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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 oung 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”.
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. Fortunately 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,

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.


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  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

15 Things you must do on the Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is just 100kms north of the capital city of Brisbane, a short 45-60 minute drive. There’s so many things you must do on the Sunshine Coast when you are in this sensational region.

The Sunshine Coast, known as the Sunny Coast to us locals, has numerous stunning stretches of beach and amazing National Parks to discover from the Coastline to the Hinterland. There are beautiful waterfalls and a long list of activities and attractions.

Excellent Sunshine Coast accommodation is available for all types of visitors and the weather is generally perfect all year around.

Our 15 Things you really Must do on the Sunshine Coast

Here are 15 Things you really Must do on the Coast. Some are well known while a few others are much less notable but equally fun and perfect to experience during your stay on the Sunshine Coast.

15 Things you Must Do on the Sunshine Coast
Millie at Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo

Crikey mate, it’s Australia’s most infamous Zoo.

Australia lost an enormous icon when Steve Irwin left us but his legacy lives on through the must see Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Home of the Crocodile Hunter you can visit so much amazing wildlife including dangerous animals like Salt Water Crocodiles, Tigers and venomous Snakes. There are African Safari animals such as Giraffes, Cheetahs, Zebras and Rhinos plus you can see the world’s largest Koala Hospital.

When you purchase your entry ticket in to Australia Zoo it includes entry for the day from 9am to 5pm, all wildlife shows, children’s activities, Laughing Frog Waterpark and more.

Australia Zoo is one of 15 Things you must do on Sunshine Coast
Croc show at Australia Zoo

How to get to Australia Zoo:

Take Steve Irwin Way exit off the Bruce Highway north of Brisbane to Beerwah and follow the sign to Australia Zoo.

What to take with you:

  • Water, there are water fountains around the park to fill up your water bottles.
  • Food is allowed to be taken in to the Zoo and there are picnic grounds available to stop and enjoy your lunch.
  • Camera to capture those animal moments.
  • Comfortable shoes for a long day on your feet.
Big Karts is another thing you must do on the Sunny Coast
Big Karts Sunshine Coast

Big Karts

While in the area stop in for some action at the Big Kart Racetrack and get the adrenaline pumping with Karts that race up to 70kmh.

This is the largest Commercial Go Kart track in Australia and is going to get your competitive juices racing as you work hard to go quicker and compete to produce faster lap times.

It’s a perfect way to spend a few hours with your family and mates.

Family Day for Cameron's Birthday included Big Karts
Ready for Racing at Big Karts

Before setting off on laps around chicanes, bends and hair pins there will be safety training by staff and helmets will be provided.

Book your Big Kart Racetrack tickets and make your way to Steve Irwin Way at Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast and have a great time.

Beautiful Noosa National Park
Boiling Point in Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park Coastal Walk

The Noosa National Park is located near Noosa Heads and is the ideal location to spend yet again, another perfect Queensland day.

Noosa National Park Coastal Walk takes you around the Noosa Headland past pristine beaches and stunning views back to Noosa North Shore.

See Boiling Point Lookout, Dolphin Point, Lookout, Granite Bay, Fairy Pools, Hell’s Gates, Alexandria Bay and Devils Kitchen along a 4.2km return walk.

Please remember, no pets are allowed in Noosa National Park to protect the local wildlife.

Noosa National Park camping is not available however you can stay at Noosa North Shore Campground nearby. A quick Ferry ride over from Tewantin and make your way to the Campground.

Stunning Noosa National Park is one of the things you must do on the Sunshine Coast
Noosa National Park Coastal Walk

Where is it?

Noosa is 160kms north of Brisbane.

How to get there?

Follow Park Rd in Noosa along the ocean front until you reach the Noosa National Park Carpark. It gets very busy, you may need to be patient.

What to take?

It can be very hot in summer, take a wide brimmed hat, plenty of sunscreen, insect repellant and enough water. Wear good comfortable walking shoes.

In winter ensure you have a jacket as it can get very cold at the Headland.

Don’t forget your Phone and a Camera.

Where to stay?

For Camping and RV stays we suggest Coolum Beach Holiday Park or the Noosa North Shore Campground.

Eumundi Markets
Entry to Eumundi Markets

Eumundi Markets

Our Eumundi Markets Review

The Eumundi Markets began in 1979 as a way for local craftspeople to sell some wares in their local community. Over the years the markets grew extraordinarily and today is one of Queensland’s largest and most popular market.

From Noosa to Eumundi Markets it is approximately a 21 km drive and will take you around 25-30 minutes.

There’s great shopping for clothing, shoes and local handmade craft and there is plenty of delicious food and places to eat.

How many stalls are at the Eumundi Markets?

There are 600 stalls and the markets attract 1.6 million visitors each year.

What day is the Eumundi Markets?

The Eumundi Markets days are every Wednesday and Saturday.

One of 15 Things to do on the Sunshine Coast - Eumundi Markets
Eumundi Markets

Eumundi Markets Parking & Pets

Parking at the Eumundi Markets is available and costs $6.  The Eumundi Markets is dog friendly but they must be maintained on a leash.

What are the Eumundi Markets hours?

The Eumundi Markets open every Wednesday from 8am to 1.30pm and every Saturday from 7am to 2pm.

Where are Eumundi Markets?

They are in the main street of town which is close to the Bruce Highway and is approximately a 90 minute drive north of Brisbane.

How to get there?

Travel on the Bruce Highway to the Sunshine Coast and take the Eumundi exit 224 and follow the signs. Otherwise you can enjoy the shuttle service direct from your Hotel on the Sunshine Coast to the Eumundi Markets and return.

How much does it cost?

Entry is Free, there’s $6 cost for parking.

While in town visit the Imperial Hotel, home to Eumundi Brewery for a great meal, a refreshing Ale and take a Free tour of the Brewery.

Buderim Falls also known as Serenity Falls
Under Buderim Falls in Buderim Forest Park

Buderim Forest Park, Sunshine Coast

The Buderim Forest Park is a hidden gem on a secluded 45 hectare of rainforest with waterfalls, streams and walking trails.

It is home to many animals including Paddymelons, Gliders and goannas while Black Cockatoos and Lorikeets are just some of the birds that call this Nature Reserve home.

This secret valley is also home to the beautiful Buderim Forest Park Waterfalls, otherwise known as Serenity Falls. You can view the falls from directly underneath or the bridge makes a perfect vantage spot.

As you follow the stream down from the waterfalls you will find small rock pools perfect to cool off on a hot Queensland summer day.

Enjoying the rock pools and small cascading water at Buderim Falls
Buderim Forest Park

How long is the walk to Buderim Falls?

There are 2 entries to Buderim Park Forest and we visited from Quorn Close. From there it was a short 600m walk to the Falls.

Are dogs allowed at Buderim Falls?

Buderim Park Forest is a Nature Reserve and therefore dogs and pets are not allowed.

