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Attraction : The XXXX Brewery

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When it comes to beer in Queensland, you can’t get any more iconic than XXXX.  Get educated about the golden blood that runs through the veins of Queensland with a tour of the XXXX Brewery.  The extensive 90 minute excursion around the brewery includes an insightful presentation on the history of beer in Australia and runs through the brewing process from the raw ingredients to the final product in the Packing Hall.   XXXX even has its own island on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, the XXXX Island, which is designed to be the ultimate mates getaway.


The Brewery

While beer has been around for thousands of years, the story of XXXX started in 1877 when the Fitzgerald Brothers travelled from Melbourne to Queensland to open a brewery.  They already had a few breweries in the southern states and they thought Queensland could do with their own and it wasn’t long until the Castlemaine Brewery was taking orders for their XXX Ale.  In fact, the original brewery was the first building to get a phone line in Queensland.


It wasn’t until the early 1900s when German brewer Alhois William Leitner suggested changing the recipe to a lager.  While this was disapproved of at first, in 1924 Leitner released his new and improved XXXX Bitter.  Coincidentally, this was the same year that Mr Fourex was introduced.  XXXX Bitter was such a hit that its popularity prompted its first ever exportation to thirsty soldiers overseas fighting in World War 2.


Distribution was disrupted in 1974 when floods struck Brisbane.  With the delivery trucks out of action, the brewery staff had to improvise and ended up making rafts out of empty kegs to supply the community.  Their commitment to the community has continued over the years, sponsoring various festivals and events, and at one point sponsoring around 40 different sports.


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These days, XXXX Brewery produces 250 million litres of beer each year in an environmentally conscious, reusable and sustainable way.  Over the last few decades, they halved their water consumption and they also find uses for their by-products, like sending their leftovers south to Victoria to make Vegemite.


The Restaurant

XXXX Brewery tours have only been available since 2003, and they also have a recently refurbished bar and restaurant decorated with old brewery equipment and copper furnishings.


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The bar appears to be made of old mash tuns, while the spacious dining area is stocked with a variety of board games and features a tropical alfresco lounge area, perfect for after work drinks or a Sunday session.  They have XXXX Summer Ale, XXXX Gold and XXXX Bitter on tap, as well as a few James Squires varieties and soon, they will have wine on tap.


The tour ended with a tasting session in the XXXX Brewery Restaurant and two complementary drinks.  We got to try the three XXXX beers on tap, as well as the Summer Bright Lager with Natural Lime which had a refreshing citrus twist.  We decided to have some lunch while we drank our complementary beers.  We ordered the highly recommended beef burger, which was absolutely amazing – a big juicy patty with tangy mustard and pickles.  We also got the steak sandwich with beetroot relish and both meals came with hand cut chips and aioli dipping sauce.


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The Essentials

The Brewery is open Monday to Saturday for tours, which run at certain times during the day.  The price of the tour covers an informative tour through the brewery, a XXXX trucker cap, tastings at the end, and two pots of beer.  Remember to wear closed shoes and don’t drink any alcohol before attending the tour.


The XXXX Brewery Restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30am from Monday to Saturday.  It’s also available for functions, and there’s merchandise on display for purchase, such as hats, clothing, bar accessories and sporting goods.


The entrance to the XXXX Brewery is on the corner of Paten and Black Streets in Milton.  There’s limited parking available onsite and the surrounding streets are either meter parking or 2-hour free parking.  To book yourself in for a brewery tour, or to make enquiries, email or call 07 3361 7597.


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Townsville 2015-04-29 212w

City Profile : Townsville

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The largest tropical city in North Queensland, Townsville has a population of 200,000 people and an average of 300 sunny days per year.  While it’s a great tourism hotspot because of its access to Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef, it doesn’t solely rely on tourism.  The economy is supported by a variety of industries, including government administration and defence, agriculture and mining, and because of this, the city has a completely different vibe compared to tourism-driven Cairns.  It feels like a city with deep roots and happy inhabitants that are friendly and welcoming.


Just off the coast is Magnetic Island, a popular holiday destination that was named by Captain Cook in 1770 after his compass went haywire when passing the island.  There are heaps of beaches, walking tracks and lagoons on the island, and it only takes 25 minutes by ferry to get there from Townsville.


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The Bindal and Wulgurukaba People were the first people to have lived in the Townsville region.  While there were a few visitors to the area, including a brief pass by of Captain Cook’s fleet in 1770, settlement started in 1866 when a bloke called Robert Towns agreed to provide financial assistance.  Incidentally, Townsville was named after him and two years later, the settlement grew quickly as the port and service centre for the goldfields in the west.  With the addition of pastoral and sugar industries, Townsville’s population bloomed from 4,000 people in 1882 to 13,000 by 1891.


