Four Month Update

A short one this month, as I already wrote far too much English in my analysis of Australia’s excellent craft beer.

It has been a strong fourth month. Sydney, Melbourne and the area in between was probably my favourite part of Australia. I can definitely see why it’s the part on which most travellers focus. If you want to live in a big city, both seem like pretty pleasant options.

Melbourne, nice contrast between the old market and new CBD.

Sydney in particular is great: the centre didn’t seem too hectic, it had great food and drink and some beaches that are far too beautiful to be in a huge city. It helped that we were hosted by Claire in her lovely and well-located house.

 

It’s barely believable that beaches this nice are well within the city of Sydney.

That said, after just a few days we knew that we preferred New Zealand to Australia. There is more to see and do within a smaller area but more crucially it wins on mountains. It’s also feels a bit less of a nanny state! We were slightly biased by spending the first two weeks with Dave and Lauren and their campervan. As I’ve previously mentioned I need to be kept busy and a group of four is better for that than just Alice.

In both Australia and New Zealand, we continue to enjoy the freedom of our own vehicle and the ease of getting off the tourist trail. However, I’ve once again fallen into the trap of doing way too much research into the coming weeks in an attempt to optimise our trip. I guess I should be reading a book, learning some languages or enjoying the place we’re in; regardless, I must ban myself from phone-based research. I think I miss lesson planning and organising things at work – a whole year without a job is probably too much for me.

Good news though, I may have found a  temporary outlet for my energy: in the last week we’ve just started to visit some of New Zealand’s excellent mountain huts. More about those next month.

Wohnmobilen oder nichtwohnmobilen?

Ich habe mich kürzlich oft gefragt, ob wir ein Wohnmobil kaufen sollen. Bevor, hatte ich nie darüber gedacht, also warum jetzt?

Wir reisen seit ein Monat in Neu Zeeland, wo jede fünfte Auto ein Wohnmobil ist. Auch, zelten wir oft, um Geld zu verdienen; wenn es regnet und es ist kalt, ist das Idee eines Wohnmobils verlockend. Auch, haben wir während die ersten zwei Wochen mit Dave und Lauren, die einen Wohnmobil gemietet hatten, gereist. Ich schreibe diese Artikel auf Deutsch, weil wir so viele Deutsche Leute in Neu Zeeland getroffen haben.

Dave und Lauren mit ihr Wohnmobil

Es gibt vielen Arten Wohnmobile: sehr kleine, wie ein großes Auto indem die Zurücksitze ein Bett werden, bis Größen mit Küche, Toilette und einem ständigen Bett. Daher hat man viele verschiedene Möglichkeiten.

Wir hatten eine Woche in Australien mit einem mittelgroßen Wohnmobil; man konnte aufstehen und die Küche nutzen, aber es hatte kein Klo. Wir haben gefunden, dass es nicht viel besser als unser Zelt war, selbst wenn es geregnet hat. Eigentlich, war das Bett nicht so komfortable wie das Zelt mit unseren Schlafmatten.  Also, haben wir entschieden, dass es ein großes Wohnmobil müssen würde.

Unserer Meinung nach, muss es ein ständiges Bett haben, um Komfortable zu sein und im Idealfall, soll es eine Toilette geben. Diese Art Wohnmobil kostet sehr teuer in Neu Zeeland und wir haben beschlossen, eine nicht zu kaufen, wegen wir nur drei Monaten hierbleiben.

Wir können aber unser eigenes bauen, als wir in Europa zurückkehren. Deshalb die Frage bleibt, sollen wir ein Wohnmobil kaufen? Was glaubet ihr?!

Campingplatz mit Wohnmobil.

Australie, Etat-Nounou

Ça ne fait que deux fois qu’un Australien a appelé leur pays ‘nanny state’, mais deux fois sur 7 semaines est assez souvent et je dois dire que j’y suis d’accord.

C’est un exemple de plus d’une phrase idiomatique qui se traduit directement d’Anglais en Français (bien que la traduction en Allemand, Versorgerstadt, ne soit pas direct). Elle n’existe depuis pas longtemps – utilisé pour la première fois en 1965 par un politicien conservateur en Angleterre.

Je dois admettre que mes opinions dans cet article sont un peu biaisées par un évènement de notre semaine en Australie : nous avons reçu une amende pour avoir mal fait du parking. C’était dans une banlieue de Perth ou il y avait plein d’espace pour voitures et, comme le thème de cet article, les règles inutilement strictes. Néanmoins, je crois que je vais pouvoir présenter autant de preuves afin de vous convaincre que Australie à trop de règles pas nécessaires.

