A Tribute to MACKS the Best Dog I’ve ever known - Indefinite Leave
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A Tribute to MACKS the Best Dog I’ve ever known

,If you’ve ever owned a dog and grown to love it then you’ll understand the devastation we are feeling of losing MACKS the best dog ever. We just made the decision that it was time to let our 15 and a half year old, incredibly beautiful Golden Retriever, be relieved from the challenges and difficulty of her arthritis and uselessness of her back legs.

A Tribute to MACKS the best dog for 15 1/2 years

Our sons were just 7 and 9 when MACKS joined our family in January 2002. To put that in perspective, in January 2002:

Ansett was still flying in Australia
Kelly Clarkson won the first series of American Idol and
Sanyo released the first ever mobile phone with a camera built in.

MACKS has been with us a long time.

MACKS the Best Dog


MACKS as a puppy

Man’s Best Friend

There hasn’t been much time in my life that I can remember not having a 4 legged mate. Rusty was my first dog growing up and once Adele and I married I brought Snowy home from the markets unbeknown to Adele. I remember arriving back with our van loaded with the furniture I used to make and sell back in those days. It was fully loaded and I asked Adele to open the sliding door and help unload. As she pulled out a box there was this little white ball of fluff. Adele wasn’t fussed on dogs but from that day on she was sold. Snowy lasted until he was 9 and a half and died just a month after moving into our current home.

It took us a full 12 months before we got over losing Snowy and came to the conclusion it was time to find another “Man’s Best Friend”. We spent weeks searching, looking specifically at Golden Retrievers.

MACKS standing guard at the front gate
A very young MACKS

Naming MACKS

MACKS came from a home at Narangba in Brisbane. I’ve always felt she found us, not we found her. There was an instant connection, we were in love the moment we saw her. She was only weeks old and it was hard having to wait until she was 8 weeks old to bring her home with us.

Her name is all our initials because we are hopeless with coming up with names but it turned out to be perfect. Whenever someone asked what is her name we would say “MACKS, but it’s spelt with all our initials”.
Matthew
Adele
Cameron
Kevin
Snowy, our previous dog.

MACKS running on the beach at Dunsborough
Running on the beach near Dunsborough WA. Only 1 foot on the sand.

Each time we would get to explain her name it gave us a sense of pride and positioned her as being a paramount part of our family.

Playing fetch with MACKS

With 2 young boys the yard always had a tennis ball about and MACKS liked to chew them to bits. She also learnt to chase the ball and bring it back, I’d throw a ball and this was how it went.

MACKS at Sue and Noel's in Townsville

First throw, bounds away running after the ball and brings it back
Second throw, runs to the ball, picks it up, brings it back
Third throw, jogs to the ball, picks it up, walks halfway back, gets distracted by the smell of a flower or a passing butterfly, stops for a moment and then brings the ball back.

Fourth throw, jogs to the ball, looks at it, sniffs around, picks up the ball, slowly walks about some more. I have to call her and encourage her, where’s the ball MACKS, good girl, bring the ball. Slowly she’d bring back the ball.
Fifth throw, wanders off towards the ball, does a pee in the corner, has a wander around, picks up the ball, drops it again, looks around some more, picks up the ball, sits down and begins to chew it. I go over and grab the ball.

Sixth throw, she would look at me and look at the ball, look back at me as if to say, You keep throwing it so you go get it……..
And that was that.
Time for me to pour a drink.

MACKS loved the water
Flooded waters in the park at home always provided MACKS a lot of fun

MACKS was the best dog and so easy to train

I had 2 rules with MACKS. No jumping, no licking.

Given I had a Real Estate career at the time I mostly wore black pants and her white hair would cling to my trousers. Also her sometimes muddy paws would make a mess of my clothes, so jumping up wasn’t allowed.
The other one was licking, I really don’t like dogs that lick. Have you seen what your dog licks with their tongue? So that thing wasn’t coming anywhere near me.

MACKS would fetch a stick from the water all day long!
She just loved chasing sticks in the water

Now Golden Retrievers are known for being a little dopey, it’s part of their charm, but they are so easy to train. Want to train a Golden Retriever, just use food.
Confirmation of a good act, just provide a biscuit.
A negative act is a firm No and no rewards.
Pretty bloody easy.
MACKS was no different, because she was so easy to train as well.

