man

Have you ever spotted John the Highway Man walking down the highway and stopped to have a chat?

Tell us if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting John.

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

We are Adele & Kevin, an Aussie couple from Brisbane in Queensland Australia who have embraced our adventurous spirit and ventured out to explore the world around us. We had spent so much time overseas we decided it was time to see our own truly amazing country and we needed to take some time to see everything it has to offer.

Our Aim is to inspire others to travel and help design the greatest adventure they can experience.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Photography and Socials

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

Samsung s21 Ultra Phonehttps://ebay.us/QAdwva – this is an insane camera within a phone. The S21 Ultra comes with up to 100 times zoom and high quality camera. If you’re after a new phone this is what I’d be looking at for travelling.

Nikon Coolpix p1000https://ebay.to/37cORUV – We have the Nikon P900 and this is the new model. The zoom lens is unbelievable and so awesome when travelling and you want to capture photos from a distance.

Our Go Pro 9 Hero Black – https://ebay.us/6CQOVC  –  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://ebay.to/2ARPxTo  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/indefiniteleave

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

___________________________________________________________

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.

Continue Reading

Adventurers Diary

Things to do in Ilfracombe Qld

Things to do in Ilfracombe Feature

For a small outback Queensland town, there are quite a number of fun, interesting things to do in Ilfracombe.

Named after the small Devonshire town in England, Ilfracombe was founded in 1891 and was once the transport hub for the Wellshot Station, the largest sheep station in Australia.

Back in the early days, Ilfracombe had three hotels each with accommodation and their own dance hall. 

It also had two general stores, a couple of butchers, a baker, a saddler, dressmaker as well as a billiard saloon, a coach builder and a soft drink maker.

Now, the once thriving population has dwindled to between 200 and 300.

Ilfracombe has some great things to do

Located between Barcaldine and Longreach, Ilfracombe is known as the Hub of the West as their welcome sign suggests!

It’s just a 20 minute drive or just 27.2 kms from Ilfracombe to Longreach.

By road it is 80.9 kms from Barcaldine to Ilfracombe and around 52 minutes to drive between these two towns.

Naturally it is hard to compete with major attractions of Longreach but Ilfracombe provides a great outback atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle.

A quiet little town where you can enjoy peace and tranquility and a great base from which you can explore the entire region.

The main street of Ilfracombe

_____________________________________________

Machinery Mile in the main street of Ilfracombe

Top Things to do in Ilfracombe

Here are 8 great things to do in Ilfracombe most of which are located right in the heart of town:

1. Take a walk down Machinery Mile

An easy way to get some exercise in Ilfracombe is to take a walk down Machinery Mile and back and you will clock up over 3 kms.

You will be amazed at some of the old machinery that makes up Machinery Mile, most of which has been collected from within a 100 metre radius to Ilfracombe.

This incredible timeline of tractors, dozers, trucks, carts, tanks and much more stretches out for a mile of the main street in Ilfracombe.

A couple of them are very rare and are one or two of the their kind left in the world.

Machinery Mile is free of charge however donations are gratefully accepted via the donation box to help maintain the machinery.

Wellshot Hotel -one of the top 8 things to do in Ilfracombe

2. Drop into the Wellshot Hotel

Be sure to drop into the Wellshot Hotel for a drink or two and sit your bum down on their quirky bar stools.

You simply can’t miss having a photo on these iconic stools at this iconic pub!

Stay for lunch or dinner and take the time to learn about the history of the hats, enjoy the rustic charm and quirky features that this outback pub has to offer.

Try your luck and see if you can successfully pin a $5 note to the roof of the bar.

Read more: Wellshot Hotel

Ilfracombe Artesian Pools
Ilfracombe Artesian Spa

3. Bathe in the Ilfracombe Artesian Spa and Swimming Pool

Take a therapeutic dip in the Ilfracombe Artesian Spa and Swimming Pool.

Feel the benefits of the warm therapeutic mineral waters. It is great to soak your weary muscles when you stop after a long day driving.