La pièce à conviction 1 – ‘Entrées’ aux plages fermés.
La première fois que j’ai vu tel chose, je croyais que la plage était fermée mais non, on pouvait facilement aller au plage cent mètres plus loin. Maintenant, je sais qu’en Australie, on ferme l’entrée s’il y a le moindre danger. Avant, je ne savais même pas que les plages ont les entrées !

La pièce à conviction 2 – Les randonnées contrôlés
En Europe, nous avons de l’habitude de pouvoir randonner librement dans les parcs nationaux. En Australie, ce n’est pas le cas. Lorsque nous sommes arrivés à Thredbo, on m’a dit que la seule route pour monter à mont Kosciuszko était fermé parce que ‘la saison de randonnée n’a pas encore commencé : aller là-bas serait trépasser’.

La pièce à conviction 3 – Un voyage par train
Sur Notre seul voyage en train en Australie, de Brisbane au Sydney, nous avons regardé une altercation intéressante. Un homme a entré en train et agissait de façon malpoli – il parlait d’une voix forte et insulté plusieurs fois sa femme. Cela n’était pas très confortable pour les autres passagers mais je me sens que j’ai vu tel chose dans les trains Européens auparavant. Mais en Australie, les règles sont strictes ! Avant que le train ait pu sortir, la contrôleuse était la et elle a demandé immédiatement que l’homme parte. Avec un train par jour, il n’était sans surprise pas heureux et éventuellement, la contrôleuse a pu appeler la police pour l’expulser du train !

La pièce à conviction 4 – Règles de parking
Finalement je rentre à ce thème. Dans le cas de notre amende, il y avait un panneau très petit environs 20m de l’endroit où nous avons stationné. Vous pouvez voir une autre voiture qui ignore également les règles ici !

Après cet incident, nous étions très attentifs aux règles, et souvent, elles étaient bizarres. Pour exemple, elles donnent pas seulement le temps permis, mais également l’angle auquel il faut garer (j’espère que les Australiens connaissent bien les maths !) et si l’avant ou l’arrière du véhicule doit faire face au trottoir !

Dans l’ensemble, c’était juste trop de petits choses qui ne me semble pas important. Australie, je vous demande Pourquoi ?!
Ayant dit tout ça, j’admets qu’il y avait un panneau que j’ai aimé bien à Brisbane :

Bien que cela n’est pas strictement nécessaire, il a plus l’air positif et il promeut les bonnes relations entre les piétons et les cyclistes.

Paddling around Australia

I’m breaking with tradition to write in English for three reasons.
1) I don’t want to misrepresent this vitally important topic.
2) It will not be appreciated by most Europeans* with their crappy lager (yes, not even you Germans with your high and mighty purity law).
3) Rob requested it, and he was recently confused by the menu item ‘camembert au four’.

Anyway, I am happy to report that Australia has some really good beer. Granted, poor lager is the staple for most Aussies (though famously NOT the well-known export Fosters). However, like much of the world, there exists a growing craft beer movement.
Unsurprisingly, this focusses on American-style craft beer, so you’ll be happy to know that the UK is still the only place in the world where you can easily get all of the three genres of beer: lager, real ale, and ‘craft beer’ (which in my mind is just a cross between the first two).
So, to the detail. A beer tour of Australia…

We started in Western Australia and our first brewery produces probably the best-known craft beer in Australia: Little Creatures. A professional setup in a sanitised ‘warehouse’ with huge brauhaus-style tables and a smart looking food menu were initially off-putting. However, when we found the tasting area of the bar (in the right-hand warehouse) the barman was one of the friendliest of our trip. He took the time to talk us through each of ten beers on the tasting tray and even brought out two more special editions. We enjoyed the nationally popular pale ale enough to buy a six pack but we also particularly enjoyed the malt flavours of the bright ale. I liked the Elsie wheat beer, a genre which turned out to be fairly rare in Australia and Alice’s favourite was the white rabbit dark ale. 12 beers.

We moved on to Margaret River, a region about 3 hours south of Perth known for its wine but with plenty of beer producers too. We started at beer farm where we had a small but excellent set of beers in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The India Pale Lager was particularly memorable as it managed to retain the hops and citrus of an IPA in a refreshing lager. 16 beers.

Next up was the Eagle Bay brewing company. More of a restaurant than a brewery, it still had a selection of six beers and we managed to get a seat on a comfy sofa by the fire which warmed us up on a rainy day. The beer wasn’t bad but a couple were quite bland; they did make a good black IPA, another rare find in Australia but personally I’m not a huge fan of the heavy malt and heavy hops combination. 22 beers.

