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Adventurers Diary

Paronella Park, Queensland – Jose’s Dream

paronella park

Paronella Park has been voted as the #1 Must Do Attraction in Queensland and we certainly agree now that we have had the opportunity to visit this incredibly unique part of Queensland’s history.

Paronella Park Castle

Jose first came to Australia in 1913

Paronella Park all began with Jose Paronella having a dream to build a castle. Jose came to Australia in 1913 after sailing from Catalonia in Northern Spain.

Before Jose left he proposed to his girlfriend and became engaged.

He told her he would be back for her and they would marry. 

Jose arrived in Innisfail and his plan was to work very hard and create enough wealth to return to his fiancé Matilda, get married and return to Australia to start a splendid life together.

Although Jose came to Australia as a qualified Pastry Chef, he began working as a cane farmer. He saved his money until eventually he bought his own sugar cane farm.

Once the farm was performing well he would sell it and start again, building sugar farms and re-selling them until he had enough money to return to Spain and marry his fiancé.

Mena Creek Falls

Jose returned 11 years later

Upon his return after 11 years, Jose discovered Matilda had already married.

Unphased, Jose was determined to sail back to Australia married, so he wedded Matilda’s younger Sister Margarita.

They both then sailed back to Australia where Jose began a search of the perfect location to build his dream castle.

Jose’s Dream to build a Castle

By 1929, Jose had purchased the land of his dreams, a virgin piece of forest alongside Mena Creek Falls in North Queensland.

Grand Staircase consisting of 47 steps

Grand Staircase, Stone Cottage, Entertainment Area and Castle

Jose’s dream began by first building the Grand Staircase consisting of 47 steps which provided a means of shifting building materials from the lower level to the upper level where they hand built their stone cottage.

Inspired by Catalonian castles, Jose and his crew set about building an entertainment area, a castle just down below the cottage.

This provided a movie theatre which on weekends transformed into a huge ballroom with a massive mirror ball containing 1270 tiny mirrors.

pavilion with turret-topped balconies

Tennis Courts. Pavilion, Refreshment Rooms and Change Cubicles

Tennis courts were also built from crushed termite mounds plus a pavilion with turret-topped balconies, refreshment rooms and changing cubicles for swimmers.

Jose also planted 7000 trees including an avenue of Kauris that are now towering like cathedral spires.

Hydro Electric Plant

In 1933, the first Hydro Electric plant was built which provided power to the entire 5 hectare park.

Today the Hydro electricity generated by Paronella Park provides enough electricity to operate Paronella Park, the adjoining caravan park and half the town of Mena Creek.

Paronella Park Opens in 1935

Finally in 1935, Paronella Park was opened to the public. It quickly became an enormous success as people would come from afar to enjoy all the facilities.

Back in that time Paronella Park was the only place locally to have electricity and as a result it was the only place that could provide a very important source of an enjoyable treat which attracted so many people.

Margarita made ice cream and her home made delight was very popular.

Paronella Park Castle


Jose’s desire was to name the main waterfall after his daughter however Governments of the time wouldn’t allow him to do so.

When a further fall was discovered on his land Jose got his wish and named it Teresa Falls.

Teresa Falls

Lovers Lane, Lovers Tunnel and Teresa Falls

Lovers Lane was built wide enough so that couples could walk hand in hand together down to Lovers Tunnel.

Jose wanted a romantic tunnel leading to the private Teresa Falls. The tunnel was dug by hand and Jose had planned to use the tunnel walls to house artifacts but this did not eventuate.

Over the years the tunnel became home to Micro Bats. These tiny bats love mosquitos so they are well liked considering it’s a rainforest.

The tunnel is now wired closed and no longer accessible or safe for park visitors.

Tunnel of Love in Paronella Park
Paronella Park Lover's Lane

Paronella Park endured floods and fire

Over the years the park suffered many batterings. First in 1946 when a mass of logs being cleared upstream swept away a railway bridge and descended on the park destroying the refreshment rooms.

It flooded almost the entire park and such a large amount of water brought with it powerful battering rams in the case of the logs which did major damage to the park.

