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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 or 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, gave her hugs and kisses and 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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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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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

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.

 

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Photography and Socials

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

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

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

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Adventurers Diary

Australia Road Trip Ep1 – Springbrook National Park

Australia Road Trip Ep 1 Springbrook National Park

Australia Road Trip Ep1 is the first of our series of videos!

First of all, we leave Brisbane and head south with our first stop at Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland. We visit Purling Brook Falls, Natural Bridge and The Best of All Lookouts before crossing the border and heading off to Fingal Head in Northern NSW.

First Day, First Hour…. Ohhh No, What have I done!!

Hope you enjoy the Australia Road Trip Ep1 video and be sure to stay tuned for more episodes.

Subscribe to us on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave and check out where to stay from our video reviews on the hundreds of Caravan Parks, Campgrounds and Showgrounds all around Australia!

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Photography and Socials

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

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

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

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indefiniteleave/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/indefinite_leave/

Website: https://indefiniteleave.com.au/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/indefiniteleave/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

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

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Adventurers Diary

Get the F###ing Fire Extinguisher!!

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

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

Extinguishing the fire from the air conditionerAfter I put out the fire

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

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

Next minute absolute mayhem as someone came running over yelling to us we were on fire.

motorhome air conditioner caught fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Brigade callout

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

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

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

 

Here’s what I do know though!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantastic, no problem.

How much does it cost to travel to Kangaroo Island
Our 18 months Expenses to Travel Australia
Ante Chamber Bay campground, Kangaroo Island
Our fun stay at Discovery Parks Tanunda, Barossa Valley SA

External rooftop view of Motorhome Air Conditioner

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

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

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

Motorhome Air Conditioner

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

You’re kidding right!!

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

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

Check specifications here

Check more specifications here

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

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

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

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

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

Throughout our entire ordeal, CIL were magnificent. It’s why we were so disappointed when we had to change companies, you can read all about that here –https://indefiniteleave.com.au/caravan-motorhome-insurance/

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

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

Shredded tyre

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

Ohhh shit……!!

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

Tyre Blowout Snowtown

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

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

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

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

Motorhome Air Conditioner repairs at Mobile Caravan Repairs Darwin

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

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

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

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

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

Macks on her last days in Darwin

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

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

It had been fun times…. not!!

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

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

Motorhome Air Conditioner - Repairs in Darwin

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

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

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

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

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

Safe travels

Kev& Adele
Indefinite Leave

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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. _______________________________________________________________________

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indefiniteleave/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/indefinite_leave/

Website: https://indefiniteleave.com.au/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/indefiniteleave/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indefiniteleav3

Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

_______________________________________________________________________

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

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