During World War 2, Townsville was a major military base and hosted around 90,000 American and Australian troops.  It was bombed three times by the Japanese and was a major offensive launching base for the battle of the Coral Sea.  And, as do all places in the tropics, Townsville has fallen victim to a few cyclones.



Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium

Learn about the Great Barrier Reef and the creatures that reside there at the world’s largest coral reef aquarium.  For more information, check out our article here…


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The Strand

This beautiful 2.2km stretch of beachfront parkland is dotted with playgrounds and picnic areas, and features a water park, a few restaurants and the Strand Rock Pool, and manmade saltwater pool that’s free from stingers and biters.


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Castle Hill

A visit to Townsville isn’t complete without ascending the 268m to the top of Castle Hill.  This pink granite monolith overlooks the entire city and was one of the earliest sites named by the explorers who surveyed the area in 1864.  Whether you do it by car along the 2.6km winding road or the goat track on foot, the view from the top is incredible.  What impressed us the most was the amount of people walking, running and riding their way up the road towards the top – there must have been hundreds!


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Queens Gardens

The inner city park is the oldest botanic garden in Townsville and was first set up in 1870 as a garden of food bearing plants to feed the settlement.  These days, it includes a hedge maze, succulent and cactus gardens and bird aviaries.


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Kissing Point & Jezzine Barracks

Kissing Point overlooks Cleveland Bay and was originally built in the 1800s as a fort to defend the harbour from the threat of foreign attack, particularly from the Russians.  Jezzine Barracks was built on the headland and occupied by military right up until 2006.  In 2009, the area was handed over to the community of Townsville and turned into a heritage precinct that commemorates the military and aboriginal heritage of Kissing Point headland.  There is a great display of war history and a lookout over the bay to Magnetic Island


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Food & Drink

The Townsville Brewing Company

The old Townsville post office was converted into a brewery, restaurant and function centre in 2001 and offers a great range of beers and awesome lunch specials.  Definitely worth stopping in.


Coffee Dominion

This coffee shop sells one thing and one thing only – coffee.  They roast, brew and sell beans at this outlet, and after putting them to the taste test, we give them the Melbournian tick of approval.  The coffee was strong and flavoursome and they know how to froth soy milk so that it’s silky and smooth.


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Two Brothers Café

Just around the corner from the Information Centre is a café that serves up burgers and rolls named after famous brothers.  Choose between a Leyland Brothers Burger with chicken, swiss cheese and bacon or a Mario Brothers deli roll with roast beef, grilled sweet potato and marinated mushrooms.  Sounds good to us!


Information & Accommodation

The Information Centre is located in Bulletin Square, just off Flinders Street in the centre of town.  There are a few cafes nearby and public toilets as well.


The closest YHA to Townsville is on Magnetic Island, which makes it the perfect place to stay while you explore the island.  To make a booking, call (07) 4778 5577 or visit


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About 30km out of town is Bluewater Rest Area.  It’s spacious and offers toilets, a playground and overnight stays for self-contained vehicles – no tents.


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Eating Out : Townsville Brewing Company

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In 2001, Townsville’s old Post Office building was redeveloped and turned into a restaurant, function centre and brewery.  The décor of the place croons smooth and classy with plush velour couches, baroque wallpaper, barrel lid tables and yellow felt pool tables.  Their A-frame sign advertising lunch specials lured us in and the stylish atmosphere, beer tasting paddles and delicious food made us stay.


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The Food

We couldn’t pass on the lunch bargain – $12 for a chicken BLT burger with a side of chips and a schooner.  The food arrived relatively fast considering it was lunchtime, and it was served on a wooden board.  The BLT was delicious and filled with a juicy thigh fillet, red relish sauce, bacon and salad, while the chips were seasoned with rosemary and came with a small dish of aioli.  It was the perfect amount of food for the price – even if we hadn’t have gotten a schooner in the deal!


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The Beer

We ordered tasting paddle with our meal and held off on getting our free schooner until we’d tasted all the beers and chosen our favourites.  Dave ended up going with the Townsville Bitter Premium while Juz loved the sweet yeasty flavour of the Townsville Bitter Light.


$100 Day : Cairns by Kate Richards (aka AdventureMumma)

$100 Day


We’d like to introduce a local blogger in Cairns – Kate Richards.  She is a mum to 2 very active kids, prefers the great outdoors to crafting or cooking any day. She is also an adventure and social media junkie, photographer & videographer. A true local of Tropical North Queensland and love sharing family adventures.




We asked her, if she has $100 and a day to spend in Cairns with a friend, what would she do?  Here are her suggestions…


1. Start down on the Cairns Esplanade & take advantage of the free activities on offer – Aqua Aerobics at 8.30am or join the 5km Park Run from 7am.


2. Check out the Esplanade Markets that run Saturday from 8am-4pm right next to the Lagoon.  If you need to have a shower after your workout, there are facilities next to the lagoon.


