Mackay - Whitsundays region, so much to see and do - Indefinite Leave
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Adventurers Diary

Mackay – Whitsundays region, so much to see and do

Mackay

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

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

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

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

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

Sarina

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

Sugar Shed Tour in Sarina

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

Book your Sugar Shed Tour here>

Sugar Shed Tour Sarina

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

Hay Point

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

Hay Point

islands off Mackay

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

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

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

Eimeo Pub

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

The Eimeo Pub has all that and more.

Eimeo Pub Mackay

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

Did I mention the views?

Eimeo Pub has great views

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

www.eimeohotel.com.au

Mackay Beaches

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

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

Fishing at Bucasia Beach

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

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

Bucasia Beach

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

Bucasia Beach Sunset

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

Feeding the Lorikeets at Bucasia Beach

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

www.bucasiabeach.com.au

 

Mackay Harbour Marina

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

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

Lunch at the Lighthouse at Mackay Harbour

Mackay Harbour Marina

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

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

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

 

Eungella National Park

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

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

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

Platypus in Eungella National Park

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

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

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

Paragliding Platform at the Eungella Chalet

Finch Hatton Gorge

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

 

Melba House

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

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

Melba House out from Mackay

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

 

Cape Hillsborough National Park

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

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

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

Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park resident kangaroos

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

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

www.capehillsboroughresort.com.au

Cape Hillsborough & Nearby Beaches

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

Seaforth

 

The Leap

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

The Leap Hotel near Mackay

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

The Leap History

 

Whitsundays

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

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

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

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

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

Reefsleep

Ocean Rafting Adventure

Camira Sailing Tour

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

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

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

Whitsunday Crocodile Safari

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

Crocodile Safari Prosperpine

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

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

What was your experience of Mackay?

Kev, Adele and Matt

Indefinite Leave

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Photography and Socials

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

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

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

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Adventurers Diary

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane

Brisbane is our home town. It’s where we have lived all our lives. We know it, we love it and it is home.

There is so much to love about “Brissy”. Our weather is superb, people are friendly and it’s a big city without being too huge.

Brisbane typifies our States motto “Beautiful one day, Perfect the next”!!

 

We have great, warm weather almost all year round. Winter in Brisbane is sensational, blue sunny skies, calm weather and mild temperatures.

 

Here’s a list of 21 Things to Do in and around Brisbane

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane - CityCat

Brisbane River CityCat

1. Take a ride on the Brisbane River on a City Cat

These are fast ferry’s that take you some of Brisbane’s best places on the River. Go to Portside and see Cruise Ships, New Farm the home of the Powerhouse Brisbane, which is home to different arts and creatives, plus New Farm Park. Stop in at Riverside for great restaurants and bars on the river and take a walk around the City.

The Citycats are a great cheap way to get around Brisbane. There are stops all the way along the Brisbane river foreshores. A 2 hour ticket is a maximum $5.60 or even cheaper with a Go Card.

It’s a fabulous day out on Brisbane’s CityCats.

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane - Brisbane Riverfire

Brisbane Riverfire

2. Brisbane Riverfire

In September each year the Brisbane River comes alive as 500,000 people or more attend Riverfire. The skies light up as the Australian Defence Force fly Fighter Jets and Blackhawk Helicopters before the Fireworks are launched from the River, from Bridges and atop City high-rises.

 

This is a spectacular not to be missed. Get there early and enjoy the atmosphere.

 

St Helena Island - 21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane

St Helena Island

3. Tour St Helena Island

Learn how St Helena Island is steeped in our History. In 1867 it was chosen as our first Penal settlement due to its location 4kms offshore in Brisbane’s Moreton Bay.

 

The island is now Heritage listed and fantastic tours are operated by Cat O’ Nine Tails Cruises, the only way you can tour the island. Learn all about the rugged life of those that called St Helena Island home in those formative years.