The waters of the Ilfracombe Artesian Spa are from the Great Artesian Basin which is one of the world’s largest artesian groundwater basins.

The Great Artesian Basin underlies one-fifth of Australia and extends beneath regions of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Northern Territory.

It stretches from the Great Dividing Range all of the way to the Lake Eyre depression.

Standard Daily Opening Hours for the Ilfracombe Artesian Spa and Pool are 3.30pm to 6.30pm.

Display depicting the General Store in the early days

4. Visit Langenbaker House

The Langenbaker House is one of the first houses in Ilfracombe.

Since the 1890’s it belonged to Harry & Mary-Anne Langenbaker and remained in their family for just over 100 years.

It was acquired by the Ilfracombe Shire Council in 1991 after the last Langenbaker family member passed away.

This humble home has been preserved and is open to the public for guided tours.

It stands as a memorial to the Australia Outback Town’s people illustrating their way of life.

Inside the house it still largely resembles what it was like while the Langenbakers were raising their 11 children.

One of their sons became blind in an accident in 1921 therefore the furniture was left in exactly the same place so he could find his way around.

Ilfracombe Post Office

5. Pop into the Ilfracombe Post Office

The beautiful old tongue and groove building is home to not only Australia Post but also the Ilfracombe Library, a Gift Shop and a Second Hand Clothing store.

In 2010, the Ilfracombe Post Office celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the first motor mail delivery in the Commonwealth of Australia which went from Ilfracombe to Isisford.

6. Look through the Wellshot Centre

Learn about the early beginnings of the Wellshot Station.

The Wellshot Centre is an interesting place to visit as it outlines the history of the one of Australia’s greatest sheep stations.

The Wellshot Centre is also the Ilfracombe Visitor Information Centre.

Wellshot Station holds the world record for shearing the largest number of sheep off the same property in one season back in 1892.

Another record in the shire was the record for moving 43,000 sheep, the largest mob of sheep as a single flock in 1886.

7. Check out the Romani Hall Memorial – Gun Museum

The Romani Hall Memorial contains glass cabinets full of machine guns and weapons.

There are bombs, pistols, rifles, grenades and lots more.

All of the items in the museum relate to the war with the museum dedicated to Australia’s Light Horsemen.

It is a tribute to the young men in the Ilfracombe district who enlisted in the armed forces.

8. The Twelve Mile

Just 20 kms out from Ilfracombe towards Isisford is The Twelve Mile.

To find The Twelve Mile, go past Stockyard Creek and it will be on your left. 

Then turn at the Twelve Mile sign before driving another 100 metres to behind the dam.

Before heading out, pick up a map from the Wellshot Information Centre.

The self-guided map will assist you to explore this incredible formation.

Tree of Knowledge
Tree of Knowledge illuminated at night

Great Things to do in the Ilfracombe nearby region

There are more great things to do in the Infracombe surrounding region in towns like Barcaldine, Patrick, Aramac and Longreach.

Be sure to check out these other great attractions while you are close by.

Barcaldine

Tree of Knowledge

Barcaldine is just under 81kms from Ilfracombe and is most famous for the Tree of Knowledge.

The ghost gum is located in front of the Barcaldine Railway Station and it was under this tree that the 1891 Shearer’s Strike workers met.

The Tree of Knowledge was the site of the reading of the manifesto in 1892 leading to the formation of the Labour Party in Queensland.

Sadly this very notable tree which had been added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992 was poisoned in 2006.

Visit the Tree of Knowledge especially at night to see it beautifully illuminated with evolving coloured lights.

Barcaldine Great Shearers Strike

Great Shearers Strike

A tremendous and temultuous event in Queensland’s history was the Great Shearers Strike back in 1891.

At the time, Australia was going into its worst ever depression and unemployment was rife.

The price of wool had fallen and shearing was one of the most demanding but lowest paid jobs.

1,000 shearers put down their shears and marched through the streets of Barcaldine until their demands were met.