3. Catch the 131 bus from the Cairns City bus station on Lake Street to the Botanic Gardens.  Single paper tickets are $4.80 per person and are valid for two hours. On Saturdays, the 131 bus leaves the Cairns City bus station every hour on the hour and takes 15 mins to get too the Botanic Gardens.


4. Explore the Botanic Gardens, climb Red Arrow for views of Cairns and the Northern Beaches, then check out the Tanks Art Centre for local Art Exhibitions (10-2pm).


5.Catch the bus back to the Cairns City bus station and head to Rusty’s Fruit Market for lunch at one of the Rusty’s Food Trucks on the Sheridan St side.

approx. $20



From here there are two options – the relaxing option and the adventurous option.


The Relaxing Option


6. While you’re at Rusty’s, grab some fresh fruit & vegetables (for a BBQ later) from the market stalls.

approx. $10.00

7. Walk back to the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon & take a dip in the lagoon. Listen to some live music on the lawns (2-5pm).


8. Visit Prawn Star at the Cairns Marina for some Fresh Local Seafood for dinner.  Purchase a kilo of Banana Prawns for $25 with lemon.  Ask for a tub of their special Prawn Star Sauce.


9. Cook dinner on the BBQs on the Cairns Esplanade.


10. Use your leftover to enjoy a cocktail and schooner of Little Creatures at the Salthouse.



approx $87.60



The Wildlife Option


6. After lunch, head to the Cairns Wildlife Dome for an interactive experience with some native animals.


7. Share a large pizza from Oasis Kebab for dinner.


8. Head to the Salthouse for a pair of Great Northern schooners to wrap up the day.



approx $106.60



You can find Adventure Mumma at:


XXXX, Cape York

Brew Review : XXXX



Yo – Dave here.  We’ve been in Queensland for a few months now so here comes another brew review.


I knew that once we got to the Sunshine State I would have to try XXXX – “The Pride of Queensland”.  I have to admit, I wasn’t really looking forward to it but I put aside my preconceived ideas and picked up a 30 can block of XXXX Bitter for about $45.  For comparison, I also tried a few bottles of XXXX Summer Bright Lager and a couple of tinnies of XXXX Gold, which is the most popular beer in the XXXX range.



Back in 1877, the Fitzgerald brothers from Victoria moved up to Queensland and openedmr fourex the Castlemaine Perkins brewery.  Back home in Melbourne, I was told that XXXX was called “XXXX” because Queenslanders didn’t know how to spell “beer”, as it turns out the name XXXX actually comes from the old beer quality rating measure.  They were awarded the XXXX rating after perfecting their brew in 1924 and still use the same recipe today.


1924 also saw the first appearance of Mr FOUREX, who quickly became one of the most recognisable advertising icons in the state.


Oh yeah, XXXX is also the first beer to have its own island.  In 2012, XXXX took out a three year lease on Pumpkin Island in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast east of Yeppoon.  Yep, XXXX Island exists!


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XXXX Bitter

XXXX Bitter comes in at 4.6% alcohol volume, which is the same as Carlton Draught but more than West End (4.5%), Swan Draught (4.4%) and Emu Export (4.4%).  NT Draught is still the highest at 4.9%.  The colouring of the label is maroon with a picture of the brewery and four big red Xs.


The flavour of the beer is malty and almost a bit sweet.  It kind of tastes like VB, but watered down and not as bitter or flavourful.  It’s crisp, easy to drink, has minimal fizz and surprisingly little of that metallic aftertaste a lot of the domestic macro beers seem to have.  I like it better than VB, but not as much as Carlton Draught.


XXXX, Cape York



The mid-strength XXXX Gold was launched in 1992 and went on to be the best selling beer in Australia.


You won’t be surprised to know that the labelling for XXXX Gold is gold coloured.  You’ll also find an image of the brewery at the top and “gold” written across the middle of the label.  With an alcohol volume of 3.5%, XXXX Gold is up against the likes of Carlton Mid, Hahn Super Dry 3.5, and VB Gold.  I found XXXX Gold to have more flavour than XXXX Bitter.  It’s malty, fresh and crisp, yet still smooth and easy to drink with its fine bubbles.  There’s even a bit of hoppiness noticeable in the short aftertaste.


XXXX Summer Bright Lager

Launched in 2009, XXXX Summer Bright Lager was XXXX’s entry into the low-carb beer wars.  It comes in a clear bottle with a white label that sports a couple of yellow waves and some sunshine.  In the past I’ve found most low-carb beers taste like fizzy water, but I gave this a go anyway.


With a 4.2% alcohol volume, this straw coloured brew is a distinctly light flavoured Mexican style beer (think Corona or Sol).  It’s not very malty or bitter, but it’s not meant to be.  The sweetness of the beer is perfect for hot summer afternoons down at the beach or in the park.  I could easily chop up some limes and sit around drinking these all through the balmy Queensland nights.