What to take with you!!

Wear good comfortable shoes for some rock walking, drinking water, your phone and a camera.

The Race is on at Pomona King of the Mountain
Pomona King of the Mountain

Watch the Pomona King of the Mountain Run

To get a genuine understanding of this event, I recommend doing the climb yourself in the weeks or months prior to the event. I’ve climbed a few mountains and whilst I’m a little older and less fit now, Mount Cooroora was without doubt my most challenging mountain climb.

By doing this climb yourself you will really appreciate the absurd fitness and skills of these athletes who race from the town centre uphill for over 1km just to get to the base of the mountain.

You will want some level of fitness to do this mountain. There are stages where it can get very challenging with very steep upright climbing involved.

I’m embarrassed to say it took me around 50 minutes to climb to the top and around 25 minutes to get back down. And that’s just from the base, without the run to the mountain first and back. Jason who I started the climb with was much faster and was up within around 25 minutes and around 15 minutes to get back down.

At the top of Mount Cooroora
Mount Cooroora, Pomona

King of the Mountain Race

The Race Record was set in 2009 at 22 mins 43 seconds. That’s running to the mountain, climbing it up, back down and then running back to the start. It does my head in to think it’s even possible to do that.

The race is 4.2kms and the Mountain is 439m high. In comparison, nearby Mount Coolum which I have climbed twice is just 207m high.

The Pomona King of the Mountain race is held annually in July since 1979. Due to the events of 2020 the Race has had to be cancelled for the first time since it began.

The whole day is a wonderful event with a great carnival atmosphere. There’s market stalls, food, beverages and events to entertain. It’s really worth spending the day at the Pomona King of the Mountain race and marvel at the incredible fitness of all the men and women involved.

Where is Pomona?

From Noosa to Pomona, a small hinterland town on the Sunshine Coast, it is just 30kms. Pomona is approximately 135kms north of Brisbane and is a short 10 minute drive from the Bruce Highway.

Read more: Our review of the Cooroy RV Stopover

Coolum Beach Surf Club - One of the Things to do on the Sunshine Coast
Coolum Beach Surf Club

Lunch or Dinner at Coolum Beach Surf Club

The Coolum Beach Surf Club is one of our favourite places to enjoy a meal or afternoon drinks on the Sunshine Coast.

Sensational views directly out over Coolum Beach in addition to good food and a great bar makes this the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon.

Coolum Surf Club Menu has an excellent variety and of course Seafood is a real specialty. They also have a range of Pizzas on the menu and succulent steaks.

Dinner at Coolum Beach Surf Club
Dinner at Coolum Beach Surf Club

Coolum Surf Club Membership is just $10 if you would like to join.

The best thing is, for Coolum Beach accommodation the Coolum Beach Holiday Park which we really enjoy, is right next door. No need to count your drinks when visiting here.

Coolum is our favourite place on the Sunshine Coast, it has excellent beaches, less crowds and there’s plenty to do or as little as you would like.

The amazing Montville Clock Shop
Montville Clock Shop

Montville and Maleny

For the best things to do in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland head to Montville and Maleny.

What is there to do in Montville and Maleny?

When you visit you’ll find the Montville Shops which are really worth the time to explore and see the range of unique items for sale. My favourite is the Clock Shop, a huge array of modern and traditional time pieces.

Close to Montville is the Kondalilla Falls. Here you can take a beautiful rainforest walk through to Waterfalls and Swimming holes and enjoy the stunning views along the way.

How far is Montville from Maleny?

From Montville it’s just a short 15km drive to Maleny that will only take you about 15 minutes.

How far is Montville from Brisbane?

Brisbane is approximately 100kms north of Brisbane. It’s a very popular day trip for those from Australia’s third largest city and bike riders love the mountain ride up to the region.

A must thing to do on the Sunshine Coast is to have a Maleny Ice Cream
Ice Cream at Maleny Food Co

Along the way from Montville to Maleny is a number of places to stop, one of which is the Maleny Lookout. There are a number of lookouts in the area and Gerrards Lookout provides extensive views over the valley back towards the Sunshine Coast beaches.

Also along the drive you will find Maleny Cheese and Maleny Dairy, both worth stopping in to check the tantalising tastes of cheese, yoghurts and other wonderful products. Maleny Yoghurt is my favourite brand, so creamy and full of flavour.

Once you make it to town there’s some great Cafes and Maleny Ice Cream at the fabulous Maleny Food Co is one of our favourite in all of Australia.

The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is a beautiful region to visit. You won’t be disappointed.

Sea Life Aquarium - another thing you must do on the Sunshine Coast
A feeling of being underwater at Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast

Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast

Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast, formerly Underwater World is located at Mooloolaba near the wharf. It’s a Marine wonderland with an amazing array of sea life and beautiful creatures.

With over 3 levels of fun and entertainment there are animal encounters at every turn.

The underwater shark tunnel is an ocean adventure you have to experience. It is 80m long tunnel with views of Coral Reef and Caves and an marinelife including Grey Nurse Sharks, Stingrays, Eels, Reef Sharks and an assorted species of fish.

Each day there are Seal demonstrations and Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast do a very important job as a rehabilitation centre for Turtles and Seals.

How long does it take to go through Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium?

There is a lot to see over 3 levels and shows. Allow yourself at least 90 minutes but it’s easy to spend a few hours enjoying the Seals and Sharks and finding Nemo. The children will also have a great time with interactive displays and opportunities to meet the Seals and discover an Underwater World that they will certainly enjoy.

How to get there?

Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium is on the Mooloolaba Spit next to the Mooloolaba Wharf. There is ample nearby parking with 3 or 4 hour time limits.

Head to Mooloolaba Spit along Parkyn Parade until you see Sea Life Aquarium on your right.

How much does Sea Life Aquarium cost?

You can book your discount tickets here for just $33.60 for Adults and $23.20 for Children.

What time does it open?

Opening hours are 9am to 3pm daily with last entry to visitors at 2pm. On School Holidays it is open until 5pm.

 7 Essentials – Tours to Experience

  1. Reefsleep in the Whitsundays is an amazing adventure. Spend the night on a pontoon sleeping in a swag on Hardy’s Reef in the Great Barrier Reef
  2. The Ocean Rafting tour from Airlie Beach is a truly fun day out. They took us to the best snorkeling places and the entire day was amazing
  3. For the best Full Day Island tour in Cairns we recommend the Fitzroy Island tour
  4. The Humpback Whale Swim in Exmouth remains one of our ultimate highlights of our time around Australia. We highly recommend doing this tour
  5. If you are on the East Coast, you can swim with Humpback Whales on the Sunshine Coast. The tour leaves from Mooloolaba
  6. Swimming with Whale Sharks at Exmouth is also extremely popular and a great day out with the team from Eco Adventures on Lattitude 22
  7. One of Queensland’s most under-rated beach destinations is north of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. It is only accessible by 4WD or a tour. The Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach 1 Day tour is a great value day out to see some pristine beaches and local history
A swim with the Humpback Whales is a must thing to do
Swim with Humpback Whales

Swim with Humpback Whales in the wild

One of our ultimate lifetime experiences was to swim with Humpback Whales in Western Australia and now you can experience it right here on the Sunshine Coast.

