Motorcycle Gourmet

Some of the best meals I've ever had have been while traveling Australia on my numerous Motorcycle tours, be they escorting others or exploring new destinations on my own.

Some simple, some extravagant but most importantly, all the meals I review here contain quality fresh food prepared with care and skill.

Join me as I eat, ride, and review my way around Australia!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

In real time.
This is posted from the boat about 5km off shore!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I have to wonder how many times my little internal combustion engine has gone through its suck squeeze bang blow cadence now that I've traversed somewhere around 8,500 KM's to Esperance WA.

Since my last post in Nanga I've stayed in Kalbarri, Geraldton, Cervantes, Gin Gin, Waroona, a picnic table in Kondinin and tonight I'm in Esperance.

Some pics attached.

I was rained down in Waroona for a few days so there is not many photos to show, in fact the whole south east corner of WA was hit with torrential rain and blasting winds. So much so that my 500 KG worth of road projectile (the bike, me. my gear, and fluids) was blown all over the road to the point I was hanging on tight to avoid getting blown off.

The last few days have been particularly interesting road days. Both the flora and fauna, and the road itself. The trip from Waroona heading east starts off through green lush forest and fields. I had lunch in a pub you would swear was in the middle of the Cotswolds UK called the Pub at Quandanning. (photos in the camera not the phone so I'll post them when I get home). About an hour from there the road deteriorated to a single sealed lane with red dirt shoulders.

This set up became particularly hairy when Road Trains approach as they usually do one of two things.

They either stay on the sealed road forcing you to slow down and ride off onto the dirt or stay on the sealed little bit of road that's left while these 3 payload long rolling office buildings come so close they are centimetres from your right elbow. Sometimes the wind blast knocks you onto the red dirt shoulder other times is just rocks your world for the proverbial heartbeat.

The second is that they let their left set of wheels onto the red dirt shoulder on their side and they share the single lane of sealed road with you. While this sounds ideal compared to the above, I'm here to tell you that there is something very disconcerting (read scares the shit out of you) to see one of these trains with their rear payloads weaving back and forth like the tail on a dog waiting to be fed while the truck cab wobbles in oppositional unison!

Well I'm here at the Pub in Esperance and my Pork Chops seared in a mustard and herb sauce have just arrived.

i'll take a day or 2 to recoup before I hit the Nullarbor.

Adios for now.

This is a town in decline or perhaps it was never prosperous. Its old and not really set up for tourism. Unlike Hopetoun about 50 KM south of here there is not much to see or do.

The road from Kondinin to here was particularly challenging in that it boring as can be. Most of the way the view of the surrounds was blocked by trees, scrub and brush on either side of the road. I noticed it was fenced on either side so perhaps the possibility of hitting a Roo was minimised. I did note that the tell-tales of wildlife along the road were not around... roo poo, road kill, or splotches of road kill past.
In comparison, Hopetoun is a thriving little tourist destination. There is whale watching, (June to October) views of and from (if you are a hiker) Table hill and East Mt Barren help make the place. The Southern Ocean beach Road (its dirt) take you through Jandacuttaup Lakes and nature reserve.

Wave Rock located about 4 KM from Hyden has its own little economy so i'd make cafe or amenities stops there rather than the town of Hyden. When you travel so much you get to know when a town embraces tourism and the vibe I got from the locals was they would take my money but were not particularly interested or friendly in exchange.

Wave rock however is very cool. It is about 100 metres of rock that has been worn by erosion from wind, water, and grit to form and curvature that resembles an ocean wave as it draws up just before breaking.

Hippo's Yawn is worth a look and ride on to King Lake Pub for a great lunch in a nice atmosphere. Lake King itself is a good place to get gas and push on.

I came across a couple of Harley riders in Munglinup who were heading to Albany for a few days and no sooner did they leave and up roars a Duc, Trumpet, and Harley with 3 miners atop heading to Kalgoorlie. We had a chat waited for the bus load of retirees to line up for their tea and scones then we were belted by monsoon like winds and rain! So I suited up again waited a little while in vain hope before riding the last 100k holding on to the bike bars so I wouldn't get blown off in the blast from the crosswinds.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Peacock Digitals New Office in Nanga WA!

