Roonga Point Campground (Free Camp)

Address: The Esplanade, Punsand Bay
Location Description: Access to the track is on the left hand side of Punsand Bay Road if you are heading North.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground
Website:
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Generators
  • Fires Permitted
  • Phone Reception
  • Crocodiles
  • Marine Stingers
  • Dingos
  • Alcohol Restrictions
  • Fishing
  • Bush Walking
  • Look Out
  • Motor Bikes
  • Horse Riding

Description:

This is a magical location with a view over the Torres Strait to islands like Roko Island and Possession Island. During the dry season the camp area is mostly protected from the prevailing winds making it a nice place to camp.

The campground is 4wd access only however you would be able to tow in a tinny, offroad camper trailer or small offroad caravan. The sand is quite soft in places.

Being bush camping there is no allocated camping areas, people have made campsites all along the waterfront on the road in however, at the end of the road there is a large area that has cleared for camping. When selecting a site ensure that you consider the high tide line and be aware that crocodiles are known to be in the area.

– Small campsites along the road are either sand or grass (depending on time of year), they vary in size, but a limited number of those are large enough for camper trailers or groups. The outlooks of most of these sites are straight over the ocean to the islands.

– Campsites in the main camping area are mostly sand based and they also vary in size but most are large enough to have a group or larger trailers. The area has sufficient shade from small trees, the area is adjacent to a creek which is lined with mangroves.

– Campsites on the hill are dirt based but with lots of little rocks. There are a number of sites that would only be suitable for a small tent, swag or rooftop tent etc but there is a larger area at the top that is open and overlooks the water. Definitely suitable for small groups or larger campers. Some of the tracks were not well maintained when we visited and one in particular required 4wd power to get up. The waterfront can still be accessed by walking a short distance down the hill. This would be my pick as it has the awesome views with the safety of being quite elevated.

There are no facilities, drinking water or rubbish disposal so; you will need to have the capacity to manage this yourself. Keep in mind that there are wild pigs that dig up toilet paper so make sure you burn it. 

The nearest town is Bamaga but ‘Cape York Camping – Punsand Bay’ is close by and has a very limited range of supplies from their campground shop.

If you are going to have a fire please keep to the existing firepits.

As for our little friends that like to bite we were there in the middle of the day and did not have any issues. In saying that the main camping area is surrounded by mangroves so they may be an issue and being on the water there is always the risk of midges and sandflies.

On the shoreline you can see a lot of marine debris that has washed ashore. Take a spare bag and some gloves and walk along the beach (be croc wise),  you can find some interesting ‘keepers’ and it doesn’t hurt to get another bag of debris off the beach. On our trip we found a wrecked carved out boat, a brand new boat fender and lots of odd shaped bottles that could be used as decorations once cleaned up.

The closest toilet dumpsite and water to fill your tanks is located in Bamaga.

For details on the alcohol restrictions in this area visit the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Partnerships.

This is another one of the amazing bush camping areas that is covered by the Jardine River Ferry fee.


About The Area:

Much of the history of the area has not been documented in detail or has been lost over the years, but there are still the decaying relics of times gone by in the area. The area was used for mining tin and gold and abandoned mines can be found through the region. Roonga Point was once a tin scratchers (small time prospector) camp, supplies and mail were delivered by boat to the hardened people that worked in the harsh conditions of Cape York in search of fortunes.

Cape York played a significant part in WWII and there is evidence of the war scattered throughout the Cape. As you walk around near the actual point you will find the remains of a WWII workshop site. Defence forces in the area needed to be self-sufficient so it was used to service earth moving equipment and vehicles. The size of the engine block that can be found in the mangrove is possibly evidence that it was quite a substantial site.


Nearby Attractions:

Whilst you are staying at Roonga Point why not take some time to check out these local attractions:
- The most northern point of mainland Australia (just a reminder lol..)
- The site of the original Jardine Homestead at Somerset
- Jardine Family & Pearl Divers Graves at Somerset Beach
- The Abandon Pajinka Wilderness Lodge on your way out to the tip
- Take a drive along the magical 5 beaches run
- Some souvenir shopping at The Croc Tent on Pajinka Road
- Enjoy a woodfired pizza at Cape York Camping in Punsand Bay


Closest Town And Distance: Bamaga, Cape York – 28 km Cape York Camping & Punsand Bay – 4.5km

What We Liked: What we liked most about this campground was the location. It is a great spot to have as a base whilst you explore the most northern attractions. It has a scenic view, close to the tip and supposedly good fishing. It is also close enough to duck over to Punsand Bay for a pizza.

What We Didn't Like: Having the most awesome water, but you cannot swim in it hurts.