Jump off the back of the boat and wait for the inquisitive whales to come say hello. Your guides will look for the calm Humpback Whales who are passively making their way up and down the Coastline. Jumping, Breaching and playful Whales will not be approached.

Humpback Whales are curious by nature and some will come over to see you. It’s this moment that will take your breath away. A moment in life you never could imagine or think possible.

Read more: Our Favourite Experiences as we Travel Australia

Your Mask, Snorkel, Fins and Wetsuit are all included in the price. There are also some light snacks and water available during the day.

A full safety briefing is provided before the day starts outlining everything you will need to know.

Book your day with the experienced team at Sunreef, the first in Australia to offer swimming with Humpback Whale tours for just $165.

Where is the best place to swim with Humpback Whales?

The Queensland Coastline has over 24,000 Whales migrate north to have their baby whales before returning back again to the southern waters. Mooloolaba on the Queensland Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to see Humpback Whales up close.

How long does it take:

Allow 4.5 hours for the tour including approximately 4 hours in the ocean waters.

Is it safe to swim with Humpback Whales?

With an experienced tour guide you will be safe. You will be in open ocean waters and will need to have a reasonable level of swimming capability.

Enjoy the experience of a Lifetime with the team at Sunreef Mooloolaba.

15 Things you must do on the Sunshine Coast - Whale Watching
Whale Watching Cruise

Whale Watching Cruise Mooloolaba

If jumping in and getting wet to swim with the Humpback Whales is not your thing but you would love to get up close to experience these truly amazing Mammals the team will take you on a Cruise you won’t forget.

They will even guarantee you will see Humpback Whales or your money back.

Whale watching season starts in July and goes through to October each year.

Your tour will take place on a luxury 65 foot Catamaran named Whale One and includes lunch and loads of knowledge shared from your informative Captain.

If you are like us and not experienced boaties we recommend taking sea sickness tablets prior to starting your tour. We take Kwells Sea Sick tablets approximately half an hour prior to leaving.

Enjoy a great half day out Whale Watching with the outstanding crew from Sunreef Mooloolaba for just $75 for adults

Whale watching is amazing
Humpback Whales

What to take with you?

You will be on the open ocean during winter, take suitable warm clothes with you. Don’t forget your camera and phone.

Polarised sunglasses are the best when out on the water and will further enhance your experience.

How long is the tour?

The Tour is 2.5 to 4 hours depending on the day.

The Cruise leaves from the Mooloolaba Spit on the Sunshine Coast. Mooloolaba is approximately 1 hour drive north from Brisbane.

The Noosa Everglades are a must do on the Sunshine Coast
Noosa Everglades

See the Noosa Everglades

Did you know, Noosa is one of only 2 places in the World that is home to a diverse Everglade system that is home to a rich eco system, marine life and incredible assortment of birds including the rare Jabiru?

Other than Noosa the only other Everglade system in the world is in Florida.

Located in the Great Sandy National Park the Noosa Everglades stretches into the far northern reaches of the Noosa River.

Unlike Florida, there are no Crocodiles in the Noosa Everglades wetlands.

Harrys Hut

For accommodation, Camping is available near Harrys Hut, an old loggers Timber cottage built in 1957. Harry was a pharmacist from Cooroy who would camp nearby and bought the hut once logging discontinued. It is no longer used but is protected and maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Enjoying a relaxing kayak on the Noosa Everglades
Kayak the Noosa Everglades

Access in by vehicle is best by 4wd as the track is rough with washouts and potholes in parts. It is not suitable for Caravans or Motorhomes.

Fishing in the Noosa Everglades produces Bass and Mangrove Jack from it’s Brackish to Fresh Tea Tree waters.

A great way to see the Noosa Everglades is by Kayak or through a scenic cruise.

Choose your Eco Cruise through the Noosa Everglades with Noosa Everglades Eco Safari and experience a wilderness like nowhere else in the world.

Our tips

Take sunscreen, insect spray and hat with you. Take something to eat and water with you, there is no drinking water available. The track would be muddy and treacherous in the wet, best to go in good weather.

Another thing you must do on the Sunny Coast is visit the Ginger Factory
Buderim Ginger Factory

The Ginger Factory Yandina

Jump on board the Train and take a tour around the Sunshine’s Coast Ginger Factory located at Yandina.

Entry to the Ginger Factory is Free, you just have to pay for the Tours and Rides.

The Fudge is a tasty treat and don’t miss seeing the Live Bee show and taste the honey afterwards. Do the factory tour and discover everything about Ginger and see how they turn it in to the amazing range of products they have available.

The Ginger Factory Cafe menu boasts a range of yummy meals and we couldn’t go past sampling a delicious ice cream.

Take the train ride around the Ginger Factory
Buderim Ginger Factory Train

There’s something here for all ages and the kids will have a great time.

These 2 great deals by the Ginger Factory provide discounted tickets for rides and tours of the Factory.

How to get there

Take the Yandina Coolum exit from the Bruce Highway about an hour drive north from Brisbane. Take the first exit at the roundabout and turn right at the next roundabout and follow the road to 50 Pioneer Road Yandina.

Opening hours

Each day from 9am to 5pm.

Coloured Sands at Rainbow Beach Coloured and Honeymoon Bay
Rainbow Beach Coloured Sands and Honeymoon Bay

Full Day 4wd Beach Tour

One of the most under-rated beach drives in Australia is Noosa North Shore to Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach.

Honeymoon Bay along this stretch of beach is spectacular with the coloured sand cliffs over looking to the stunning tranquil turquoise waters along the white sandy beach.

Visit the Double Island Point Lighthouse and then have lunch at the fantastic Rainbow Beach Surf Club with amazing views over the ocean.

The remains of the Cherry Venture Shipwreck
Cherry Venture shipwreck remains

Cherry Venture Shipwreck

Ask your tour guide about the ship wreck of the Cherry Venture which ran aground along Teewah Beach in 1973. The rusted remains were removed in 2007 however since the heavy seas from Cyclone Oswald in 2013 the remains of the hull can be seen within the sand.

You are going to want to make sure your batteries are fully charged in your cameras for this trip. The photo opportunities are endless.

We love this region and the natural beauty here is a major reason Rainbow Beach makes our list of the 7 Towns in Australia we could live.

We did this tour, our driver was Glenn, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The Great Beach Drive 4wd Tour is the perfect way to see Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach.

Book your full day tour including Lunch and morning tea for just $195.