Ok, ok. I know I said Argyle lake was incredible, then I said Broome would be the place to have an office for the winter, then of course I was swayed by Exmouth and it's lovely little small town beach, then I was swept away by Denham and Monkey Mia but this is THE place for me.... Nanga.

It's a Motel and a Beach and that is it. I'm sitting on the beach as I write this checking out the Indian Ocean and the endless curvature of the earth and I AM THE ONLY PERSON HERE!

Other than the Motel Staff there is absolutely no one for many kilometres. Certainly there is no one on the beach for hundreds of KM in either direction!

If I could get them to put wireless Internet and an espresso machine here I could happily live my life out.

Nanga Beach is an interesting spot. It is about half way between Monkey Mia and Overlander (a roadhouse on the North West Coastal Highway). It is adjacent to a beach called Shell Beach aptly named because it is covered with tiny shells for 120 KM's that are in some places 10 metres deep!

The whole Shark Bay and is what's known as a World Heritage Area. It is an ecological sanctuary full of unique wild life. It is covered with 9 varieties of sea grass which in itself make it ecologically unique as most beach areas only have 2 at the most. This grass is the foundation of Shark Bay's marine ecosystem. The Bay and it's beaches are teeming with wild life.

The diverse sea grass, long shallow bay, dry climate and high evaporation rates have combined to make a an unusual phenomenon. This harbours waters are 1.5 times saltier than than the open ocean. Many of the local species have adapted to this and are genetically different than those living in other areas of the world.

Well its time to knock off for the day and have some dinner. Tomorrow I'm off to Geraldton and anticipating being in the Monastery in new Norcia having beer at the pub with the monks the following night.

Now that might be a bit of fun.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

As you can see the stress here is almost too much to handle!

I've seen more animals since leaving Coral Bay than on any part of the trip thus far.

Emu, Kangaroo, wild Goats, and an Osprey.

I came roaring up on an Emu as he was standing on the highway edge about to cross until he heard and saw me coming and decided to run alongside the road ... parallel with me!

Remembering the tale a motorcycle mate being helicopter lifted after hitting an Emu in the Hay Plane a few years back when it cut directly across his path after running alongside for a while... I slowed down. Well so did the Emu!

Tiring of this I increased speed... so did the Emu! After doing this waltz together a again I just stopped (well so did the Emu), grabbed the camera around my neck and snapped off some shots. The Emu was more camera shy than motorcycle shy so off it went. I'll post these pics when I do a download of the camera.

Well I haven't seen any sharks yet in Shark Bay but the whole area here is beautiful. Tourism would be the main industry here but the place is not spoiled by the mega chain hotel giants as yet. It is just big enough.

More pics to come and I'll get to the Dolphins later.

I'm not quite sure why they named this place Monkey Mia but I'll find out.

Tomorrow I'm off to swim with and feed the Dolphins.

Hope they like 55 year old grizzly tough gray haired old meat!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I've travelled Australia a fair bit, in fact I've travelled extensively compared to most Australians but I must say the West Coast, The Pilbara, and The Kimberley are places anyone interested in touring Australia should have on their itinerary.

I'm sitting in a beach front pub in Coral Bay enjoying a glass of wine and an ice cold bottle of water along with my view of the long long semi circle beach all around me.

The peninsula Exmouth and Coral Bay are on is known as the Ningaloo Reef. Yes yes I know Ningaloo sounds likes something you would order at the local Indian Takeaway but is just about the only remnant of Aboriginal presence.

Ningaloo Reef tours include glass bottom boats, sunset and sunrise cruises, Whale watch trips, and of course scuba and snorkel diving. All are worth doing as the Ocean is clear clean and an incredible shade of blue/green I've ever seen. exotic coral and the unique fish that inhabit the reef are all accessible from the cruise boats.

I took a taxi from the my hotel to the sunset whale watch tour boat I did yesterday. there is a hotel in Exmouth called 'The Pot-shot' which I thought a strange name for a hotel so I asked the cabbie about it as we drove by. Unfortunately he had only lived here 16 years so was not familiar with the area yet (!!!!!) or so he said.

