We made it to Darwin!

17 Apr

And wow, it is HOT. I don’t even want to think about what summer will be like…

We drove here from Townsville in the space of 3 days, driving between 10 and 12 hours each day. We shared the drive, swapping every hour or so, which worked well. I’d hate to do that drive alone.

We slept in the front seats of the car on the first night, which meant almost no sleep, then put up our little dome tent the second night:

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Doing that saved time, instead of setting & packing up the camper.

I’m glad we’ve had the experience of driving through the territory – it really gives you a better idea of just how big Australia is, and how empty the middle is. But I’m not in any hurry to do it again any time soon. We had no mobile reception for most of the drive, so it was scary to think about anything going wrong. And it cost a lot more than we expected in fuel – close to $1000 from Townsville to Darwin, which is pretty ridiculous. Lucky we were already planning on staying here & working for a while!

Now we’re set up at our friends’ place in Darwin, and we’re slowly starting to settle in. The heat is the biggest thing to adjust to.

Some pics:

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Camper all set up

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Emmanuel with our friends’ two staffy pups – Badger is super excited to have some new playmates.

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My sweet new bike – Darwin is flat enough to cycle almost everywhere, just not in the middle of the day, haha…

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Staffy pup Bear

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Staffy pup Sabre

Paronella Park

4 Apr

We spent the last 3 nights here; it’s about an hour south of Cairns. Built in the 1930s, super pretty.

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We’re on our way back to Townsville today, going to stay there over Easter. We just stopped at a little town called Cardwell for a break, look how pretty it is:

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Also check out this cute horse we met:

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It’s still really hot during the days; even though it’s April. So glad we weren’t this far north in the middle of summer.

The First Leg

19 Mar

So we’ve racked up around 3,800km just in highway travel, town to town. Check it out – Click for the interactive map!

Townsville

17 Mar

We’ve been in Townsville the past couple of days, staying at Emmanuel ‘s brother Luke’s place. It’s been raining a LOT. Still very hot and humid though.

Some pics from the drive from Airlie Beach to here:

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Shute Harbour

13 Mar

Some pics of Shute Harbour just before rain:

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Tonight is our last night in Airlie, then we’ll head to Townsville tomorrow. It’s been really nice and relaxing here, I’ve always liked the Whitsundays. So pretty.

There’s a big thunderstorm predicted for tonight, so hopefully it won’t be too wet packing up in the morning.

Airlie Beach

11 Mar

We arrived in Airlie yesterday. I’ve been here twice before, but the last time was about 7 years ago. It’s expanded a bit since then, with a massive shopping centre as you come in towards Airlie from Proserpine. Airlie Beach itself is just as touristy as ever, full of backpackers.

We’re staying at a caravan & camping park called Flametree Tourist Park about 5km out of Airlie, towards Shute Harbour. It’s pretty nice and quiet, and the only place we could find that allows dogs.

Some pics:

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On the drive from Carmila

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Our camping spot

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View from our camp

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Driving into Airlie

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Airlie Beach

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Yup.

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Start of Airlie’s main street

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Walkway along the beach

Utilities

9 Mar

Thought i’d post up what we’re using for power, just because…

For storage we have a 120ah agm battery, its enclosed in a battery box which has been modified adding an extra cigar socket and a mounted anderson plug.

The cigar sockets and terminals only have current when the switch is on. The anderson plug is always on and we use it as a charging input.

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When in transit we plug the lead from the dual battery system in the Mav into the anderson port. And when camped we connect our 2×60 watt mono solar panels.

If we want a quick setup the battery stays in the car with the 30L fridge, and we run lights from outside into the tent. Otherwise the battery usually sits on a table inside and we run the lights up along the poles on the roof.

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If we cant get a good line to the sun we can use our homemade anderson plug extension lead. (Making that solved the problem of a cable mis-purchase🙂 )

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Or just stick the panels up on the luggage rack.

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Our main lighting is a string of 20x 3 sets of superbright leds. Most adequate but we’re thinking of doubling the length.

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Additionally we have a 60 led rechargeable bar lamp and a 60 led motion sensor light that has its own solar cells.

For a cuppa we just use an element from the battery. The battery is also used to charge our phones and recharge PCs via a 1000 watt inverter, and of course power the fridge.

Voltage monitoring is only done with a cheap multimeter at this point and we still tend to juggle power consumption to preserve battery life. Funny we’re more worried about keeping it healthy than having our convenience items running. We’ve bought a 240 volt charger to use at van parks to make sure it stays in reasonable condition.

For cooking we’ve been using a little 3.7kg lpg bottle connected to a single burner and grill. Only really use it for grilling toast in the morning and heating water for cooking MREs in the eve. Its had about 17 days use so far and is just under half full. Going well!

All purchases have definitely been worthwhile! Next up/downgrades when money allows: probably a better charge controller for the panels, and a smaller inverter.

Seeya!

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