Of the three XXXX beers I tried, my preference would probably be determined by the situation.  If I had to pick one to drink all night, I’d go for the Summer Bright Lager.  If I was only having one beer based on flavour, I’d grab a XXXX Gold.  If my options were VB, Melbourne Bitter, Emu Bitter or XXXX Bitter, I’m pretty sure I’d be holding a XXXX Bitter.


So, where do the XXXX beers land on the leader board?

  • NT Draught
  • Carlton Draught
  • XXXX Gold
  • XXXX Summer Bright Lager
  • XXXX Bitter
  • Emu Export
  • West End Draught
  • Swan Draught



Bamaga Tavern

Eating Out : Bamaga Tavern, Bamaga QLD

Bamaga Tavern


We had already visited the westernmost pub in Denham, and now that we had been to the Tip of Australia, it was time to find the northernmost pub.  That pub is the Bamaga Tavern.


We lingered town around until midday, not only because we’re trying to avoid drinking before midday, but also because that is when the pub opens.  There were already a few guys in the large hall drinking XXXX Gold and having a look around the place.  We reckon they were travellers too, and were just as eager to visit the northernmost pub as we were.  In the drinking hall was a pool table and dart boards with blackboards that had the chalk scribbles of recent games, as well as a jukebox.


Bamaga Tavern


It took about 10 minutes before we were finally served– the drive-thru was busy now that they were open.  We found that they don’t sell any bottled beverages or wine, so we settled with beer and took our tinnies out into the beer garden, which was decorated with gazebos, coconut palms and a grazing horse.


We ordered some lunch as well – Juz went with the standard chicken parma ($18) while Dave got a plain chicken schnitzel ($15).  Both of the schnitzels were cooked until the crumbing was dark and tough, but despite being overcooked, the actual chicken meat was nice and juicy.  Juz’s parma was topped with delicious, thick ham, a slightly acidic and immature tomato sauce, and melted cheese.  The salad was nice and fresh with a sprinkle of sliced kalamata olives, and the chips were big and crisp.



Our experience at the Bamaga Tavern was interesting.  The canteen-style service was a little odd, especially with the only drinks available being in cans – no bottled beer, beer on tap, bottled or goon wine, and no spirits.  We couldn’t figure out whether the horse in the beer garden was a pet or a stray – there are so many horses that stroll around Cape York towns and communities.  Also, someone needs to tell the person at the fryer to take it easy with the schnitzels.


Bamaga Tavern


Monte's Lounge

Eating Out : Monte’s Lounge, Alice Springs NT

Monte's Lounge
After a successful season of trivia in Darwin, we hit up Alice Springs but found that there was only one place in town that did trivia – Monte’s.


Monte’s is colourful and kooky, with a bohemian atmosphere and circus or carnival décor.  Imagine red, draping curtains, carousel ponies, live cabaret-style shows and a great selection of beers.  We walked in and our eyes didn’t know what to look at!  We found a table in the shooting gallery and waited for trivia to start.


Monte's Lounge


As we waited, we perused the menu and saw pizzas, nachos, burgers and even curry!  Even though we weren’t hungry, we decided that we had to order something because it all looked delicious and well priced.  We went with a pulled pork burger and a large side of fries to share, and once we put the order in, we were given a number.  The service is a little like bingo – keep your eyes on the screen and when your number comes up, you’re a winner!


The burger was absolutely delicious – a toasted bun stuffed with tender pork and coleslaw.  The chips were also impressive, and despite being soft, they had a great texture and flavour.




Trivia started not long after, and the host, who had seemingly skolled three red bulls before getting on stage powered through nearly 50 questions.  We, on the other hand, didn’t know what hit us, and we walked away feeling absolutely mystified.  It was then that we decided that we didn’t need to attend another trivia night at Monte’s, but we definitely needed to return to try more of their tasty menu.


A few weeks later, we gathered at Monte’s with our new friends Gary and Amanda from Travel Outback Australia and had a great dinner before we left Alice Springs.  Dave stuck with the pulled pork burger while Juz tried something different – the Gary Ablett.  This burger was just as sexy as the others with its nicely browned dome of bread filled with chicken fillet, bacon and avocado, aioli and chipotle.  It’s great to see that kind of consistency and quality of food for such a great price.




Monte’s is located on the corner of Todd Street and Stott Terrace and is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11am til late.


Monte's Lounge on Urbanspoon



$100 Day

$100 Day : Darwin

$100 Day

Because we were in Darwin for so long, we figured we’d suss out as much as we could and construct an ideal $100 day.  Also, because of the two seasons, we figured it’d be best to put together TWO $100 days to suit whatever time of the year you decide to visit Darwin.