I did get out of him that during WWII there were USA and UK Airbases here that were of particular interest to the Japanese. Apparently Operation 'Pot-shot' was the name of a special initiative by the Allies against the Japanese. I'll research some more and get back to you.

In the mean time here's some pics from this leg of the trip

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
... going to Luna Park. Only there's 500 km's between each ride!

Paraburdoo to Exmouth, but first...

More about The Pilbara.

I used to think THE place in WA was The Kimberley however after cruising through Broome to The Pilbara I must admit this whole region is worth a huge exploration.

A few stats before we start...

The Pilbara starts about 1600 KM's north of Perth and consists of about 500,000 square KM's, yes you read right, 500,000 square KM's. That's the size of some small countries! Forgetting about tourists for the moment there is a population of around 2 Million in the whole of WA!

There are almost 45,000 people living in The Pilbara mostly in the main towns which are Port Hedland, Karratha, Tom Price and Newman.

You can traverse The Pilbara on all sealed roads however like The Kimberley the story of the regions really starts when you get out and get dirty.

For the motorcyclist there are a number of ways to do this. One is buy a cross breed bike like the BMW R1200GS Adventure. The problem there is that you need a set of knarley nobby tires that resemble golf shoes turned out and placed end to end! Spikes everywhere and about as useful on paved surfaces as your golf shoes are!

Now these knarely nobby tires are great when you are OFF ROAD but the are terrible when you are buzzing from burb to burb or up to the Hunter Valley or down the NSW coast or just about everywhere you go for the vast majority of your riding you are on sealed roads.

Regardless of the suspension set up or the engine design of the industrial gear you can carry on your bike the reality is... these knarley nobby golf spikes are terrible on sealed roads. I would be so bold as to suggest the are as bad on the sealed road as road tires are on the dirt (I'm talking real dirt there and not that bit of gravel you encounter during road renovations).

Did I mention that riding one of the light GS type bikes will also get you blown all over the road instead of the 500 Kilo's of ballast me, my luggage, and my in-line 4 K12 rocket ship provide when being confronted by a 4 payload long road train with a combined speed between the 2 of us of about 300 KPH in the middle of no where!

So what's the answer...?

Buy A road bike!

Ride in comfort and safety AND GO OUT AND EXPLORE. To do the off road parts of your journey rent a 4WD at the numerous little hubs you find everywhere in Australia. I'm talkin places like Port Hedland, Kununurra, Halls Creek, Broome, etc etc. Local police, pubs, motels, and roadhouses will gladly help you rent a 4WD and store your bike in lock up while you are away.

For more info on tourism via motorbike go to and tick the box that says you wish to be contacted when our Ride Guides are released.

OK back to The Pilbara. Undoubtedly the Pilbara experience centres around Karijini Park where there are places that must be seen such as Weano Gorge, Fern Pool, Dales Gorge, Fortesque Falls, Circular Pool, Hancock Gorge, Joffre Falls, Handrail Pool, Oxer Lookout, Knox Gorge, and Hamersly Gorge. The names of these places only begin to tell the experience of being there.

While everything has that pervasive red hue from the high oxidized iron content of the earth in and around The Pilbara there are still numerous colours of a myriad of minerals and breathtaking shapes and forms that geologists say are from the era of the earth's formation when Australia's central was the ocean bottom. They also say that the high iron and salt content is from oxidization that occurred while all this was under water!

As I was cruising to Nunuturra from Paraburdoo I came across another first for me. Off in the distance I could see not one, but 2 helicopters doing roundy rounds, up then down, forward then back. I had no idea what they were doing until I I came closer and realised there were hundreds if not thousands of cattle on the ground under them.

They were mustering the heard!

There was an old USA Army type Jeep in on the act as well as a chook chaser bringing up the rear. There was plenty of dust, noise, and moo-ing from the cattle huddled by these modern day sheep dogs in the direction the cattlemen wanted.

Tons of Photo's on the way but again they are in my camera and not my phone so you will have to wait till I get home to upload.

Tomorrow its onward to Exmouth.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sitting about 260 KM from Port Hedland on the Great Northern Highway is a Roadhouse called Munjina. It is the gateway to Karjini Park, Tom Price or Newman.

Not much here other than the pervasive red dust, gas, food, and a room for the night before I head into Karjini Park then onto Tom Price and ultimately Exmouth before I start heading south again.