Adele and MACKS on her last time at the beach at Lee Point in Darwin
Adele and MACKS on her last time at the beach at Lee Point in Darwin

Adele’s special bond with MACKS

While I was MACKS master and she knew that, it was always clear Adele and her had a special bond. It’s a girl thing. MACKS was always a very gentle dog, kind, affectionate and eager to please. Her beautiful nature gelled perfectly with Adele and when she was young, if she saw Adele and I hugging she would bark and glare with an anxious look of concern. She was definitely in protection mode. She may have known her place in the pecking order but I certainly knew mine too.

Our home in Brisbane backs onto a park and when we lost our last dog Snowy due to heartworm we chose to bury him in the backyard at the gate to the park to symbolise his role in protecting the property. So it was always intended that MACKS would be buried on the opposite side of the gate entrance.

Like all Golden Retrievers, MACKS loved the beach
Like all Golden Retrievers, MACKS loved the beach

MACKS to travel with us!

We didn’t expect MACKS would last this long. Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer and often lose that battle somewhere between 11-13 years of age. Fortunatetly when MACKS got cancer we caught it in time and it was successfully cut out. Still she seemed to be slowing down in the last year or two at home so when we were asked when are you leaving on your Trip around Australia our answer was “after MACKS is gone”.

As months passed by and MACKS was still with us we quickly had to come up with Plan B. If we took her with us though, she wouldn’t get to be buried at home. As I thought about it I figured what better way for her to go then by spending whatever time she had left in close proximity to us and she could have endless swims at the beach. It was obvious she had to come with us, I knew she was going to love it. MACKS was the best dog to travel with, she loved being around us 24/7 and as a result she hardly ever barked!

MACKS at Rainbow Beach, Qld
She spotted these sticks in the water at Rainbow Beach, Qld

MACKS loved the Beach!

Our first stop was Rainbow Beach and wow, she instinctively knew what she wanted. She had never been to a surf beach ever. We had taken her to creeks and rivers a few times but never to surf and when she saw the sand and the ocean she began dragging me with so much excitement.

MACKS still dragging her legs through the water right til the end

Her absolute love, passion and enthusiasm for the beach never waned, right up until her last Saturday, when she dragged her failing hind legs across the sand until she made it to the water.

It was sad to watch and it was then that I knew her time had come. It was time for me to face the agony of letting go of the most beautiful, courageous, loving animal I’d had the privilege to meet.

MACKS loved people

MACKS was the best dog and loved by all!

Everyone has always loved MACKS. She has always been so popular.

Each time she was dog sat, our greatest concern was they might not give her back. On numerous occasions we were asked, can I keep her?

In Agnes Water, we had to cancel a dog sitter as our neighbor at the Caravan Park insisted they had to look after her for the day. The couple took her to the beach and fed her steak while we went on the Lady Musgrave Island tour.

Book your Lady Musgrave Island tour here>

MACKS curled up on the lounge during a storm
On the lounge during a storm

Her fear of loud noises

MACKS didn’t like loud noises. Storms and fireworks would make her frantic. She knew she wasn’t allowed on the lounge on our back deck but that’s where we’d find her if there was thunder about. One New Years Eve we were out and received a very late night call to say our dog was out and had been found by someone. She had burst her way out and gone to visit neighbours down the street where she felt safe with people around. Again, they loved her.

There’s just so many stories of people’s affection of MACKS to tell.

At Port Lincoln Vet with Geriatric Vestibular Disease
At Port Lincoln Vet with Geriatric Vestibular Disease

MACKS battled through Geriatric Vestibular Disease

The dose she had of Geriatric Vestibular Disease just before Christmas last year really aged her. She no longer looked like a young puppy after that. It was a harrowing time and we are quite amazed she has lasted a further 6 months.

I woke up in the morning and got out of bed. As MACKS would always do, she figured that meant it was time for her to be fed. She tried to get to her feet and immediately crashed to the floor with a thud. Further attempts she made to stand up were in vain, she couldn’t move and within a minute she knew she was in trouble. She trembled in fear, a look of terror was in her eyes. I held her head as her eyes looked at me so scared. None of us knew what was happening, I just tried to keep her calm.

Recovering at caravan park in Port Lincoln
Recovering at caravan park in Port Lincoln

A frantic 5 hour drive to the Vet

We were in Ceduna in South Australia and there were no vets in town. After googling, we found the closest vet was an hour away in Streaky Bay. We quickly packed everything and took off, Adele in the back with MACKS all the way. I looked in the mirror a few times to see the tears streaming down Adele’s face. Adele thought she’d had a stroke.