Unwavered, Jose repaired what they could and re-opened within 6 months.

Two years later in 1948, Jose died leaving his wife Margarita, daughter Teresa and son Joe to run the park.

Following Margarita’s death in 1967, son Joe and wife Val became custodians but after Joe’s death in 1972, Val and their 2 sons continued running the park until it was sold in 1977.

The park also suffered a fire in 1979 where it swept through the castle leaving just the walls and the turret as a reminder of what had once been.

Welcoming Visitors

New Owners keep the dream alive!

Cyclone Winifred in 1986 tested the endurance of Paronella Park and it was in 1993 the current owners Mark and Judy Evans rediscovered the lost park as they envisaged Jose’s dream, his appreciation for beauty and warm personality.

Even after enduring Cyclone Larry in 2006 and Cyclone Yasi in 2011, the dream continued.

The original Hydro Electric turbine was refurbished in 2009 at the cost of $450,000 which once again restored power to the entire park, the caravan park and a number of nearby homes.

Owner Mark Evans was at the front gate one day welcoming visitors when as he began to tell the brief story of the park to an elderly lady.

She stopped him and introduced herself.

“Yes I know” she said “My father built this place, my name is Teresa”.

This moment allowed Mark and his wife Judy to fill in the gaps of all the stories as they understood them. Teresa was also able to show them places they were unaware of at that time within the property.

Teresa gave them the knowledge that allows the story of Paronella Park to continue.

I can’t imagine how excited Mark and Judy must have been at that moment when they met her.

Paronella Park

Paronella Park Story lives on

The focus today is on maintaining the property while staying true to its historic values, ensuring the Paronella Park story lives on for many years to come.

Visiting the park and seeing the Mena Creek Falls during the day is an amazing experience but by night it is truly magical. It is a must do, day and night!

Paronella Park
Mena Creek Falls



The Staff at Paronella Park are superb. They are amazing how they take you on the journey into the life of Jose and the Paronella family.

Paronella Park Tours

There are 3 different tours and you can also do a Self-Guided Botanical Walk where you can explore the grounds yourself at your own pace and leisure.

  • The Dream Continues Tour – Departs every 30 minutes between 9.30am – 4.30pm
  • The Hydro Tour
  • The Darkness Falls Tour

We did each of the tours, one during the day, another of the Hydro plant and the absolutely ‘must see’ night tour.

Hydro Plant Night Tour

How to Get to Paronella Park

Driving North from Townsville to Cairns, Paronella Park is just under 3hrs drive north of Townsville.

Alternatively, heading south from Cairns to Paronella Park, take the Old Bruce Highway after Innisfail. It is just a fraction over 105kms.

Paronella Park is located on the Old Bruce Highway at Mena Creek, alongside Mena Creek Falls.

Also be sure to take another 2.5hrs to the south from Paronella Park to Wallaman Falls, to see Australia’s Tallest Single Drop Falls.

Paronella Park is eco-certified and heritage listed and is a multiple award winning location having won:

  • Telstra Business Award
  • Qld Tourism Award
  • Steve Irwin Eco Tourism Award
  • #1 Qld Must Do Award

Can you stay at Paronella Park?

Paronella Park has its very own Caravan Park as well as cabins.

If you are looking to stay at Paronella Park overnight in your Motorhome or Caravan, use of their caravan park is free for 1 night with your entry ticket.

Paronella Park Tickets

Tickets are available for purchase at the Park or you can purchase on-line.

Paronella Park offer a reduced price for Pensioners and Children prices apply for kids aged (5 – 15) under 5 are free.

There are also 2 Family Deals – 2 Adults & 2 Children Under 15 or 2 Adults & 3 Children Under 15.

Your ticket to Paronella Park is valid for 24 months. Not only is entry to this amazing park valid for 2 years, you also get a Souvenir Guide Book/Map.

Book your General Admission ticket to Paronella Park here>

Paronella Park Tours from Cairns

There are a number of coach tours departing from Cairns.

You can book a Paronella Park Day and Night Tour here>

This tour from Cairns not only includes the amazing Paronella Park, but you will also visit Mamu Tropical Skywalk, Josephine Falls and more!

