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Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade for our Motorhome

Should we switch from AGM to Lithium Battery and upgrade the Solar system for our Motorhome, it’s a question we considered for some time before finally making the decision to change.

It’s the never ending Caravan and RV question isn’t it, should you go to Lithium batteries or stick with AGM?

We should have improved our solar setup years ago but finally we have totally overhauled our entire Solar and Battery system in our Motorhome.

Solar and Lithium products have improved significantly in recent years and it’s time to bring our rig in line with today’s capabilities and align that with our needs.

Work on our Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

The Right Advice for the Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

The first issue though is getting the right advice upfront.

Every industry business and “expert” will tell you the best products to use and it’s amazing how every time it just happens to be the product they are selling.

Don’t expect a dealer of Enerdrive to tell you the benefits of Redarc. You aren’t going to get the best advice on Lithium batteries from an AGM battery dealer.

And they will all want to tell you how cheaper Lithium batteries like iTechworld and others are no good and how they’ve had to replace them for other customers.

Then there’s the wide and varied online comments to wade through on Social Media that make it all the more confusing.

Our Motorhome in the workshop for the Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

Research for our Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

Like most things, it is vital to do your own research and work out the fact from fiction.

Our knowledge of all the technical matters of Solar is limited. We simply knew our setup was old and not producing enough power for what we were using.

One look at our solar panels and it was obvious they were not in good condition. The cells were broken and they were likely to have been producing very little input.

Our inverter was a 1000w old dinosaur that “browned out suburbs” as my mate would say and obviously needed upgrading.

We were running everything through our C-Tek management system which wasn’t installed correctly and hadn’t been working properly from Day 1, even after taking it back several times to the installer.

Old Inverter replaced

The goal now was to move to Lithium, utilise our roof space to maximise the solar power we could generate and run it all through a quality management system that would ensure we had all the power we needed and wanted.

We didn’t feel C-Tek would properly run our Lithium system and found it too difficult to get the right advice. I’m never comfortable when you can’t contact the manufacturer directly to ask questions.

Reasons for our Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

These are the problems we had and why we wanted to change.

1. Not enough power. At night we would turn off all lights and sit in the dark. We certainly couldn’t couldn’t charge anything once the sun went down.

2. Our Waeco fridge would have to be turned off every night as it drew too much power for our system.

3. We had an old system with an inverter that was very limited in it’s capacity to run appliances.

4. Adele couldn’t use her laptop when connected to power. It would jump and move erratically when she tried to move the cursor.

The system we had was there when we bought it except for the C-Tek. The Motorhome is a 2009 Winnebago Esperance which we bought in 2015.

5 Essentials – 4WD Accessories

  1. 4WD Recovery Tracks will get you out of most situations, especially in sand. We bought a pair of these generic branded tracks that have worked well whilst other brands include the Australian made TRED or the Australian Designed and made MAXTRAX 4wd Recovery Tracks.
  2. For our 4WD we went with this EDECOA 1500 3000w Pure Sine Wave Inverter which has been excellent value and works great.
  3. I’m a massive fan of my Victron IP65 15a Battery Charger. I use it often to give batteries a boost and it really is an essential part of my tool kit.
  4. When camping my Kings 200w Solar Blanket gets a lot of use and works really well. Only downside is it doesn’t work with Lithium batteries.
  5. Brass Tyre Deflators are a fast and easy way to lower your tyre pressure to your desired level. Perfect for when you are hitting the beach.
iTech World Lithium Battery

Changing to Lithium

Part of the Solar System upgrade is changing our 2 x 120amp AGM batteries to 2 x 120amp Lithium batteries.

For 12 months we had been using and testing 2 x iTechworld 120a Lithium batteries in our 4wd to run our fridge and the inverter when needed. We were only using one of the batteries and it had been working well using a C-Tek charger.

We were pleased with how they worked, that they were so light in weight and handled all the conditions but we had one sitting idle not doing anything so why not get them both in the Motorhome where they would be used to maximum benefit.

iTechworld claim the 120amp Lithium battery is equivalent to a 200amp AGM so it also increased our stored power capacity.

There is a lot of discussion about being able to use all 100% of the power within the battery however the user manuals only talk about utilising up to 80% of the battery.

Whilst it seems you can use 100% it diminishes the amount of lifecycles of the battery significantly.

Even at 80% usage it is considerably more then 50% of an AGM battery before it begins to do damage to the AGM battery.

You can read all about the iTechworld 120a Lithium Battery on Ebay and purchase today.

Panels for New Solar System Upgrade

What other changes did we make?

Once we knew we were going with the Lithium we wanted a system to operate and manage it that was going to ensure we got the benefit of having Lithium LifePo4 batteries.

We chose Victron and this is what we had installed.

Victron

Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger 12/2000/ 80-30. This is a Pure Sine Wave Inverter plus Battery Charger combined. It is a 12V 2000VA Inverter plus 80A Battery Charger with a 30A Automatic Transfer switch.

Supplied here on Ebay at a great price from a reputable RV Solar company.

Victron Smart Charge Controller

Victron Smart Solar MPPT 100/50. This is designed to work with Lithium batteries and also provides Bluetooth capability.

The Victron Smart Solar manages the solar power to the batteries providing 30% more efficiency.