Not much works right at this roadhouse. Of the 6 Unleaded gas pumps only 1 is operating so there is a line of impatient travellers waiting their turn and each is under strict instruction not to move their car before the bill is paid.

I entered my room, turned on the lamp... boom! Out went the circuit breaker and all the power to 'my little piece of heaven' (a quote from 'The Castle') for the night.

Then it seems the cook has a problem with brining my meal to me because I was sitting at the table outside so I had to go in and get my $35 T-Bone and bring it out myself. My guess is the roadhouse cooks union prohibits from satisfying customers by walking an extra 6 steps.
HOWEVER. I'm surrounded by some of the most beautiful terrain on this trip so far. Rolling hills of multi coloured multi mineral rock formations for as far as the eye can see.

There are serious road trains out here carrying all manner if gigantic mining equipment, pipes, bull dozer's, houses (yes houses), cranes, and the rest. There is an active mine called Marandoo Mine about 100 KM's from here.

I'll know more once I've been through the Karjini Park tomorrow.

It seems like everything in Port Hedland is super sized. Every other vehicle is a road train, there are mountainous piles of salt or iron ore and everything just everything is covered in red dust.

The ore transport system is amazing. There are enormous trains that stretch for close to 4 KM that travel along a 426 KM network of BHP Billiton owned rail system. Each of the ore carrier cars are gigantic measuring about the size of a small office building!

There are turbo helicopters flying over head and just about every vehicle that is not a road train is a company owned and tagged work vehicle.

I passed a road train that was carrying a single tractor type continuous tread... the type you might find on an armoured tank. The remarkable thing... it was the size of the whole flat bed it was on! I can't imagine the size of the vehicle it came from.

The main road into Port Hedland from Broome is also the main industrial track of some of the processing equipment used for both Ore and salt. I also learned that WA supplies 5% of the worlds demand for salt!

I stayed in a camp ground at the end of Cook Point and was fortunate enough to be there on one of the few nights each month that the 'stairway to the moon' phenomenon occurs. Visible only on super low tides and is the reflection of the moon on the water gives the appearance dues to the curvature of the earth, of lighted steps raising up to the moon itself. It only lasts a few minutes as the moon rises higher than the water surface not long after rising.

Port Hedland is not a natural attraction, it's not a crisp cool rock pool surrounded by ferns and tropical birds in a gorge. It is however an incredible example of man's ingenuity in using the resources available to him and a valuable part of Australia's economy. The locals tell me that for Port Hedland there is no, and has been no recession.

This all has to be seen to be believed.

Saturday, September 5, 2009
I'm heading into the mountains and a huge national park called Karijini so will no doubt be out of internet or mobile phone range for a few days.

I'll be back with a post about the park and my stay in Port Hedland too.

Bye for now.

Sandfire must be a euphemism for red dust because that is all there is out here.

About 330 KM's out of Broome and still another 300 KM's to Port Hedland Sandfire can't really be considered a town... it's a Roadhouse with an extended population consisting of a Camel, a giant (I'm talkin GIANT) Ox and herd of 60 or so peacocks including 2 all white ones and a bunch of clucking chickens! ei ei oh.

There once was a Pub (err sorry they called it a Tavern) but it burned to the ground a couple of years back. So it was toasted sandwiches from the cashier at the servo (for overseas readers that Australian slang for Gas station) a gallon of water and 2 juices in a box.

Frankly, today I don't really care as basic as it was it was exactly what I needed to continue my trip... petrol, water, toasted sandwiches, and a deluxe room for the was deluxe because it came with a can of Mosquito spray! Mate I spare no expense on these sojourns of mine.

The terrain from Broome to Sandfire (red dust) changes again from that thru The Kimberley to Broome. It's low long dark and flat. The sky is incredibly blue with a view that so big that you can see the curvature of the earth.

Leaving Sandfire the following morning I sighted 3 Kangaroos and 2 Brahman's! That's more Roos in one strip of road (not counting dead ones) than I had seen the whole trip thus far.

Then came Pardoo...

Well Pardoo had gas, a proper roadhouse complete with overpriced everything, and the best breakfast this side of whatever we are on this side of.