Video Review:

Photos:

Mulgildie Pub (Free Camp)

Address: Mulgildie Hotel, Monal Street, Mulgildie QLD, Australia
Location Description: The camp area is right next to the pub in the vacant block, and can be accessed directly from the Burnett Highway.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground | Hotel/Motel
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • Cabins/Rooms/On-site
  • 2WD Access
  • 4WD Access
  • Toilets
  • Phone Reception
  • Public Phone
  • Bar
  • Restaurant/Cafe
  • Fishing
  • Bush Walking

Description:

It is run by the pub, so it is nice to contribute to the local businesses by either buying a meal or a cold drink. We had dinner there and the food was nice and generous servings. The place had that authentic Aussie pub feel about it.

The campground is a vacant block located next to the pub with clear signs marking the free camping on the main road. The area is clean, grassed (there were bindies when we were there) and had a gentle slope. It is on the main road but there is very little traffic, so noise is minimal.

There are no dedicated facilities for the camping area. But if you purchase something from the pub you are more than welcome to use theirs during business hours. Outside of business hours there are public toilets a short walk away at the local hall. There are no bins, so rubbish must be taken with you.

The local hall also has a kid’s play area, free gas BBQs (which were all very clean) and picnic tables.


About The Area:

Mulgildie is a quirky small town that unfortunately has seen most of the shops in the town close over the past few years. The general store on the main road had closed and was up for sale. However, there is a few businesses still standing including the local pub, a book shop, Granny’s Treasures and a fabricator.

The area is predominately pastoral land originally used for sheep the area moved over to beef herds. The area has experienced a decline in dairy farming and is primarily now for beef cattle. However, the 2016 census shows that the most predominate industry of employment is pig farming.


Nearby Attractions:

As you drive into town you will notice a life size statue of a bunyip with a street sign for The Bunyip Hole. Of course, you must go check it out otherwise curiosity will get the better of you. It is just a short drive out of town where you will find the legendary Bunyip Hole, a place of mystery and intrigue.

Aboriginals tell the story of fearsome booming monsters that inhabit the local swaps and waterholes. Local stories tell of strange noises, bubbling and churning water in the hole and of cattle just disappearing into the depths as they drink from the water. Aboriginals knew the area as ‘Devil Devil’ country and like Drovers wouldn’t camp near the Bunyip Hole.

Or is it something more scientific? Others believe that the Bunyip Hole is somehow connected through a vast network of caverns to the extinct volcano Tellebang Mountain. It is said that when Tellebang Mountain rumbles the water in the Bunyip Hole boils.

At the Bunyip Hole, you can relax by the water, go hunting for bunyips (if you dare) or throw in a line. Just beware do not stand to close to the water’s edge you never know what is lurking beneath.


Closest Town And Distance: Mulgildie 0km

What We Liked: Who doesn't like a free camp and a beer!

What We Didn't Like: No onsite after hours facilities for campers.

Photos:

 

Month Four on the Road – February 2019

MONTH #4
Bamaga
1,280 kmIn Muddie
$568.61FUEL
$119.26GROCERIES
$1,625.23TOTAL SPEND
10FISH CAUGHT

First things first check out the number of fish Brendon caught…..

Well February was definitely a month of ups and downs….

We had limited opportunity to get out an explore this month due to Care Taking responsibilities so when we did get out we tried to make the most of it. We had a couple of trips out on the boat and caught some fish, I saw and filmed my first croc of the trip. We checked out a few camping areas we have never been to and got some footage and information to make up a review for you.

I decided to do my first marathon which is in the second week of April. I have not done any exercise since leaving Brisbane even then it was restricted to walking to and from public transport. So needless to say I have had to buy something I can wear to train and complete the marathon in as it was not something I had planned on.

Now, whilst February has been our cheapest month it will be leading into one of our most expensive due to the need to replace a few items. Our tablet has died and our action cam will no longer focus and despite attempts to repair both we have been unable to. I brought them in the same purchase back in 2014 so for tech gear these days I guess they have had a good run.

Also the weld on the bracket that holds our Max Trax on our spare wheel broke and our Max Trax fell off. By the time we realised and headed back someone had already picked them up. And despite the sign out the front and the post on the Facebook community noticeboard they were not returned even with the offer of a reward.  I am absolutely devastated as there were two sets including my purple ones that Brendon often jokes that they are the only purple set cause no one else would buy them.

This is how we went….