 

http://www.sthelenaisland.com.au/

 

4. Eat Street Northshore

The Eat Street Markets are located at Hamilton and are a culinary delight for everyone regardless of your preferred tastes. Enjoy the enormous array of amazing dishes, live bands, great bars and enjoy a few hours of amazing fun by the Brisbane River.

 

Open every Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 10pm and Sunday from midday to 8pm.

 

https://www.eatstreetmarkets.com/

 

5. Eagle Street Pier

The Eagle Street Pier at Brisbane’s Riverside provides amazing views, sensational restaurants and incredible bars directly looking over the Brisbane River and Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge. Walk along the riverfront discovering the many different shops and see the Kookaburra Queen paddlewheelers which have been doing cruises of the Brisbane River since 1986.

On Sundays, visit the Riverside Markets for lots of locally made crafts, food, drinks and street performers.

 

http://www.eaglestreetpier.com.au/

http://www.riversidemarkets.com.au/

Book your Buffet Lunch Kookaburra Queens River Cruise here>

Book your Kookaburra Queens City Lights Dinner Cruise here>

        

6. Island time – Stradbroke Island & Moreton Island

Whilst Queensland’s Fraser Island is the most famous island within the state, Moreton Island and “Straddie” are just a short Ferry or Barge trip from Brisbane and are just as majestic. Go Camping on the islands and feel like you’re in paradise.

Spend time at Tangalooma Resort, snorkel the wrecks, check out Cape Moreton, ride the Sand Dunes and drive the magnificent beaches. Both Islands are truly amazing.

 

Stradbroke Island –

Book a North Stradbroke Island 4WD Day Tour here>

 

Moreton Island –

Book a Moreton Island 2 Day Tour here>

Book a Tangalooma Day Trip with Activities here>

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane

Eleven Rooftop Bar

 

7. Visit the Eleven Rooftop Bar in Brisbane

This amazing restaurant at 757 Anne St Fortitude Valley features spectacular views over the Brisbane Inner City as well as a great bar and fabulous food.

The Eleven Rooftop Bar features in our list of the Best 17 places to Eat and Drink in Brisbane and Gold Coast.

 

Make sure you book, it does get very busy.

 

http://elevenrooftopbar.com.au/

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane - Brisbane Sign Southbank

Brisbane Sign

8. Go to Southbank on the Brisbane River

Here you can walk around the gardens, take a ride on the big Brisbane Wheel, visit GOMA (the Gallery of Modern Art) for free, swim in the Lagoon at Streets Beach, eat out at the many restaurants and pubs or go at night and visit the markets from Friday to Sunday.

 

Buy your Wheel of Brisbane Tickets here>

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane - Wilsons Outlook

Wilsons Outlook

9. Wilsons Outlook Reserve New Farm

This park at New Farm has the most incredible views. Arrive just before dusk, take your camera and watch as the Brisbane City, iconic Story Bridge and the Brisbane River transform into an incredible array of colours and beauty as the lights take effect.

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane - Bee Gees Way at Redcliffe

Bee Gees Way Redcliffe

10. Redcliffe

Redcliffe is just north of the city and it feels like an island as it is mostly surrounded by water. Access from the south is by the 3.2km bridges spanning from Brighton to Clontarf.

 

At Redcliffe foreshore there is a great Lagoon perfect for swimming on a warm Brisbane day. Redcliffe is also considered home to International megastars, the Bee Gees. Visit the incredible Bee Gees Way to see the city’s fantastic tribute to the family that became worldwide superstars.

 

11. Mount Cootha

Mount Cootha in Brisbane’s western suburbs is where the local TV stations reside but it is also a very popular vantage point for locals who run, ride and cycle their way to the top where there are stunning views across Brisbane from the lookout.

The restaurants are very popular and the place of many wedding proposals and ceremonies over the years.

 

12. Roma Street Parklands

The Roma Street Parklands is on the Brisbane City’s doorstep yet offers 16 hectares of Horticultural beauty with its themed gardens and lush greenery. Events are held regularly at the amphitheatre with plays performed by the Queensland Theatre Company and others.

