The Shifting Spanners

Its finally time for a Gap Year! After 33 years of working we have decided to bite the bullet, hitch up the van and do the Big Lap of Australia.
Living in: Cairns City, Australia
  • Day8


    July 6 in Indonesia

    Well it's Friday, our last day in Bali and thankfully we're well enough to do our elephant tour. What a great day it was! Mason Elephant Park is owned by an aussie guy who treats the elephants very well. This park is recognised as the best in Bali. We weren't going to do the elephant ride initially out of concern for their well being, but we were convinced it was ok and so glad we did.

    Finished the day back at the hotel for a couple of Bintangs, then headed to a great restaurant on the beach for an early dinner.

    Arrived at the airport at 9.30 pm but our flight didn't leave till 2.20 am. By the time we arrived in Cairns at 8.40 am we were ready for some serious sleep.

    Can't say I really enjoyed Bali. The food poisoning really knocked us around and took the gloss off our holiday. Don't think we will be returning anytime soon.
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day7


    July 5 in Indonesia

    We're both a bit better today. Not good enough to do any tours, but on the mend. Marg met Wardi, from Buffalo Tours who graciously refunded most of our tours. The only one he couldn't refund is the Elephant Park tour so we've rescheduled it again till tomorrow, our last day. Hopefully we're a lot better by then.

    We pushed ourselves to go out for a look around and some shopping. Marg actually found a beaut replica Louis Vuitton handbag she was wanting so ticked that off the list.

    In the afternoon we headed to the beach and relaxed under a shady tree for a couple of hours. I even had a Bintang I was feeling so well.

    Finished the day at a restaurant where I ventured as far as a chicken breast with mashed potato, although Marg could only go as far as a ham and cheese toastie.
    Read more

  • Day6


    July 4 in Indonesia

    Well we've had a bad few days due to illness (food poisoning). We both had to get a doctor called out to our rooms, who gave us all the required injections, antibiotics etc. This has put a real dampener on our trip as we have lost 3-4 days and really are not game to eat anything here. We've been living on boiled rice and toast and confined to bed.

    We've had to reschedule all our tours that we have paid for, hoping we will be healthy enough to do them later in the week. Fingers crossed!Read more

  • Day3


    July 1 in Indonesia

    We were up early for our banquet breakfast and were then met in the lobby by our requested tour guide Dian. We paid a bit extra I'm sure to have this private guided tour, but it is all inclusive of banquet lunch, all ticket entries, our own vehicle and of course the lovely Dian who gave us all the guff on the sights of Bali.

    Our first port of call was the Batik Factory where we were shown the process of weaving fabrics, and the hand painting of the beautiful clothing. They had a huge retail shop but the prices were quite steep.

    Next we went to the Barong Dance where we saw quite a lengthy play. Very talented and entertaining, but we've now seen enough balinese dancing.

    We then visited Nadia's Silver Factory. Once again we were shown the laborious silver making process. This turned out to be an expensive stop for me as Marg scored a beautiful silver and rose gold ring.

    We checked out a beaut wood carving factory before heading for the hills to visit Tirta Empul Temple. This is an 11th century water temple where people jump in the holy water to bathe and pray. Beautiful spot.

    We continued up the mountain to Mount Batur which is the 2nd most famous volcano after Mount Agung which nearly forced the cancellation of our trip. Fantastic views of the volcano and Lake Batur from up here where we had lunch overlooking the beautiful vista.

    Next stop on the way down the mountain was a coffee and tea plantation where we tasted the famous Luwak coffee. (made famous by the movie - The Bucket List). This is the coffee that is made from the poop of the Luwak's...a possum like animal. We also tasted 12 coffees and teas and bought a few to bring home.

    Last stop on the way home was the Ubud Monkey Forest where we saw lots of little monkeys and babies. Very cute, but some were quite aggressive.

    We were buggered by the end of the day and asked our guides to drop us off in Ubud where we had another 1 hour massage before having an Italian dinner. What a great day!
    Read more

  • Day1

    Arrived in Ubud

    June 29 in Indonesia

    After a stressful day wondering if we'd be able to fly out to Bali, we finally made it. Mt Agung decided to spew volcanic ash last night, causing the cancellation of dozens of flights to and from Bali. Thankfully a change in wind direction aided our cause and we were the first flight out of Cairns on Friday night.

    It was 3 am before we got to bed in Ubud, after a 1 hour transfer from Bali airport. Had a lovely young girl as our guide whom we requested for our subsequent tours for the rest of the week.

    We slept till 10 am next day, had our complimentary breakfast, then booked all the major tours for the week. Headed off shopping in Ubud for the afternoon which included 1 hour massages, a few Bintangs at a rooftop bar, before returning to the Hotel for happy hour cocktails. Had a great Balinese banquet complete with traditional dancing all night.

    Very weary, but glad we packed a lot into the 1st day considering our late arrival.
    Read more

  • Day353

    Trip Stats

    November 25, 2017 in Australia

    We have been asked about costs & budgets for a round Australia trip, so here goes...

    We were able to stick to our budget of $600 per week. Some weeks went way over if we had big ticket expense items like swimming with whale sharks, cruises, tours etc, and some weeks we spent less, but over all it worked out pretty much spot on the $600 pw mark.

    The whole trip cost $30,000 which included fuel, accomodation, food & spending money. We had 122 stops, mostly at low cost farms, stations, showgrounds, free camps, private properties, national parks and the occasional caravan park.


    Fuel $7045
    Accomodation $6436

    Average accomodation cost $17.20 per night.

    Distance travelled.
    Car 41510 kms
    Van 24969 kms

    Ave fuel consumption 13.5 l/100kms
    Dearest fuel $1.98 Kings Canyon
    Cheapest fuel $1.13 Home Hill

    Favourite Places

    Cape Range National Park - Ningaloo Reef WA
    Karijini National Park WA
    Esperance - Lucky Bay WA
    Sapphire Coast NSW
    Broome - Cable Beach WA
    Flinders Ranges SA
    Adelaide Hills SA
    Great Ocean Road VIC
    Read more

  • Day353


    November 25, 2017 in Australia

    We made it! Can't believe it's over, but it was the absolute trip of a lifetime. Fantastic to see the family again. We've noticed they've all matured into very capable young ladies.

    Lindsay and Simon moved out of home a few weeks ago, so we had a BBQ at their place which is just around the corner. They look very happy. With Ashleigh and Jay moving into Ashleigh's townhouse in the next few weeks and Georgie moving away to university in February, the house will seem very roomy after 12 months in a caravan!Read more

  • Day352


    November 24, 2017 in Australia

    We bought a car! I made an offer on this Mazda MX5 from Brisbane, and the owner gave me first option on it until we arrived. Great car! Marg took it for her first drive with the top down and got whistled at! 😂

    Stayed at Riverside Convention Centre ($20) which had a huge open field so plently of room to have both cars with us overnight.

Never miss updates of The Shifting Spanners with our app:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android