Lasseters Camel Cup

NT Events : Lasseters Camel Cup, Alice Springs

Lasseters Camel Cup

 

We were stoked to find out that the Camel Cup was on during our final weekend in Alice Springs.  At the last minute, we contacted the organisers of the event and scored media passes so that we could have special access to the various features and attractions at the event.

 

The Camel Cup

The Lasseters Camel Cup is an annual fundraising event that brings together the local community and visitors from all over the world to enjoy a truly unique Central Australian experience.

 

It started in 1970 when two mates, Noel Fullerton and Keith Mooney-Smith, settled a bet with a camel race at the Alice Springs Centenary Year Celebrations.  The event was so popular that it became an annual event run by the local Lions Club.

 

After 40 years of organising a fantastic day of camel races each year and raising funds to assist the community, the Lions Club have handed over the reins to the APEX Club of Central Australia with the intention of breathing new life into the iconic event.  Noel Fullerton is still involved in the Camel Cup by supplying most of the racing camels and is seen as the grandfather of the camel industry in Australia.

 

Other attractions on the day include jumping castles and a petting zoo with a piglet that falls asleep when you rub its belly, live music and an after party at Lasseters Casino.  All proceeds from the Camel Cup are put back into the community via the community grant scheme or used by the Lions Club and APEX Club to provide community support.

 

 

 

The Camels

The camels are the stars of the show, and because of their unpredictability, it results in some serious entertainment.  The nature of the camels can range from docile and friendly to downright cranky and disobedient.

 

Because of this irregularity, any attempts for Juz to make peace with her demons were thwarted by an overwhelming fear, which grew after peering down the chops of a gargling camel.

 

Lasseters Camel Cup

 

The Events

The main event of the day is Race 5, the XXXX Gold Lasseters Camel Cup, and this year’s winner was reigning champion Hannah Purss, who rode Roman Ruma Ruma the camel to their second consecutive Camel Cup victory.

 

 

Lasseters Camel Cup

 

The Honeymoon Handicap race was one of our favourite events.  The camel race starts as normal, but halfway around the track, the “grooms” must stop their camels and collect their “brides” before racing to the finish line.  This was one of the most chaotic, frantic and hilarious things we’ve ever seen!  As officials and riders attempted to stop the charging camels, the camels were bucking, growling and spitting.  Some camels decided they didn’t want to stop for a bride and just continued on.  Those who managed to stop their camels attempted to control the beast while a bewildered bride clambered on.  Once the brides and grooms were ready (or not), the camel would clumsily stand up and gallop off towards the finish line.

 

Lasseters Camel Cup

 

The Rickshaw Races and Battleship Water Cannon Hose Off are two events that don’t involve camels.  The Rickshaw Races involve two people sitting in the rickshaw, which is pulled around the track by two other people.  Halfway around the track, the pairs swap so the passengers become the pullers.  It looked like a lot of fun… and hard work!

 

Lasseters Camel Cup

 

The Henley on Todd Water Cannon Hose Off was great.  Two vehicles were dressed as ships – one was a pirate ship and the other was a naval vessel – and these two battleships hooned around the centre of the arena, blasting each other with water cannons.  If it wasn’t wintertime, we would have loved to be on one of those ships – it would have been the ultimate summertime water fight!

 

Lasseters Camel Cup

 

The Essentials

The Lasseters Camel Cup is held annually on the second Saturday of July at the Noel Fullarton Camel Racing Arena in Blatherskite Park, the only purpose built camel racing venue in the southern hemisphere.

 

Entry to the 2014 Camel Cup was $17 for adults or $38 for a family pass.  Kids under 12 are free!  There is also a free shuttle bus available to take you to and from the event, just in case you want to have a few drinks while watching the races.

 

For more information about the Camel Cup, visit http://www.camelcup.com.au/

 

Lasseters Camel Cup

 

Alice Springs Beanie Festival

NT Events : The Alice Springs Beanie Festival

Alice Springs Beanie Festival

 

There are festivals for just about anything these days – tuna, tomatoes, mud, moose shit, cheese rolling, goat tossing, sumo wrestlers with crying babies – but if your heart belongs to beanies, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival is the festival for you.

 

This four day community-based event is one of the world’s most unique festivals and puts on show thousands of handmade beanies from around the globe.  It’s aptly celebrated during winter, when beanies are needed most to enjoy the chilly desert night air, and the festival is full of colour, warmth and artistic talent.  The beanie festival started off as a beanie party amongst friends, and this slowly grew into a posse of beanie-ologists.