So, here are our action-packed $100 days in Darwin for both the wet season and the dry season.




1. Fish Feeding @ Aquascene $15 each (feeding times depend on the tides – check their website for the schedule)


2. Stroll through Bicentennial Park


3. Check out the Town Hall Ruins and Parliament House


4. Take the stairs down to The Waterfront (if you go on Sunday, you might catch the live music Sunday Sessions)


5.Lunch for two at Chow!

approx. $40

6. Bus to The Gardens


7. Stroll through George Brown Botanic Gardens


8. A Dinner for two @ Mindil Markets

approx. $20


approx $96






1. 1. Crocosaurus Cove (if you have the cash to spend, do the Big Croc Feed Experience for $79 per adult)


2. Two kebabs from Darwin’s Kebabs


3. Walk through Smith Street Mall


4. Take a look at Parliament House and the Town Hall Ruins


5.Check out The Waterfront


6. Two pints of craft beer @ The Precinct


7. Watch the sunset/lightning show from Stokes Hill Wharf



approx $103




Eating Out : Chow!, Darwin NT


A new Vietnamese restaurant opened in Darwin while we were there and after dubbing Saigon Star as the provider of the best pho, we realised we had a new contender to sample.  We set our expectations fairly low and walked down to the Waterfront for a feed.


We arrived just as they opened and chose a table inside next to the window.  The décor was clean and attractive with a pretty feature wall and fabric lighting fixtures around a central bar.  We ordered some beer while we perused the menu.  While the laksa, Vietnamese savoury crepes and Lemongrass chicken caught our eye, Juz went with a beef pho and Dave selected the wonton and BBQ pork egg noodle soup.




Our lunch came out fast, and was presented beautifully in designer crockery.  At first, Juz was a little disappointed that the ritual of adding fresh herbs to the soup herself was taken away, but after tasting the soup with the herbs already included, she realised there was a new winner.  The broth was clear and fresh and was beautiful balanced with cinnamon and star anise.  The noodles were soft, silky and fresh while the beef was tender and extra delicious when dipped in the provided plum sauce.


Dave’s soup was colourful but didn’t have as much appeal as Juz’s pho.  The dumplings were a little bland and the noodles needed more time to cook, but the broth was tasty.




Overall, we really liked Chow! and look forward to our next visit.  They have a great selection of beer, their cocktails have funny names and the pho was absolutely delicious – quite possibly the best pho Juz has had since we left Melbourne.


Chow! on Urbanspoon



Brew Review : Kiss Destroyer Beer

Yo – Dave here for another brew review.


I’ll start by saying: Bwahahahaha!


Kiss Beer


This limited addition to the Kiss Army range of merchandise fits straight in to the rest of the cheesy junk the put on the market.  Labelled as “The hottest beer in the world”, Kiss Destroyer is a pilsner style beer that’s brewed in Sweden and comes in both bottles and cans.


I was looking for some cheap beers when I spotted a six-pack of Kiss beer for $10.  After I stopped chuckling to myself, I grabbed it to extend its comedic value.


Even though Kiss beer is a pilsner, I’ll still compare it to Carlton Draught.  The alcohol content of Kiss is 4.7% – not very different to Carlton’s 4.6%.  Kiss tastes sweet, fruity, a little grainy and a little malty.  On the nose, corn and grain stand out.  With almost no bitterness, Kiss tastes much lighter and sweeter than Carlton and only has a hint of the metallic flavour of the local Aussie draught beers.


Overall, even though Kiss Destroyer is pretty ordinary, the ridiculousness and hilarious novely is good for a six-pack or two.  Also, due to its unpopularity, you can find it really cheap at bottle shops trying to get it off their shelves.




No Bull

Brew Review : NT Draught

Yo, Dave here. Now that we’ve crossed the border into the Northern Territory, it’s time for another brew review.


I couldn’t wait to get my hands on an NT Draught.  I already knew you could get it in a giant 2 litre bottle – called a “Darwin Stubby” – but I didn’t want to buy one of them in case the beer was shit.  I assumed everyone in the NT would be drinking NT Draught and that it would therefore be on tap at every pub in the NT.  Absolutely incorrect – nobody in the NT seems to be drinking it.


I had to take my chances with the Darwin Stubby. Over $30 later, I had about a six-pack worth of beer conveniently packaged into the biggest beer bottle in production in the world.


Dave with a Darwin Stubbie



The History

Back in 1957, Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) set up shop in Darwin.  Within a year of brewing NT Draught, they realised that shipping normal sized stubbies around the NT was a logistical pain in the backside so in April 1958, the 2.27L (80-imperial-fluid-ounce) Darwin Stubby was born.


These days, NT Draught is brewed down in Victoria before being carted across the country for exclusive sale in the Northern Territory!  Essentially, it’s just a tourist gimmick because of the two litre bottle, but is it the beer actually any good?