Distance Travelled = 1,280 km

Expenses

Fuel: $568.61
Groceries: $119.26
Eating Out: $79.14
Alcohol: $88.00
Accommodation: $0.00
Truck: $0.00
Camping Gear: $264.00
Boat/Fishing Gear: $28.01
Entertainment: $0.00
Personal: $308.86
Bills: $0.00
Misc/Incidentals: $169.35
Permits/Licences: $0.00
Total: $ 1,625.23
Weekly Average: $406.31

Facts

Cheapest Fuel: $1.82 (BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld)
Most Expensive Fuel: $1.96 (BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld)
Big Things Seen: None
Nights Free Camped: 0
Nights Low Cost Camped: 0
Nights Caravan Parks: 0
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 28
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 0
Longest Stay (Nights): 28
Shortest Stay (Nights): 0
Days On The Road: 0
Boat Trips: 3
Fish Caught: 10
Fish Caught - Brendon: 10
Fish Caught - Leah: 0

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Siesia, Cape York Qld (not alot of actual towns up here)
Location - Leah: Siesia, Cape York Qld (not alot of actual towns up here)
Campground - Brendon: Roonga Point, Cape York Qld (we didn't stay but it was really nice when we went to look)
Campground - Leah: Roonga Point, Cape York Qld (we didn't stay but it was really nice when we went to look)
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Seisia Wharf, Cape York Qld
Fishing Spot - Leah: Fly Point, Cape York Qld
Activity - Brendon: Exploring the local free campsites
Activity - Leah: Exploring the local free campsites
Meal Out - Brendon: Chips from the bakery (Leah doesn't know..shhh!), Bamaga Bakehouse Qld
Meal Out - Leah: Cheese & Bacon Rolls, Bamaga Bakehouse Qld

Summary

So another month without a budget as such and I think we did pretty well coming in with a weekly average spend of $406.31.

With minimal money spent on food and no bills except for Brendon’s telephone we thought it may be time to purchase a few things that we needed or needed replacing:

  • Light weight hiking tent – We sold our swag before leaving mainly due to the weight. It was also a little impractical as I wanted to do some multi-day hikes.
  • Our personal expenses were up but included:
    • Some clothes for training and running in the marathon. It was not something I packed for or even owned in the past.
    • Another Ninja Shark snorkle mask pack so we both have one.

So looking forward to March we know it is going to be an expensive one with the replacement of the Maxtrax, camera and tablet. We noticed that fuel has gone up over the past few weeks so fuel expenses will also increase. We may also need to by some more food soon.

We hope by the month we will have some content available to help you make the most of your trip to Cape York.

Once again we will be staying with the Croc Crew (Croc Tent Family) but we also have lots of plans to get out there and explore the Cape.

Month Three on the Road – January 2019

MONTH #3
Bamaga
717 kmIn Muddie
$350.88FUEL
$927.36GROCERIES
$4,773.85TOTAL SPEND
1FISH CAUGHT

Well I can now say with confidence that having a strict budget like so many other people travelling is just not going to work for us. So, these posts will be information on our expenses for the trip and how much we spend each month unrestricted not how much we were allowed to spend.

That being said we spent a lot again in January but this was mainly due to the payment of our annual premium for our health insurance and a Coles order with food for the next 6 weeks.

January had quite a bit of bad weather and we had Care Taker responsibilities to attend to but despite that we did get away on a couple of small drives. We headed to the tip for the first time since moving up here which seems crazy.

The tinny was launched for the first time in Jackey Jackey Creek, Cape York, Qld (there is a blog post about that adventure) and there was other fishing trips in January.

So this is how we went…..

Distance Travelled = 717 km

Expenses

Fuel: $350.88
Groceries: $927.36
Eating Out: $49.73
Alcohol: $305.00
Accommodation: $0.00
Truck: $12.00
Camping Gear: $153.41
Boat/Fishing Gear: $241.46
Entertainment: $0.00
Personal: $314.49
Bills: $1,954.30
Misc/Incidentals: $415.22
Permits/Licences: $50.00
Total: $ 4,773.85
Weekly Average: $1,077.97

Facts

Cheapest Fuel: $1.82 (BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld)
Most Expensive Fuel: $1.88 (BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld)
Big Things Seen:
Nights Free Camped: 0
Nights Low Cost Camped: 0
Nights Caravan Parks: 0
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 31
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 0
Longest Stay (Nights): 31
Shortest Stay (Nights): 0
Days On The Road: 0
Boat Trips: 2
Fish Caught: 1
Fish Caught - Brendon: 1
Fish Caught - Leah: 0

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Seisia, Cape York Qld
Location - Leah: Seisia, Cape York Qld
Campground - Brendon: n/a
Campground - Leah: n/a
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Jackey Jackey Creek, Cape York Qld
Fishing Spot - Leah: Jackey Jackey Creek, Cape York Qld
Activity - Brendon: Launching the tinny for the first time at Jackey Jackey Creek, Cape York Qld
Activity - Leah: Visiting the Tip, Cape York, Qld
Meal Out - Brendon: Dim Sims, BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld
Meal Out - Leah: Dim Sims, BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld

Summary

So our weekly average for the month of January 2019 is $1,077.97. Still a little higher that what I originally thought but it is what it is.

