Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Local Food & Drink’ Category

As the title suggests Rockhampton is known for its cows. It is one of the biggest farming and agricultural towns in Queensland and produces a large proportion of Australia’s beef. This is something they are very proud of. Large plastic cows adorn the streets and are a feature on a number of the shop displays or signs. The towns slogan is apparently “Eat more beef, you bastards!”, which Jo wanted to get on a t-shirt but had no luck.

Rockhampton Cow

Rockhampton Cow

In order to fully appreciate the beef we went out for a meal in the local pub and had us some fine local steak (it tasted like steak to me but Jo assures me it was beautiful!). The town has a real country feel to it and the advertised local radio station is one that plays country music. Jo took great delight in dialling in the station and turning up the tunes. We arrived into the town at dusk, located our campsite and followed orders on where to camp, picking a scenic spot on the banks of the river. When we got back from the pub at 1am, having sampled some of the fine local bundy rum, we noticed this sign next to our camp spot.

Fitzrory River Croc Warning

Fitzrory River Croc Warning

I did not get too much sleep that night as I had visions of a croc coming into the tent. We survived and no crocs were seen! I am now on permanent croc alert though and we won’t be camping next to the river again!

On the way out of Rockhampton we joined a tour of the Capricorn Caves.  The cave system was quite impressive but luckily set out for tourists so there were no head torches or climbing through small holes. The highlight was probably the chamber in which they used to hold weddings(!) and sometimes still do. The acoustics in here are supposed to be not far off perfect and so they played some music to demonstrate this, Jo was very impressed.

Unfortunately we didn’t see any of the bats that live in the caves as they were a bit further in but we did enjoy the Indiana Jones style bridges on the way out of the caves.

Read Full Post »

Ah, Bundaberg Rum.  One of my favourite things that I have discovered in Australia!  The rum gets it’s name from the town it is distilled in, Bundaberg (or Bundy as it’s known to the Aussies) and we were here to visit the distillery as well as have a few samples.

Me in the Bundy Rum Bar

Me in the Bundy Rum Bar

The distillery is a fair way out of town (we caught the bus so we could both drink) but is set up for lots of tours each day.  We opted for the full tour which showed us around the premises after going through the interactive exhibit to learn the history of the rum as well as being introduced to the company’s mascot polar bear – Bundy R. Bear.  Basically the rum was made to make use of the molasses leftover from the processing of the sugar cane which is grown everywhere in the area.  The distillery had some very overpowering and distinct smells in each of the areas.  The most impressive smells were from the molasses store, which smelled of liquorice, and the bondstores where the rum is put into huge barrels and matured over two years where the smell of the rum is intoxicating.  The rest of the distillery has various sweet and sickly smells that were a bit too much after an hour!

After the tour you are taken to the special Bundy Rum bar and allowed to try two of the rums offered.  I went for the five year vintage, which was beautiful (can you tell I really love this rum?!) and Ruth tried Bundy Red which had just came out when we first got into Australia.  Bundy Red is now Ruth’s favourite as it’s a bit smoother and sweeter due to addition of caramel.  I prefer the vintage but can’t afford it so stick with the normal.  Our second drink was something special.  It’s a liqueur that contains rum, chocolate, hazelnut, caramel and coffee.  They serve this with either cream or milk and over ice.  It’s kind of like Baileys but a million times nicer.  Recently, Bundy Rum decided to only sell the liqueur from the distillery to make it more exclusive.  It was so nice, we bought a bottle for special occasions using the backpacker justification that you didn’t need to buy mixer.  As this is now my favourite drink, we also bought some Bundy Rum glasses which, if they survive being posted home, will be our permanent reminder of our visit to the distillery.

The town is also known for producing ginger beer.  We stopped by at this distillery but only to pick up a few bottles to try.  They offer seven different types of beers (all non-alcoholic): ginger, apple, lemon, burgundee (cherry), sarsparilla, lemon-lime bitters and peach.  We bought all but the peach to try as we continue our journey.