The demands were for the continuation of existing rates of pay; protection of worker’s rights and privileges; just and equitable agreements and the exclusion of low-cost Chinese labour.

The strike marked as the beginning of the working man’s voice lasted 4 months and 13 strike leaders were arrested and actually sentenced to 3 years hard labour.

Lara Wetlands
Lara Wetlands

Patrick

Lara Wetlands

When visiting nearby Barcaldine, be sure to head out to Lara Wetlands and camp up beside the lake for a few days.

It is a birdlover’s and photographer’s paradise.

Soak up the warmth in the natural hot spring pool, cook up a feast on a campfire, witness sensational sunsets and sunrises, paddle the lake in one of the complimentary kayaks.

Another option is you can use some old fashioned pedal power to explore the lake perimetre on the complimentary bicycles.

Read more about: Lara Wetlands

Aramac Sculpture Trail
One of over 40 unique sculptures dotted around the Aramac Lake Dunn Sculputre Trail

Aramac

The Aramac Sculpture Trail

Aramac is around 45 minutes from Barcaldine and is the where you can start the Aramac/Lake Dunn Sculpure Trail.

Miluynda Rogers, a local sculptor has created over 40 sculptures.

This unique art installation has Miluynda’s creations dotted around a 200km loop circuit.

It is one of the biggest permanent outdoor sculpture exhibiitons in the world and took us the best part of 6.5 hrs to complete the entire triangular circuit between Aramac, Lake Dunn and Jericho.

Longreach Sign

Longreach

Just 27.2kms and a 20 minute drive from Ilfracombe is Longreach.

Just add the things to do in Ilfracombe and Longreach and you can easily spend quite a few days in this awesome Queensland outback region.

Two of Adele’s 5 favourite tours in all of Oz are tours from Longreach.

Read more about: Our Favourite Experiences as we Travel Australia

Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame

Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame

One of the most popular attractions and things to do in Longreach is the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.

Following a $15m makeover, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame is even bigger and better since our visit in first visit in 2017.

You can choose to do the Stockman’s Experience Tour which includes the Live Show, Entry to the Museum and Galleries plus the new Cinematic Experience or you can just opt for the Museum & Gallery Entry only.

Definitely include this iconic attraction to your list of things to do in Ilfracombe and nearby region.

Qantas Founders Museum

Qantas Founders Museum

We enjoyed three of the Qantas Founders Museum tours and experiences when first visiting Longreach in 2017.

Firstly we wandered through the main exhibition hall of the amazing Qantas Founders Museum as well as the Heritage Listed Qantas Hangar.

Our second experience was going behind the scenes of the Boeing 707 and 747 as part of the 1.5 hr Airpark tour.

Since we visited they have constructed a roof  over the iconic aircraft to protect them from the harsh outback sun.

Last but not least and the true highlight of the Qantas Founders Museum was the 747 Wing Walk, a once in a lifetime experience.

Since our first visit in 2017 they have added the Luminescent Longreach – Light and Sound Show which would be great to do as well.

Outback Pioneers

Longreach

Outback Pioneers

The Kinnon Family are true outback pioneers.

They have really reinvented tourism in Longreach and they have a number of awesome tours and experiences.

Take an exhilarating Cobb & Co Stagecoach ride.

It is Australia’s only stagecoach gallop!

This amazing 4 hr tour includes riding the restored Cobb & Co Stagecoach through the main street of Longreach, galloping along a stretch of the original Longreach – Windorah mail run.

Also included is a traditional Aussie Morning Tea, a classic Australian movie in the retro cinema with canvas seats and the Harry Redford Old Time Tent Show – a tribute to the old time travelling shows.

Check out our: Top 10 Things to do in Longreach

Places to Stay in Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe Caravan Park

You can’t miss the Ilfracombe Caravan Park, just look for the red truck perched up on top of the entry way to this outback van park.

Accommodation options on offer include 55 Caravan Sites all with Power & Water and a range of fully self-contained cabins.