Norman the Beer Drinking Brahman Bull certainly thought so.  Norman belonged to the owner of the Humpty Doo Hotel back in the 1980s and his beer drinking efforts made him a bit of a legend.  Weighing in at over 600kg, Norman could suck down a Darwin Stubby in 47 seconds – no bull!


No Bull


The Beer

NT Draught has a generous 4.9% alcohol volume, which is higher than its brother Carlton Draught (4.6%), as well as West End Draught (4.5%), Swan Draught (4.4%) and Emu Export (4.4%).  In terms of price, NT Draught in a Darwin Stubby is way more expensive than the local beers from the other states.  Expect to pay $30 to $35 for the 2 litre bottle, compared to around $45 for a Carlton Draught slab (9 litres).


I did manage to find NT Draught on tap at The Hotel Darwin on the corner of Herbert and Mitchell Street in the city.  At $4.50 for a pot, the price was more in line with other local beers.  I do recommend buying at least one Darwin Stubby so that you can keep the bottle for your pool room though 😉


The brew has hardly any aroma – maybe just a hint of sweetness – and the flavour is quite light compared to Carlton.  It’s got some mild hoppy bitterness going on, with a pleasant amount of malty sweetness and a clean finish.  What NT draught doesn’t have is that metallic or chemical bitterness that Carlton, Swan, West End, and Emu all seem to have.


The verdict… WE HAVE A NEW LEADER!!


  • NT Draught
  • Carlton Draught
  • Emu Export
  • West End Draught
  • Swan Draught


Stay tuned for a few more brew reviews, including Broo, Kiss Beer and NZ Pure.



Cable Beach

Town Profile : Broome

Located at the southernmost tip of the Kimberley about 18 degrees south of the equator, Broome was the first example we’ve seen of an Australian tropical town.  Palm trees and boabs line the streets, birds of prey circle the skies and everyone walks around like they’re on holiday.  The atmosphere is really laid back and after a while, you’ll learn about Broome time, which ticks at a much slower pace than Melbourne time.  Monsoon season between October and March can make some of the more remote areas around the town inaccessible due to rain, so if you plan to visit and want the best weather, make it between April and September.



William Dampier was the first to visit the area in 1688 and Roebuck Bay on which Broome sits is named after his ship, the HMS Roebuck, but it wasn’t until 1883 that Broome was declared a town. The largest pearl shells in the world were discovered in Roebuck Bay, and this led to Broome’s establishment as a pearling town.  People from Japan, China, Malaysia, Europe and the Philippines arrived to seek out the ‘Pinctada maxima’ shells, and while pearling was super-profitable for the pearling master (or as we see it, the pimp), the divers had it tough and suffered from the bends, shark attacks, cyclones and drowning.


During the first decade of the twentieth century, Broome produced 80% of the world’s Mother of Pearl shells, but after the plastic button was invented and cultured pearls were introduced in the 1970s, they were only producing about 65% of the world’s stock.  Paspaley is the largest and oldest pearling company in Australia and the producer of the most beautiful pearls in the world, and it has an outlet in town.  Juz took it upon herself to try on some pearls; about $98,000 worth to be precise, and while we were there, we also learnt about how pearls are valued.  They need to be smooth, unblemished, round and shiny, and there are different types of pearls that are available (black, white, gold, champagne and baroque).  Baroque pearls are asymmetrical pearls that are made when the oyster tries to spit them out before they’re ready.  The pearl ends up developing an irregular shape instead of a smooth spherical shape.



If you’re lucky enough to be in Broome during August/September, this is when they hold the annual ‘Festival of the Pearl’ called Shinju Matsuri.  The town celebrates their history, the pearl harvest and their multicultural heritage, which includes all the Asian and European folk, as well as the local Aboriginal people.  We were really happy to have a chat with a few of the locals, including a lady who was brought up by the Sisters in Beagle Bay, a super happy guy carving a boab nut in Chinatown, and another guy who came and sat down with us in the park while he waited for his mates to hurry up.  They were all friendly, welcoming and happy to share their stories.


There are two movie outlets to cater for all sorts of weather – Sun Cinema, which is indoors, and Sun Pictures, the oldest operating outdoor cinema in the world!  You can also enjoy the Staircase to the Moon at certain times of the month, when the full moon reflects on the mud flats and creates the illusion of a staircase.


So, whether you enjoy picking up some noodles in Chinatown, trying on expensive pearls or lazing on the beach, Broome has something for you.