Paronella Park is an amazing place to visit, full of history and such an interesting story. It also has a Cafe, Gift Shop, Museum, offers a Courtesy Vehicle and more!

Have you been to Paronella Park? Tell us your favourite memory of Paronella Park!

Safe travels

Kev and Adele
Indefinite Leave

You may also enjoy reading:

Ocean Rafting the Great Barrier Reef in Whitsundays

What it REALLY Costs to Travel Australia

A Day Trip to Fitzroy Island in Cairns

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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 – https://ebay.to/2XOjXhi – 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 lens – https://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 lens – https://ebay.to/2TWt0vA  – 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/34thTP1  –  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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jackie Bee

    August 20, 2016 at 5:58 am

    This has long been on my bucket list. Thank you for this synopsis of Paronella Park, and the lovely photographs.

    • Indefinite Leave

      September 27, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      You’re welcome Jackie. We loved Paronella Park and so many others we have met have said the same thing. Hope you get there soon 🙂

  2. Marcia Moore

    May 27, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    We will be there in August and we are looking forward to doing the tours. Your photos and story are wonderful Adele. Thank you very much. Regards, Denis and Marcia

    • Indefinite Leave

      May 29, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Thank you Denis and Marcia. You’ll love Paronella Park 🙂

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Adventurers Diary

I Can’t Do 4 Walls

I Can't do 4 Walls

I keep saying it, over and over, to anyone who asks and those willing to listen – I can’t do 4 walls.  Simply, I just can’t do 4 walls again.

Why I can’t do 4 walls

Although I don’t know everything about my future and I reserve the right to change my mind, after 4.5 years of living in Darwinny our Motorhome, I love it so much I don’t want it to change for my foreseeable future.

Adele is happy either way, she loves this life but could also go home. I think that’s mostly because she misses her Mum a lot and wants to be close to our sons Matt and Cameron.

Can't do 4 walls

Offers from Friends and Family

During our time whenever we do get back home to Brisbane, there were lots of times where we were invited to friend’s places, sometimes even offered a place to stay.

On a number of occasions, we received text messages from friends “I’m away for the weekend, the spare keys are under the mat, go relax in a bed and use the pool for a few days”.

Adele holding a small croc
Koorana Crocodile Farm Yeppoon

We were so grateful for their offer and thoughts for us. Plus, we love that we have so many wonderful and kind friends.

When we did a housesit for my niece, it was awesome, beautiful pool, nice home, Foxtel, heaps of room to park the Motorhome. It was perfect, except I found within just a day or two I can’t do 4 walls.

I was back doing what I used to do, sit and watch TV, stay at home and not be productive.

I wasn’t LIVING!!

I Can't do 4 walls

Everyone collects a lot of stuff

We visited family and friends in their homes and all I see is “stuff”. The same stuff we used to have. All those possessions I thought that made me happy.

Every now and then you’d blow off the dust and get a broom to the cobwebs and I would use my “stuff” again but for the most part it would just sit there doing nothing.

Just money wasted which made us believe we needed to go back to work again week after week to fund the life everyone else has and we were copying.

Moreton Island Sunset
Sunset Moreton Island.

Our friends and family may read this but I’m sure they’ll understand the context of what we mean. We discussed this with them anyway.

While we passionately respect and love our family and friends, a house just isn’t where we’re at any more.

I just can’t do 4 walls.

When my Dad passed away I found myself asking the question “there has to be more to life than work and do chores”.

I Can't do 4 Walls

Brisbane will always be home

We really miss our Mums, both of us have lost our Fathers now, and we miss our sons Matthew and Cameron. Also we miss our friends plus, I miss playing cricket and hanging out with all my mates.

It’s not easy to just pack up and leave and it’s even harder to stay away.

For me, my entire life of 51 years before we left was lived in Brisbane. I grew up living in the same family home, we didn’t move house even once until I was married.