The cabins include Deluxe Queen Ensuite Cabins, a Family Cabin, a Pet Friendly Cabin and Queen Ensuite Villas.

Wellshot Hotel

Wellshot Hotel Campground

Located behind the Wellshot Hotel is the Wellshot Hotel Campground.

This is a paid campground where you can pull up stumps in your Caravan or Motorhome after a long drive or following a big afternoon session at the Wellshot Hotel lol.

Camping facilities at the Wellshot Hotel Campground include toilets, showers, drinking water, bins, laundry facilities and hook up to power.

It is accessible to caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, campervans and tent camping.

Pets are permitted.

Other great places to stay in the region:

Where to Eat and Drink in Ilfracombe

Wellshot Hotel

We had it on good authority that the Wellshot Hotel has awesome Steak Sandwiches.

Naturally, we had to stop into the Wellshot Hotel and experience one of the Steak Sangers for ourselves and we weren’t disappointed.

The Wellshot Hotel offers a wide range of meal options for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner including delicious home made pies.

Choose to dine inside in the Dining Room, outside in the Beer Garden or be like us and eat your lunch up at the bar!

The Coffee Hatch

At the front of the Wellshot Hotel is The Coffee Hatch.

Not only does the Wellshot Hotel have the coldest beer in the west, it also serves up the best coffee.

Choose from the usual coffees, Cappucino, Hot Chocolate, Chai Latte, Espresso or a good old Flat White.

You can also enjoy a refreshingly cold Iced Chocolate on a hot summer’s morning. Grab a delicious piece of cake or crossiant to go with your drink.

Open Monday to Saturday 6am – 12 noon and Sundays from 8am – 12 noon.

Ilfracombe Caravan Park

During tourist season, the Ilfracombe Caravan Park offer a set menu for a delicious hearty meal when staying at the park.

Choose from 5 different reasonably priced meals and there’s one dessert.

Spoil yourself with a home cooked meal simply by booking and paying at Reception before 3pm on the day and be seated at a table in the ‘Shed’ for your dinner.

Kath's Kountry Kitchen

Pin – Things to do in Ilfracombe

Have you ticked off any of these things to do in Ilfracombe Qld?

Tell us about your most memorable experience of Ilfracombe.

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

We are Adele & Kevin, an Aussie couple from Brisbane in Queensland Australia who have embraced our adventurous spirit and ventured out to explore the world around us. We had spent so much time overseas we decided it was time to see our own truly amazing country and we needed to take some time to see everything it has to offer.

Our Aim is to inspire others to travel and help design the greatest adventure they can experience.

_____________________________________________________________________

Photography and Socials

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

Samsung Note 10 Plus Phone – http://ebay.us/9vMXEH – Most of our photos are simply from our phones. The Samsung phone cameras are pretty insane. Our phones have 512gb storage in ours but the 256gb in this one is heaps.

Samsung s21 Phonehttps://ebay.us/QAdwva – this looks an insane camera within a phone. We have friends and our son who own one and it seems quite extraordinary with their camera quality. If you’re after a new phone this is what I’d be looking at.

Canon 800dhttps://ebay.us/Q0UV1z – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.

Nikon Coolpix p1000https://ebay.to/37cORUV – We have the Nikon P900 and this is the new model. The zoom lens is unbelievable and so awesome when travelling and you want to capture photos from a distance.

Lenses

Canon 50mm lens – https://ebay.to/3nx5pyG  This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lenshttps://ebay.us/br9MeO – This is my all round, everyday use, zoom lens. Amazing quality, great price.
Canon 70-300mm lens – https://ebay.to/33xYeht – I use this one a lot for long range shots.
Sigma 10-20mm lenshttp://ebay.us/zWvfuI  – My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

Our Go Pro 9 Hero Black – https://ebay.us/6CQOVC  –  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://ebay.to/2ARPxTo  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

___________________________________________________________

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.

Continue Reading

queensland