You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy a stroll through this parkland.

 

 

Suncorp Stadium

Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park)

13. Brisbane Sporting Stadiums

Suncorp Stadium and The Gabba are Brisbane’s primary sporting stadiums where we cheer on our teams to regular success. Queenslanders are passionate about their sport and turn out to support their teams whenever they are in town.

Previously named Lang Park the name was changed to Suncorp Stadium in 1994. It now holds crowds of 52,500.

Go the Broncos and the Queensland Bulls!

 

Boggo Road

Boggo Road Gaol

14. Take a Tour of Brisbane’s old Boggo Road Gaol

The Brisbane Boggo Road Gaol once housed Queensland’s most feared prisoners until it was closed in July 1992. Today you can take tours and hear about the days in the lives of those that found their way inside. At night they also provide ghost tours but we stayed with a daytime visit.

https://boggoroadgaol.com/

 

Houseboat Gold Coast Broadwater

Houseboat Gold Coast Broadwater

15. Houseboating on the Gold Coast Broadwater

It’s a lot of great fun and we have been houseboating several times before we left on our road trip around Oz. We always used Coomera Houseboats, the staff are fantastic and the boats were perfect for our trips.

 

https://www.coomerahouseboats.com.au/

 

16. Climb Brisbane’s Story Bridge

The Story Bridge Climb takes you over Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge. Walk up the top for an amazing experience, standing high above the traffic overlooking the Brisbane River and the City.

Book your Brisbane Story Bridge Adventure Climb here>

 

Redcliffe Jetty Markets

Redcliffe Jetty Markets

17. Weekends are great for Markets in Brisbane

Every Saturday from 6am to midday the Carseldine Markets on the corner of Beams and Dorville Roads at Carseldine provide superb fresh products and craft ideas. You can enjoy a fantastic array of foods and juices or coffee in a great atmosphere with easy parking and it’s Free to enter.

 

On Sunday you can visit the Cleveland Markets near the Bay where you will find many craft stalls, lots of entertainment, great food and fresh produce.
The Cleveland markets have operated for over 30 years and you can see them on Bloomfield Street Cleveland where they are open from 7am to 1pm every Sunday.

 

The Redcliffe Jetty Markets are located in the main street overlooking Moreton Bay and features many stall holders with a great range of home made products. There’s a great variety of food and drinks and on a sunny day the position is perfect.

 

http://carseldinemarkets.com.au/

https://www.clevelandmarkets.com.au/

https://redcliffejettymarkets.com/

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane - King Island

King Island

18. Take a 1km walk out to King Island

At low tide at the bayside suburb of Wellington Point in Brisbane’s East you can walk across to King island. Time it right and you can enjoy a stunning sunset as you walk across the sandy straight to the island.

 

21 Bests Things to do in and around Brisbane - Camping

Moreton Island camping

19. Go Camping

Within 1-2 hours from Brisbane are so many fantastic camping experiences. Noosa North Shore Campground is fantastic or take the Barge across to Moreton Island or Stradbroke Island.

 

You can go to Somerset Dam west of Brisbane or a short drive to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Hinterlands all provide amazing places to park the caravan or pitch a tent. Here you can enjoy the Wildlife, go swimming and fishing and escape city life for awhile.

 

https://www.noosaholidayparks.com.au/noosa-north-shore

 

Beenleigh Rum Distillery

Beenleigh Rum Distillery

20. Visit the Gold Coast

Head south just an hour from Brisbane and visit the world renowned Gold Coast with its superb beaches and fantastic waterways. What we love about the Goldie is there’s always something happening. Visit the theme parks, hang out at Cavill Mall, dine in the wonderful restaurants at Broadbeach, surf at Snapper Rocks or Burleigh Heads and enjoy some good fishing.

Movieworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild –

Purchase a 3 Day Pass here>

Dreamworld & WhiteWater World –

Purchase a 1 Day Pass here>

 

Don’t miss Springbrook National Park in the Hinterland and while there visit Purling Brook Falls, Best of all Lookout and Natural Bridge. At night you will see Glow worms and Fire flies.

 

On the way to the Gold Coast stop into the famous Yatala Pie Shop and do a tour of the Beenleigh Distillery and enjoy some samples of their products.

 

https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/

https://www.beenleighrum.com.au/distillery

http://www.yatalapies.com.au/

 

21 Best Things to do in and around Brisbane - Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park

21. Visit the Sunshine Coast

Conversely, head north an hour and take in all that is the Sunshine Coast. Much more laid back, the beaches are equally fantastic. Visit Coolum Beach and Noosa National Park, Buderim Falls, SEA LIFE at Mooloolaba for the marine life and go to the amazing Australia Zoo owned by the family of Steve Irwin.

Climb Mt Coolum or head inland and visit wonderful towns like Kenilworth, Maleny, Montville and Mapleton plus be sure to visit the Ginger Factory at Yandina.

The Sunshine Coast is fantastic with so much to see and do.

 

SEA LIFE Sunshine CoastPurchase your General Admission Tickets here>

Australia Zoo – Purchase your General Admission Tickets here>

Ginger Factory – Purchase your Ride Double Deal Tickets here>

 

 

There are so many great places to eat out around Brisbane and Gold Coast. Read about our best 17 places to Eat and Drink

 

If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Brisbane with your Caravan or Motorhome the Lawnton Showgrounds provides the perfect place to stay. Located on Brisbane’s Northside it has power and water for just $25 per night. It is an easy walk to Lawnton Rail Station and 5 minutes drive either direction to plenty of shopping options.

 

Check out How to get to Brisbane and Southbank if you are in your Motorhome or Caravan

You may also enjoy watching https://indefiniteleave.com.au/australia-road-trip-ep-1-springbrook-national-park/

 

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Photography and Socials

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

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

The new Go Pro 7 – https://amzn.to/2vyuP4X –  is an awesome piece of equipment. I use this for all underwater, action video and some general use. Buy here brand new and great value.

Mavic Pro Platinum Drone – https://amzn.to/2URtUXG. This is an absolute ripper of a drone. The Fly More Combo will provide you with everything you will need. I use this for all my aerial footage and this price is well below other retail stores. _________________________________________________________________

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Adventurers Diary

Ocean Rafting the Great Barrier Reef in Whitsundays

If you want a great day out in Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, snorkeling, visiting Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet, and going on a cruise of the spectacular pristine waters of the Great Barrier Reef, then the Ocean Rafting Tour is perfect for the best day in paradise.

 

You’ll have the ride of your life!!

 

Ocean Rafting Tour - The Ride of your Life

Ocean Rafting Northern Exposure Tour

We did the Northern Exposure Tour where we had great fun snorkeling with turtles, tropical fish and exploring vibrant Coral Reefs around Hook Island.

That’s just for starters!!

 

Ride, Beach, Snorkel, Bushwalk - All in one day!

The weather wasn’t perfect on our day out, it was quite overcast but there was no way that could diminish the fun.

Ocean Rafting Snorkeling

Our Ocean Rafting tour took us to 2 special sites offering uncrowded snorkeling. Even though it was the middle of winter the water wasn’t cold. A good wetsuit definitely helps. I had my own however they are provided for everyone in the right size to suit.

 

Snorkel Whitsundays

 

It wasn’t long after leaving the Marina before we were entering the water on our first swim. This is what we liked most about this tour, the fast rafts get you everywhere quick meaning more time spent having Fun!!

 

Once you’re in the water you feel like you are in another world, hovering over the beautiful coral reef and swimming alongside large Sea Turtles. It was exciting to see some clownfish, they are quick making it hard to capture a pic.

After our awesome morning of snorkeling the next part of our day out with Ocean Rafting Tours was to step straight off the boat onto the beautiful soft 98% pure silica white sand onto Whitehaven Beach.