Victron Smart Battery Protect 12/24v 65amp. This protects the batteries by monitoring voltage and disconnecting the batteries if necessary.

Victron Digital Multi Control 200/200a GX. This is our Victron control panel which gives us information about the charge and allows us to change settings, if we require, to connecting to power or solar.

Simarine

Simarine Digital Monitoring System. This tells us everything we need to know including battery level, amp input and how long we can last without power.

Also with further added kits we will be able to monitor water level, lights, fridge and more.

It is all accessible on our phone with the app through Wifi.

The Simarine Pico Monitor is available on Ebay

3 x 170w solar panels – We upgraded to these 170 Watt, 12V Single Cell Mono-crystalline Solar Panel. They come with a 10 year warranty, weigh just 11.5kg, are smaller in size than its competitors on the market by up to 54% and lighter in weight than its competitors by up to 41%.

They have been working fantastic since they were installed and creating more then sufficient power for us now.

Read about: Solar – Creating and Managing our Power

Upgrade Work

Also as part of the Lithium Battery and Solar System upgrade the following modifications and changes were made.

Two long plumbing pipes on the roof originally installed to carry our fishing rods were removed to allow extra space for the solar panels to be installed.

The battery box compartment on the outside of the Motorhome was enclosed to provide more protection for the batteries.

A fan was installed to reduce the amount of heat from the oven and in the area where the Victron equipment is housed.

An Anderson plug was added to allow for another solar panel to be attached to the system whenever we may want to.

Equipment for the Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

Why did we choose Victron?

The 3 we considered were Enerdrive, REDARC and Victron.

Enerdrive

Enerdrive is very popular with other travellers and 4wd owners and certainly appears to be good gear. For us though it seemed expensive and for that reason we ruled it out. We wanted a great product that would work at good value.

REDARC

REDARC is also really good gear and we would have been happy going this way too. I hadn’t really seen anyone doing a full overhaul like we planned though with REDARC and it too seemed to be more expensive then Victron.

Victron

A few things happened that took us to using Victron. I was on my way to buy a REDARC battery charger about 6 months prior to the decision to upgrade our solar but stopped off along the way and came across a Victron.

It was $100 cheaper so I rang a mate who worked in Solar and Grant confirmed to me Victron was good gear.

I bought it and it has been awesome so I was already a fan of the Victron brand.

Another mate Mick who does RV Repairs for a living changed his AGM batteries in his Caravan to Lithium and in the process found out that when we are told you can drop your Lithium batteries in to your current setup it is true but if it’s not a Lithium charger then it will only work to 80% of it’s capacity.

He went and changed his system to Victron and loved it. He was Free camped for several months during Covid at Gunn Point out of Darwin and his Lithium setup worked perfectly.

So two mates who’s opinions I respect due to their high levels of solar experience were recommending Victron. I’d had a good experience with them and they seemed a bit cheaper then the other options.

The more I researched Victron the more I liked the product.

Motorhome getting the upgrade

Why did we choose to go Lithium?

When we considered upgrading our solar system we realised a lot of other travellers were also asking how are Lithium batteries better then AGM and so we did a lot of research first before deciding.

The depth of discharge is the most important factor with a LifePo4 Lithium Battery able to use 80% or more of it’s total battery capacity whereas an AGM battery shouldn’t be discharged below 50% of it’s capacity.

Lithium batteries can use their entire battery storage before recharge however it will effect the amount of life cycles the battery will perform during it’s life. Our intent is not to go lower then 80%.

The weight of Lithium batteries is another consideration. Our iTechworld 120a Lithium battery weighs 13kg compared to 27-32kgs for an AGM battery of the same size.

That’s a massive saving for an RV.

It is considered that an iTechworld 120a Lithium battery is equivalent to a 200a AGM battery.

Modifications for the new Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

How much did our Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade cost?

We chose to have our Lithium Battery and Solar System upgrade installed as we didn’t have the skills or expertise to do it ourselves.

The full cost of the install was $7,445.21.

Labour component of the install was $2,684.04.

This does not include the cost of our 2 batteries which we purchased previously. We purchased the first iTechworld battery for $849 and the second one was on special with Black Friday sales and we purchased it for $769.

The latest 2020 model iTechworld LifoPo4 Lithium batteries are $949.

Therefore our Total cost for the install was $9,063.21.

This cost included other modifications mentioned above plus a large amount of re-wiring which was required.

New System working well

Has the new setup been a success?

We couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

There’s been enough time now after our latest trip over a few months to the Whitsundays to test it and during our time since then waiting out the Christmas holidays.

We no longer have to turn all our lights off and sit in the dark at night. We don’t have to turn off the inverter and control panel to save every amp possible.

Our Waeco fridge still works but it’s actually not in good condition. The side walls have broken down and it now draws a lot more power than it should.

We kept it for when we are on power but now it runs full time on the solar with no issues. It doesn’t drain our battery bank as the system generates more than enough power to cover it.

Most days the batteries power up to 100% and overnight they go down to around 71-74% before re-charging again the next day.

Apart from the Air conditioner and Microwave it’s like being on power and we can Free camp anywhere without worrying about power usage.