This month we had a few large expenses that will be either a one off expense or set us up for a little while, they included:

  • Coles Online Order (6 weeks of food)
  • Annual Health Insurance
  • New Shoes for Brendon
  • Ninja Shark Snorkle Mask for Leah

Fingers crossed that this is the end of the large expenses for a while at least.

We also discovered that with the humid weather and the consistent rain of the wet season in Cape York we have now got some mold developing on the awning walls of the camper. So to help fix this we have purchased some dehumidifiers for when it needs to be shut up. We purchased some products to remove the mold and reseal the canvas to prevent it coming back. This will be applied when the weather starts to dry up, in the meantime it is spraying the canvas every day with a mix of vinegar and water.

Next month we will continue on as Care Takers of the Croc Tent, Cape York.  We are hoping to get out there explore a bit more of the Cape and share our adventures with you.

~Leah

Month Two on the Road – December 2018



MONTH #2
Bundaberg > Bamaga
2,048 km In Muddie
$877.97 FUEL
$1009.04 GROCERIES
$3,834.33 TOTAL SPEND
4 FISH CAUGHT

Wow…. What a month December was, it was our first full month living in the camper and we also started as Care Takers of the Croc Tent in Cape York, QLD. December was a steep learning curve as we got use to life in the camper, the ins and outs of living in a remote location and the role of Care Taker.

One of the benefits of being Care Takers is that we have a permanent secure and free base for the next few months. With the luxury of being able to unhitch and know the camper is safe we have the freedom to explore Cape York. So whilst we weren’t towing between destinations we still did a lot of driving making as much as possible of our time here. We have noticed that the price of fuel rarely changes and for the past few weeks it has been $1.82 for diesel.

Groceries generally cost a little more than in other areas due to transportation costs. But we were pleased to find out that locals can get their groceries through Coles Online however, I would not suggest this as an option if you are just visiting. We had a large order of groceries delivered on the 31st December 2018 which both Brendon and I were very excited to see arrive. There had been terrible weather and we were concerned that the boat would be late or for safety reason the unloading would be delayed. We had been craving some snacks like chips and lollies and because they were not “required” we had not wanted to buy them at the local prices.

With our rushed effort to make it to Cape York before the turn in the weather we did a quick 30 minute run around of Woolworths in Mareeba and that was it for our food preparation. To say we were disorganised would infer that there was some kind of organisation which there wasn’t. Unfortunately this total lack of organisation resulted in lots of additional trips into town to get stuff, pushing fuel and food expenses up more than we had hoped. We did still have a lot of the pre-made dinners (that were prepared at my Parent’s house, thanks Mum!) so we ate those most nights.

Last month with all the large expenses our average WEEKLY cost was $4,241.52, I can happily say that our total MONTHLY spend for December is a LOT less than that. We have come in at total spend of $3,834.33 for the MONTH.

So for December and for the second month running I didn’t prepared a budget prior to the start of the month, but this is how we went….

Distance Travelled = 2,048 km

Expenses


Fuel: $877.97

Groceries: $1,009.04

Eating Out: $11.90

Alcohol: $210.00

Accommodation: $16.00

Truck: $0.00

Camping Gear: $0.00

Boat/Fishing Gear: $0.00

Entertainment: $0.00

Personal: $20.00

Bills: $197.94

Misc/Incidentals: $1,355.48

Permits/Licences: $136.00


Total:
$
3,834.33
Weekly Average: $865.82

Facts


Cheapest Fuel: $1.82 (BP, Bamaga Cape York Qld)

Most Expensive Fuel: $1.87 (BP, Bamaga Cape York Qld)
Big Things Seen: None
Nights Free Camped: 0

Nights Low Cost Camped: 1
Nights Caravan Parks: 1
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 29
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 3
Longest Stay (Nights): 29
Shortest Stay (Nights): 1
Days On The Road: 3
Boat Trips: 1
Fish Caught: 4
Fish Caught - Brendon: 4
Fish Caught - Leah: 0

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Seisia, Cape York Qld
Location - Leah: Seisia, Cape York Qld
Campground - Brendon: Moreton Telegraph Station, Cape York Qld
Campground - Leah: Moreton Telegraph Station, Cape York Qld
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Moreton Telegraph Station, Cape York Qld
Fishing Spot - Leah: Seisia Wharf, Cape York Qld
Activity - Brendon: Swimming at Fruit Bat Falls, Cape York Qld
Activity - Leah: Swimming at Fruit Bat Falls, Cape York Qld
Meal Out - Brendon: Hot Chips, BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld
Meal Out - Leah: Hot Chips, BP Bamaga, Cape York Qld

Summary

Our weekly average is down to $865.82 which is $3,375.70 less than last months which is awesome. It seems that most people say $500 per week when travelling so we may have to look at a few things in the next few months, but there is a strong feeling that a strict budget isn’t going to suit us.

Our large purchase for the month was a metal detector it accounts for 1/3 of our expenditure for the month but is a one off purchase and will hopefully ‘eventually’ pay its self-off.