 

We were lucky enough to attend the 18th Annual Beanie Festival and were impressed with the various kinds of beanies on show.  In every colour of the rainbow, beanies were crocheted, hand felted or needle felted and range from the simple to the intricate masterpiece!  Entrants for the best beanies are located as far as Norway, Germany, Japan, and the USA, and the surrounding Indigenous communities also get involved as a way to develop skills.

 

Opening Night

The Opening Night was a hoot.  We rocked up in time for some live music and acrobatics from the Ninja Circus as delicious smells wafted from the busy food stalls.  Inside, a few festival goers were buying wine from the bar while a thick crowd had accumulated around a table laden with beanies for sale.  After a presentation for the beanie winners and a quick fashion show, the exhibition opened and we were able to browse through some incredible beanies and tea cosies.

 

Alice Springs Beanie Festival

 

Beanie Central

The next day, we headed to Beanie Central to check out some more beanies.  The place was absolutely packed with both beanies and people, and we got to try on some kooky creations.

 

 

Despite being internationally recognised, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival still preserves its modesty and has a certain country simplicity that is clearly displayed in relaxed oration and presentation. This festival makes up for the seriously cold winter nights and if you’re looking to buy a beanie, you will never find a better selection anywhere else.

 

Alice Springs Beanie Festival

 

Derby Mud Crab Races

Experience : Derby Mud Crab Races

We timed our arrival to Derby around the first bout of Mud Crab Races.  We rocked up at the Mary Island Fishing Club at around 4pm, grabbed a cheap beverage from the shed and sat down to soak up the atmosphere.

 

The purpose of the event was to raise money for a function centre in Derby.  As people started rolling in, a line formed at the crab table where people could make a donation before picking a crab from a big bucket, giving it a name and hoping for the best.

 

 

There were several bouts of crab racing – each with 10 crabs.  The emcee would get up each time and give the audience some ‘facts’ about the awe-inspiring King Sound Mud Crab…

 

The King Sound Mud Crab is related to the dinosaurs!

Mud crabs used to rule the land – even the Tyrannosaurus Rex was afraid of mud crabs!

King Sound Mud Crabs would arm wrestle with Brontosauruses!

Dinosaur fossils were created by King Sound Mud Crabs because the mud crabs were unbeaten – that’s why there are no mud crab fossils!

They are known to attack whales and they can smell blood from 100km away!

 

It was fun to watch the tourists and locals get in on the fun.  A crab that belonged to a woman next to Juz won the third race and she was so happy that she jumped up and gave Juz a tight hug.  They fired up the BBQ and offered burgers and such, and you could also stick around for some free mud crab samples.

 

About Derby

Derby is about 220km north east of Broome and is the entrance to the Kimberley. Along with Broome and Kununurra, it is one of the three towns in the Kimberley with a population over 2,000 and about half of the residents are of Aboriginal descent.

 

We went straight to the Information Centre for news on road conditions, before spending the rest of the morning in a great second hand book shop, picking out books to swap for some old ones that we had in the Troopy.

 

It took an hour or two to explore the town, and after checking out the Friendly Trees and filling up on fuel, we hung about at the pub, waiting for the Mud Crab Races to start, and met a great welsh chick behind the bar who is travelling around the country with her boyfriend.

 

The Derby Wharf

Built in 1964 to replace the old jetty, it served as a port for pearls, wool, live cattle, fuel, oil and other previsions, but these days it’s a great place to watch the sunset and do a spot of fishing.  It’s also the place where you can experience the extreme tidal variations, with the highest tide recorded reaching 11 metres!  One thing that is definitely not good to do at the wharf is swimming!  There are big signs near the water warning people to beware of saltwater crocodiles.

 

At the entrance to the Wharf is the Centenary Pavilion, with a beautiful mosaic that was installed in 2001.  The mosaic is a collaborative effort of 370 kids and adults who spent about 700 hours laying down the 30,000 pieces.

 

 

The Boab Prison Tree

Derby is packed with boabs, but none other like the Prison Tree.  This big fat boab is believed to be around 1500 years old and was used as a checkpoint when transporting prisoners to Derby from the various parts of the Kimberley.

 

Derby Mud Crab Races

Fremantle street art

City Profile : Fremantle

We hit Fremantle before checking out the Perth CBD for a few reasons.  A – we were staying only 6km away, B – we weren’t ready to brave the innards of the city just yet, and C – we heard there were great places for coffee!