 

Hill Inlet

Fun at Hill Inlet

Whitehaven Beach

They are the only tour company with a special permit to access the beach inside the iconic Hill Inlet Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. This is the largest of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsunday Island Group.

 

For the next hour or more we swam in the crystal clear water and walked along the pristine beach. Then it was time for some lunch and the assortment of food was fantastic. There was a lot of variety and food suitable for all diets.

 

Read all about Reef Sleep where we slept in a swag on a Pontoon at Hardy Reef in the Great Barrier Reef.

 

 

Lunch on board the Ocean Rafting Tour

 

We had plenty of time for lunch and chilling on the beach before the grand finale of our Ocean Rafting Northern Exposure tour. We took a guided walk up to the lookout to take in the spectacular Hill Inlet from above.

 

Hill Inlet Lookout

Hill Inlet Lookout provides the most breathtaking views over the river and is Australia’s 3rd most photographed location after the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

 

Hill Inlet Lookout

Ocean Rafting Tour pull into the beach at Hill Inlet

 

You could stand there for hours and watch the swirling patterns and colours change with the tide. The degree of freshwater with saltwater and ever changing tides creates a remarkable swirling effect with the sand.

 

The tours are usually organized in order to ensure you have the best views of Hill Inlet.

 

It is such an awesome sight to look down on the Inlet from the lookout above. It is a magnificent view we were more than happy to absorb.

 

Whitsunday Islands National Park

 

Whitsunday Islands National Park at Tongue Point was where we met the boat again.

 

There were lots of fast and furious riding of each other’s wake on the way back and some spins to finish the trip.

 

Thanks Paul and Dan for being great hosts on our Northern Exposure Tour. The Ocean Rafting tour from Airlie Beach is the best way to do it and is so much fun. They also took us to the best snorkeling we have done in the Whitsundays in recent years.

Read more information and Book your Tour here

 

With our guides from our Ocean Rafting Tour

 

The Great Barrier Reef is certainly one of the greatest wonders of the world!

 

Where to stay in the Whitsundays?

 

There are some great places to stay at Airlie Beach all within easy walking distance to restaurants, bars, shops and the beautiful Airlie Beach Lagoon.

Book your Hotel stay in the Whitsundays here>

 

For Caravan Park Accommodation:

Seabreeze Tourist Park Airlie Beach 
(our first ever video review)

Base Backpackers Airlie Beach

 

Enjoy reading more about Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays region here.

https://pin.it/52ggvyqo55wxkr

Mackay to Whitsundays so much to see and do

https://pin.it/sz6oigtwdyj6vr

 

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.

 

Socials

You can find us on YouTube and follow us Facebook.

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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

We read so many 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 detail everything that it costs to travel Australia for us over 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 costs us to the cent.

 

Ayers Rock at Sunset on Full Moon

 

About us

We were 3 adults as our son who had just turned 23 traveled 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 for 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 2.5 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 so 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 present that so others could follow.

 

Stunning Hyams Beach

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

 

Lessons we learnt

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 learnt about our costs 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.

We searched for the best value Fuel and looked to conserve fuel by reducing weight. Rather than before we left, we didn’t fill up our water tanks until we got to our destiny therefore reducing weight and better fuel economy. We continually 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.

 

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.
  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 the islands, 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.

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 doing 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.

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 you’re 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.

 

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. Here’s how we did it

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

 

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

 

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   58570.3
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.

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.

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
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
The Very Best Things to See and Do in Tasmania
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.

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.

 

Readers who enjoyed this also read:

Our Best Free Camps

The Best Campgrounds we stayed

Our Favourite Experiences around Australia

Cost to go to Kangaroo Island

Day Trip to Fitzroy Island in Cairns

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

 

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 about travelling Australia with a dog
Read my tribute to 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 of 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

 

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!

 

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

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.

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 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.

_________________________________________________________________________

Socials

Follow us and Subscribe at:
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Website

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Photography

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

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

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

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