Changing the AGM batteries to Lithium in the Upgrade

Our Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade Summary

  • We aren’t experts in Solar, hence why we had ours installed for us.Over 5 years we have learnt what we needed and we also thoroughly researched what we felt best suited our needs and this install has been perfect for us.
  • We feel Victron gives all round great product and excellent value.
  • The iTechworld LifePo 4 Lithium batteries have not missed a beat either during their time in our 4WD or since we have had them in the Motorhome. We have no issues with the iTechworld Lithium batteries.
  • To get the full benefit of a Lithium battery you should have the right and proper system to manage it. Despite what manufacturers tell you, install a good Lithium system to support your Lithium Battery setup.
Watch the Full video of the install here

Watch the full video of the install on our YouTube channel here

Who did we use to do our install?

Gold Coast RV Repairs/ Infinity Motorhomes

Website: https://www.infinitymotorhomes.com.au/
Phone: 07 5573 0575

We use Brad from Infinity Motorhomes for all our repairs. He has been brilliant in all the work they have done on our Winnebago and we were rapt with his advice and work on installing the Lithium Battery and Solar System upgrade.

Other interesting blogs you may like:

Pin – Lithium Battery and Solar System Upgrade

Have you done to a Lithium Battery and Solar System upgrade? Tell us all about your 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.

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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.

Canon 800d – https://ebay.to/2XQYnsk – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.

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.to/3eCueUo 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 lenshttp://ebay.us/zWvfuI  – My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

Our Go Pro 7 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.

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

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Adventurers Diary

What it REALLY costs to Travel Australia – everything you need to budget for!!

The REAL costs to Travel Australia over 24 months

For the first 2 years of our travels which started in February 2016 we documented everything we spent and recorded it to allow us to help give others a base idea of what it might cost to travel Australia.

We have read other Budgets online and on travel pages but we believe ours is the most accurate and fully detailed report. 

It provides all of what you need to be prepared for and to know what it really costs to travel Australia. There’s more costs than just Caravan Parks, Campgrounds, Fuel and Food.

You need to Budget for all the potential costs or at least be prepared for what might happen.

We have detailed everything that it really cost us to travel Australia for 24 months, nothing is missed. There’s also no guesses, we keep receipts for every cent we spend and record them into a spreadsheet.

We rarely pay cash for anything so it’s all able to be checked against our statements. We know exactly what it cost us to the cent.

Of course though, everyone’s travels are different and this is just what it cost us. Use our report to guide you to estimate your own potential expenses.

Ayers Rock at Sunset on Full Moon

About us and how we travel

We were 3 adults as our son who had just turned 23 travelled with us and we paid for almost all of his costs.

After 2 years, once we got back home to Brisbane, Matt moved in to his brother’s place and from now it’s just Adele and myself however for the duration of these Expenses, Matt was with us.

We drive an 8m Winnebago Motorhome RV with no tow car and therefore it was our only vehicle.

Fishing on Fraser Island at Sunrise

Kevin has run his own businesses now for 30 years and Adele did the bookkeeping for many of those years so keeping accounts and accurately recording the information is just part of our everyday life.

The difference between what we spent in the second year in comparison to the first is significant.

You may be smarter and more experienced in the beginning than us and be able to keep your costs down a lot better than we did.

We are not mechanical in any way so maintaining your vehicle yourself will also save a lot on the costs we incurred to maintain ours over the 2 years.

We aren’t saying what we spent is what it will cost you, but by reviewing our Expenses you can more accurately determine how much you might need to budget to do the Big Lap with less likelihood of running out of funds half way into your trip.

Aerial view of Haycock Point in Ben Boyd National Park

Our Trip

We spent 2 years traveling around Australia and still live in our Motorhome.

The first thing we learnt is everyone’s experience is different, no two people’s trips are the same and everyone has their own budgets and travel plans.

For us, we started out with a 2 year plan before going back home. We wanted to see as much as absolutely possible as we expected we wouldn’t be back.

But something happened along the way, we fell in love with the Lifestyle!!

Our Blog Indefinite Leave also grew fast, we weren’t expecting that, and we wanted to show our followers as much of Australia as we could to inspire them to hit the road and chase their dreams.

We tried to see as much as we could and through our adventures others could make up their own itineraries.

Stunning Hyams Beach
The cost to Travel Australia doesn't matter - we just love it!

Lessons we learnt on our travels

When we left Brisbane on Feb 1, 2016 we were complete and total rookies. Basically we had no idea what we were doing and just learnt along the way.

We really learnt about our costs to travel Australia and how to manage our expenses and were able to stop staying in Caravan Parks and almost entirely Free Camp. We began catching a lot of our own food, Fish, Prawns and Squid were often filling our freezer.

Eating out stopped and Pub stays, while they might be Free or low cost, you end up having a meal and some drinks and before you know it the Free Pub stay just cost $100 or more for a night.

We rarely stay at Pubs or if we do, we prefer ones where we pay a small fee and there’s no expectation of having to eat or drink there.

Looking for ways to reduce your accommodation expenses as well as food and groceries? Read How to save money on Accommodation and How to save money on Food and Groceries

We searched for the best value Fuel and looked to conserve fuel by reducing weight.

We didn’t fill up our water tanks until we got to our destination therefore reducing weight and providing better fuel economy.

