Us, a Swag, a Pontoon and a lot of water - Reefsleep - Indefinite Leave
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Us, a Swag, a Pontoon and a lot of water – Reefsleep

Our stay at Airlie Beach in Queensland’s sensational Whitsunday’s couldn’t be complete without experiencing the pinnacle of Great Barrier Reef adventures. Reefsleep with Cruise Whitsundays is the ultimate, an overnight sleep under the stars at Reefworld on Hardy Reef. Only a 1 hour 50 minute boat trip 40 nautical miles from the mainland in the beautiful Whitsundays.

Only 9 people maximum can be a part of Reefsleep each night, therefore providing an intimate experience, sleeping in swags on the pontoon rooftop under the stars.


Reefworld on Hardy Reef

Reefworld on Hardy Reef - Reefsleep Experience

Departing for Reefsleep

At the marina, Cruise Whitsunday’s staff directed us to our own private lounge seating area on the boat’s mid level just behind the captain’s area. We were able to watch and listen to the staff as they steered us toward our exciting “pyjama party” on the Great Barrier Reef.

Our other fellow Reefsleep guests, David, Christine and German tourist Angelica were also there. We excitedly talked about what we were expecting would happen. The onboard staff gave us briefings about our stay and they told us by 3pm we would have the pontoon and snorkeling all to ourselves until 11am the following day.

fellow Reefsleep guests

The Trip out to Hardy Reef

The boat trip took about 1 hour 50 minutes after a brief stop at Hamilton Island to pick up passengers. The Captain let us know ocean conditions would be a little rough but not too bad and that’s how it turned out.

As we entered the reef area the waters calmed and we began to view the incredible colours only a reef provides. Soon the pontoon comes into view and as we slowly make our way up close we look out at those who enjoyed the experience the night before, looking for clues on what to expect. Nothing obvious stands out.

Our Arrival

Once we were on the pontoon we were introduced to our Reefsleep guide Natalie who would look after us for the night. A few minutes later and we were ready to begin enjoying the facilities available.

Adele and Matthew quickly chose to join others for a trip on the Semi Submersible Glass bottom boat. Whereas I chose to take a look around and discover exactly what the pontoon had to offer. I soon found a group getting ready to Scuba Dive and watched as they prepared their Scuba gear and Stinger suits. I considered for a moment what it would take to join them but decided to venture on and see what else there was to explore.

Semi Submersible Glass bottom boat - Reefsleep Experience

The tide was low and the reef and its coral were on full display. The colours were amazing with the reef displaying almost a fluro blue colour along with turquoise green and a dark blue for the deep waters. By this stage lots of people had changed into their swimming attire and began to snorkel the pristine reef. Cruise Whitsundays provided all the snorkeling gear and had everyone ready and prepared pretty quickly.

Snorkelling - Reefsleep Experience

Adele and Matt returned from the Semi-Submersible Glass bottom boat and we decided to take a look at the Underwater Viewing Room. From there we could see a vast array of marine life including a lot of big fish. At night from the viewing room the lights would go on and attract a whole new range of fish including George the enormous big Queensland Groper.

We weren’t in a particular hurry to begin snorkeling, we were going to have it all to ourselves soon enough.

Reefworld Optional Activities

We had lots of choices including, Underwater Viewing Room, a Massage or take a Helicopter Flight over Hardy Reef and Heart Reef. A 30 minute Helicopter Flight out of Airlie Beach is also available.

The helicopter flight was $140 each (as long as you weigh less than 110kgs) for a 10 minute flight. The massage was $55 for half an hour.

Optional Helicopter Flight - Reefsleep Experience

Snorkeling Hardy Reef

Adele and Matthew couldn’t wait any longer and were soon in snorkeling with everyone else. I heard the call that lunch was served back on the boat and figured I’d get in early. I was one of the first people to arrive for lunch and had the pick of everything. A smorgasbord of cold meats, salads, chicken, prawns, wraps and more.

After lunch we decided it was time for me to snorkel and we all donned our wet suits and snorkeling gear and I had my first look at Hardy Reef. The array of coral and marine life was spectacular. The clams were so big, so colourful. The fish were amazing with how close they would allow you to get to them. Sometimes I would reach out to grab them but they’d slip through my fingers. Every moment in the water was simply breathtaking.

As night begins to fall

That night Natalie cooked us a big delicious BBQ including steak, sausages, chicken, and seafood while we sat enjoying Champagne and watched an amazing sunset. The birds began to join us also as the sun went down and the clouds rolled in.

Amazing Sunset

After dinner we spent time having a few drinks and chatting to our new friends. We also enjoyed time in the underwater observatory watching the fish at night. The birds had joined us in their hundreds and were all mostly around the lower deck. We ventured to the top deck to look out at the moon and stars however cloud had begun to roll in and our view was intermittent.

We made our way to our Swags for an early night. I left the zipper open on my side as it was hot inside the swag and I wanted to look at the stars as I fell asleep. More about our night under the stars soon.

Waking Up on the Pontoon

For breakfast the following morning once again Natalie cooked us a feast! Bacon, eggs, hash browns, tomato and toast.

I had woken early in the morning and was the first one awake. I ventured around the pontoon and soon discovered some big GT (Giant Trevally) as they rounded up bait fish beside the pontoon. Once they were ready, it would become a feeding frenzy. It was crazy as fish would be flying out of the air and the water would become a thrashing of big fish looking to feed on the small ones.

We watched as this went on over and over all around the pontoon. One moment they would be at the front of the pontoon and a few moments later they’d be at the back. Sometimes one side and the next they would be the other side. It was fascinating watching Mother Nature at work.

Up close and personal with Giant Green Turtles

Another morning attraction was the appearance of two giant Green turtles who regularly feed off the side of the pontoon. It was fabulous to get such an up close and personal view of them. We used our GoPro on the extension stick to get video of them as close as possible.

giant turtle reefsleep experience

Fitting in a Morning Snorkel

As soon as breakfast was over we were already together planning to go snorkeling again before the next days sightseers arrived at 11am. We were determined to have another chance to snorkel before the crowd arrived however a high tide, windy conditions and a cool morning were all challenges we were facing. The ocean was rough as the winds blew and there was no protection from the reef due to the high tide. The waters were choppy and no-one was prepared to risk swimming in the conditions.

We waited and waited and with just 15 minutes before the boat arrived I decided it was now or never and jumped in for a last snorkel. The boat was 10 – 15 minutes late giving us some extra time as we all began to enjoy snorkeling again among the fish and coral.

last minute snorkeling

It wasn’t long before the crowd arrived and the energy and enthusiasm of a new group began to enjoy the facilities.

Relax Time - Reefsleep Experience
Great Barrier Reef Adventures Cruise Whitsundays
Did it all go perfectly, well no.

What could go wrong on such an incredible experience?

We can only write about the adventure from our own personal experience and the overnighter did offer up its challenges.

Our Reefsleep Experience

Our Reefsleep experience was amazing, almost breathtaking. It did however have its issues, mostly made worse by not being prepared. Here are a few things we experienced or noticed on our trip that the glossy brochures don’t tell you.

Reefsleep Experience - snorkel time

  • Fresh drinking water is limited 40 nautical miles out in the ocean as you can imagine. Access to showers is only for the Reefsleep guests and therefore they are only open outside of the day tripper hours. They are also closed again when guests from the helicopter charter flights come aboard the pontoon. This is to conserve the water and ensure Reefsleep guests ultimately have enough for their overnight stay. You will need to time it right for when you can have a shower. Talk to the staff they will guide you for when it’s going to be suitable.
  • We don’t drink coffee but the other guys weren’t altogether fussed by the instant coffee that was available. Once again, this is more like a camping experience rather than a resort, there’s no cappuccino machine and you may need to lower your coffee standards for one night.
  • You have to deal with the elements of the weather. I recommend you read my blog about researching the weather before booking your Reefsleep adventure – The weather can change quickly and unpredictably. Our weather was predicted 0% chance of showers, but it rained anyway.