We arrived in Streaky Bay and drove straight to the Vet, we were so relieved MACKS was still alive. To our horror we found a note on the door, the clinic was only open a few days a month, we would need to drive another 4 hours to Port Lincoln. We filled with fuel and asked if there was another Vet closer but they told us that’s where they have to go too.

What a nightmare.

MACKS enjoying the beach at Moonta SA
MACKS enjoying the beach at Moonta SA

The Port Lincoln Vet Clinic were excellent!

For 4 more hours we drove all the way to Port Lincoln where we came across what must be the best Vet Clinic in Australia. They were amazing. Immediately they diagnosed her with Geriatric Vestibular Disease and put her on a drip. For the next 6 days she was cared for by the Vet staff and force fed water and food. We booked into the Port Lincoln Tourist Park and visited MACKS as much as we could.

After 6 days she wasn’t responding but clearly we could tell she liked our visits. It was decided she might respond to being with us and back in familiar surroundings. The Vet said it was the most severe case they had ever seen. We took her back on the Monday and we would attempt to force feed her but she just fought back. She hated the recovery food!!

MACKS in the flooded creek with our son Cameron
MACKS in the flooded creek with our son Cameron

Getting MACKS to eat and drink again

On the Wednesday we went back to the Vet to let them know we hadn’t had any luck. MACKS still wasn’t eating or able to move. Therefore, it was decided that if she hadn’t begun to eat and drink by Friday, we would need to “consider her options”. We all knew what that meant.

One suggestion they provided was to sweeten her water with a little cordial and it was the first thing we did when we got back. My next thought was instead of providing her nice food like chicken and meat, go for what she knew as a treat. I was having some biscuits and dip and knew how much she loves them so I offered her a Chicken Crimpy biscuit. It was a winner!!

Saved by a Chicken Crimpy!!

Saved by a Chicken Crimpy!!

Deadline thwarted

She then drank some cordial and that night enjoyed some of our roast dinner. We were delirious with excitement. In the morning it was our scrambled bacon and eggs which got shared. She was back on the road to recovery and the Friday deadline was thwarted.

Even though she was so sick, being in the water at Moonta made her so happy
Even though she was so sick, being in the water at Moonta made her so happy

A slow recovery for MACKS

It took weeks to recover. We left Port Lincoln to Moonta and the next time we took her for a swim she fell over and ended up upside down under the water. I quickly grabbed her. It happened 2 more times but we knew each time to be close by and we were right beside her. Slowly she got her balance back but ultimately it had taken a big toll. Life for MACKS just got that little tougher with each day from that moment on.

MACKS last dinner
We all ate on the floor together for her last dinner

Our special last 24hrs with MACKS

Her last 24 hours we tried to make as special as possible. We cooked for 4 that night, she ate what we ate and then we sat on the floor and ate dinner with her. We ended up sharing parts of our meals with her as well. She had a feast.

Bathed and drying off in the sun
Bathed and drying in the sun

We gave her a bath the next morning and got her spotlessly clean. Then we sat together in the sun, letting her dry out. MACKS was no fan of the bright sunlight so I put my sunglasses on her. Then we decided she would wear my Indefinite Leave cap, to symbolise she would always be with us on our adventures no matter what.

Ice creams all round including one for MACKS
Ice creams all round

An Ice cream Treat for MACKS

Next it was a trip to Maccas. Debbie has been following us since the beginning of our trip and had fallen in love with MACKS as she had an identical Golden Retriever herself. A photo of us at an ice cream shop in Robe brought a comment from Debbie, did we buy MACKS one too? We had never thought of her having an ice cream, so her last morning was a trip to Maccas for an ice cream cone.

She wasn’t sure of it at first, she sniffed it but I think she thought she’d get in trouble if she took it. I kept offering it to her and then when I said, it’s ok, have it MACKS, she took a lick and she loved it. She licked it down to the cone and then I put it on the ground and she swallowed it. She was so excited.