On a continual basis, we sent back to home anything we weren’t using, clothes, tools, kitchen utensils and anything that we realised we wouldn’t need or use. If we hadn’t used it in 3-6 months the likelihood was we wouldn’t need it again.

Here’s a few ways we have found that you can save money on fuel while traveling Tips on Saving Fuel Costs While Traveling

Cost to Travel Australia - On Top of Australia at Mount Kosciuszko

Our Highest Costs to travel Australia

We found the Top end of Australia was the most expensive to travel for a couple of reasons.

  1. The heat had us staying in caravan parks so we could plug in to electricity for our air con and had a pool to swim in during the day.
  2. There were so many more major attractions with tours to experience.

    From sailing the islands off 1770, Yeppoon and Whitsundays, scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns and visiting islands like Great Keppel and Fitzroy Island, staying at and seeing Lake Argyle, the incredible trip to Horizontal Falls from Broome and we didn’t even do places like Bungle Bungles which were on fire at the time we went past.

    We also spent a lot in Winton and especially Longreach, there’s so much to do there. For us, the south of Australia was easier to control the budget. Cool nights made Free camping easy and there was so much more choice for Free camping in the South.

    The sights to see weren’t nearly as hard on the budget except the cost to Tasmania and Kangaroo Island.

Here’s a few ways that you will help you save when staying in Caravan Parks: How to save Money staying at Caravan Parks

The more experienced we became the more we were able to reduce our costs.

There are tours all over the country for Lighthouses and old Gaols to visit but once you’ve seen a few it’s hard to get excited about seeing another one.

We didn’t visit any Zoo’s as we always planned to do Dubbo Zoo which we finally did near the end of the 2 year adventure. The budget frees up a bit as you go in this regard.

Costs to travel Australia - Sunset at Haycock Point in Ben Boyd National Park was Free

A couple of quick tips for traveling Oz

1.  Don’t have a washing machine

Two of the greatest issues you will face traveling Oz is space and weight and the washing machine effects both.

It will use so much water and they are so small you need to do so many loads.

I recently asked a Mum parked next to us as we discussed her washing machine in the caravan and they were a traveling family of parents and 3 children, How often do you wash? I was already expecting the answer and wasn’t surprised when she said, Every day!!

For us, we would prefer less washes in bigger machines and if we were road tripping Oz when our kids were younger that decision would be even more so.

The cost for us the whole trip to wash our clothes in Laundries and Caravan Parks turned out to be just $726 over 2 years. $360 a year ($1 a day) is a ridiculously small amount of our total overall budget and we don’t have all the issues of carting a washing machine around with us.

I know many others love their washing machine, fair enough, but we don’t expect we would ever travel with one ourselves.

For tips on how to embrace and enjoy the wonderful experience of traveling Australia: Our Best Travel Tips

2.  Pets

It’s so hard to leave your pets behind, we couldn’t do it either, MACKS had to come with us. If it were for just 3-6 months we probably would have left her at home but for 12 months or more that’s a tougher decision.

Traveling Australia though is so much easier, cheaper and less restrictive without animals.

If your goal is to really explore the country and you have a good option where they could stay, then maybe best to leave them behind.

If you know you are planning to go traveling and thinking of getting a dog, our advice would be wait until your trip is over and get your puppy then.

There’s no right or wrong decision here, just the right one for you.

You may enjoy reading: Traveling Australia with our dog MACKS and A Tribute to MACKS the Best Dog I’ve ever known

Vet & Dog Sitting costs are one of the costs to travel Australia with a pet

If your plan is to travel long term then there are plenty of options to travel with your best friend and see everything there is to see.

We traveled Australia with our beautiful Golden Retriever Macks for the first 16 months of our adventure!

3. Phone coverage

Telstra has the best coverage by far. If you rely on phone reception choose Telstra or possibly Boost.

Optus and Vodafone are not going to be suitable if phone coverage is important for you. Our videos of everywhere we have stayed let you know what phone coverage was available.

4. WiFi

Matt managed to find lots of Free WiFi all around the country. Maccas, Cafes, Bunnings, Info Centres and more.

When Caravan Parks say they have Free WiFi, it’s a miracle if it’s anything useful. Usually it’s terribly slow, very limited in the amount you can use and that’s assuming it actually works.

Don’t rely on Caravan park WiFi, many of them should be ashamed of their claims of having Free WiFi.

Ok, let’s look at all our costs of traveling Australia over 24 months

What it really costs to travel Australia - Includes visits to Kimberley Rum Factory in Swan Valley

Here is what is really costs to travel Australia for us over 24 months:

Groceries 🍞🍉🥪🧀

$21,999.65
That’s $916.65 per month or $211.54 per week
The last 3 months without Matt it is $1539.68 per month or $118.45 per week.

This suggests it costs $60pw each for Adele and I.

Takeaways 🍟🍕🌭

$3,561.61

We didn’t tend to do a lot of takeaway, we preferred to create our own meals. We would rather spend our budget on places to see.

This equates to an overall cost of $34pw for takeaway.

Dining Out 🍽️🍸

$6,391.69
Last 6 months $162

Like Takeaway, we didn’t dine out very often. In the last 6 months our weekly budget for Dining out was just $6.23pw.