There must be something in the free coffee in Pardoo. Seems the motorbike was a bit more of an attraction at this place or perhaps I was just grumpy from breathing mosquito spray all night.
Now normally I don't mind but today a group of Hyundai 4WD drives pulling caravans pulled into the world famous Pardoo Roadhouse and for some reason about 6 of them gravitated to the bike and had a gather round looking and pointing.

Again normally I don't mind much but at that very moment I was enjoying my first hot and delicious meal in about 600 KM's. Now you may have noticed in some previous photo's of the bike that I've hung a video cam off the side so I can reach back and flick the switch when I come across a piece of scenery that is interesting.

A bit concerned for the cams safety I left my first hot and delicious meal in 600 KM and went outside to see what the commotion is about. One of these good ole Hyundai boys had a question for me.... he said 'what ya use the camera for?'.

I remember one of those flashes of impatience, anger, and incredulity before I answered with a simple... 'I record video's on it'

What else could I say. Well I said it... there was an agonizing millimoment or 2 then they all seemed satisfied and the little band of Hyundai cowboys kind of dispersed.

Onward to Port Hedland!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Not being sure when I'll be in civilisation again I'm downing my 9th Machiatto in the China Town section of Broome in a little cafe called Bloom (go figure)!

I'm heading down to Port Hedland next and will probably overnight en route in Sandfire. What a cool name.

Yesterday I visited Cape Leveque via 4WD and about 500 KM of red earth. On the way there and back we stopped at a couple of Aboriginal only communities and met some the locals. We stopped at a hatchery on One Arm Point at the very end of Dampier Peninsula over looking Sunday Islands. All of this trip was a blast.

I have tons of photo's to post but they are in my camera and not my Internet phone so I will publish them first chance I get.

I watched whales playing and breaching in the crystal clear and rapid moving tide waters of Sunday Straight in the Buccaneer Archipelago. Photographed some lion fish and other exotics in the hatchery and met the care taker for an incredible church in Lombadina that was built out of Mangrove wood in 1930's and is still standing with no maintenance needed at all over the years!

Notre Dame has nothing compared to this place!

Well I'm off to the post office to mail myself home some of the 'over flow' of stuff one tends to accumulate as a tourist. For me space is at a premium on the bike so rather than cart it the next 8,000 KM I'll post it.

See you next post.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Been in Broome WA (do a Google or check your map) for a few days now. I've visited one of the Pearl Farms where they culture natural Pearls by doing some clever insertion of an irritant that acts as a stimulant for pearl growth and then taking special care of the oysters that make them.

We went out in a boat on the azure blue waters the oysters farm in and they showed our boat of tourists how they care and clean them. It was very cool.

Tomorrow I'm off in a 4WD up to he Buccaneer Archipelago, the Horizontal waterfalls, and some Aboriginal only communities about 250 km from here. There are no roads so the only way to get up there is by air or 4WD truck!

More about Broome and surrounds later, until then enjoy these pics.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fitzroy Crossing

My room in the Fitzroy Inn overlooked the Fitzroy River. Opened in 1897 the Inn was a place for travellers to wait out the high river of the wet season until it contracted to a level that was passable. There's an Aboriginal Art Gallery at the Inn that is worth seeing and they'll serve you a breakfast at the Inn the size of Uluru!

The river swells up to 10 KM across in places during the wet and has a catchment of about 100,000 square kilometres.

About 20 KM's from the Inn, on sealed road is the Geikie Gorge Park and river cruise. This is an incredible excursion taking you into a gorge that has been cut by the rising and rushing Fitzroy River over the millennium. The walls of the Gorge reflect the water levels and the light, shadows, and reflections in the crystal clear water as well as the bleached limestone walls of the gorge. There simply are not enough words to describe this place.

There is also a private tour conducted by local Aboriginals that is about 3 hours in duration as compared to the 1 hour public tour.

Access from Fitzroy Crossing to other attractions in the region include Tunnel Creek (about 100KM away), Windjana Gorge, and the Horizontal Water Falls (yes you read right!).

Other than the Inn there's not much to the town of Fitzroy Crossing itself other than a place to pass through. Come to think of it that's what travellers have been been using this place for since 1897!