Making memories with MACKS before her farewell

Photos with MACKS to treasure forever

It was almost time to make the Vet appointment but Adele had noticed a park with a lake and fountain close by and she decided she wanted some last photos there. At first MACKS trembled from the sound of the fountain as the water propelled into the air. She was the best dog, she was so gentle natured and scared easily. We took lots of photos and gave her lots of hugs and kisses. She was the brightest we had seen her in awhile. All these treats and being near water gave her zest once again but her legs were struggling as bad as ever. We had to carry her back to the Motorhome.

Final moments with MACKSKev's final hugs with MACKSNightcliff Jetty - Reflecting after we farewelled MACKS
For the rest of the afternoon we sat at Nightcliff Jetty in Darwin and let the tears flow.

I’ve never loved an animal this much. She really was one of a kind. MACKS was the best dog we’ve ever known!!

We will always miss you MACKS and we will always remember you.

Love always,
Matthew
Adele
Cameron
Kevin
Snowy

Indefinite Leave

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Peter

    June 22, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    This is just a beautiful story and shows how much Macks impacted your lives in such a positive way and how much you loved her. Got to go now and give my Mia a big hug. Thank you for sharing.😢😢😢

  2. Lianne

    June 23, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and heart breaking story. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending love and strength from the hearts of our family to yours.

    • Indefinite Leave

      June 23, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Thank you so much Lianne. We appreciate your kind words. Kev & Adele

  3. Maureen Bieder

    June 23, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    I have tears in my eyes reading this beautiful story of Macks. There is no love like the love of your dog. I am not looking forward to losing any of my three poodles. They are my family but are now 12, 13 1/2, 14 1/2.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Indefinite Leave

      June 23, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      Thank you Maureen. Wow they’ve had a great life but hopefully have a little longer to go yet 🙂

  4. Emma

    June 24, 2017 at 10:51 am

    awww Macks …. I’m going to miss you and your adventures xxxx thanks for sharing her with us Adele, Kevin, Matt and Cameron

    • Indefinite Leave

      June 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Thank you Emma. Yes it’s just so sad. We are missing her like crazy. Safe travels Kev & Adele

  5. Brenda & Peter

    June 25, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Oh dear Kevin, That was just beautiful. Dear dear Macks, she was a beautiful dog such a lovely nature. You will be left with so many happy memories of your time with her. Love to you & Adele & Matthew. ♥♥♥ From Brenda & Peter I feel so privileged to have met her. Dogs are one of the best of Gods creatures. They are so very loyal & ask nothing in return.

    • Indefinite Leave

      June 29, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Thank you so much Brenda & Peter. It’s been 3 weeks now and missing her like crazy. Thanks again, Kev & Adele.

  6. Jenny Watters

    July 8, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    So sorry for your loss, what a wonderful dog she was.

    • Indefinite Leave

      July 14, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      Thank you Jenny. We really miss her a lot, she was such a great dog and really loved by us all.

  7. Andrew

    January 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    We are lucky to have these beautiful animals be part of our life. I too have had to let go my retriever who suffered similar weakness in the back end. I now have a 12.5 yr old and a 2.5yr old. Awesome dogs. Will you get another?

    • Indefinite Leave

      January 24, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Andrew, sorry I’ve taken so long to reply. Yes we are. Goldens are just the best dogs. No, we want to spend a lot of time travelling now, both here and overseas and it’s much easier without a pet. 🙂

  8. Roxanne

    November 5, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Awwww what a special story of unconditional love! I have no doubt that she will always have a very special place in your hearts and you truly gave her a beautiful life…✨

  9. Maree

    November 12, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I just read your Facebook post about tick medication which brought me here. What a lovely tribute to your gorgeous Macks. I am onto my 4th goldie now – have always had 2 at a time to give me some protection when one leaves me. It helps. Your story of Macks reminds me of my Zoe, who has been gone just over 2 years. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age 13, given only a few months but we actually got over 2 more years with her. She too was a beautiful, gentle girl, terrified of storms, but a big fan of balls & especially the water. She would have loved a trip like your Macks had. We hope to one day take Harriett & Ruby travelling with us. That bond you describe with Macks & the one I have had with my goldies is one of the most special things in life. Keep enjoying your travels xx

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Adventurers Diary

Ocean Rafting the Great Barrier Reef in Whitsundays

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

 

You’ll have the ride of your life!!

 

Ocean Rafting Tour - The Ride of your Life

Ocean Rafting Northern Exposure Tour

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

That’s just for starters!!