Overall our total Dining Out expense was $61.46pw

You may enjoy finding out our ways on saving money on food and groceries:
How to save Money on Food and Groceries

Accommodation 🚎🎪♨️

$13,453.63
$18.98 Average per night

$6880.70 First 6 months
$4572.83 Second 6 months
$1310.10 Third 6 months
$690 Last 6 months. This equates to $3.79 per night 🤣🤑😴

This involved almost exclusively Free camping and staying with friends and relatives where we traveled.

As you can see, there’s considerable savings to be had on our budget by way of reduced costs in Accommodation.

We could no doubt reduce our first 12 months by $3000 – $5000 now if we did it again but our budget will always be higher in the north than it is in the south.

Fuel is just one of the costs to travel Australia

Our Website and YouTube channel has 230+ videos of every Free Camp, Campground, Caravan Park, Pub Stay, Station Stay and RV Parks we stayed in across Australia.

Fuel

$13,163.72
Most expensive was Kings Creek Station at Kings Canyon @ 199.9c
Uluru was 190.9c and Barkleys Homestead 179.9c

We have found United Fuel to be consistently the cheapest and almost always use them. Metro in some areas is great also.

We use the Fuel Map app to find the cheapest fuel.

Our fuel costs were probably higher than for someone towing a caravan as we always had to drive the Motorhome as opposed to being able to explore and run around town in a Car.

Our fuel costs over 2 years averages out to $126.57pw. We did approx. 55,000 kms during those 2 years.

Winnebago

Costs related to the Motorhome part of our vehicle was:
$5,226.39

Some of the big costs were:
$699 for a new Waeco 40L fridge that we keep in the Motorhome for our drinks
$680 for 2 new house batteries

Iveco

This is the Costs related to the mechanical part of the Motorhome.
$6,594.44

This includes
3 Services
8 new tyres
1 new windscreen and 1 repair
1 Radiator

Our biggest unexpected Bill shock was $2,882.80 for new Radiator, Coolant Hose and Windscreen in Perth

Entertainment 🏊‍♂️🎣⛰️🏝️🚁🚡

$18,429.31

We wanted to see as much of Australia as we could, have lots of fun and experience adventures so we did do quite a few tours.

There’s no regrets with this cost, we wanted to see all of Australia that we could and many of our greatest memories have been the incredible tours we did.

First 6 months

$8,258.40 – Brisbane to Cooktown to Katherine. Included 3 fishing charters, Hummer 4wd on Fraser Island, 1770, Lady Musgrave Island, Keppel Island, Whitsundays and Cairns Scenic Flights, Kuranda Railway & Skyway and Katherine Gorge were just some of the adventures.

Here are some of our highlights in the first 6 months:
Sleeping in a Swag on the Great Barrier reef
13 Must do in Airlie Beach and Whitsundays
Best Things to See in Cairns

Second 6 months

$5,733.90 – Darwin to WA to Tasmania. Included Horizontal Falls, Swimming with Humpback Whales, Broome Fishing Charter, Rottnest Island

Our Second 6 months highlights included:
Best of Broome
Things to See and do in Darwin

Third 6 months

$2,113 – Tasmania to Great Ocean Road to Uluru to Darwin to Mt Isa. This also Includes Tasman Island Cruise and Bruny Island Cruise plus Gordon River Cruise

During our third 6 months, Tasmania and Kangaroo Island were both highlights:
The Very Best Things to See and Do in Tasmania Kangaroo Island
https://youtu.be/sWDhpoK7U3A

Fourth 6 months

$2324 – Karumba to Cairns to Longreach to Murray River to Gold Coast. Incl Fishing Charter, Cobbold Gorge, Qantas Museum, Stockmans Hall of Fame, Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience and Thompson River Cruise.

Some of our favourite experiences on our adventure have been during our fourth 6 months: Our Favourite Experiences as we Travel Australia

Our Highest Entertainment Costs

Our biggest adventure costs were:

$1,707 for Adele and I to go to Horizontal Falls.

$1,366 for the three of us to do Reefsleep in the Whitsundays

Your costs for these tours and adventures is going to be dependent upon your budget and what your plans are that you want to experience.

For us these were incredible experiences that we will never forget, but they do cost money and often don’t come cheap.

This is our second largest expense of our adventure after food.

For some great places to stay around Australia, check out our Best Free Camps, Campgrounds and Caravan Parks and save them to your own list: Our 22 Best Free Camps in Australia Our 29 Best Low Cost Campgrounds in Australia Our Best Caravan Parks around Australia

FishCosts to travel Australia included Fishing Charters in our Entertainment Expenses
Horizontal Falls was the highest tour cost while traveling Australia

Gas

$897
Such a small part of the budget.
We have 2 x 4kg bottles.

We find BCF works best for us, they are in most places and the cost is consistent at mostly $13.99 for our 4kg bottles.
Otherwise we check the website at https://gasbottlerefills.com/ for the cheapest local retailer.

Alcohol 🍾🍷🥃🍻🍸

$4,926.90

It is what it is, we do enjoy Happy Hour but aren’t big drinkers. We drink often but not a lot.
When I see Bundy Rum on special I tend to buy a few bottles and I buy Cider by the carton. Adele is happy drinking the $5 bottles of wine.