Bundaberg Post Office & War Monument

Bundaberg Post Office & War Monument

As Bundy is an old town (for Australia) we though we’d better take a look whilst we were here.  We did the historic walk around the town which showed us some of the older buildings and monuments.  The highlights were the Post Office building (which are often the most impressive over here due to the importance it used to hold in society) and the more recent whale painting which covered the side of a very tall building.  It was nice to see some older parts of Queensland and the town does seem to have quite a small-town feel to it with some odd locals.  Because of all the tropical fruit grown nearby though it is very popular with backpackers who are working on the farms to try and extend their visa.

Read Full Post »

The next stop after Caloundra was another small coastal town called Maroochydore. Maroochydore consists of three parts all with equally difficult names to pronounce. We were staying at a campsite next to the beach (again). Each morning we were able to get up and walk down a short path with our cereal to sit and watch the surfers as we ate. It was great and a fab start to the day. Every night we would then go to sleep with the sound of the waves crashing and the bats fighting.

Breakfast at Maroochydore

Breakfast at Maroochydore

Whilst in Maroochydore we celebrated our Anniversary. Traditionally we don’t get each other presents etc but we do treat ourselves to a night out. This year we decided to stick to tradition. All along our trip we have seen and heard about a restaurant chain that is only in Oz and specialises in steak called the Hogs Breath Cafe. Jo had been itching to try it since he had first seen it in Byron Bay and it appeared to be a very normal Australian thing to do, the sort of place that we would go to if we lived and worked here. So we decided that this would be the perfect night out for our anniversary followed by a film night.

On a rainy winters night we set of in search of the Hogs Breath on the marina and were looking forward to sampling their famous (slow cooked for 18 hours!) steak and curly fries. We were not disappointed, it was scrummy. We also shared our first bottle of Australian wine (I am slowly converting Jo) and finished it off with a very rich and chocolaty pudding. It was a great evening.

As is tradition we then followed up the meal with a film however we did this on the next night in order to spread the cost of the entertainment. Transformers had just come out so we booked ourselves in. The cinema was in a large shopping centre and was very modern. We managed to smuggle the obligatory drink and sweets in. It was another good night out and a welcome break from nights at the campsite.

All in all it was a great anniversary and we enjoyed being able to celebrate in Australia.

Read Full Post »

When we were back home at the start of the year I managed to track down one of my old childhood friends on Facebook.  We soon had an on-line catchup and I found out that she now lives in Brisbane!  The hassles of buying a car got in the way of our plans to meet up when Ruth and I flew back to Oz but this time we managed it. I hadn’t seen Beth for about 15 years or so and it was great to catch up properly over dinner.

This time around we decided to finish off the museum that we previously abandoned when our first car deal fell through.  The museum was very good and had exhibitions on Queensland (as the state is now 150 years old) and wildlife.  It also had an excellent collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artifacts to compliment its interesting but quite sad history of the people and what happened to them when the Europeans turned up.

For a change we decided to take a trip out of the city to Mount Coot-tha which has some stunning views from the top as well as lots of scenic lookouts on the drive around it.  At the bottom of Mt Coot-tha is a planetarium which had some amazing displays as well as a special weekly show on which we signed up for.  The show was an excellent trip around the stars that were currently visible before taking us through our solar system and beyond.  After the show we decided that we liked the view from Mt Coot-tha so much during the day that we’d go back up to see it at night it.  It was worth it.

Back in the city Ruth and I went to two of the major sites in Brisbane, the botanical gardens and city hall.  Brisbane city hall is a city icon and an impressive building with a reasonably long history (for an Australian building).