Safe Travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave



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

Samsung Note 10 Plus Phone – – Most of our photos are simply from our phones. The Samsung phone cameras are pretty insane. Our phones have 512gb storage in ours but the 256gb in this one is heaps. We have sourced this one which is approx $500 less than we paid for ours.

Canon 800d – – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.
Lenses – 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, everyday 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.

Our Go Pro 7 Hero Black –  –  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

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping

When equipped with everything you need to know to go Free Camping, Freedom Camping or Boondocking as they call it in the U.S., it is the ultimate overnight option for long term travelers whether it’s in a Caravan, Motorhome, Campervan or other RV.

When you’re looking for something low cost then Free Camping Australia wide is going to save you on accommodation while traveling.

Once you are aware of everything you need to know to go Free Camping it becomes easy, but for rookies like us when we first started out it can also be frustrating. This guide gives you all the information you need to start Free Camping.

I remember shouting loud and far that we would never Free Camp ever again.

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping
Kingston SE RV Park

Our first attempts at Free Camping

During our first few attempts we had alarms continuously going off in the middle of the night. Usually it was the power setting off an alarm as we ran low on battery, other times the water level was low or the grey water tank may have been full. Sometimes one of the inverters would go off.

We were such novices and had no idea what we were doing wrong.

With our first attempts we had midges that fitted through our insect screens and bit us all night long and insects would plague our lights inside. Eventually we wrecked our batteries from not knowing what we were doing and that proved a costly exercise.

Within months of leaving home we were up for 2 brand new batteries.

To save you the expense and embarrassment of making the same rookie errors we have put together this guide. We certainly wish we had a guide for everything you need to know to go free camping when we started out.

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping
Carmila Beach

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping!

Let’s get started. Here is our guide on Everything you need to know to go Free Camping:

Is Free Camping Legal in Australia?

We are often asked will Rangers fine you for Free camping.

If you are Free camping in a designated Free camping area then you will have no issues. If however you stay the night parked in a carpark at the beach or any other location where it is not approved you will take the risk of being fined. Especially if there are ‘No Overnight Stays’ or ‘No Staying in a Vehicle’ signs in place. Therefore it is best to be equipped with everything you need to know to go free camping before you head off on your adventure.

Many Councils have by-laws prohibiting staying overnight in public places within their jurisdiction however if you are in a regulated or permissible location to Free camp you will have no legal issues.

Best ever free camping spot has since closed
Uluru Free Camping

What is Free Camping?

Most people believe it to mean somewhere to stay for no cost however it was once explained to me to mean Freedom Camping. I like this because it describes the entire Free Camping experience much better.

The benefits of Free Camping are much more than just the financial savings.

What is an RV Friendly Town?

RV Friendly Towns in Australia are towns that have met a certain amount of guidelines in Australia by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, mostly called the CMCA, to qualify it as RV Friendly.

To be considered RV friendly the town must have:

  • adequate parking for larger RV vehicles in or near its town centre for shopping purposes.
  • it must have a provision for short term, self contained low cost or Free Camping as close as possible to the CBD.
  • availability of potable drinking water
  • an accessible free dump point for RV users

Whilst these are the primary factors for an Australia RV Friendly Town there are other possible features including an Information Centre.

These towns will normally have an RV Friendly sign as you drive into town and give you an indication of the facilities so you will have a good understanding of everything you need to know to go free camping in their town.

5 Essentials – Outside RV Accessories

  1. To plug your RV with standard 15amp in to standard residential 10amp power source you will need a converter. We love our waterproof Ampfibian and after over 4 years it’s still perfect.
  2. Most people carry a Generator for back up power. 4wd Supacentre has a good low cost and popular generator while the Yamaha 2000w is a robust yet quiet excellent performer.
  3. A 20m 15amp Power Lead will ensure you reach your power source in Caravan Parks and Campgrounds.
  4. You will want a good blue Drinking Water Hose. Your typical green garden hose is not suitable for drinking from.
  5. A 4 way tap handle will help you find water whenever you need it
Everything you need to know to go Free Camping
Mourilyan Harbour Qld

Why Free Camp?

Save Money by Free Camping

The primary advantage of Free Camping is obvious, to reduce the cost of accommodation whilst traveling. The more you can save by Free Camping means more you can put back into experiences. The reason you are on your Big Lap is to see as much of Australia as possible during your time on the road.

Some Free Camps may provide an option to make a donation. This can help to ensure good facilities and the ongoing availability of the Free Camp.

Reducing your accommodation costs goes a long way to controlling your expenses and keeping you on Budget.

Free Camping offers more Space

Free Camping also offers more space to enjoy your privacy. Most people when Free Camping will ensure there’s a reasonable space between campsites.

The rules for where you are staying may be posted on a sign as you enter and may be found on the website. Usually they are simple and easy to understand with little ambiguity.

Friendly Free Campers

We find people who stay at Free Camps have been away from mainstream longer and are therefore less stressed and more friendly. Everyone tends to say hello and afternoon happy hours are a common theme.

There’s a much greater sense of Freedom at Free Camps.

Wide open space for camping at Midskinrick Lodge and Camping
Midskinrick Lodge and Camping Qld

Is Free Camping safe?

We have been Free Camping in cities, towns, the side of highways and all around Australia. We have been Free Camping in Qld, Western Australia, Victoria and everywhere in between.

Not at any time have we felt personally unsafe. In most Free camps you will have other campers nearby. One time on Kangaroo Island we had a knock on our window at 1.15am but it was just teenagers being silly. By the time I looked out the window they were walking off in the rain.

Read about: Our Reviews on our 22 Best Free Camps around Australia

Free Camping Security

Motorhome Security

Whenever we go out, because we have been in a Motorhome, we have left our table and chairs behind to mark the space we were staying and neither it nor any of our other items have been taken. We don’t leave much out at night though.

Just like you would at home, any items which are valuable or prone to theft should be secured to safeguard from the lowlifes in our society.

The freedom of exploring Australia
Exploring Australia

Caravan Security

Free Camping can be a bit daunting for some at time. However, if you are fully equipped with everything you need to know to go free camping especially when you head out exploring, you will be less likely to have any issues.

If you were leaving behind your Caravan to go out for the day a good security system would be advisable. There are a number of good ways to secure your Caravan including:


Hitchlocks which stops the handle being raised and a tow ball being inserted into the hitch. McHitch are a very popular brand of Hitchlock.

Wheel Clamps

Wheel Clamps can be fitted to a wheel or wheels to disable them from rotating.

Security Chains

Security Chains can also be used to chain two wheels together and ensuring the Van can’t be driven away.

Alarm Systems

Alarm systems are available that set off an alarm and locks the wheels when it senses movement after being activated. The alarm will sound for a short period of time unless it senses further movement. The brakes will be applied to the Caravan making it very difficult to move. The Witi anti theft system is great to completely safeguard your van when you are out for an extended period of time.

Tracking Device

A Tracking Device can also be used to trace a stolen Van making it much easier to be recovered.

McGaurans Beach, Victoria

What is the Cost of a Free Camp?

Generally Free Camps have no cost however some do ask for a donation or others may have a very small fee of $2 –10 per night.

Upon entering the grounds these small fees might be paid by an envelope, the local Ranger or a Council worker may come each day to collect. In most cases, your Free Camp is exactly that.

Read more: How to Save Money on Accomodation

How do you find Free Camps?

To find great Free Camps you can go to our website at Indefinite Leave and we have details of over 230 places we have stayed around the country including lots of fantastic Free Camps. Search from our Destinations menu bar by State or by simply choosing the Free Camps option under the Where to Stay tab.

Phone apps such as WikiCamps and CamperMate provide a thorough list of Free Camps around Australia. WikiCamps costs just $7.95 to purchase whilst CamperMate is Free.

Everything you eed to know to go Free Camping
Lara Wetlands Qld

The Camps 10 book is fantastic and provides so much detail in finding Free Camps and Campgrounds all across Australia. You can read it anytime, no need for internet coverage.

Information Centres are another excellent option in finding Free Camps. Sometimes however the staff may not be aware of all the opportunities to Free Camp locally or may not be at liberty to disclose the information. Sometimes they share information not commonly known online too.

One good way of finding out everything you need to know to go Free Camping in some small towns is to talk to the locals. We have had a few locals share with us some great spots to Free Camp that you won’t find on any app or website. They can be a great source of information.

Other travelers might also provide details of fantastic places to stay you may not have been aware of too. It’s a great question to ask and information you can share around a few drinks and a campfire at night.

The famous Walkabout Creek Hotel
Walkabout Creek Hotel, McKinlay Qld

Everything you need to go Free Camping – The Unwritten Free Camping Rules

There are some things to know about Free Camping that may not be on a sign. They are often common knowledge among Travelers and it is good to be aware of everything you need to know to go Free Camping when you first set off on your Road Trip.


Put out fires properly. Don’t just cover them with sand or dirt, this has been the cause of many horrific burns to people. Put the fire out altogether with water.

The responsibility is on us to be aware of any fire bans. This is a very important issue in Australia and needs to be treated seriously. During hot, dry periods of the year fires can be extremely hazardous.

Be aware of any fire bans and ensure you comply at all times.

The Quobba Campground is right on the beach
Quobba WA


Don’t feed wildlife. In many places this could see you fined thousands of dollars. If you are going to feed some animals, we like to feed lorikeets, don’t use bread, use a more natural food resource for the animal. Lorikeets for example love grapes and it does them no harm.

Feeding foods to animals that are not natural and are unhealthy to them can cause disease and death. This can include bread and even chips to Seagulls.

Be careful in the dark. At night is when a lot of animals come out to wander about looking for food and safety under the umbrella of darkness. There’s lots of critters in Oz you don’t want to meet at night without knowing it is there first.


If there are no bins provided please ensure you take your rubbish with you and dispose of it appropriately. It is very easy to do and there’s never any reason to litter.


Consider other campers with noise, music and generators. A few drinks around a Campfire at night can easily become a fantastic bonding session with new best friends however the family nearby with a sick child they are trying to get to sleep or who are planning an early start in the morning may not share your enthusiasm. Noise travels so much further at night.

Generator hours when Free camping vary and people will consider somewhere between 7-9pm as the right time to turn off your power supply. Usually there will be a notice board confirming when Generators should be turned off. Ensure you place your generator away from others and somewhere least likely to annoy other campers.

Honda and Yamaha are considered the quietest and best quality generators. Our Honda EU20i, now superseded by the 22ui, is an excellent generator and is very quiet to use.

Handy Travel Tip: How to Change OIl in a Honda Generator

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping
Coledale Camping Ground NSW

What will you need to go Free Camping?

These are some items that you will definitely require and others that will make life so much easier for you when you are Free Camping. Here is our list of things to have so you are prepared for everything you need to know to go Free Camping :


Solar Panels

Good Solar panels with sufficient power rating to power your needs will make Free Camping so easy for you. These may be fitted to the roof of your Caravan, Motorhome or 4wd.

Portable Solar Panels & Solar Blankets

Portable solar panels and Solar blankets are popular as they provide the option to move them to where the maximum sun input will be. So if it becomes shady you can move the panel into the sun in another spot, as long as you have enough cable lead to reach.

The Solar Panels then feed into Batteries where the power from the Sun is stored. There are different types of batteries with AGM and Lithium the most popular.

Handy Travel Tip: Cleaning Your Solar Panels

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping
Dalmeny Camping Ground NSW


AGM Deep Cycle Batteries

AGM Deep Cycle batteries are most common and cheaper. Most popular sizes of an AGM Deep Cycle battery for this purpose are 100amp, 120amp or 200amp. The more amps that are in the battery, the more power that can be stored.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are now becoming more popular for recreational use in Caravans and Motorhomes. The benefit of Lithium batteries is they are much lighter and you can use more of the stored power.

You can use approximately 50% of the stored power within an AGM battery before it will need more power or there is risk of damage to the battery. With a Lithium battery generally you can use 80% of the stored power within the battery, sometimes more.

The cost of a Lithium battery is significantly more then AGM.

It is not my intent today to provide a complete analysis of these 2 batteries however you should do lots of research and work out which style battery will best suit your purpose.

We chose the iTechworld 120a LiFePO4 Lithium Battery for us.

Lead Crystal

Lead Crystal is another type of battery used in Caravans, Motorhomes and other RV’s. It is more expensive than AGM batteries but usually cheaper then Lithium. Like Lithium it has a deep charge allowing more of the batteries power to be utilised.

Before buying Lead Crystal check your battery management system will work with your Lead Crystal battery.

Experiencing Fraser Island with our 4WD
Fraser Island Qld

Battery Management System

There are numerous Battery Management Systems on the market but the dominant brands with the Caravan, Motorhome, 4wd and RV industry come down to primarily just 3.


Redarc is an Australian Company which began in 1979 and is based in South Australia. They have invested heavily into the research, design and development of Solar Energy

Readily available and well recognised within the industry Redarc have several options available for your 4wd, Caravan and RV.

The Redarc RedVision  cost around $1973.81

The Redarc RedVision Manager30 kit costs approx $3186.81

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping
Rapid Bay Campground SA


CTek is another Australian Company and are very popular.

The CTEK Smartpass 120s battery management system works with AGM or Lifepo4 Lithium batteries.

The Smartpass 120s works in line with the CTEK 250sa battery charger to control and optimize energy and distribute to the battery banks.

We use the CTEK smartpass but find it difficult to contact CTEK direct for information, support and assistance.

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping - Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island SA


Enerdrive are a Brisbane based Australian Company who specialise in Solar energy equipment to the Caravan and RV industry.