This month our fuel costs didn’t vary too much from November when we drove from Newcastle to Charters Towers with a lot of running around in Bundaberg. This is primarily from doing trips into town every day we did a couple of small trips out and about too.

The Coles Online order and the remaining premade dinners should set us up for the next 5 weeks, so whilst it was a big expense it should make things better for the next month.

We did review and change the plan of Leah’s phone. She was on a $79 per month plan with Optus and with no Optus reception here is was a waste of money. She has changed over to a SIM only plan which only costs $30 for 90 days.

We are also reviewing our current health insurances as we are sure we can get a better deal by reducing cover. We don’t want to cancel it yet as we don’t want the lifetime cover loading if we need to start it again.

As we adjust more to how things work up here we aim to reduce our expenses further and attempt to be more organised.

Each month we will provide you with the information about how much life on the road is costing us and some facts about what we have done that month.

Next month we will be continuing on as Care Takers of the Croc Tent, Cape York.

The Tubes – Jervis Bay, New South Wales

Jervis Bay is an oceanic bay with several seaside villages and towns including the township of Jervis Bay. Located on the South Coast of New South Wales it is approximately 3 hour drive south of Sydney. The natural beauty of the area and the abundance wildlife that call it home make it a popular holiday destination and a must visit.

Pristine Waters of Jervis Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales.

The beautiful white sands and pristine water make it the perfect destination for people that love the water. There are beaches that are perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding and those that are well known for their surf breaks. There are also some excellent dive sites scattered throughout the bay including a a submerged Fairey Firefly a WWII aeroplane .

For us there was a different reason that we made the almost 13 hour trip from Brisbane to Jervis Bay…. The Black Marlin.

For many rock fishos ‘The Tubes’ in Jervis Bay is considered the birth place of land based game fishing in Australia. Land based game fishing takes fishing off the rocks to a whole new level targeting pelagic fish that most people considered as target species on game fishing boats. It is the Jervis Bay headland that protrudes into the Tasman Sea that makes it the perfect spot for land based game fishing. The area is known for pelagic fish like king fish, snapper, tuna and black marlin.

Stairway to ‘The Tubes’ a Land Based Game Fishing Hot Spot. Jervis Bay, NSW.

‘The Tubes’ are located on the Beecroft Peninsula the northern headland of Jervis Bay.  To access the tubes you need to go through the Department of Defence’s Beecroft Weapons Range, access to the area is restricted by a boom gate you are required to provide identification to obtain access. The area is closed to public visitors, other than authorised campers, from 9 pm till 2 am everyday.

The Beecroft Weapons Range is still in use for live firings by the Australian Navy so may be closed at certain times. This information is available on the Beecroft Weapons Range and Peninsula Facebook page. The area is also marked with red flags and signage during closures.

As tempting as it sounds to head down there and hook yourself a big one the tubes are not for the average fishing rig or casual fisho.  For starters you will need some heavy duty gear something that will handle the fish  you are targeting, Brendon uses his Shimano  Tiagra 50wlrsa or 80wlrsa with 130lb braid,  heavy leader and some special hook set ups that we make in arts and craft time. You will also need a kiddie pool to store your large live bait, an aerator to keep them happy, an extendable gaff for when you hook that big one and all the other bits and pieces you normally take.

Walking Track Down to ‘The Tubes’ Land Based Game Fishing Hot Spot. Jervis Bay, NSW

You will need to carry all your gear and enough food and water for the day along a bush track, down some steep metal stairs and across the rocky ledges to secure a place. The walk takes approximately 30-40 mins and not an easy stroll so you don’t want to be forgetting anything when you head down. Oh and you will also need to get there well before the sunrises to even have a chance of getting a spot.

So is it worth all the effort? If you are a mad fisher and looking for a challenge or to tick a large pelagic off your bucket list, Yes it is. It is one of the best places to go land based game fishing and all the people that return every season is proof of that. Sadly, we were there it was the very start of the marlin season and Brendon wasn’t able to tick a black marlin off the bucket list so we will be going back to Jervis Bay for another longer stay in the marlin season.

Brendon with a just legal yellowtail kingfish caught at ‘The Tubes’ that was put out as a live bait.

Jervis Bay is definitely somewhere that you should have on your list of places to visit. With the natural beauty of the bay and surrounding national parks, quaint seaside towns and villages, markets and great seafood it really has something for everyone.

More information on fishing ‘The Tubes’ visit:

Month One on the Road – November 2018



MONTH #1
Balcolyn > Bundaberg
4,413 km In Muddie
$2046.48 FUEL
$397.72 GROCERIES
$18,177.93 TOTAL SPEND
1 FISH CAUGHT

After years of planning this month was the kick off of our life on the road. Our first adventure had us heading to the Croc Tent in Cape York for the wet season. Like always not everything ran smoothly in the last few weeks leading up to our departure from Brisbane so we had some outstanding set up costs. There were also a few hassles along the way which meant it was an expensive month and we didn’t make it to the tip of Australia.