Reefsleep pontoons

Just Us, a Swag, a Pontoon and a lot of water

Naturally you are braving the elements that nature has to offer when sleeping in swags in the open air of the pontoon deck, but there were no suggestions from the Reefsleep staff as to what to do if the weather turns bad during the night. Given this was our first night sleeping in a swag, we were excited at the thought of gazing up at the sky to see the stars when we retired for the evening. In order to take in the view of the night sky and for some ventilation as well, as the canvas tents are hot, I left the side flaps of our swag open.

pontoon deck - Reefsleep swags

A Wet Swag

Unfortunately unpredicted weather meant we experienced bursts of light and heavy rain throughout the night. I did not zipper back up completely which caused one side of our swag mattress to become saturated with water. It was an unexpected early rise to our second day at the outer Reef. If you have any rain, ensure you fully zip up your swag, especially at the base.

Reef from the boat

  • Once we were heading out to the Reef on the boat I was looking forward to a relaxing trip with thoughts of what our next 2 days were going to be like. It started so well, we were taken to our own personal lounge only for Reefsleep guests and made to feel special.

The Push for Optional Extra Activities

Soon into the trip to the island staff came to us wanting to sell tickets for the Helicopter ride, Massages and Scuba Diving and the pressure was on as spaces were limited and we might miss out. We really just wanted to relax at that time, chat with our fellow guests, take in the views and enjoy the experience.

Despite the sales push we were happy we held off until we arrived at the pontoon. You will need to decide when is best for you to book. The helicopter rides for example are limited and you might miss out if you don’t book early.

  • We were so excited by the idea of flying over Heart Reef, in fact Adele’s heart was set on it. Sadly we were left disappointed as with no previous limitations being mentioned prior, we were told there were weight restrictions of 130kgs. If you were over that you had to pay for 2 seats.

Love Snorkeling at Hardy Reef on Reefsleep Adventure

Misguided Information from Helicopter Company

Upon returning to further question this we were then told it was 110kgs. We were unhappy for this restriction to be in place but even more disappointed that we weren’t notified at any stage prior to the trip and the rules kept changing. We spoke about it to pontoon staff who told us they were a separate company and we would need to sort it out with them.

I decided if Matt couldn’t go than neither would I and Adele ended up choosing not to go alone. Very disappointing but we soon found out Angelica had taken a scenic flight from Airlie Beach that looked a much better option anyway.

Hardy Reef Underwater experience

  • The Reefsleep staff are friendly but apart from the host, everyone was busy. We had very little interaction with any other staff.
  • There didn’t seem to be a plan B. Being so far from land surrounded by water with not a lot of options of things to do, if you’ve had enough of snorkeling or the ocean gets a bit rough then you have an underwater observatory and that’s about it. You can only take so many sunset photos.

Opportunities to add to the Reefsleep Experience

It was our opinion that they missed an opportunity to further entertain the guests.

There was little information passed on about Reefworld, the Great Barrier Reef and Hardy Reef. An opportunity was there to give more insight into such a unique and world renowned location. A discussion about the history of Hardy Reef, the damage the reef is undergoing and how it can be protected plus, how the pontoon works and what it is doing to conserve the reef and showcase this amazing reef system. Also we felt they could introduce all the staff and explain their roles. These are just some of the things that would make it more interesting and beneficial to us as overnight visitors. I think they are missing the chance to educate their guests.

Hardy Reef Coral and giant clams

This is important!!

I only provide these points to give you a better overall guide to the experience and an understanding of what to expect. With this information upfront we would have been better prepared for the experience, rather than just the glossy brochures and rave reviews by travel companies. Despite these thoughts, don’t hesitate, it is absolutely a ‘must do’ experience.

My tips for Reefsleep

  • Make sure you have a camera for underwater photos and videos. We bought a Lifeproof Waterproof case for our iPhone and practiced in the pool before we went. We also took our GoPro to capture lots of quality under water footage.
  • Approach it like you would if you were going camping. It is not 5 Star but it is an experience you will remember forever.
  • Ask questions. Talk to the staff if there’s anything you need to know.
  • Talk to your new friends and enjoy the experience together.
  • Save some energy for snorkeling once the crowd has left and before they return at 11am the next day.
  • Don’t take any bird phobias with you, there’s going to be lots of them with you for the night.
  • Apply plenty of sunscreen
  • Leave the zipper of your swag open and enjoy the amazing view of the stars in the sky.
  • If you do get a shower of rain, make sure you close up the bottom zipper. That was my big mistake. Rookie error!!
  • The Helicopter Flight, Glass Bottom Sub and Massage are only available during the day when everyone, including the day-trippers are there. At 3pm these features are closed.