 

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

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

Ocean Rafting Snorkeling

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

 

Snorkel Whitsundays

 

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

 

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

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

 

Hill Inlet

Fun at Hill Inlet

Whitehaven Beach

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Lunch on board the Ocean Rafting Tour

 

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

 

Hill Inlet Lookout

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

 

Hill Inlet Lookout

Ocean Rafting Tour pull into the beach at Hill Inlet

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Whitsunday Islands National Park

 

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

 

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

 

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

Read more information and Book your Tour here

 

With our guides from our Ocean Rafting Tour

 

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

 

Where to stay in the Whitsundays?

 

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

Book your Hotel stay in the Whitsundays here>

 

For Caravan Park Accommodation:

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

Base Backpackers Airlie Beach

 

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

https://pin.it/52ggvyqo55wxkr

Mackay to Whitsundays so much to see and do

https://pin.it/sz6oigtwdyj6vr

 

Our Story

We are Kevin & Adele, originally from Brisbane in Queensland Australia.

Adele has visited 24 countries and since Feb 2016 we have been driving around Australia exploring all there is to see. Our passion is to assist you to plan your adventures.

 

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Adventurers Diary

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

The REAL costs to Travel Australia over 24 months

We read so many Budgets online and on travel pages but we believe ours is the most accurate and fully detailed report.  It provides all of what you need to be prepared for and to know what it really costs to travel Australia. There’s more costs than just Caravan Parks, Campgrounds, Fuel and Food. You need to Budget for all the potential costs or at least be prepared for what might happen.

We detail everything that it costs to travel Australia for us over 24 months, nothing is missed. There’s also no guesses, we keep receipts for every cent we spend and record them into a spreadsheet. We rarely pay cash for anything so it’s all able to be checked against our statements. We know exactly what it costs us to the cent.

 

Ayers Rock at Sunset on Full Moon

 

About us

We were 3 adults as our son who had just turned 23 traveled with us and we paid for almost all of his costs. After 2 years, once we got back home to Brisbane, Matt moved in to his brother’s place and from now it’s just Adele and myself however for the duration of these Expenses, Matt was with us. We drive an 8m Winnebago Motorhome RV with no tow car and therefore it was our only vehicle.

 

Fishing on Fraser Island at Sunrise

 

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

The difference between what we spent in the second year in comparison to the first is significant. You may be smarter and more experienced in the beginning than us and be able to keep your costs down a lot better than we did.

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

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

 

Aerial view of Haycock Point in Ben Boyd National Park

 

Our Trip

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

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

For us, we started out with a 2.5 year plan before going back home. We wanted to see as much as absolutely possible as we expected we wouldn’t be back.

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

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

 

Stunning Hyams Beach

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

 

Lessons we learnt

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

We learnt about our costs and how to manage our expenses and were able to stop staying in Caravan Parks and almost entirely Free Camp. We began catching a lot of our own food, Fish, Prawns and Squid were often filling our freezer. Eating out stopped and Pub stays, while they might be Free or low cost, you end up having a meal and some drinks and before you know it the Free Pub stay just cost $100 or more for a night. We rarely stay at Pubs or if we do, we prefer ones where we pay a small fee and there’s no expectation of having to eat or drink there.

We searched for the best value Fuel and looked to conserve fuel by reducing weight. Rather than before we left, we didn’t fill up our water tanks until we got to our destiny therefore reducing weight and better fuel economy. We continually sent back to home anything we weren’t using, clothes, tools, kitchen utensils and anything that we realised we wouldn’t need or use. If we hadn’t used it in 3-6 months the likelihood was we wouldn’t need it again.

 

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

Our Highest Costs to travel Australia

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

  1. The heat had us staying in caravan parks so we could plug in to electricity for our air con.
  2. There were so many more major attractions with tours to experience. From sailing the islands off 1770, Yeppoon and Whitsundays, scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns and visiting the islands, staying at and seeing Lake Argyle, the incredible trip to Horizontal Falls from Broome and we didn’t even do places like Bungle Bungles which were on fire at the time we went past. We also spent a lot in Winton and especially Longreach, there’s so much to do there. For us, the south of Australia was easier to control the budget. Cool nights made Free camping easy and there was so much more choice for Free camping in the South. The sights to see weren’t nearly as hard on the budget except the cost to Tasmania and Kangaroo Island.

