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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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No camera problems here, no it's not a bug smudge on your riding glasses.... this lake is pink! This particular lake is located along the Coorong between SA and the border of VIC.

So, Why Is It Pink?

As it turns out it's because of a high concentration of a type of salt tolerant algae which produces carotene. The Algae is green but produces the carotene, to protect itself from the sun's rays, hence the pink appearance. the pink colouration intensifies as the lake dries out.  I've come across a number of these unique lakes in Esperance, northern SA, as well as here in the Coorong.

Salt Creek Roadhouse.

Now if you're passing through this region you must stop at Salt Creek Roadhouse... its a fisherman's haven as well as cafe and petrol stop. I've been passing through here for years now and Adam, the proprietor remembers me every time and he'll no doubt go out of his way to attend to you too. Tell Adam that guy from New York City on the black BMW motorcycle told you to stop by and say hello!  His kitchen boasts great local fish as well as other fantastic dishes.

Adam likes to take fishermen out on local camping expeditions sleeping on the beach enjoying cooked fish you caught that day and a glass or 2 of interesting wine or beer. The pic above is from Adams wall of photo's from some of his trips past. Looks like everyone was having fun, except perhaps the fish!

Salt Creek. Check it out in the Coorong. By the way... The Coorong starts around Meningie, SA and runs along the coast to Kingston SE in SA. you'll no doubt traverse it if you follow the coast between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Speaking of Kingston SE...

In case you too have been nagged by those big questions of life such as.... why are we here? Is there a God? Is there intelligent life in the universe, and is there a big lobster! Well I'm here to tell you that you can you can sleep just a little bit deeper tonight for sure... I've found THE BIG LOBSTER and it's located in Kingston SE just south of Robe SA. Actually of all the 'big things' in Australia this has to be the best. It's life like and larger than life as you can see below. Note to self: It's also for sale!

Photo above. That's Nick and Jill from Slow Food Australia standing under the lobster. Nick is the Australian Chairman of Slow Food International and Jill runs an interesting food tourism business in the Southern highlands by the name of Food Path Australia. They'll take you on whole farm natural food excursions to the producers of fresh food in the Southern Highlands and surrounds. Check it out. I had the pleasure of sharing part of my journey from the Barossa SA, to The Great Ocean Road.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I'm no stranger to the wine regions of SA being a fan of both motorcycling and wine but every time I get to the Clare Valley, Barossa, and the Hills I find something new to marvel over....usually in a wine glass in a wine bar, winery, or Cellar Door! And then there is my favourite motorcycle road in the whole world just north east of Adelaide called 'The Cork Screw'! Don't ask just go there.
This particular trip however I was on a mission to get to The Barossa. I'm meeting friends from our local Southern Highland radio station who had been on a week long excursion through wineries and restaurants in the Barossa region. They are involved in an interesting international group known as Slow Food. Go to Slow Food Australia to earn more.

I crossed over to the Flinders just south of Port Augusta and continued south to Clare in hope of spending the night in a favourite old hotel in Crystal Brook... surprisingly enough named... The Crystal Brook Hotel. The publican there always take care of me opening the yard to his private residence so I can secure the motorcycle for peace of mind. Realistically, the sleepy little town of Crystal Brook poses little risk, I guess I still carry the paranoia associated with losing 3 cars and a motorbike on the streets of Brooklyn some 10,000 years ago. The food is always fantastic at the pub the place is always packed and the ambiance is exactly what you would want from a well cared for small town a few hours from anywhere.

Tired and exhausted from rain on and off since leaving Fremantle some 4,000 KM's ago, it was fast approaching dark as I decided on an what turned out to be an excellent little cabin in Watervale (makers of my favourite Riesling I might add).

My cabin was more like a 5 Star hotel room than a cabin in a caravan and cabin park. Rob the proprietor rides a BMW GS and we quickly swapped stories about great rides. He loved the Two Wheel Touring concept and will be watching the website for the launch of my TWT Ride Guide Series.

The pics in this post are of the comparatively tame end of the Flinders Ranges as I approach to head south to Clare and a shot of one of my favourite little pubs in Greenoch. The food fantastic and the wine list superb... all in what looks like an old neighbourhood local!

Monday, October 12, 2009
Sipping a macchiatto in a little cafe doubling as the Visitors Centre in Cowell SA I learned the ferry to Wallaroo was out of action for mechanical repairs. I had traversed some 3000 KM's and perhaps an extra 3 or 400 to get to the ferry rather than head direct to Port Augusta around the Spencer Gulf to the Clare Valley where I intended on staying the night. While enjoying my coffee and feeling sorry for myself it dawned on me that I had not encountered a single traffic light since leaving Fremantle, what a pleasure! Kind of helped make the next 400 or so KM's a bit easier, or so I tried to tell myself.

The pic above is of the little main street of Cowell. Below are pics from Streaky Bay at the far end of the road that traverses the Nullarbor, south east of Ceduna SA.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Great Australian Bight pretty much runs the entire length of the south coastline of The Nullarbor and spans both West Australia and South Australia.

Heading in the direction of Ceduna SA toward the east about and 300 KM's past the WA/SA Border Village in South Australia is stretch of coastline known as the 'Head of The Bight'. Here you will find a natural safe harbour where whales go to birth their calves and nurture them during their early lives before they all head out to sea.

When I was last there I had the good fortune to watch about 8 or 10 mothers and calves frolicking around, breaching nose up first perhaps the height of a small house, or diving with a tail flip in the air leaving a wake of turbulence as the only tell tale they were ever there! The first give away that something was about to happen was a blast of water and air from a blow hole atop a black silhouette visible only when they come close to the surface.

The photo's above and below are from this safe harbour. Those above are from my camera phone and posted in near real time as there was wireless internet access nearby, those below from the DSLR. Either way, and as beautiful as they are... they only tell part of this often tear provoking experience as I witnessed some of natures inspirational events.







Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More to come.

Latin for 'no trees' the Nullarbor Plain is a must see for anyone exploring Australia. Have a good read up on it before hand or while traversing it so you have an understanding of what is going on around you.

The Nullarbor is another area like Shark Bay with its own ecology and its own special species of animals with slightly different genetic strains no doubt from adapting it to its surrounds over that of the same species in other areas.

However before I continue I must tell you about a very unique experience I had during my crossing. About 100 KM's west of the WA/SA Border Village I noticed a small dark figure in the right hand side of the oncoming lane way off in the distance. Initially I thought it was another big crow or a wedge tail eagle feeding on roadkill. Upon approach I sounded the horn as I usually do so it would fly off before I get too close. Both Crows and particularly Wedge Tails, like to wait until you are right on top of them before they take to the air. In their panic they sometimes fly right back at you and wham... bird explosion!

However after a few honks this one was still feeding away... thinking I had yet another 'stubborn' bird in front of me I slowed right down only to find it wasn't a bird at all... it was a Dingo pup! It looked up at me and started to run only he decided to cross my path and run down the road in my lane in the same direction as me! He ran and ran looking back again and again at this big black noisy thing chasing him down the highway! Like the Emu a few weeks back I decided stopping was the best answer letting him run his own course rather than me mustering him along until off he went into the scrub.

Now that's something you don't see everyday!

Ok time for some staggering stats about the Nullarbor. Did you know:
0at 180,000 Square KM's The Nullarbor Plain is almost the same size as the state of Victoria!
the treeless portion is about 52,000 KM's.
25% of the Nullarbor Plain is in South Australia the rest is in WA.
It is the largest limestone plain in the world.

With that I'll leave you with a bunch of interesting pics.

After leaving Esperance way too late and way too close to the onset of 'Roo Time'' otherwise known as dusk, I stopped in town called Salmon Gums. I'm guessing its a town because it had a pub, a servo, a bakery, a church, and a post office.. oh yeah, there were a few houses too.

As luck would have it the night I arrived was Pizza Night. As it turns out 'Albies Pizza' (he's the publican and pizza chef) attracts locals from far and wide. ok, ok, from wide and not so far away! In any case I yet again met an interesting and nice bunch of people.

There was the accountant turned local farmer from a town down the road named 'Grass Patch' (I kid you not) and the historian earning his keep by helping to renovate the pub while he studied and prepared his next grant from the gov for the maintenance and posting of historical information along the trail of the Old Telegraph Line that ran across the Nullarbor joining East and west Australia together as well as the rest f the world with Australia.. He was a wealth of knowledge and readily shared some of the history and natural sites of the Nullarbor with me. I'm indebted to him a I was well prepared as I started my trek from Norseman across the Nullarbor the following day.

The photo above it the town info board from salmon Gums.

Esperance is an interesting little place. Primarily an export base for its own regional agri economy it is also a little tourism hub. It is a completely different experience than the Margaret River, Denmark, and Albany not to mention Quandanning and Kondinin (the town I spent the night on a picnic table rather than brave the roos by pushing onto Hyden!).
It has an incredible harbour with something like 1200 islands in its 'Bay of Isles' if you include some of the large rocks as islands. Its teeming with wildlife, a deep water harbour, perfect white beaches and what appears to be a pristine unpolluted ecology.

I also learned it is home to some of the most creative, industrious, and entrepreneurial people I have met on my travels over the years in Australia.

After a perfect massage to straighten out my sore decrepit old body from hours of hanging on through gusting winds and torrential rains in the lead up to my arrival, I did the tour boat thing to Woody Island. I also had the absolute good fortune to meet Mini and her close friend Andrea.
I'm sure they took pity on this poor lonely traveller tapping away on his little computer with a funny tan on the back of his hands (from the shorty motorcycle gloves) while the rest of Australia was watching and celebrating the Grand final game. Mini and Andrea were on their way to a Geelong v St Kilda party in the shed of a local long haul trucking company. The company ran road trains full of grains from regional farms to the wharf at Esperance for loading and shipping to markets far and wide.
At this party I met a lovely bunch of people (yes , even you John!) and later found myself on a whirlwind tour of Esperance for a couple of days. I experienced it's incredible local beaches, a private 'Flyotel' Airport (Motel and Airport combined), a fellow motorcyclist who built planes to order, his incredible workshop with projects in progress, a boutique winery selling only 1200 cases of the most beautiful wines you ever tasted. All this culminating with lunch on huge bales of sheared wool hours before I mounted up again and headed off to Norseman to start my Nullarbor leg of the trip. Kind of and average day in New York City...not!
Thanks go to Mini and Andrea for taking their time to show me sites that are surely not on any tourist route! With a very special thanks to the inspirational Mini who is meeting and beating health challenges head on and surely living her life in a higher state of consciousness than most. I admire her courage in the aftermath of family tragedy and her sense of life and it's humour. Truly a remarkable individual... you are one of life's hero's Mini!

I wrote this while indulging in a huge breakfast in the Nullarbor town called WA/SA Border Village watching and hoping the rain will lighten up for the next leg of my journey.
I'll post some experiences about the Nullarbor soon.