• Melbourne

    The next morning I wander around Adelaide looking for coffee and see this. I remember Lanzafame getting a similar accolade a few years ago.
    We leave Adelaide to drive a torturous leg to the 11 Apostles (one fell over recently). We drive through Langhorn Creek which is an awesome wine region founded in 1850. I dont know how old these vines are but the trunks are 10 inches thick!!!
    Our chosen route takes us via ferry over the Murray River. I suspect theres a Melbourne Cup Party tomorrow……


    Murals on silos are all the rage. These things are HUGE!

    Driving through Vic. They have had some rain here. Its greener and lush with fat sheep dotting the landscape

    Havent seen NSW like this for a while. Vic looks great.

    We passed various styles of solar electricity generators and a big windmill farm in Vic.


    As we approach the 11 apostles we pass London Bridge


    The cliffs are stunning

    Theres a little stub remaining of apostle 12


    I couldnt have been more wrong. When you leave the 12 apostles to go to Apollo Bay you go up and over hills. We drove straight into a cloud, it was raining, visibility was down to 20 meters. When we went to make a turn we couldnt actually find the turning bay. And, there was something we hadnt seen for a week. Bends! Yes, curvy bits of road. Just outrageous.

    The next morning was Cup Day and the last leg of our journey. Its raining. Apollo Bay is a beautiful little seaside town. Ironically the road from Perth to the 12 Apostles follows the coast quite closely, but actual ocean views are rare so we enjoy the change of scenery. The road is still windy and it hugs the waters edge.

    It says MELBOURNE

    We finally finish the coastal section and meet up with the freeway. Its still raining. Going to the Cup in a convertible probably sounded like a good idea at the time.
    The new place has views of the MCG. We start looking at satellite images of the rain. Its nasty. The first race is run and the comments from the jockeys were things like my goggles were full of water, my boots were full of water. Wildest ride ever. We start to debate if we will attend. It is a largely open air event. We also start to debate if they will postpone the race to later in the day.
    When you dont know what to do, go to the pub. So, its off to the James Squire Brew Pub for a few sharpeners. After 1 pint the skies start to clear. The radar looks promising. The train station at Flemington, however, has fallen victim to flash flooding so we get a cab out.
    On approach protesters have set up posters showing images of dead horses and remind everyone of the toll these animals pay by running for our entertainment. The track cant be in great nick after all the rain we had. Its a sobering thought. The enterance into Flemington is via a tunnel of white roses. Very elegant.

    Entering Flemington


    A quick selfie


    We discuss putting on a bet. I read out the names of the horses (but 2 of the names I read out I made up). Anson picked the two I made up. Sigh!We have no idea! So, we decide to back horses that have prime numbers. Anyhow…….
    The city in the background.
    Its on! Its a 3200m race so they go past us twice. Last time I went to the races I didnt realise that they did 2 laps. My horse was in the lead as they went past the post for the first time and I started celebrating my win. The the lads explained it to me…….
    Thundering down the straight for the actual finish.
    In the wash up of the Cup Cliffsofmoher was put down after suffering an injury in the race (sadly I think thats 6 horses that have died in the Cup in the last 6 years) not that the Melbourne Cup is the only race where these tradgies occur. Suspensions were handed out for offences like over whipping a horse and careless riding.

    And back to see Chloe before I call it a night. Ive got a 4am start tomorrow. Piggs Peake has club orders going out, so i better go pack some boxes.
  • Conclusion

    So, that was Perth to Melbourne.


    Its not actually 4283km. We did take a long route to check out Port Lincoln and the 12 Apostles and they were worth it. So, who won the battle of food, coffee, wine, beer. Italy or outback Australia? Coffee-milk based coffee to Australia. Espresso styles to Italy. Beer-Australia. Wine-Italy (I give this to Italy not on absolute quality of wine, but simply because of the range of wines constantly available. Theres wine in butcher shops, minimarts, convenience stores. Its everywhere!) Food- Australia. Tough call, but bizarrely I got over cooked pasta in Bologna, under cooked pasta in Venice. A quality steak in Kalgoorlie, brilliant seafood in Port Lincoln and in Adelaide. But, what tipped it to Australia was the sheer diversity of food available. You can travel the world in a food sense by driving around Australia. It just has so much to offer from a $5 Vietnamese Pork Roll through to the hatted restaurants.