Reefsleep Experience

More about Reefsleep

You can read more about Reefsleep as well as our Top 13 Best Things to do in Airlie Beach & Whitsundays or simply book your Reefsleep experience out of Airlie Beach here.

We chose the Swag and our cost at the time was $440 each.

Have you done the Reefsleep or planning to do it soon?

Let us know your thoughts.

Kev, Adele and Matt

Indefinite Leave


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

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

The new Go Pro 7 – –  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 – 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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  1. Annie

    November 28, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for this extremely informative post! My sister, parents, and I just booked a Reefsleep for early April. We will definitely use your tips. I am enjoying reading your blog and wish you safe travels.

    • Indefinite Leave

      November 28, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Annie, thanks for your comments 🙂
      Hope you have a sensational time. We have been 10 months now travelling Australia and it still ranks in the Top 2 for things we’ve done for me so far. Just don’t expect it to be a Hilton experience 😉
      Let us know how you go 🙂
      Kev & Adele

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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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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Photography and Socials

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

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

The new Go Pro 7 – –  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 – 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

Get the F###ing Fire Extinguisher!!

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

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

Extinguishing the fire from the air conditioner

After I put out the fire

Motorhome Air Conditioner caught fire!

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

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

Putting out the Fire!

Next minute absolute mayhem as someone came running over yelling to us we were on fire. Get the F###ing Fire Extinguisher!!

motorhome air conditioner caught fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Brigade callout

Fortunately we were at Rapid Bay Campground

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

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

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


Here’s what I do know though!!

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

Replacing the Motorhome Air Conditioner while we flew home

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

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

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

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

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

Fantastic, no problem.


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External rooftop view of Motorhome Air Conditioner

Our flight back to Brisbane

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

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

Back to collect our Motorhome

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

Motorhome Air Conditioner

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

You’re kidding right!!

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

The new Motorhome Air Conditioner Unit

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

Check specifications here

Check more specifications here

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

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

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

Our Dealings with CIL were magnificent

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

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

Throughout our entire ordeal, CIL were magnificent. It’s why we were so disappointed when we had to change companies, you can read all about that here –

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

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

Shredded tyre

More drama

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

Ohhh shit……!!

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

Tyre Blowout Snowtown

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

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

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

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

Motorhome Air Conditioner repairs at Mobile Caravan Repairs Darwin

Repairs finalized in Darwin

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

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

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

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

Farewelling MACKS

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

Macks on her last days in Darwin

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

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

It had been fun times…. not!!

Honouring MACKS

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

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

Motorhome Air Conditioner - Repairs in Darwin

Thank you to Pauls Mobile Caravan Repairs

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

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

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

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

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

Safe travels

Kev& Adele
Indefinite Leave


Photography and Socials

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

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

The new Go Pro 7 – –  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 – This is an absolute ripper of a drone. The Fly More Combo will provide you with everything you will need. I use this for all my aerial footage and this price is well below other retail stores. _______________________________________________________________________

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









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Adventurers Diary

I Can’t Do 4 Walls

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.

Although I don’t know everything about my future and I reserve the right to change my mind, after 2.5 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.


Offers from Friends and Family

During our time back home, we just had 4 months in 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”.  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 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.

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 any more.

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

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 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. 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.r

Recently, we spent 4 months in Brisbane and the South East seeing everyone we could, pushing my business 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.

I 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
  • Open fires
  • The Stars at night

Nobody at home talks about seeing an amazing Sunset. There’s something special about them 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. 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

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…..

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

You might also enjoy reading:

Traveling Australia is Far More than just Adventures

It’s All About An Adventure

Our Favourite Experiences as we Travel Australia


Photography and Socials

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

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

The new Go Pro 7 – –  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 – This is an absolute ripper of a drone. The Fly More Combo will provide you with everything you will need. I use this for all my aerial footage and this price is well below other retail stores. ________________________________________________________________

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








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

Continue Reading