We stayed the first half of the month at my (Leah’s) parents place to spend some time with them before heading off. This meant our living expenses, in particular accommodation and food were kept to a minimum. We had tried to save some money and have our old roof racks modified into a new boatloader in Brisbane before we left. It wasn’t made exactly how we wanted, so we then planned to have them re-fabricated in Sydney whilst we were down there. It didn’t work out however, the cost to pull apart the work that was already done before starting afresh and remaking them was almost as much as an Almac boat loader. So we decided to bite the bullet and we would wait until we got to Bundaberg and get the Almac, which was actually what Brendon had wanted in the beginning.

One major thing we didn’t count on this month was the suspension failing in our new camper and the manufacturer refusing to pay for replacement parts, it left us stuck in Bundaberg for two weeks.  We had planned to stay in Bundaberg for only two days whilst our Almac Boat Loader was fabricated and installed.

We did not have a planned budget for this month, we knew it was going to be a shocker with the remaining set up expenses (see summary down the bottom). So it wasn’t the perfect start that you read about when they drive out the door say good bye and everything is sandy beaches and magical sunsets, but we were on the road and that’s what matters.

If we had a budget it would have been totally blown.

Distance Travelled = 4,413 km

Expenses


Fuel: $2,046.48

Groceries: $397.72

Eating Out: $225.95

Alcohol: $294.90

Accommodation: $2.00

Truck: $5,956.40

Camping Gear: $3,163.09

Boat/Fishing Gear: $2,078.77

Entertainment: $0.00

Personal: $301.03

Bills: $3,588.76

Misc/Incidentals: $122.83

Permits/Licences: $0.00


Total:
$
18,177.93
Weekly Average: $4,241.52

Facts


Cheapest Fuel: $148.90 (Oaks Village Store, Burnett Head Qld)

Most Expensive Fuel: $172.90 (Coles Express, Forestville NSW)
Big Things Seen: Big Banana, Coffs Harbour NSW
Nights Free Camped: 4

Nights Low Cost Camped: 0
Nights Caravan Parks: 0
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 23
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 2
Longest Stay (Nights): 14
Shortest Stay (Nights): 1
Days On The Road: 7
Boat Trips: 0
Fish Caught: 1
Fish Caught - Brendon: 1
Fish Caught - Leah: 0

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Balcolyn NSW
Location - Leah: Bundaberg Qld
Campground - Brendon: Little Italy, NSW - Donation Campground
Campground - Leah: Little Italy, NSW - Donation Campground
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Balcolyn NSW
Fishing Spot - Leah: Nil
Activity - Brendon: Sailing Lake Macquarie, NSW
Activity - Leah: Staying with her parents, Balcoyln NSW
Meal Out - Brendon: Mozza's Pizza with Meegan
Meal Out - Leah: Mozza's Pizza with Meegan

Summary

This puts us at a weekly average of $4,241.52 for the month (Ouch!!)

I didn’t prepare a budget for November due to the fact that we still had expenses that we hoped to have paid before we left Brisbane. Looking back on the month we were extremely lucky that our living expenses were kept to a minimum by staying with friends and family.

This month we did have a lot of large expenses to do with our set up that were one off’s:

  • Almac Boat Loader
  • Mercury Boat Motor
  • Runva Winch
  • Replacement Aerial
  • Cgear floor mat
  • Replacement Camper Suspension
  • Portable Solar Panels

We also decided to pay our insurances for 12 months this way we don’t have to worry about payments coming out of bank accounts, these included:

  • Camper Insurance (12 months)
  • Truck Insurance (12 months)

In December we started as Care Takers of the Croc Tent in Cape York. Neither of us had ever lived in a remote location or been care takers so coming up with a realistic budget was nearly impossible. Our plan was to record all of our expenses for the month of December and build a budget for whilst we are in Care Taker roles. This may vary from location to location but it will give us a good starting point.

~ Leah

What can save a fishing trip, ‘thongs’ or ‘pluggers’?

For our travels we decided to sell our much loved tinny for a smaller one to go on the roof of the Patrol. So in the weeks leading up to our departure we ordered a Clarke Predator 355, we wanted a few customisations and Clarke were more than happy to accommodate. With the delivery date being only days before we were leaving there was no time for delays.