 

 

Sure, Fremantle is home to a plethora of cafés and the Cappuccino Strip, but it also has microbreweries, pubs and restaurants, heaps of shopping and Western Australia’s largest collection of heritage listed buildings.  There is even a bus dressed up like a tram offering ‘tram’ tours (LOL), which is the only reminder of when Fremantle had trams between 1905 and the 1952.

 

Affectionately called ‘Freo’, it was named after Charles Fremantle, a British naval officer who took formal possession of the mouth of the Swan River in the name of His Majesty King George in 1829.  Over 180 years later, the area is now a city with a vibrant, youthful culture with a love of beer, live music and festivals.

 

Araluen Chilli Festival

As soon as Juz heard about the Chilli Festival coming to Fremantle, she was keen on finding her own space coyote.  There was live music and pie making competitions, spicy jams, sauces, preserves, oils, beer and tonnes of food stalls serving up jumbos, paellas, seafood jambalayas and chilli con carne.  You could even get chilli ice cream!  Juz went with a bowl of creole chicken and chilli beef stew before wandering around the festival with swollen lips and a fire burning deep down inside.

 

 

Entry to the festival was $15 for adults and you got a few vouchers on entry, like a free tasting paddle at the Monk Brewery – SCORE!

 

 

PLACES OF INTEREST

Fremantle Markets

Established in 1897, the Fremantle Market Hall is a busy and colourful place to stroll around on a Saturday morning.  There are heaps of stalls displaying all sorts of fantastic stuff like fresh, local produce, nuts, cheese, knick knacks, clothes, free trade stuff, coffee, lollies and souvenirs.  Street performers and buskers are usually out and about on the weekend, and this is where the great John Butler started out before forming his trio in 1998.

 

The E-Sheds down near the harbour had a completely different atmosphere; sterile, quiet, almost forgotten.  We checked out the CY O’Connor statue and purchased a new picnic bag and cutlery case for $4 but that’s about it.

 

 

Round House

This is the oldest permanent building in Western Australia.  It was opened in 1831 and acted as the first prison for colonial and aboriginal prisoners until 1886 when the Convict Establishment (Fremantle Prison) started accept inhabitants other than convicts.  The Round House was then used as a police lock up until about 1900.  Since then, it has been the home for the chief constable and his family, as well as a port storeroom.

 

Every day at 1pm, they shoot a canon, which is also known as the Time Ball, and mariners, locals and tourists can set their watch to the daily blast.

 

Shipwreck Museum

This is a fantastic place to learn about all the shipwrecks that happened along the western coast of Australia and is an archaeological goldmine.  The galleries exhibit original timbers from the infamous Batavia, a 17th century Dutch ship which sank in 1629. Also on show are various kinds of booty that were left behind, including silver coins, pieces of furniture, crockery, glassware and even intact food jars and bottles with the original foodstuffs inside!

 

The Shipwreck Galleries are open daily from 9:30am and entry is by gold coin donation.  There is a great gift shop at the entrance where you can purchase replicas of coins found at the wreck sites.

 

 

Fremantle Prison

The Fremantle Prison was originally known as the Convict Establishment and was built by convicts in the 1850s.  It was used as a prison until 1991 and is now open to visitors.  The best way to experience the Fremantle Prison is with a tour, and there are four to choose from.

 

It truly is a must see, must do attraction when visiting Fremantle.  The site is drenched in history and fascinating stories. Check out our post on the Fremantle Prison.

 

Didgeridoo Breath

If you’re interested in learning the didgeridoo, check this place out.  The atmosphere is super-welcoming, they have a huge selection of instruments and they offer free didge lessons!  Check out our post on Didgeridoo Breath.

 

 

Galati & Sons

Fresh food doesn’t come cheap in Perth so we thought ourselves super lucky to find this place.  Cheap fruit and vegetables, cheese, Italian groceries and spices, as well as cannoli, tarts and pre-made meals.  WIN!

 

FOOD & DRINK

Little Creatures

Fremantle’s #1 tourist destination – check out our post on the Little Creatures Brewery!

 

Cappuccino Strip

If you’re looking for a place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon, the Cappuccino Strip would be the best place.  Pick a café or restaurant and sit outside while you sip on your coffee, enjoy a meal and read the paper.  If you have a hot car, this is the place to cut laps and show off your sick stereo.

 

We sat down at Gino’s and had a coffee while we watched masses of people walk past – youngsters with bare midriffs, couples walking their dog, sight seers, tourists, quirky locals – it is truly a mixed bag in Freo.