They provide a quality product for those with the budget to pay for a premium product.


An Inverter will convert your 12v solar power to 240v electricity. There are so many different options but we recommend that you ensure you buy a Pure Sine Wave Inverter when looking to purchase.

Different sized inverters are available to run and operate larger powered equipment however the larger the inverter the more power it will also use.

For our 4WD, I recently bought a 1500-3000w Inverter off eBay and it wasn’t expensive. We use it mostly to inflate our air bed when camping, run the compressor to inflate the tyres and other simple uses around the vehicle.

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping
Gregory River Qld

Battery Charger

One of my favourite recent purchases has been my Victron IP65 15a Battery Charger. It is a lot less complicated than setting up a DC/DC system in the 4wd and it doesn’t have the limitations a fixed connection does. I can take it and use anywhere at any time.

I was driving to purchase another brand when I stopped off at a shop and came across the Victron. They are a highly regarded brand and it was $100 cheaper then the one I was on my way to buy.

By using Bluetooth on an app on my phone I can also monitor it while it is charging. It works perfectly with either AGM or Lithium battery.

Free Camping at Desert Oaks Rest Area in Northern Territory
Desert Oaks Rest Area NT


The more water you can access while free camping the longer you can stay and experience the region.

Once you have found water it’s just a case of how much you can store. There are several ways of doing this.

Most Caravans and Motorhomes have water tanks which will hold clean water that you can use for drinking, showers, your washing machine and cleaning your hands.

Tanks vary in size and some RV’s may have more then one. By fitting a tank to your 4WD it can also provide more capacity and allow you to continually top up your Caravan or Motorhome by finding water on your days out touring.

Handy Travel Tip: Take a 4 Way Tap Handle

One of our favourite free camps - Corella Dam
Corella Dam Qld

Water Bladders

Water Bladders are a popular method to contain water, especially within your 4WD. A bladder is more flexible and can be stored in the back tray, in the wagon or across the floor in the back seat.

Water Containers

Water containers are another great and flexible way to store more water. Jerry Cans can be stored externally to the 4WD or Caravan and generally they hold 20L of water.

Collapsible Water Containers can hold up to 20L of water and will fold flat when not in use. They are also flexible in where they can be stored around your 4wd or Caravan.

Water Pump

A Water Pump can be a perfect solution for when you are camped near a river or creek. You could pump water in to use for washing and showers and keep your potable water just for drinking.

Grey Water

Grey Water is the water remaining after a shower and washing. In some Free Camps you will be required to store your Grey Water and not release it on to the ground around you. The TYTO RV Park in Ingham at the Information Centre is an example of one of a number of such locations.

Storing your Grey Water may be by having a tank fitted to your Caravan or Motorhome that will automatically capture the water after it has been used.

Alternatively in many situations buckets can be used and then sealed so it can be released in a suitable location such as a Dump point.

In most places around Australia you will find the Grey Water can be released onto the ground. In this case you can run the water from your RV by a Grey Water hose to a place away from your campsite area and away from your neighbours.

Yarrawanga Free Camp
Murray River Victoria


Some Free Camps in Australia will have rubbish bins available however this is not always the case. There is no excuse for littering, simply collect your rubbish into a bag and place it in to bins next time you leave your camp.

It sounds easy because it is!!

Rear Wheel Bin

A Rear Wheel Bin is a great way to store your rubbish in Free camps until the next opportunity to throw it out in the appropriate manner.


Fridge space is another factor that may determine your length of stay at a Free camp. Caravans, Motorhomes and RV’s are notorious for having small fridges and this is where an extra portable fridge comes in very handy.


Engel Fridges are well regarded as a great fridge and many owners recall owning one for many years.


We have a Waeco model within our Motorhome as a secondary fridge option and they too are considered a good quality fridge.


The 4WD Supacentre has the Kings range which is cheaper and popular and possibly a great option.


For our 4WD we chose a Vitrifrigo 130L upright fridge which we find is a great extra fridge option for us. The separate compressor means more fridge space too.

Township at Longreach
Longreach Qld

What is Black Water?

Black Water is your toilet waste which can be emptied at any of the numerous Dump Points around the country.

Toilet Cassette

To increase your toilet cassette capability many travelers have 2 toilet cassettes that they carry with them. Each cassette holds approximately 17-18L. The two most popular models are the Dometic CTS 4110 cassette and the Thetford C200 model depending on your toilet system.

Portable Toilet

Another option especially for campers is a Portable Toilet. We have a Kings portable toilet we use when camping in our 4wd and have found it to be great value. You can also use these as a back up or if your Van doesn’t have a toilet on board.

Toilet Chemicals

The toilets require you to use chemicals to break down the waste and keep it from smelling. We use the Porta Pak range of chemical which comes in simple satchels which are clean and easy to use.

What is the best thing to sleep on when Free Camping?

When out camping in many of the fantastic Free camps either in outback Australia or along our amazing coastline there are lots of options for where to sleep if you decide not to take an RV.

Rooftop Tent

A Rooftop Tent allows you to be off the ground where it may be safer and also capture better breezes. Some rooftop tents are very easily packed away in just a few moments. They are really popular and range in price from around $700 for the Kings Roof Top Tent to $5000 for ones that pack up in moments.


A Tent provides a greater amount of space and area to store items and get dressed in private and comfort. Tents come in a variety of styles, quality and size to suit all needs and budgets. Over the years the technology of tents has improved significantly and now they can be very easy and fast to set up and use. The Wanderer 7 man Tent like this one is a great option or we like this Coleman Tent with loads of features which is very similar to the one we used to camp on Fraser and Moreton Islands.


A Swag is a simple option to sleep under the stars and keep covered at night. There are a range of great Swags available for purchase and we were very close to buying the Adventure Kings Double Swag.

Read about: Our Whitsundays adventure sleeping in a Swag on a Pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef.

Everything you need to know to go Free Camping - cooking on the campfire
Cooking on the Campfire

Relaxing by a Campfire

There’s nothing more Australian then a campfire at night, toasting marshmallows, a drink and great mates. It’s as Aussie as Vegemite.

Collecting dead firewood is also good fun and there are some great new chain saws on the market to help with the cause.

You will want a range of timber in all sorts of sizes, twigs and small brush to get the fire started, some more larger bits of timber to build the fire and later some large logs to make it easier than feeding the fire all night long.


A Chainsaw will make the job easier and there are lots of options available.

A Petrol chainsaw is great especially for cutting larger logs. With more power and a longer bar a petrol chainsaw will cut faster and cleaner and will produce a great result every time.

The new Ryobi 18v Battery Chainsaw is much improved on it’s predecessor and is perfect for camping and cutting timber for a campfire. It does have its limitations but if you use the Ryobi Range of 18v tools like I do it might be a perfect option for you.

Makita, AEG, Stihl and more also have excellent cordless chainsaw options.