Brendon had designed modifications to our existing roof rack to become our new roof top boat loader but we experienced delays with the fabrication and when received it was not as designed and we didn’t have time to have it rectified in Brisbane before we left on our adventures. We were stuck with a boat loader that was not right and a dilemma, do we now take our modfied roof rack to Sydney and get it re-refabricated down there or do we go with what we had originally really wanted but considered too expensive at the time which was an Almac Boat Loader. The decision was made easy when the quotes to remove the modifications that had been made and remake the loader to Brendon’s specifications was going to cost almost the same as an Almac Boat Loader. Almac Trailers are based in Bundaberg (also known as East Bundaberg Engineering), we would be passing through Bundy on our way north so we made arrangements to get it underway.

The new tinny and Almac boat loader

The boat loader was now under control but we still did not have a motor. Brendon was tossing up between the 4stroke or 2 stroke Mercury motors, If we went the 4 then the rear outboard mount would have to be modified, and the 4 is a lot heaver, 2 strokes are on the other hand on their way out with some dams already banning them. In the end the 2 stroke won out, largely due to the weight and cost. With only one Mercury dealer in Bundaberg we were lucky to walk in and they had a second hand American style (reverse on the throttle) in fair condition on the showroom floor. Just like that we had a motor for our tinny.

It turned out we were in Bundaberg for two weeks rather than two days, due to issues with our brand new camper meant we were behind schedule. We took some time out to visit 1770, Agnes Waters and Baffle Creek, where we actually had to cut our day short and evacuate due to bushfires. Besides been messed around by the camper manufacturer, it looked like Mother Nature was against us making it to Cape York. There were predictions of a tropical low/cyclone heading towards the Cape which meant roads north could be blocked off. With all the terrible fires that seemed to be breaking out in Queensland we decided to drive inland to avoid them. In a rush to get up to the Cape to make it before the impending cyclone we drove long hours and arrived on the 5th December before any real weather issues began.

Several times we talked about taking the tinny out for her maiden voyage but it wasn’t till two months after we purchased it that we finally were heading out. All packed up for a few hours on Jackey Jackey Creek Cape York Qld there was a little bit of excitement and nerves. We had never used the boat loader with just us and had never tested the motor (other then the obligatory run in the tank at the marine shop in Bundaberg) and now we were in croc country.  

Jackey Jackey Creek Boat Ramp, Cape York Queensland

We pulled up to the boat ramp and unloaded the tinny for the first time, it definitely wasn’t the smoothest process with being under constant attack by sand flies and mosquitos and the frequent check over your shoulder to make sure nothing was eyeing you off for dinner. With the tinny unloaded, all the gear sorted and the motor attached all that was left was put in the bung and walk it down the ramp into croc water. It was then we realised that the bung that was provided with the tinny was the wrong size.

It had been 2 months since we bought the tinny, 2 months it has been on the roof of the truck waiting to go out, Brendon had been counting every day, although the bung is a minor issue we had to travel, prepare, unload the tinny, put all the gear in it. I could tell Brendon was more then mildly upset by the exact words he yelled out to me that day “The *freaking bung is wrong.”. Personally not being to keen on the current environment I started to put everything back in the truck thinking well we will have to do this some other time.

The ‘Plugger’ bung

Brendon was determined there was no way in hell that we weren’t going out in the tinny today. The hole just needs to be plugged up. Off came the new thongs, they were cut up and a piece squished into the hole. Problem solved… being not so keen on the idea of going out water with a piece of thong stopping the tinny from sinking I reminded Brendon about the croc situation but we were going and that was that.

With our thong bung we headed out on the Jackey Jackey for an enjoyable but thoroughly unsuccessful afternoon of fishing. I wasn’t confident with the thong bung but guess I am still here to share the story, we now taken the boat out a few times and have the unloading process running smoother and have a proper bung, but we still keep the bit of plugger stashed in the boat just in case.

So no matter what you call them, thongs, flip flops, jandles or double-pluggers, pretty sure we will be calling them simply, ‘pluggers’ ,from now on.

~Leah

Brendan navigating Jackey Jackey creek in search of the catch of the day.
As the sunsets we were still hoping for the hookup.

* words may not be exact.

Wet Weather Camping

With a wet long weekend looming over Brisbane I thought I would do a post about wet weather camping. We all have that horror story of a time that you went camping and it was washed out due to a storm or heavy rain. These are the stories that come out when chatting to fellow campers after the sky has turned black and the first drop falls from the sky.

Brendon and I have definitely had our fair share, but as the rain falls this weekend I recount our most recent experience. Firstly, I would like to explain that currently our set up is basic, nothing fancy, just a swag, an awning, couple of chairs, a roll up table and kitchen in the back of the truck.

Last Christmas we packed up and headed to Fraser Island our favourite spot in the world, we knew the weather was not going to be average for the first few days but then clearing as the crowds were returning to work. In the interest in trying something new we set up camp at Coolooli Creek camp ground as the sun set. We drove up and embankment and proceeded to get everything set up, the wind picked up there was a mad rush of fellow campers tying things down and extra guy ropes being smashed into place.