The original commercial centre of Broome, Chinatown demonstrates the multiculturalism of Broome.  While we were expecting more Chinese restaurants and tacky neon lights, we were satisfied with the Asian architecture on telephone booths and Johnny Chi Shady Lane, which mainly contained clothing outlets that sold colourful dresses, a café with a terrible soundtrack and lots of souvenirs.  A great place for kooky food items is Yuen Wing Grocery Store…



Town Beach

A great spot to spend the day!  There is a great little park with BBQ and picnic facilities, right near Pioneer Cemetery, and the beach is clean with safe waters and outdoor showers.  We had lunch here with our travel buddies, Mark and Alexis before they hopped on a long bus ride to Darwin.


Cable Beach

This beautiful beach that stretches for 22km is named after the underwater telegraph cable that links Australia to Indonesia.  It is one of the most famous beaches in the world and is a great place to go swimming, play beach cricket, and watch the sunset.  Be careful though – between November and April, box jellyfish and stingers like to hang about, and if you get stung by one of those, you’re gonna have a bad time.



If you go north of the rocks, you can get your kit off in the nudist section (yes – we did), which also happens to be the 4×4 section and the area that the camels are parked to advertise the tours.




We considered going on a camel ride, but after walking past a group on their pre-sunset tour, we decided against it.  The camels stunk and we figured that we could get a much better photo off the camel rather than on top of it.  We did appreciate that the camels had shit bags attached to their bums to stop poop from getting on the beach.


Juz works on healing - at arms length...


Japanese Cemetery

There are over 900 Japanese divers buried in the Japanese cemetery, which shows just how dangerous the early pearling days were.  What makes the Japanese cemetery a beautiful place is the raw sandstone headstones that are inscribed with ornate Japanese text.



Courthouse Markets

We got up nice and early on Saturday morning to check out the Courthouse Markets, which were just down the street from the Kimberley Klub YHA. The markets run from 8am-1pm every Saturday and are the largest art and craft markets in the Kimberley.


Stalls surround the courthouse, selling pearls, semi-precious stones, tie-dye t-shirts, hippie clothes, summer dresses, jewellery, exotic food and soap while musicians were dotted around with their hats out.  One kid really stood out – long blonde hair covered his face as he smashed out wicked riffs on his electric guitar.  He was totally grunge and had a sign out that said “Need money for a haircut” – what a cool kid.


Gantheaume Point

The weather was precarious when we got to Gunatheaume Point (which Juz called Guantanamo Point because she couldn’t pronounce ‘gan-thoom’ point).  We walked past the kooky lighthouse to see the dinosaur footprints, but unfortunately, the tide wasn’t low enough.  It has to be at VERY LOW tide (1.3m or lower) before you can see the real footprints, so the concrete mould at the lookout would have to suffice.


We did climb down the cliffs to check out Anastasia’s Pool, which was built by the former lighthouse keeper for his arthritic wife, who found relief in the warm salty water.




Matso’s Brewery

The first place on our list of places to go to was the Matso’s Brewery.  This award-winning full mash hand-crafted brewery created the Smokey Bishop, a dark larger that was awarded Australia’s best dark larger during the 2006 Australasian Beer Awards. If dark ale isn’t your thing, there are fruity beers, hoppy beers, refreshing light beers and ciders, so there is something for everyone.  Matso’s Brewery is open 7 days a week from 7am until late, and they also offer tours on Wednesday and Fridays.



We spent the afternoon in the awesome beer garden drinking and chatting with our new mate Billows, who works for the local radio station.  The beer garden has a small stage for live acts, as well as the Curry Hut, which is run by an Indian chef that makes his own authentic North Indian curries.


  • Hit the Toad Lager – 3.5% yeasty and fruity with a hint of lime and minimal hops.  Very refreshing!  The beer was named to support the Stop the Toad Foundation, which works to raise awareness about the cane toad invasion across the WA/NT border.
  • Monsoonal Blonde – 4.7% a cloudy wheat beer with a fruity, floral taste and no bitterness. Very easy to drink.
  • Pearlers Pale Ale – 4.5% rich and heavy, full malt beer that is smooth and hoppy.
  • Smokey Bishop – 4.9% full bodied, dark, caramel and toffee flavours, deliciously smokey.
  • Mango – 4.5% sweet enough to be a dessert beer, it was fruity and tropical, very smooth with a hint of hops.
  • Chilli – 4.5% not for the faint hearted.  Juz’s lips were burning as soon as they touched the foam!  A great chilli flavour in a light, refreshing brew.
  • Chango – 4.5% Juz’s favourite! half chilli beer, half mango beer.  The sweetness of the mango was great to diffuse some of the chilli burn.  A beautifully tropical beer.
  • Lychee – 4.0% smells very much like lychee but the first taste is like a light, refreshing beer with a fruity aftertaste.
  • Ginger Beer – 3.5% not as sweet as expected.  Herbaceous and smooth without any ginger spice.
  • Mango Lime Cider – 4.0% a clear, light green cider with lots of fruits flavours and a smooth, buttery finish.