The more experienced we became the more we were able to reduce our costs. There are tours all over the country for Lighthouses and old Gaols to visit but once you’ve seen a few it’s hard to get excited about seeing another one. We didn’t visit any Zoo’s as we always planned to do Dubbo Zoo which we finally did near the end of the 2 year adventure. The budget frees up a bit as you go in this regard.

 

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

 

A couple of quick tips for traveling Oz

1.  Don’t have a washing machine

Two of the greatest issues you will face traveling Oz is space and weight and the washing machine effects both. It will use so much water and they are so small you need to do so many loads. I recently asked a Mum parked next to us as we discussed her washing machine in the caravan and they were a traveling family of parents and 3 children, How often do you wash? I was already expecting the answer and wasn’t surprised when she said, Every day!!

For us, we would prefer less washes in bigger machines and if we were doing road tripping Oz when our kids were younger that decision would be even more so.
The cost for us the whole trip to wash our clothes in Laundries and Caravan Parks turned out to be just $726 over 2 years. $360 a year ($1 a day) is a ridiculously small amount of our total overall budget and we don’t have all the issues of carting a washing machine around with us. I know many others love their washing machine, fair enough, but we don’t expect we would ever travel with one ourselves.

2.  Pets

It’s so hard to leave your pets behind, we couldn’t do it either, MACKS had to come with us. If it were for just 3-6 months we probably would have left her at home but for 12 months or more that’s a tougher decision.
Traveling Australia though is so much easier, cheaper and less restrictive without animals.
If you’re goal is to really explore the country and you have a good option where they could stay, then maybe best to leave them behind. If you know you are planning to go traveling and thinking of getting a dog, our advice would be wait until your trip is over and get your puppy then.

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

 

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

 

If your plan is to travel long term then there are plenty of options to travel with your best friend and see everything there is to see. Here’s how we did it

3. Phone coverage

Telstra has the best coverage by far. If you rely on phone reception choose Telstra or possibly Boost. Optus and Vodafone are not going to be suitable if phone coverage is important for you. Our videos of everywhere we have stayed let you know what phone coverage was available.

4. Wifi

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

When Caravan Parks say they have Free Wifi, it’s a miracle if it’s anything useful. Usually it’s terribly slow, very limited in the amount you can use and that’s assuming it actually works. Don’t rely on Caravan park Wifi, many of them should be ashamed of their claims of having Free Wifi.

 

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

 

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

 

Groceries 🍞🍉🥪🧀

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

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

 

Takeaways 🍟🍕🌭

$3,561.61

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

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

 

Dining Out 🍽️🍸

$6,391.69
Last 6 months $162

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

Overall our total Dining Out expense was $61.46pw

 

Accommodation 🚎🎪♨️

$13,453.63
$18.98 Average per night

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

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

As you can see, there’s considerable savings to be had on our budget by way of reduced costs in Accommodation. We could no doubt reduce our first 12 months by $3000 – $5000 now if we did it again but our budget will always be higher in the north than it is in the south.

 

Fuel is just one of the costs to travel Australia

 

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

 

Fuel

$13,163.72   58570.3
Most expensive was Kings Creek Station at Kings Canyon @ 199.9c
Uluru was 190.9c and Barkleys Homestead 179.9c
We have found United Fuel to be consistently the cheapest and almost always use them. Metro in some areas is great also.
We use the Fuel Map app to find the cheapest fuel.

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

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

 

Winnebago

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

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

 

Iveco

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

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

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

 

Entertainment 🏊‍♂️🎣⛰️🏝️🚁🚡

$18,429.31

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

First 6 months

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

Sleeping in a Swag on the Great Barrier reef
13 Must do in Airlie Beach and Whitsundays
Best Things to See in Cairns

Second 6 months

$5,733.90 – Darwin to WA to Tasmania. Included Horizontal Falls, Swimming with Humpback Whales, Broome Fishing Charter, Rottnest Island
Best of Broome
Things to See and do in Darwin

Third 6 months

$2,113 – Tasmania to Great Ocean Road to Uluru to Darwin to Mt Isa. This also Includes Tasman Island Cruise and Bruny Island Cruise plus Gordon River Cruise
The Very Best Things to See and Do in Tasmania
https://youtu.be/sWDhpoK7U3A

Fourth 6 months

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

Our Highest Entertainment Costs

Our biggest adventure costs were:

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

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

 

Your costs for these tours and adventures is going to be dependent upon your budget and what your plans are that you want to experience. For us these were incredible experiences that we will never forget, but they do cost money and often don’t come cheap.