Cost is $47.37pw

You may enjoy finding out our ways on saving money on food and groceries and alcohol: How to Save Money on Alcohol

MACKS, our dog  

$3,373.04 in vet and medications etc

Sadly we had to let her go 14th June 2017 so no costs since then.
She did make it for 16 months of our trip.

Dog Sitting

$959

We used Dog Sitters wherever possible to allow us to visit National Parks and do tours wherever we wanted to go.

Read all about our experience of traveling Australia with a Dog: Traveling Australia with our dog MACKS

Gorge Tours were part of our Entertainment Cost to Travel Australia

Adele’s Nails

$959

Some things a girl just has to do lol

Clothes

$2,488.41

We bought some new clothes along the way as we needed. We took very little winter gear with us as we spent the first 12 months in hot conditions but Tasmania quickly meant some winter shopping was required.

$23.93pw was spent on clothing

Fishing

New rods, tackle, bait and gear
$1,452.90

$13.97 pw was spent on fishing.

Laundry

$726
This is such a small cost. We started with a washing machine, never used it, found it way too small to wash our clothes yet takes space and becomes a weight issue.

Also commits you to staying at places that cost money to access so much water. We use Laundries and find it easy to do.

Our laundry costs were $6.98pw or $1 per day.

National Parks

$250
Such a minuscule cost. Don’t worry about the cost for Kakadu, just do it, it’s amazing and a very small amount when looking at your total expenses to travel.

Medical

$1,401.05

It’s inevitable that you will need some medical supplies along the way. There was also a Dentist visit for a toothache. This includes Adele’s regular prescription medication.

$13.47pw is our cost for medical attention along the way over the 2 years.

Miscellaneous

$2,909.52

This is the lots of little things you buy along the way. On their own they don’t cost much but then they all add up. Batteries, presents, sunscreen, insect sprays, a new camp chair, bits of hardware and the list goes on.

This is an expense of $27.98pw

Adele under the Adels Grove Sign

Hair & Beauty

$370.90

Adele looks after her own hair so no extravagant costs there and Kevin has no hair, definitely no contribution from him!!

Our Total Costs to travel Australia

Total amount = $109,534.16

Total average per week = $1,053.21

How to reduce your costs to travel Australia

In summary, could you do it cheaper, Absolutely!!

Your costs to travel Australia could be much lower than it was for us!

As mentioned, we could probably shave $3000-5000 off our first 12 months accommodation if we did it now. We were such rookies!!

With more mechanical and handyman skills than I have you could save a lot of what I spent on servicing and repairs.

You could choose not to do the tours and fishing charters but most of them were our greatest highlights of the adventure so far. So many memories.

If you don’t have a dog you would save almost $4500 on our costs to travel Australia.

You may save a little on us in fuel if you are towing a caravan or camper trailer as you would have your vehicle to drive around in. If you’re in a Campervan (Whizzbang) you’d likely save a lot more than us in fuel.

There it is, our complete guide on what it really costs to travel Australia and what type of expenses are involved. We hope this helps you in your research and planning of your trip.

Safe travels and please say Hello if you see us on the road.

Our Story

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.

If you are seriously planning your own adventure and are looking for information on what you will need, what to do with your house, ways to work while you travel and much more, download The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Road Trip for just $24.95!

Pin – What it Really Costs to Travel Australia!

What it really costs to travel Australia

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Photography

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.

Canon 800d – https://ebay.to/2XQYnsk – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.

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.to/3eCueUo This is my all round, every day 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 7 Hero Black – http://ebay.us/PH711r  –  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.

_______________________________________________________________________

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

Discover the Best of Portland Victoria

Just beyond the Great Ocean Road in Victoria traveling west is the small beach side town of Portland. It was here we spent 6 fabulous nights to enable us to fully explore the region and discover the best of Portland.

What an amazing location we found it to be, there are so many things to see and do!

This is one of those few towns we have been to where we could picture ourselves living and certainly somewhere we will revisit in the future.

The Portland weather was great to us and we enjoyed beautiful sunny skies and good weather. March and April may just be the best months to visit before the really cold weather sets in.

Discover the Best of Portland
Portland Marina

Discover the Best of Portland at the Port

Portland has a large, deep, sea port and is currently a major timber and wood chip exporting location. The Port of Portland is a great way to discover the best of Portland.

Watching the trucks at the Port being unloaded of the wood chip cargo is eerie when you watch for the first time.

The trucks are raised high into the air to an almost upright 72 degree angle until all the cargo is released. It is fascinating to watch and it would be interesting to know how those trucks are locked in.

Each truck only takes a few minutes to unload. A new truck enters the Port every 30 seconds, 7 days a week.

They unload products including logs, wood chips, aluminium ingots, livestock, grain and fertiliser.

A large fishing fleet occupies the Marina with Rock Lobsters, Abalone, Fish and Squid all bountiful and caught in the beautiful local waters. It’s a busy wharf with lots of activity.

The Jetty’s and Pontoons are perfect fishing grounds for land based fisherman and the rock walls are home to a variety of fish. Snorkeling and spear fishing are very popular here.

 

Portland Camping

For our accommodation at Portland we stayed at the Henty Park Campground which is behind the Portland Cable Tram Station.

The Tram takes you on a 7km journey around the town and is mostly run by volunteers.

The Campground is a free 48 hour stay for vehicles which are self contained and became a great location for us to make new friends and a great base to discover the best of Portland and nearby beaches.