City Hall

City Hall

The highlight was taking the old lift up the clock tower where we watched the bells chime midday.  Very loud.  We then went onto the botanic gardens which we had also visited on the previous night to look for possums.  The possum hunt was very successful as we saw loads and they were very used to people with one coming right up to Ruth to see if her foot was food or not!  During the day the gardens are busy but a welcome respite from the busier city.  It is quite easy to forget that you are surrounded by several million people whilst taking in the views.  We had a picnic lunch by the ponds watching all the birds, fish and even a little freshwater turtle going about their day.

On our final day in Brisbane I finally did the thing I wanted to do since we arrived – go to the XXXX brewery!  I booked myself on a tour where I found out the history of XXXX beer drink and brand before being taken around the brewery.  Apparently the thing that makes XXXX different is the fifth ingredient: sugar.

XXXX House

XXXX House

This gives the beer that sweeter taste and makes it a bit lighter and so ideal for Queensland’s tropical climate.  At the end of the tour came my favourite bit, the free drinks!  As well as the standard XXXX drinks (lager and bitter – which is just a darker lager) I tried XXX.  XXX is only sold at the brewery bar as it wasn’t all that popular.  That’s a shame as it’s one of the nicer beers I’ve had over here as it was more like an ale.  I also tried a stout that they brewed there but it was horrible!

As soon as the tour finished, Ruth picked me up and we headed on our way up to the Sunshine Coast.  After a few beers my navigating may not have been at its best but we got there in the end and I even managed to stay awake for the whole journey!

Read Full Post »

Once a year there is a huge rugby league competition between the states of New South Wales and Queensland. New South Wales (the Cockroaches) wear blue and Queensland (the Cane Toads) were maroon. There is a big rivalry between the two states. Queensland had one for the past three years and had an experienced team this year. New South Wales were not winning their local games and had an inexperienced team to field however they were all young and had a lot a pace to them. There was a lot of anticipation around. The contest is played in three parts consisting of three 80 min games. This was the first of three.

We were staying at the Yamba hostel in NSW which made the atmosphere even better. Justin and Chook are NSW fan as they was born and breed in NSW however his Shane and Chris support Queensland for no known reason other than to annoy the others. The hostel was decked out in blue and drinks on the bar were $2 until half time. It was a good atmosphere and everyone was very excited before the game.

Unfortunalty experience won over youth with some rookie mistakes making trys disallowed. The atmosphere dropped about half way through the first quater when NSW started to lose all hope of winning. Everyone is hopeful for the next game of the three.

Read Full Post »

When we returned to Yamba we were very pleased to see the one of our friends from the last time we were here was still here. Jan had been away for a bit and then come back just like us. His girlfriend Anke had gone back to Germany and he was not leaving soon but we got to spend a couple of weeks chilling with him first. In the week before he left quite a few people were leaving and so we had a couple of big nights.

Jan’s favourite saying was “lets get drunk lets get party” so the guys put balloons up with this written on. We played silly games such as beer pong (table tennis with beer), Roxanne and the chicken game. We also went dancing up the pub to a random band. Everyone was very drunk on both occasions, they were great nights out. In the morning a Long Board sandwich (Jan’s favourite) was required to help everyone recover.

Jans Leaving Do

Jan's Leaving Do

Jan was really sad when he had to go as he was not just leaving his beloved Yamba but was also leaving Australia after being here for two years. It was sad to see him go but we wish him well back at home in Germany with Anke.

Read Full Post »

On a sunny day We went fishing off the beach as apparently the storm was bringing in lots of fish. At the beach we found Chook one of the hostel owners who loves to fish. He gave us an expert class in what to do and we all managed to catch a Brim. Jo and a girl from the hostel managed to catch ones big enough to be legal but the rest had to go back.

A master class with Chook

A master class with Chook

We then took our rods and tried it on our own using prawns for bate. Again we all managed to catch one on our own but they were all too small but one of the locals caught a huge one which they reckoned was a kilo! It was great fun to feel for the fish taking the bait and pulling it in. Chook cooked the ones he caught (about 20) and we all had it for dinner, it was delicious.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »