Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Hunt for a Taste of Kangaroo

One of my to-do list ever since I decided to visit Australia was to hunt down a place where I could order and try the mystical Kangaroo meet. Of course I visited the zoo first to see how cute they were and every time I spot one in the while I would awe and shout like a little boy KANGAROO, and a small part of me will wonder …. How do you taste like …..

Sad to say I thought it would be as easy as walking into any pub / restaurant and just ordering it off the menu. That was the plan, for the locals to prepare it for you best the way it should be. Apparently Kangaroo is considered as Gourmet dish hence it could be quite pricy and only expensive type restaurant would serve it.
Of my whole month in Australia traveling the east coast between Sydney and Cairns I have only saw one restaurant which had Kangaroo on their menu. That was in Sydney and it was priced at a crazy AUD 40. I did not try it then thinking countryside would be cheaper and better but alas that was the first and the last that I saw Kangaroo on a menu.

So it was in Airlie beach that I got to hunt down and taste that Kangaroo, sort of. I was chatting up Noah and for the last few days I had told him of my curiosity craving of trying Kangaroo meet. Getting back from the sailing tour we decided to give cooking a go since cooking for 2 was much easier than for one. The plan was for spaghetti with sausage and pasta sauce. Simple enough so shopping was next.
We got some mushrooms, yellow pepper, two very small chilli padi (I was going to cook that spaghetti Ed-Malaysian style) and all that was left was the sausages. I already had the sauce and the rest from previous purchase.

“Wow the sausages are really pricy” I said
“Look its Skippy and its only AUD 5 for 10pcs” Noah said

Skippy was Noah name for the Kangaroo sausage we were about to buy and cook. Do you know how to cook it I asked Noah and he said he have no idea as well. The first taste and who knows if we cooked it right or wrong. We both survive the bathroom test so it was cook proper that’s all I could say.
Skippy with spaghetti, a pinch of chilli padi, some yellow pepper and mushroom too, tomato basil pasta sauce, salt and pepper from McDonald and a generous pouring of olive oil. It was awesome. How does the Kangaroo taste like ….. I can’t describe it … you just have to hunt down Skippy on your own.  

Friday, 21 November 2014

Last Minute Hostels & Wit-Sundays Island on Condor Boat – Airlie Beach

Wit-Sundays of the Airlie Beach. I hate to be on one of the pre-packaged guided or herded tours where all the tourist despite having no booking with any tour agency ended up being softly but undeniably herded along the tourist path. Somehow without knowing I was on the guided path. Backpackers please fall in line and next stop shall be Airlie beach. Locals are spared our plague as we are silently guided by an invisible hand through the east coast of Australia.

All I could do is just be a tourist at this point and might as well enjoy it while I am here and hopefully once a while just go to someplace no one at the tour agency nor any backpacker’s mentions.
Have you heard of xxx ???
Nope … wheres that ???
That’s where I will be going next. Alas that’s what I hope to do but with time running out in Australia it was safer to stick to the well-trodden path.
When Hostels are Fully Booked ….
So Airlie beach was fun since I had Noah as company. It’s amazing how the simple things can be more exiting with a little company especially company that you have been through the formalities of asking where you are from , what you do, what you plan to do, where are you going, bla bla …. More substance and idiotic conversation please.
I almost panicked for Airlie beach but decided to rely on my instinct instead. Well the night before reading Airlie Beach, Noah and me was drinking away at Agnes Waters waiting for the 9pm bus and while waiting decided to check out hostelworld for hostels in Airlie Beach. Apparently most of the hostel that I saw a few days earlier was now off the list since they were fully booked. Most hostel that was still on the list had only one night left for maybe one person. Deciding to abuse my free skype power I called a few hostel and the horror reply of FULLY BOOKED was rendered upon us.
Sometimes you just have to trust that everything will turn out well ….. else just sleep on the footpath like a homeless hobo
Waking up at Airlie beach at 730 as the greyhound bus pulled to a stop Noah and I had a long wait and walk before we could check in the hostel. For me I still needed to find a hostel. As we started walking towards town a nice old Irish Guy stopped his car and asked us where we were going and also gestured us to hop on before we could say anything. His car did have large banners of Waterfront Backpackers but he was not really concern if we stayed there or not. 7.30am in the morning and he was a kind soul.
I told him I did not know where I was staying and would not mind staying at waterfront if they still had space for I remembered in the hostelworld website it was fully booked. Walking up the reception it was AUD 20 a night with free wifi (although the wifi was broken the entire time I was there). I booked my stay for the night and with Noah accompany me trying to find a cheap boat to hop onto for wit-Sundays, so in the end I succumbed into a 2 days 2 nights boat as value for money goes it just makes no sense. The Waterfront hostel also threw in a free night accommodation and free luggage storage if I booked with them so I reluctantly parted with AUD 350 for a sailing tour hoping I would keep my guts for that 2 nights and not puking away from the seasickness …
I have just locked myself onto a boat … The Condor ...
(Noah was on another boat so we parted ways for a while on separate Sailing Tours)
Wit-Sundays - CONDOR
Wit-Sunday 2days 2 Nights on the Condor boat is a large Maxi kind of sailing boat and was surprisingly nice. Almost everything was manual on this sailing boat save for the fact the boat was fitted with an engine and motor if one decided the wind is not good enough. Still it goes to say that if the captain really wanted this boat could do without an engine and sail like the good old days.

There was only 3 crew member and a captain but there was nearly 28 of us on board the ship. Sailing time we were to help with hoisting the sail which was basically the brute force work while all the preparation, knot tying laying of rope and positioning was done by the crew. Still it was an insight on how sailing is like. Most of the time thou we just lay on the boat sun bathing as the ship cruise by to the next anchor destination.
Wit-Sunday was a pleasant difference from all the party tours I had gone over the years. This was a relaxing one although judging by the alcohol people brought I could tell they wanted a party. I on the other hand brought no alcohol for the fear of seasickness was enough to intoxicating oneself. Snorkel, Sunbath, Sail, EAT …. Boat food was awesome where the crew made all our lunch dinner and breakfast. We were fed the best 3 days of my journey. It’s nice not having to worry about food. It’s one of the downside of traveling, always thinking where is the next place to stay and what to eat.
The main attraction of course was White haven beach where the sand was 99.9 % silica making it pure white and so fine that even under the hot sun it would not burn up and stayed cool. The view itself was magnificent but I had no camera. (Sorry … you can Google it thou)
We saw loads of turtles, humongous fishes, two dolphins, reefs, loads and load of stingrays and the best star gazing spots at night where out in the open sea no lights was there to contaminate the sky.
Sometimes you just got to do the tours ….

Monday, 17 November 2014

Riding a Scooter in Agnes Waters Town of 1770

Agnes Waters is a small town with barely anything to do. With a little history of captain cook second landing it was a tough sold tourist destination as it felt the place had more backpackers than local residence. The beach is beautiful, and the quiet nature around even more but if you were planning to come to see some history and culture like me you would be fully disappointed. History wise, Agnes Waters / Town of 1770 is where Captain Cook first landed in Queensland, but 2nd landing in Australia. The end.

Still good tourist is good business and tour agency always find you something to do. Two main thing or rather the only two things you can do in Agnes Waters/1770 …. Surfing and Scooteroo. For those who are learning to surf you could not find a cheaper place to learn surfing than Agnes Waters. For as low as AUD 17 one can get 3hrs of surfing lesson. The tour agency Joe was so damn proud of it when he told me that nowhere in east coast of Australia can anyone beat that price.  Sorry to break his bubble but I got it for AUD 10 in Yamba, board, wet suit and all.
Still it was a pretty good deal. Some even had an AUD 22 deal with GoPro Camera mounted on the surfboard to capture that magical moment just before you fall. It looks as if the person a first timer had manage to learn how to surf. Impressive but how else could you take a photo of that 2 second that you are standing on the surf board for the first time.
The second best activity to do and the most cheesy tour I had ever done is the Scooteroo tour.

Sooteroo Tours

Trust Australia to always make something simple into something adventurous, unique and of course one of a kind. That’s how you can sell tours. By not renting the scooter or normal bikes and instead making the rental into a tour by giving out fake tattoos and painting cheap bikes to look like Harley and some fancy jackets one can always overcharge dumb gullible tourist especially when there is no competition to boot. I guess I was one of those gullible tourist but who could you blame for I could not find any sort of self rental motorbikes in Agnes Waters
The tour itself is priced at AUD 75 for 3 hours which I was screaming expensive to boot since I know you can get rental in Thailand a ugly scooter for 30 a day and in Vietnam 10 a day. Still it’s the cheesy tour so once you pay up might as well get into the groove and tattoo up and look ‘born to be wild’ rider. The tats didin even last an hour but for still it was fun to just stick as much as you can and take cheesy photograph.
The ride was on a chopper bike, small engine that could go fastest 80 km/hr but nice modification to the handle bars, good big fat rear tyres and nice body works makes the bike looks like any antique classic. The ride was guided so there were point rider, the rear guard van, and a few riders that rides ups ahead to stop traffic or guide us when to stop and when to speed up. This makes it much safer although there was barely any cars in agnes waters.
In a way I could understand their precautions since they allow anyone to practically go on the tour. You only need a driving licence. Driving licence did not even have to be motorbike qualified i.e you could ride a bike with even an automatic car licence. Imagine some that have never ever ridden a bicycle but has a driving licence and suddenly you are riding a motorcycle. These group would need all the help they can get in junctions I guess.
The tour brought us to all the backwaters road which have country side house and woods and barely any people. There was though lots and lots of wild kangaroos that was just hopping away while we ride alongside them. It was a glimpse of the actual Australian lifestyle living where a kangaroo just roam around and skip hop across your garden. Imagine going outside with a shot gun and shooting your dinner ….
The tour also brings us to the Town of 1770 where Captain Cook second sail brought him to port for the first time in Queensland. But that was about it. There was a few boat a restaurant or tavern and lots and lots of trees. The guide just said … welcome to 1770 … 30 minute break guys and we will be heading back.

For the cheesy fun and wild kangaroos … I gladly part with AUD 75 with a smile ….
Town of 1770