 

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

 

Readers who enjoyed this also read:

Our Best Free Camps

The Best Campgrounds we stayed

Our Favourite Experiences around Australia

Cost to go to Kangaroo Island

Day Trip to Fitzroy Island in Cairns

FishCosts to travel Australia included Fishing Charters in our Entertainment Expenses

Horizontal Falls was the highest tour cost while traveling Australia

 

Gas

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

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

 

Alcohol 🍾🍷🥃🍻🍸

$4,926.90

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

Cost is $47.37pw

 

MACKS, our dog  

$3,373.04 in vet and medications etc

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

 

Dog Sitting

$959

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

Read about travelling Australia with a dog
Read my tribute to MACKS

 

Gorge Tours were part of our Entertainment Cost to Travel Australia

 

Adele’s Nails

$959

Some things a girl just has to do lol

 

Clothes

$2,488.41

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

$23.93pw was spent on clothing

 

Fishing

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

$13.97 pw was spent of fishing.

 

Laundry

$726
This is such a small cost. We started with a washing machine, never used it, found it way too small to wash our clothes yet takes space and becomes a weight issue. Also commits you to staying at places that cost money to access so much water. We use Laundries and find it easy to do.

Our laundry costs were $6.98pw

 

National Parks

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

 

Medical

$1,401.05

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

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

 

Miscellaneous

$2,909.52

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

This is an expense of $27.98pw

 

Adele under the Adels Grove Sign

 

Hair & Beauty

$370.90

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

 

Our Total Costs to travel Australia

Total amount = $109,534.16

Total average per week = $1,053.21

 

How to reduce your costs to travel Australia

In summary, could you do it cheaper, Absolutely!! Your costs to travel Australia could be much lower!

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Our Story

We are Kevin & Adele, originally from Brisbane in Queensland Australia.

Adele has visited 24 countries and since Feb 2016 we have been driving around Australia exploring all there is to see. Our passion is to assist you to plan your adventures.

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Photography

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

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

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

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Adventurers Diary

A Day Trip to Fitzroy Island in Cairns

While staying in the beautiful North Queensland city of Cairns, Fitzroy Island is the idyllic Tropical Island paradise for a Day Trip.  We were celebrating our anniversary, the August weather was perfect and it’s just a short boat ride and a great day trip from Cairns Harbour. Perfect!!

Fitzroy Island – A perfect Day Trip from Cairns

The idea of a fun day snorkeling and swimming on the Great Barrier Reef while enjoying cocktails and a great lunch at Foxy’s Bar was exactly what we were looking for. Adele had a Mango Weiss Bar cocktail while I enjoyed an Expresso Martini. Our friend Denise enjoyed an Echo Gecko!

Green Island Vs Fitzroy Island

We tossed up between Green Island vs Fitzroy Island and finally decided Fitzroy offered more for us and we are so glad we did. The island is a registered National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is metres from the beach providing an amazing snorkeling opportunity.

 

Indefinite Leave on Fitzroy Island

Indefinite Leave on Fitzroy Island for the day

Fitzroy Island Ferry

We booked and paid for our full day trip to Fitzroy Island plus our friends joined us for the fun day of vitamin D and Sea. The full day trip starts with a 45 minute ride on the Fitzroy Island Ferry which allows you around 5 hours of free time to enjoy your day on Fitzroy Island before the return trip to Cairns.

Fitzroy Island Glass Bottom Boat

Our friends also chose the Glass Bottom Boat as part of their day trip package but we had just done a Scenic Flight tour so were keen to go snorkeling for the day. It turned out we were glad they did as they provided us some great snorkeling information.

 

A day Trip to Fizroy Island

Leaving behind Cairns and our wake

Foxy’s Bar and Nudey Beach

Once you arrive on the jetty you have the choice to go left or right. We went right and given it was our anniversary we started out with a celebratory Cocktail at Foxy’s Bar. What better way is there to start a great day right?

Next we made our way along the walking path through the rainforest looking for Nudey Beach. Despite its name Nudey Beach is not clothing optional but it is voted as one of Australia’s most spectacular beaches. Our first look at the beach was a massive wow moment.

 

Cocktails on our Day Trip to Fitzroy Island

Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island

Cocktails first then it was on to Nudey Beach

Fitzroy Island Snorkeling

It didn’t take me long to begin snorkeling and enjoying the clear turquoise waters of this pristine location. The others simply relaxed on the beach and enjoyed the tranquility.