 

 

 

Grumpy Sailor

This was the first place we went to for coffee while in the Perth area.  The recommendation demanded that we have coffee and a bagel, so we had to comply.  We entered the relaxed bookshop with the embedded café, approached the counter and advised the bearded barista that we were sent for coffee and bagel.  He recommended the cream cheese and Nutella bagel, with the promise that it will “change our day”.

 

The coffee and bagel were enjoyed outside on the terrace right amongst the chilled out atmosphere.  The coffee was delicious – smooth and creamy without any hint of bitterness.  We can’t say that the bagel changed our day, but it was definitely divine – chewy and moist with a great combination of cream cheese tartness and sweet Nutella. YUM!

 

Blink Espresso Bar

Quite possibly the smallest shop in Fremantle, this was another strong recommendation that we had the opportunity to fulfil.  Forget about going into the place – there isn’t enough room!  All there is between the colourful walls is one energetic man and his tools to make you a fabulous cup of coffee.

 

Monk Brewery

Located towards the end of the Cappuccino Strip, The Monk Brewery is a popular stop to hang out with mates while drinking pints of craft beer.  There was a bit of a line to go in and we found that they use the scents of an outdoor kitchen cooking seafood paella to lure hungry patrons in.

 

 

They have a tasting paddle with eight beers, including a seasonal one, and all their beers are paired with menu items.  We were lucky enough to score a voucher from Juz’s entry to the Chilli Festival and got a free tasting paddle.

 

  • Mild – 3.5% a bright golden lager with mild hops and a crisp clean taste.
  • Kolsch – 4.9% fruity, sweet entry with a slightly hoppy taste and subtle bubbles.
  • Wheat – 6.0% a cloudy beer that’s fruity and yeasty without too many bubbles.
  • Pale – 6.0% a deep golden colour with yeast and smooth, lingering bitterness that comes from 100% Australian hops.
  • Chief – 6.3% voted the best ale at the 2012 Perth Royal Beer Show, this tropical, full flavoured beer was smoky and had plenty of hoppy bitterness.
  • Rauch – 5.3% a deep orange colour with strong smoky characteristics and fruity flavours with toffee.
  • Porter – 4.7% a rich, dark ale full of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel, with mild bitterness and carbonation.

 

Sail & Anchor Hotel

Opposite the Monk Brewery is a great little microbrewery pub brimming with beer love.  They have their own selection of beers, like Monkey’s Fist Pale Ale, Cat’s Shank Kolsch and Lark’s Foot Golden Ale, but they also make Brass Monkey Stout and have a variety of other local beers on tap.  The walls are covered in beer propaganda and you could spend hours in there looking at them all and having a giggle.

 

 

We went in for their $15 lunch specials and sat down to a steak sandwich and seafood basket. While we were disappointed that the parma wasn’t included in the lunch special that day, we were thoroughly impressed with the tenderness of Dave’s steak and the juicy freshness of Juz’s calamari rings.  Their chips were also great – fluffy and crisp with no icky bits.  The Sail and Anchor also do weekly food specials like Parmagedon Mondays, Hump Day Pizzas and Nice Rump Thursdays.

 

Moondyne Joe’s Bar & Café

Named after the notorious jail-breaking bushranger, this great pub is tucked away at the end of Wray Street and has a traditional, relaxing atmosphere with some old school charm. The Governor’s Bar is the perfect place to chill out with a pint and a meal, or have a lively evening while keeping up with the footy in the sports bar.

 

 

If you’re budget conscious, check out their $12 Steak Night on Tuesdays – a big, juicy scotch fillet steak cooked how you want with your choice of sauce and a side of chips and salad.  We say YES to hot beef injections!

 

Clancy’s Fish Pub

If you want to steer away from the pub scene and find something a little more open and artistic, check out Clancy’s Fish Pub.  Great for after work drinks with mates on the veranda or a day with the kids playing on the lawn out the back, there is something for everyone at Clancy’s.  They have a great selection of beers on tap, including White Rabbit White Ale, and the menu features all the pub classics and then some.

 

 

Information & Accommodation

Fremantle Visitor Centre8 William Street, 08 9431 7878

Woodman Point Holiday Park – 132 Cockburn Road, Munster, 08 9434 1433

 

Fremantle CAT Buses

There are two free bus services that circulate around Fremantle – the Blue and Red CAT buses.  They run every 10-15 minutes and go past major attractions like the train station, Arts Centre, E-Shed Markets, the Cappuccino Strip and the Shipwreck Galleries.