We headed to the Broome RSL after Matso’s Brewery and on the way out, we spied a raised up, 4WD HQ station wagon.  Dave creamed his pants…



Broome RSL

The first thing we noticed was the yellow lights, which were probably installed to deter the insects.  The Broome RSL is a friendly, welcoming place full of happy locals having a great time with other happy locals.  We were there on a Friday night and took advantage of the $10 meat pack offer.  The meat pack contains two sausages, a chop and steak that you cook yourself on the BBQ. The RSL provides salads and veggies to accompany the meat you’ve cooked up.  What a great feed!


Before we entered the Broome RSL, we met a great lady outside walking her three tiny dogs.  She was an aboriginal woman of the Stolen Generation who grew up in Beagle Bay with the St John of God Sisters.  She told us about her dogs and her upbringing before inviting us back to her house for more chats.  We told her that we’d love to come over after a few drinks at the RSL but unfortunately, the more drinks we had, the fuzzier the directions to her house became.  After wandering around in the dark for about 20 minutes, we admitted defeat and went back to the hostel.



Divers Tavern

A short walk from Cable Beach will bring you to the Divers Tavern, a nice place for a meal and a drink, until they turn up the volume on the footy so you have to yell at your friends just to have a conversation.  We went here with Alexis and Mark after a few hours north of the rocks at Cable Beach.


They have a few meal specials, including a $20 schnitz and chips that we couldn’t overlook.  We ordered a serving with mushroom sauce and within 10 minutes, it was presented in all its deep-fried glory.  The chips were fairly average and the sauce was basically gravy with mushrooms, but the chicken schnitzel was crispy and hot.  Juz sampled the quesadillas and they were actually delicious and great value at $4 a serve.


The Roey

Popular with the locals, the Roebuck Hotel is a cool place to catch up with mates for a drink in the Asian-style beer garden, adorned with red lanterns hanging off the ceiling.  Dave’s cousin Tony met his wife here back in the day – they were both shitfaced and it was love at first sight.


We met Tom and Bella here to catch up and have something small to eat.  We shared two sides because we weren’t super hungry – the chips were delicious and well seasoned and the onion rings were crisp and tasty but not the best.  Later on, Billows turned up and we were happier and with our mouths open!




The Broome Visitor Centre is located on Broome Road, right in the town centre.  Their phone number is08 9192 2222.

Kimberley Klub YHA 62 Frederick Street, 08 9192 3233.  Check out our post on the Kimberley Klub YHA.



Drink : Pub Crawl in Geraldton, WA

It was a warm Saturday afternoon in Geraldton and we were a little bored.  Jeremy the French Helpx helper had come back from his assignment on the farm and we all decided that we should hit the town and check out the local pubs.


The Provincial Bar & Café

We found out that their happy hour went from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and after walking 3.5km into the city, we got there with 10 minutes to spare.  Juz was super happy about them serving White Rabbit on tap so Jeremy and Juz got the White Ale while Dave went with the Dark Ale.



This place has an awesome atmosphere and we could see why it’s one of Geraldton’s most favourite places.  Plus, its run by a guy from Melbourne so you know their woodfire pizzas are gonna be amazing.



The Freemason Hotel

It was a bit too early for dinner so we walked down the street to the Freemason Hotel.  The band was just warming up so we had to yell across the bar for our beer of choice.  Apart from the live music, there was a round pool table, foosball table and heaps of dance floor room for a late night boogie.



The Geraldton Hotel

We were looking forward to this place but when we walked into the main bar, we were a little disappointed.  The lighting was white and bright with a bunch of old codgers sitting at the bar watching the West Coast vs Carlton match.



After a round of drinks, we went to order and were impressed by the massive beer garden that hosts their Sunday Sessions.  Dave got the steak sandwich while Juz and Jeremy got the chicken parma – all meals are $10.


Our food was ready really quickly.  The chicken parma was ok but could have been better if the chicken meat was real.  The chips were really bland but the small amount of salad compensated in flavour.  Dave’s steak burger was good – a nice piece of rump steak with beetroot and processed cheese in a soft sesame seed bun.



The Camel Bar

This place was pumping when we arrived.  There was a band playing, people both young and old were sitting at the bar, playing pool or finishing off their dinner.



The place was decorated with camel paraphernalia – the biggest collection in Western Australia!  We had a bit of a laugh and showed the manager the infamous camel picture.


Geraldton 2013-04-20 037


Breakers Bar & Café

Compared to the Camel Bar, this place was a bit quiet.  The décor was modern and sleek with a curved metallic bar, black couches and a stage for live music.  They do cheap meals throughout the week, including a $15 parma on Thursdays – hopefully we’ll have a chance to try one.



We had a round of drinks here before we realised we had a massive walk back home.  We fooled around with a floodlight on the way home, met some dudes who thought Dave’s beard was awesome, climbed some fences and got home just before midnight.