 

Adele relaxing on Nudey Beach

Adele relaxing on Nudey Beach

Once we finished swimming we both took a walk along the beach. We were in awe of this spectacular beach with the stunning views.

Fitzroy Island Turtles

Remember I mentioned our friends gave us some great snorkeling information. They had spotted Green Sea Turtles close to shore so we had lunch and ventured up for a look. We walked back past the Jetty to the other side and to the end of the beach where we jumped straight in for another snorkel and it didn’t take long to see what they had in the Glass Bottom Boat.

 

Turtle spotting

Turtle spotting on Fitzroy Island

There were numerous big Turtles in the water just metres from the beach. It was a thrill to encounter them and enjoy time watching them feeding and swimming in the shallow waters.

Fitzroy Island is also home to the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre which officially opened in early 2013 and this world-class facility has raised the success rate for the rehabilitation of the turtles from 30% – 80%. Educational Tours are held on Fitzroy Island every day at 1pm except Fridays when the Vet visits.

 

 

As the day began to fade we spent time on the beach, playing on the swing under the trees, walking across the rock ledge and absorbing an amazing time on another gorgeous Queensland day.

 

Swinging for our Anniversary

 

How long does it take to get there?

The Ferry trip over was 45 minutes, cruising out of the Cairns Marina, along the Cairns coastline and past various beaches and boats to Fitzroy Island. We had great weather, smooth ride over and a mostly calm ride back in the afternoon.

 

Plenty of place to relax

Tropical Island Paradise

Plenty of places to relax on Fitzroy Island

What is there to do on Fitzroy Island?

  • Take the walking tracks for a hike across the island
  • You can hire a canoe or kayak or have a try at Stand Up Paddle boarding
  • Go snorkeling and swimming on the many beaches
  • Play on the ocean trampoline out in the middle of the water
  • Swim with the turtles just metres from the beach
  • Enjoy nature within the National Park
  • Sunbake on the beach or just relax on your towel
  • As an optional extra ride in the Glass Bottom Boat
  • Visit the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre – Educational tours daily at 1pm (except Friday)

We can also recommend Foxy’s Bar for some drinks and food to eat.

 

Our friends brought their 4yo daughter who had a fantastic time, so it’s a great day for children too.

 

Beautiful turquoise waters on Fitzroy Island

Beautiful turquoise waters on Fitzroy Island

How much does it cost and where can I book?

For the cost to do our day trip to Fitzroy Island simply follow this link and book your day on the Ferry to the island plus all the adventures you would like to enjoy. We found the Ferry times gave us more time on the island which suited us.

 

Some of the activities on the island are an extra cost such as hiring the Stand Up Paddle Board, Kayaks and Canoes. We were there in mid winter and therefore didn’t need my wetsuit but for most of the year it is very advisable to wear one. You can hire them there along with snorkeling gear if you don’t have your own.

 

Kev & Adele on the boat after the awesome Day Trip to Fitzroy Island

How to get there?

Cairns is in Far North Queensland and is approximately 1680 kms from Brisbane.

Flights are available from most of the major airlines and it is about a 2 and a half hour flight from Queensland’s capital city.

 

Where to stay in Cairns?

There are some great places to stay along the Cairns waterfront within easy walking distance to restaurants, bars, markets, shops and the fabulous Cairns Esplanade Lagoon.

Book your Hotel stay here

 

Cairns Caravan Park Accommodation

When looking for Caravan Park accommodation, we have stayed at a number of parks in Cairns during each of our stays. Simply click on the link to check out our video review on each.

Cool Waters Holiday Park

First City Caravilla Caravan Park

Lake Placid Tourist Park

Cairns Holiday Park

Plus the Babinda Rotary Park Rest Area  just near Cairns is a great free camp!

 

Things to See and Do in Cairns

There are so many things to see and do in Cairns. We can highly recommend these tours and attractions in and around Cairns but these are just three of the many tour options available:

So if you are looking for more information on Cairns and if you are doing the drive from Townsville to Cairns, you may enjoy reading these blogs:

Things to See and Do in Cairns.

Driving from Townsville to Cairns

 

 

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.

You can find us on YouTube and follow us Facebook.

 

_____________________________________________________________

Photography and Socials

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

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

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

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