Beautiful Sandy Cape
Sandy Cape Campground WA

Our tips on Managing your Power while Free Camping

We were total rookies when we left and made a lot of mistakes in the early stages. If only we had a list of everything you need to know to go Free Camping before we left!! We especially absorbed far more power than we needed to. If you are setting off in your RV for the first time this is what we did wrong at first and hope you can learn by our errors!!

  • Turn off your inverter when not in use as it still draws power.
  • Power your devices in the middle of the day. Don’t power up at night.
  • Keep solar panels clean to maximise power generated by the sun.
  • Utilise power banks if you need to charge devices at night.

Handy Travel Tip: Solar – Creating and Managing our Power

There’s nothing better than a perfect Free camp. Feeling the sense of enjoyment while relaxed and away from the stress and pressure of every day life. Hopefully we have covered everything you need to know to go Free Camping. Let us know if we have missed anything?

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave



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

Samsung Note 10 Plus Phone – – Most of our photos are simply from our phones. The Samsung phone cameras are pretty insane. Our phones have 512gb storage in ours but the 256gb in this one is heaps. We have sourced this one which is approx $500 less than we paid for ours.

Canon 800d – – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.

Lenses –

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, everyday 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.

Our Go Pro 7 Hero Black –  –  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.


Where to Find Us

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Adventurers Diary

Free Camps and Caravan Parks

Which do travellers prefer out of Free Camps and Caravan Parks?

Many of us love a great Free Camp but Caravan Parks can also be great places to stay.

The first thing we need to recognise is that there are different types of travelers. I put them in to 4 Groups.

1. Holiday Makers

2. Short Term Travelers

3. Big Lappers

4. Living on the Road

Free Camps or Caravan Parks - Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park

Each of the travelers will have different setups, want a different experience and have different budgets. There is no right or wrong, just different strokes for different folks.

Types of Travelers

Let’s look at each of the travelers:-

The Holiday Makers

They head off for 1-3 weeks on holidays from work or long weekends.

You will rarely see them in a Free Camp.

Holiday Makers are still part of the active workforce and therefore have spending money.

These travelers are common Caravan Park guests.

They just want to get away, relax and enjoy a fun holiday.

Corella Dam is one of the best Free Camps
Corella Dam Qld

They are looking for somewhere with lots for the kids to do to keep them active and enjoying themselves.

Their setups are generally basic and based on what was on the showroom floor.

They will want power to run all the appliances you would mostly use at home.

Short Term Travelers

These travelers usually have long service leave or have taken an extended holiday. They have a short period to fit as much in as possible.

They can afford more comfort within their trip.

This group also includes retired couples with homes who like to get away and explore but want to get back to the grandkids and families. Therefore they don’t go for long periods.

Cool Waters was one of the 5 great Caravan Parks in Cairns
Cool Waters Holiday Park, Cairns Qld

Short Term Travelers usually travel for around 3-4 months and up to 6 months.

Free Camping is an option but they often stay in Caravan Parks.

Our tips on saving money on Accommodation expenses: How to Save Money on Accommodation

These are the travelers that parks want to ensure they continue to encourage to enjoy everything the Caravan Parks offer.

Garden Island is the top Free Camps in Tassie
Garden Island, Tasmania

Big Lappers

These are the travelers who are on their Big Lap, often for 12 months but sometimes longer.

They have little or no income and rely on savings or work as they travel.

Big Lappers are on a strict budget.

Tips on how to reduce the food bill while you travel: How to save Money on Food and Groceries

Their rigs have been designed to go off grid and they are self sufficient.

Free Camps or Caravan Parks
Big Lappers stretching their $$ by Free Camping

They love to Free Camp to keep expenses under control.

Families on the road mostly use Free Camps and Caravan Parks are basically where they will stop occasionally to give their kids some time in water parks and playgrounds.

These travelers will limit their stay or not go to places where they are forced to pay to stay.

Families feel royally screwed by Caravan Parks with the high extra costs of children to stay. This is a key reason more people choose to Free Camp over paying to stay.

Traveling Australia used to be the almost sole domain of Grey Nomads however Families are now a major part of the Caravaning adventure.

Couples who travel full time, either young or old, don’t need Caravan Park facilities and don’t want to pay much for them. They rarely visit Caravan Parks.

McGaurans Beach Victoria
McGaurans Beach, Victoria

Living on the Road

There are more people now living in their RV’s than ever before. They almost never visit Caravan Parks.

This group will avoid crowded and busy places and like privacy and peace.

They will stay in one place longer as they are in no hurry to be anywhere and it reduces their costs.

Those Living on the Road don’t explore as much as other groups and generally enjoy the simple life.

Keeping their travels to their budgets is very important to them.

Calliope River Free Camp
Calliope River, Qld

Which Travelers suit Free Camps and Caravan Parks

When we look at this it helps to understand the needs and requirements of each traveler on the road.

Group 3 will only stay in Caravan Parks on their terms. They need to focus on attracting Groups 1 and 2 to their parks.

Pambula Beach Holiday Park is our favourite Caravan Park in all of Australia
Pambula Beach Holiday Park NSW. An awesome Caravan Park

Caravan Parks

Let’s look at Caravan Parks!

Without a doubt Caravan Parks are an important part of the Australian Traveler. Most provide great value, excellent facilities, are well run and have fantastic friendly staff who welcome you and help provide an all round enjoyable experience.

We have stayed in many Caravan Parks where our stay was part of the overall fun of being in the region.

We have compiled a list of our favourite Caravan Parks. Check out our list and save them for your travels: Our Best Caravan Parks around Australia

Island View Caravan Park Kinka Beach
Island View Caravan Park Kinka Beach – One of our favourite Caravan Parks around Australia

In the north we like to have our air conditioner on at night and a pool to swim in during the day so often we will stay in a Caravan Park. No point being over tired and cranky because you can’t get a good night sleep.

Caravan Park Accommodation

The cost to stay in Caravan Parks is often fair and reasonable. Parks with limited facilities are usually budget priced and available between $30-40 a night for a couple. Big Parks with all the toys or in prime position will cost $40-60 a night for a couple.

These are acceptable prices, especially to their target markets of Groups 1 and 2.

Need tips on how to save money on your Caravan Park stays? Save Money staying at Caravan Parks

The issue comes if you have more than 2 people. Our first 2 years were spent traveling with our adult son and it would cost us up to an extra $16 per night. Families with young children are being gouged with exorbitant prices and priced out of Caravan Parks when they are full time on the road with low budgets.

Caravan Park Amenities

We like Caravan Parks but some really don’t provide good value. Often just the basics are overlooked. My biggest issue with Caravan Parks are:

Poorly designed amenities blocks!!

Water ends up friggin everywhere……

Caravan Park Amenities
The mess poorly designed showers make, and no I’m not being paid to be a cleaner!!