    Anyhow, we are coming in to land at Newcastle Airport. Robbo is waiting to whisk me back to the Hunter Valley where preparations for the 2019 vintage are underway.

    See you soon. Cheers, Steve
  • A Day with Tony Ford, Then Off to Adelaide.

    Our plan today is to drive over to Coffin Bay, Boston Bay and Port lincoln. Our host is the great Tony Ford who runs Boston Bay Winery. Tony went out squiding yesterday and grabbed 7 of the tasty little devils. Cant wait to see him, catch up, try his wines and some local seafood.

    A lovely little brekky wrap. Bacon, spinach, egg, mayo and a well crafted coffee. Great cafe with an indoor garden area with antique furniture at Streaky Bay.
    And driving again. Once you get to Ceduna the landscape changes. Wheat and sheep become common sites.
    The road to Coffin Bay hugs the coastline and occasionally touches it. Theres a real mix of scenery on display
    Cummins Monument. A lobster catcher named Leo Cummins drowned here. Its a spectacular site.
    We turn off the main drag and end up at Coffin Bay. My all time favourite place for oysters. A little cafe there makes great coffee and has a focus on the local seafood and an outlook over the bay itself. Brilliant!

    This is Tony Ford. Tony is a bit of a legend in the wine industry for many reasons. He is also an abalone lease holder, brilliant chef, a bit of an entrepanuer and a frustrated stand up commedienne.
    Tony quickly knocks up some king prawns and a thai pork salad and opens a bottle of his Riesling. Fabulous!
    We go for a drive around Port Lincoln. Tuna boats are moored in town
    Theres another winery in town, so we go in for a bottle of wine and a bowl of tuna marinated in soy and topped with toasted nori. Lovely!

    At this point in the trip, things started to go wrong and fray at the edges. We had a room booked for tonight 3 hours down the road. Tony was referring to us as the 4 Amigos and saying emotionally we couldnt be seperated after all we’d been through (he’d met Anson and Crash 2 hours ago for the first time). Our problem was we had to have Crash in Adelaide by noon tomorrow to catch a flight to the Gold Coast, so we had to go. No problem, says Tony, opening another bottle of wine as he books a 45 min flight for Crash tomorrow morning from Port Lincoln to Adelaide. Guess we are staying!!!!
    Tony took us to a really cool 2 story bar made out of shipping containers. Great cocktails and shish kebabs were just being freely distributed
    At this point my phone went dead, so theres no photographic evidence of our night in Port Lincoln. It was a great night. We went from the bar (where we’d been introduced as whale hunters) to the brewery in town for a quick glass of Cage Diver Pale Ale then off to a private house for a bonfire party.

    The owner of the house was a Tuna fisherman and various friends from the seafood industry had bought then cooked what they farmed or caught all while three ladies made rissotto in the kitchen. Steamed mussels in a garlic sauce. Raw tuna soaked in beetroot. Tuna with kiwi fruit and strawberry. A long table was covered in wines for all to share. I sneaked a glass of 2002 Rockford Shiraz which was delightful. It was such a lovely evening of food, wine and conversation

    Amazingly, we did get Crash onto his 10am flight the next morning. Then started the drive north to Port Augusta then South down to Adelaide. Its about a 7 hour trip. Its quite frustrating because Adelaide isnt really that far away. The country has had wheat snd sheep since Ceduna, but now it gets a bit more intensive.

    As we drive theres often water pipes on the roadside providing water to towns. The one we followed to Kalgoorlie on the first leg of the trip was about 500km long and took 5 years to build about 120 years ago. The Hunter Valley has no water supply and its a massive tourism industry. They seem to solve these problems in SA and WA.
    Back on the road
    We finally make Adelaide and catch up with Andrew Press. Andrew is the guy who finds piggs peake grapes in SA. We go Japanese and launch into a carafe of Sake’, blue swimmer crab and some salmon.
    Then pork dumplings, kim chi dumplings and some deep fried mullet.


    Then flat beans and lamb belly cooked over fire. A bottle of Riesling by KT and some Japanese whisky completed the night.

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