As the rain and wind worsened one by one campers nearby began to retreat to the safety of their beds.

We could see the nearest neighbors a couple and their friend who had a rooftop tent already setup trying to setup a smaller tent for the 3rd person, they struggled to get it up which was a commendable feat. The wind however blew it flat. They would push it back into shape for 15 minutes or so before rolling it into a ball and jamming it in the ute canopy. The third wheel slept on the back seat of their dual cab that night.

As the weathered worsened further the wind whipped at the vehicle awning furiously and it no longer offered protection to our camp chairs from the sideways rain. So, we decided to pack up the chairs and awning and to retreat to the warm and dry safety of the swag. We watched the wild lightening through one of the ends of the swag for hours eventually passing out and did not wake till after 10am. When we got out too survey the damage to my surprise and to this day I don’t know how our pop up ensuite tent was still standing there, proudly surviving the wild storm.

Then we looked along the beach to see it was then we saw the tide was that high that it had been under the swag and nearly to the creek behind us. I’m now not sure if it was exhaustion or gentle rocking of the swag floating that accounted for the big sleep-in.

It had been a king tide overnight, not being our normal campsite and setting up in the evening light we didn’t realise exactly how high the water had been. Or was going to be.

Nearly all of our neighbouring campers in the morning were packing up to beat the tide before the track was cut off at the next creek. It was apparent that most of them had encounter some sort of damage to their property and it was sad to see so many people heading off. We were fortunate that nothing of ours was broken in the storm except the mattress on the swag was a little water logged. We decided with the height of the tide and the weather predictions we would head back over to the eastern beach for a couple of days.

As we drove along the eastern beach we saw the aftermath of the storm with broken gazebos, tents and other gear being dropped off at the rubbish disposal points. It was sad to see that so much damage had been done to people staying all over the island but hopefully it didn’t ruin their experience too much and they still enjoyed their time on the island.

We all know tips about wet weather camping here are two of mine for when you are caught in the middle of a storm or are expecting one.

If it’s not essential pack it up and store it away. The less stuff set up the less there is to be damaged.

Secondly and everyone says this, when you get home or the suns back out, dry all your gear out and then repack it. If you have been near salt hose it off if you can and do this to everything that is suitable as it stops rusting, mould and general wear and tear on your items.

Australia Day 2018 – The Aftermath

The aftermath of the cull….

To be honest I have been downsizing for some time now, getting rid of all the ‘stuff’ that no longer has a need and has taken on the role of space thief and dust curator at the same time. Australia Day long weekend was ‘The Big Cull’ but it didn’t go exactly to plan…

On the Thursday before the long weekend my body decided that it would have a crack at vertigo (I have never had it before) and whilst I am totally for trying new things I can now say without a doubt that vertigo is not my kind of thing. Between the sleepiness, dizziness, nausea and the medication I was not myself and couldn’t do anything.

As for B he went in for a ‘routine’ filling on Thursday night that ended up being anything but routine with the tooth requiring extraction afterwards they sent him on his merry way with strong pain meds. Even in my own vertigo induced hazy state, the pain he was in was very evident. There was apparently also ‘complications’ with the extraction which meant some of his jaw bone also had come out as they prised the roots free. Surely that was the end of the rough run, but no this ‘poor me’ post must continue, one of B’s stitches came out that very night.

As a result, B spent Australia day sleepy and I, fighting vertigo, so we were, let’s just say as far from productive as you can get. Looking back, we both spent Australia day in a somewhat semi-conscious state, like most Aussies.

We did actually get something done and as we jumped in and started to clean up we both quickly realised that everything there had been kept for one of two reasons: The ‘just in case’ I need it or the memory attached to the item. The attachment to items intrigued me as we weren’t really holding onto the item we were holding onto the memories attached to the item. Well that was the case for me and my roller derby gear, so many things happened whilst I was skating and they were a symbol of that. Once I got over this attachment I was happy to pass them onto someone else that would get as much enjoyment as I did from them. But the emotional attachment B had for a box of cords I don’t fully understand, must be a male thing.

So, for the ‘long’ weekends (standard with Australia Day written off) progress we got most of the single car garage cleaned out just a few little bits and pieces still to go. It ended up being a bigger job than we thought and the shed is very daunting, I had the fear that the motivation of the cull would subside and it would not get done (my fear has come true). The weekend ended with full bins and piles of sorted ‘Stuff’ standing tall as monuments of our success, it is time to take the next steps jamming full the bins each week until it is all gone, going to the second-hand clothes market, listing items for sale and palming off other ‘stuff’ to people we know… the saga continues.

A tip to those in the process of doing or planning a cull, the items that have memories attached ask yourself, How often do I actually use them? How often do I pull them out and look at them? Why not take a photo of it/them to preserve the memories and pass it on (give or sell) to someone else that will be able to have the same enjoyment that the item once gave to you..