How hard or expensive is it to put shower curtains in? Often the floor outside is level with the base area of the shower and it is so annoying getting out of the shower onto a wet floor and after drying off you try to put your shorts, jeans or undies on and they get wet. Or your wet feet would get stuck in your pants and you’d nearly fall over as they get caught up in your clothes as you try to get them on.

How can you get dry when water is everywhere?

Caravan Park Amenities – Self Cleaning Requirement

Then some Caravan Parks have the audacity, due to their poor shower area design, to leave a mop and bucket and have a sign saying we do their cleaning for them. The sign therefore even admits it’s a safety issue!!

A well designed shower cubicle makes a huge difference to a great Caravan Park experience.

Dirty Shower head in the amenities of one of the caravan parks in which we stayed

Have you looked at the shower heads in some Caravan Parks? Sooooo gross!!

Then there’s the fun of walking back to camp in your wet thongs and flicking sand and dirt up all over yourself. When we get back we need another shower.

We now don’t even bother, if we do stay in a Caravan Park we still use our own shower and amenities in our Motorhome.

Caravan Park WiFi

As for the Free Wifi, you’re kidding right!!!

Seriously, do they ever work??

Do they ever offer more then a token upload to social media and you’ve run out of free data?

So many rules
So many rules……..

It’s awesome when you go back to reception to say it isn’t working and they inform you that no sorry, it doesn’t work on those sites. The Wifi only works near reception. Where’s a Face palm emoji when you need one.

Instead of a thousand signs with all the rules and things you can’t do, how about just one sign. Be a decent person or don’t stay!!

That sorts everything, we’re all adults and given responsibility most will do the right thing. Those that don’t wouldn’t have any way.

Workmans Beach Campground
Workmans Beach Campground, Agnes Water Qld

Pet Friendly Caravan Parks

As travelers originally with a dog we sure understand the frustration with being a pet owner and traveling the country. However we also witnessed some poor pet ownership during our time, not limited to the 2 dogs left inside a Caravan all day in an Adelaide Caravan Park just 2 sites from us who barked all day and caused mayhem. Can’t imagine the mess inside when the owners returned that day.

Unfortunately some dog owners ruin it for everyone and Caravan Park management end up deciding it’s not worth it. We were always able to find somewhere to stay, only Kalbarri in WA was an issue when not one place would allow us to stay during school holidays due to having MACKS with us.

It is that little bit harder traveling with your pets, it limits your options of where you can stay but there’s usually a good spot somewhere in town that will welcome you.

Caravan Parks Facilities

Many Caravan Parks have spent a fortune in recent years to upgrade their parks with all sorts of equipment. From water parks to jumping castles, play rooms to amazing camp kitchens, they are now like mini resorts. We have stayed in parks with outdoor cinemas, pizza ovens and all sorts of modern and expensive facilities.

Caravan Parks can be heaps of fun
Discovery Parks Tanunda SA

This is awesome and will attract more of those in Groups 1 and 2 however those travelers in Groups 3 and 4 become even more isolated from staying as the prices to cover these updated facilities continues to increase.

Running a Caravan Park is an expensive and difficult business and most people would be staggered to know what they pay in rent, insurance, wages, water, electricity, waste removal, licenses, maintenance and so much more.

Rather then trying to close Free Camps, maybe Caravan Parks could provide a service that more relates to those in Groups 3 and 4.

Free Camps

Now let’s look at Free Camps!

Free camps provide more space. If it’s busy then it’s very possible space will be tight but generally you’ll have a bit more room to work with and for privacy.

The rules to stay all generally fit on one sign at the entrance or you’ll find them on the website or WikiCamps app. It doesn’t feel like school again or you have joined the Army when staying in a Free Camp.

There’s either no or a limited cost to stay which allows your funds to be used to take tours and enjoy the experiences you set out to enjoy.

Read about: Our Best Free Camps in Australia

Free Camps and Caravan Parks - Quick Beach Free Camp
Quicks Beach, Murray River Victoria

Children are mostly better behaved when Free camping is our experience. This we believe is because they have been on the road longer, are spending more quality time with their family and are learning genuinely interesting things each day.

People aren’t carrying the stresses and pressures of every day life with them and therefore are more relaxed and friendly.

Free Camping Cons

Free Camps have no power and therefore no air conditioning for the vast majority. If it’s hot than sleep can be a lot more uncomfortable.

Some of us have generators which may annoy others. This is especially the case for us during bad weather when we are stuck inside and drawing more power yet less solar energy is coming back in to our system. For those that don’t like generators this can be a bug bear for them in Free Camps.

To Free Camp regularly you will need to spend a little more money on your setup. Grey Water tanks, Solar, Batteries, bigger Inverters and a generator may all be areas to spend some money depending on how much power you need and use each day. You will need your own toilet facilities and shower within your setup.

Find out about how to create and manage your power while traveling: Solar – Creating and Managing our Power

Bay of Fires is one of the best free camps in Australia
Bay of Fires Campground Tasmania

Self-Contained Requirements

You may not need all these things in all the places you go however to Free camp extensively around Australia, many places require you to be “Self Contained” and have these facilities on board.

A lot of people have different conceptions about what Self Contained actually means which is understandable as it often means different things in different places and by different Councils. It is normally defined by the ability to capture your Grey and Black water. You will need to have your own toilet and shower on board as most Free Camps do not provide any facilities.

Low Cost Campgrounds

Another great choice when traveling is Campgrounds. These might be formal campgrounds provided by local Councils or they can be Station Stays, RV Parks or owners properties around the country providing space on their land to stay overnight.

In each case they usually come with a small fee. Council Campgrounds and Station Stays are usually around $20-30 a night for 2 people and have basic facilities. RV Parks and properties are often $10-15 a night for 2 people.

These are great mid-ranged options for all travelers.

Free Camps or Caravan Parks - Browns Beach Free Camp
Browns Bay SA

Check out our favourite campgrounds and save them to your travel list: Our 29 Best Low Cost Campgrounds in Australia

Choice of Free Camps and Caravan Parks

With bigger and better rigs being built every year, designed to provide more comfort and opportunities to spend more time off grid the challenge remains for Caravan Parks to attract clientele. Certainly they shouldn’t be relying on Full time travelers to be a major source of their income as Free Camping continues to be a preferred choice.

Do you prefer to stay in just Free Camps, do use a mix of both Free Camps and Caravan Parks or do you just stay in Caravan Parks?

Safe travels

Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave



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

Samsung Note 10 Plus Phone – – Most of our photos are simply from our phones. The Samsung phone cameras are pretty insane. Our phones have 512gb storage in ours but the 256gb in this one is heaps. We have sourced this one which is approx $500 less than we paid for ours.

Canon 800d – – the latest DSLR Canon 24mp camera, buy here to save.

Lenses –

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, everyday 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.

Our Go Pro 7 Hero Black –  –  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.


Where to Find Us

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