We also had one night at the Sawpit Picnic Area just out of town to break up our stay at Henty Park.

Read about: Our 22 Best Free Camps in Australia

The beach at Cape Bridgewater
Beautiful Cape Bridgewater Beach

Cape Bridgewater

A short 15 minute drive out of town is Cape Bridgewater, one of the best beaches in the region.

It is as good as anywhere with beautiful white sand, clear blue waters with waves rolling in on a calm day.

It was here I attempted to go surfing with my Cousin Tim and his wife Amy, only my second ever attempt. Alas, at least I tried.

There are so many awesome beaches around Australia, here are our 3 lists of Best Beaches –

1. The Best Beaches in Australia 1-10

2. The Best Beaches in Australia 11-20

3. The Best Beaches in Australia 21-30

Snorkeling with the seals on the Seal by Sea tour
In the water on the Seal by Sea tour

Seal by Sea Tour

We also completed the Seal by Sea Tour at Cape Bridgewater and this would have to be our best value for money tour on our trip so far.

You will discover the best of Portland by sea for just $40 per adult. They will take you along the rugged coastline to view the cliff faces to the first of several large Seal colonies.

Then they took us further up to the tip where we witnessed big NZ Fur Seals and a few Australian Seals before heading back to the first group of Seals where they have a shark cage located.

For an extra $20 they provide Wet suits and snorkeling gear to allow you to swim with the Seals. We were all very keen and jumped into the waters to engage with the Seals.

The Seals were otherwise occupied though and didn’t come to us in the cage so we asked could we go out of the cage.

The guide said we could but it would be at our own risk. “Risk of what” we asked? “Great Whites” he said!! Without hesitating we all jumped into the water anyway and for almost an hour we swam with the Seals.

The Seal Pups were so inquisitive and would come right up to us, sometimes stopping in front of us to take a look.

Watch our videos of us swimming with the seals:

Seal by Sea Tours are still just $40 but they now have new snorkeling tours.

Book the trip we did or view their new tours at their website – http://www.sealsbyseatours.com.au/

Adele patting a koala in the wild for the first time
Cape Bridgewater Koala

Our First Koala Encounter in the Wild

Heading back from Cape Bridgewater we were surprised to find a Koala beside the road.

We stopped to ensure he didn’t venture onto the road and were amazed when he came over to Adele allowing her to pat him.

The Koala was surprisingly friendly and then it took off heading for our Motorhome.

At first we thought he was looking to hitch a ride but eventually we got him into the bushes away from the road.

Discover the Best of Portland
Amy Surfing
Discover the Best of Portland
Tim Surfing

Blacknose Point

Blacknose Point is a very popular surfing spot at Portland and Kev’s cousin Tim and his wife Amy got out the surfboards and headed in for a paddle.

We sat on the rocks and enjoyed watching them in action and managed to capture some great photos.

This time I left it to the experts, my training wheels are still on at this stage!!

Discover the Best of Portland
Portland Wind Farm

Portland Wind Farm

The Portland Wind Farm is one of the largest in Australia.

These huge wind turbines generate electricity from the wind.

This one in Portland produces 500 GWh annually, enough electricity to power approximately 125,000 homes each year or over 7% of Victoria’s annual power.

Discover the Best of Portland
Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Just past the Wind Farm is the Petrified Forest.

The formation of the Petrified forest is a collection of hollow tubes of Limestone called “solution pipes”. These have been eroded over millions of years of rainfall.

Water gathers in a shallow pan of sand and seeps downwards dissolving the Limestone.

The mineral saturated water then cements the sand, forming hard, trunk shaped pipes. Some of these pipes can be up to 20m high.

Portland is approximately 200kms from the South Australian border in the south west of Victoria.

It’s a great place to stop with lots of shops, excellent accommodation for a weary traveler and the people of Portland are very friendly.

The winter months do get very cold so the peak tourist season is usually from October to May each year.

The Great Ocean Road begins about 120kms East of Portland just past the town of Warrnambool.

Some other great places to stay along the Great Ocean Road are:

Anglesea Beachfront Caravan Park

Marengo Holiday Park

Have you been or are you yet to discover the best of Portland? Tell us about your time in Portland?

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

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Photography and Socials

Our camera equipment we use for all of 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.

Canon 800d – https://ebay.to/2XQYnsk – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.
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.to/3eCueUo 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 7 Hero Black – http://ebay.us/PH711r  –  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.

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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/c/indefiniteleave

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

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Adventurers Diary

Camping Fraser Island and Moreton Island

What was it like camping on Fraser Island and Moreton Island near Brisbane for the best part of 4 of our last 5 weeks?

We loved it!!

Of course, the magnificent locations of Fraser Island and Moreton Island sure helped. But we really did love it.

Read about: Everything to see and do on Fraser Island

Mostly we liked the simplicity.

Camping on Fraser Island

Camping on Fraser Island – Back to Basics

It brought us back to the basics of life and a greater feeling of closeness with nature.

We liked being so close to everything. Waking up and looking out the front opening of the tent straight out at the ocean. Watching as the sun took it’s first glimpse above the horizon as a new dawn began each day from our pillow was incredible.