 7 Essentials – Tours to Experience

  1. Reefsleep in the Whitsundays is an amazing adventure. Spend the night on a pontoon sleeping in a swag on Hardy’s Reef in the Great Barrier Reef
  2. The Ocean Rafting tour from Airlie Beach is a truly fun day out. They took us to the best snorkeling places and the entire day was amazing
  3. For the best Full Day Island tour in Cairns we recommend the Fitzroy Island tour
  4. The Humpback Whale Swim in Exmouth remains one of our ultimate highlights of our time around Australia. We highly recommend doing this tour
  5. If you are on the East Coast, you can swim with Humpback Whales on the Sunshine Coast. The tour leaves from Mooloolaba
  6. Swimming with Whale Sharks at Exmouth is also extremely popular and a great day out with the team from Eco Adventures on Lattitude 22
  7. One of Tasmania’s best tours is the Tasman Island Cruise with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys out of Port Arthur. Three hours of cruising the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere and enjoying an up close look at hundreds of seals as well as dolphins and birdlife.
Lara Wetlands
Full moon and a fire, Lara Wetlands

Adele has lived in Townsville and moved around different homes, but I hadn’t. Therefore, I was very used to routine and stability. Given my personality that was probably a good thing.

Recently, we spent time in Brisbane and the South East seeing everyone we could and exploring places we had never seen in our own “backyard”.

I didn’t enjoy the traffic being back home in Brisbane, the hustle and bustle doesn’t do it for me now, but it’s still home and our Family are all there.

Brisbane is home and always will be.

Can't do 4 Walls

What I miss the most

During this time back in the City was when I realised I yearned for things I learnt to love when road tripping around Oz.

3 specific things stood out that I missed.

  • Sunsets and Sunrises
  • Open fires
  • The Stars at night
Can't do 4 Walls
Sunset at Wild Horse Mountain Lookout

Nobody at home talks about seeing an amazing Sunset.

There’s something special about a magical sunset that we just love.

The colours, the differences when there’s a cloud or fire in the distance, the different views across oceans or rivers, over barren land and between mountains or ranges.

It symbolises we’re near the end of another day, an achievement that we survived and enjoyed another episode of our lives.

It resets the clock to tomorrow, when our world is once again an open book to make it another tale, another incredible memory along our journey.

They are a great time for reflection, did we achieve something wonderful today. What can we do tomorrow that is even better?

Sunsets can be so different yet all so spectacular. We just don’t appreciate them at home.

I Can't do 4 Walls

An open fire is awesome!

Cooking over an open fire, sitting around it with a Rum in hand and chatting to new friends, seriously, does it get any better than that?

I love waking up in the morning, getting the coals fired up again and cooking some bacon and eggs.

Lighting a fire in downtown Brisvegas is a sure fire way to upset the neighbours and have the local Council issuing a huge fine.

While settled in over that fire at night, it’s so wondrous to look up and absorb the big picture.

Who am I, why am I here, what else is out there, what would it be like to go to the moon, how amazing is life and how our planets work.

I really enjoy looking up to the stars at night, imagining a life where I get to choose my tomorrow. So after experiencing this magnificent lifestyle, I just feel I can’t do 4 walls now.

I Can't do 4 walls

Life on the road is so amazing. Every day is filled with adventure and experiences. So many great memories.

Yes, don’t box me in.

How does that song go:

Oh give me land, lots of land, and the starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in…….

Did I mention, I can’t do 4 walls…..

Pin – I Can’t Do 4 Walls

Can't Do 4 Walls

You might also enjoy reading:

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 of our photos and videos are:

Samsung Note 10 Plus Phone – https://ebay.to/2XOjXhi – 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 lenshttps://ebay.to/2TWt0vA  – 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/34thTP1  –  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 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

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!

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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 – https://ebay.to/2XOjXhi – 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 lenshttps://ebay.to/2TWt0vA  – 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/34thTP1  –  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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Adventurers Diary

Mackay – Whitsundays region, so much to see and do

The Mackay to Whitsundays drive is so full of fun and exciting things to see and explore, we love it every time.

Photo1-IMG_6198

With the help of some friends who live in Mackay, we received some great tips on what to see and do.  Our caravan park manager, Macca from Bucasia Beach in Mackay, was such a chilled dude and helped us out with ideas too.

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