Taking one step outside the tent and feeling the sand under our feet. The coolness of the sand and the unequivocal Australianism of sand between your toes first thing every day is amazing.

I loved being bare foot all day every day.

Putting up the tent for the first time on Fraser Island

Daily Routine

Our daily shower was an early morning swim in the ocean. We would wake around 5am, admire the sunrise, enjoy a wonderful breakfast before putting on some board shorts and Adele in her bikinis and enjoy the most liberating and amazing swim to start the day.

It is crazy just how amazing it would make you feel. Man I felt alive!!

Tent Camping and waking up to a magnificent sunrise on Fraser Island

In the afternoons we would rinse off under our solar shower and it was amazing how hot the water was after a day baking in the sun.

The tent held up really well to the rainy night we had on Fraser and a very windy night on Moreton.

We were in bed most nights at 7.30 and awake at Sunrise and we loved that.

Our new double burner stove was perfect and allowed us to cook a big variety of meals. Adele made the most amazing Pizza’s on the burner, they were super delicious!

 

Sleeping in the tent was so much cooler. Outside with the ocean breezes and an air bed that actually becomes cold through the night. We had to create a thick liner between the bed and us to keep ourselves warm during the night from the coolness of the air bed.

Being in a tent forces you outside. There’s not a lot to do inside the tent so you sleep in there and not much else. The rest of the day you are outside, experiencing adventure, interacting with nature and enjoying the beauty of the great Australian outdoors.

Check out our videos Moreton Island Everything you Need to Know and Exploring Fraser Island Beaches, Tracks, Creeks and Rocks by 4wd

Stunning sunset on Moreton Island
Tent Camping on Fraser Island

Our Camping Equipment:

Tent

We borrowed a mate’s Coleman Riverview 8 Tent to go camping on Fraser Island and Moreton Island. We wanted to keep the size to a minimum to save on space and weight and it was perfect for us for these camping trips.

There was plenty of room inside and the simplicity of it was awesome for packing and unpacking, especially as we setup 3 times as we moved around on Fraser Island.

Fridge/Freezer

My mate also lent us his PRIMUS 60L Dual Zone Fridge/Freezer plus his 200amp AGM battery to run it. This was a lifesaver and was so perfect for us. It drew little power and worked ridiculously well.

We had our Waeco 35L fridge which we ran from our 120amp Lithium battery. We ended up turning this one off after a few days and didn’t even take it to Moreton Island.

Tent Camping and waking up to the magnificent sunrises on Fraser Island

Toilet

The portable toilet was a Kings model you can buy from the 4wd Supacentre. We paid just $79, heaps less than other ones we looked at. It was excellent and worked perfectly.

Cooker

Our portable 2 burner cooktop is a Campmaster we bought on special from Big W for just $35. We really loved it and didn’t bother taking our Weber Baby Q with us and now don’t think we will need it. The Portable burner did everything we wanted and it’s so much more compact and easy to use.

Adele fishing on Moreton Island

Lighting

For lighting we had our Ryobi 18v area light plus my awesome aircraft grade aluminum 1000 lumen torch. If needed we also had lighting from the canopy of the 4wd.

Shower

Our Solar shower was less than $10 from 4wd Supacentre and it also worked perfectly. Afternoon showers were fabulous and after the day in the sun the water was genuinely hot.

I did put a hole into our first one when on Fraser, it was my fault as I put it up on a branch with a broken branch behind it that punctured a hole, but at $9.95 it was no issue to replace it again.

Dingo checking out our campsite on Fraser Island

Camping Chairs

The Royal Chair that Queen Adele would sit and wave to passing 4wd’s was so good but sadly it too succumbed to a Dingo attack on Fraser Island and it had to go to Royal heaven. We got it on special at Big W for just $15 but it was the last one and now we can’t get another.

It was so comfy and we had to fill the base with water which gave it weight and kept it stable, unless of course you sit in it on top of a dune and it does backflips and rolls over and breaks your rib. Poor Adele, was so bloody funny though lol

We also took one of our normal camping chairs that easily fold up and don’t take up much room.

Adele sitting in the Royal Chair waving to passing 4wds

It had been about 25 years since we last went camping in a tent and back then it was with an old tucker box with Dry Ice and we had to dig holes to go to the toilet. For cooking we had to lug around a gas bottle and stove and also a gas light. Camping is way easier today with the more modern and sophisticated tools at our disposal.

If you haven’t been camping in a tent recently, consider the opportunity to go back to basics and embrace life in it’s most simple form.

My Tip for Camping Fraser Island and Moreton Island: Check weather forecast first, it’s a lot less fun if it is raining and or there are gusting winds.

Safe Travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

You may also enjoy reading: 21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane and What it REALLY costs to Road Trip Australia

_______________________________________________________________________

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.

Canon 800d – https://ebay.to/2XQYnsk – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.
Lens – Canon 50mm lens – https://ebay.to/3nx5pyG  This is the lens I use the least, ideal for still, close up shots.
Canon 24-105mm lens – https://ebay.to/3eCueUo This is my all round, every day 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 lens – http://ebay.us/zWvfuI  – My wide angle lens for all my inside photos & video plus lots more, love this lens.

Our Go Pro 7 Hero Black – http://ebay.us/PH711r  –  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/c/indefiniteleave

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

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This post may contain 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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