On the next section of our tour, back to Perth and then over to Adelaide, we took an inopportune break from beer and so missed out on two of the top new breweries in Australia. In Perth, Balter brewing and in Adelaide, Pirate Life. We went some way to rectifying this at the end our trip by sampling their trademark beers whilst sitting by the river in Melbourne. Balter’s XPA was a very solid american pale with lots of hops. Pirate life’s IPA was too strong and too bitter for my taste, although this may have been because it was paired with very sweet Korean fried chicken! Nonetheless, if you’re in Adelaide, I would definitely visit their brewery, though at nearly £4 a can I wouldn’t buy it from an bottle shop. 24 beers.

Driving from Perth to the east coast we drank quite a few Fat Yak pale ales. They weren’t the best beer we had in Australia but they were much better than your standard lager and were by far the cheapest at £1 a can from Aldi. We also invested in a pack of Stone and Wood pale ale from Bryon Bay. A rival to Little Creature’s nationwide popularity, it was equally hoppy but less fruity and more floral; I’d definitely buy it again. 26 beers

I really enjoyed this paddle from the newer brewery in Byron Bay, though in retrospect we can’t remember any of the beers very well so perhaps it wasn’t that exciting. Maybe it was the funky art work or the vibe of the town, probably the hipp(i)est place in Australia. 30 beers.

The next stop was, for once, not a tasting paddle but some schooners at a pub quiz hosted by the Fritzenburger Brewery Bar in Brisbane. The IPA and the wheat saison were good but we both really loved the hazelnut stout: so often dark beers list flavours, most commonly chocolate or coffee, which just don’t come through: No such problem here. Alice started with their basic Pale Ale which I thought was rather bland. However, upon winning a round of the quiz our team bought a growler of the same beer which was totally different: really fresh grapefruit made a great pale ale. The poor keeping of the first keg was a disappointing stain on an otherwise great brewery. 34 beers.

Also based in Queensland is Feral Brewery. We didn’t get chance to visit it, but sampled their trademark Hop Hog in the beautiful surroundings of Kosciusko national park. A predictably hoppy beer left me wanting more, if it was earlier in our trip I’d have bought a pack. 35 beers. I thought I’d add a quick note here to point out that beer is Australia is very expensive – this single bottle cost $6 from an off licence and pubs are similarly extortionate. There is also confusion over how much beer you’re ordering!

Arriving in Sydney, we had a schooner of Kosciusko pale ale, which was disappointingly bland and expensive but this was more than made up for by a trip to 4 pines brewery. We arrived at 4.50 but made the excellent decision to wait until 5 for the opening of their ‘kellar door’, an area where they sell experimental and interesting brews. This was by far the best overall paddle we tasted in Australia, with all five beers giving something interesting, from a banana and rye beer, to a good wheat beer and a strong ‘Australian’ IPA. We don’t normally like strong beer, especially at 9%, but this had so much flavour that the strength didn’t overwhelm it. Leaving, we bought a six pack of their standard pale ale – a good beer, we enjoyed our final bottle in the airport just before security. 41 beers.

Still in Sydney, we stumbled upon the Endeavour tap rooms, which sits in the shadow of the harbour bridge. They had a deal of 4 tasters for $10 from 4-6.30pm so we tried all 8 of their brews. Apart from a couple of boring pilsners, we enjoyed all of these. I particularly liked a marmite-like very smoky beer but Alice preferred their standard pale ale, which I agree was very good. 49 beers.

On our drive to Melbourne we enjoyed our 4 pines collection before reaching the Yarra Valley. More renowned for its wine, it nevertheless features several breweries and we stopped at Coldstream. The atmosphere and decor were good but the beer and service was the most disappointing on our trip: I can only remember a flat pear cider and the staff were too busy making cocktails to show interest in beer. 53 beers.

Arriving in Melbourne we happened upon the crafty squire, a large outlet for the mass-produced James Squire beer. We liked that you could choose which of their beers to have on the sampler and I particularly enjoyed the Cabin Fever, a session IPA which had a lot of flavour for a 4% beer, but overall, we wouldn’t rush back. 59 beers.

Last but far from least came a trip to the mountain goat brewery in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. We mostly wanted to go here because of my love of the mountains but it turned out to be one of our favourites. We got great chat from a kiwi brewer who served us and I particularly enjoyed the refreshing beer that he had brewed himself (I think it’s called Barnaby’s choice); indeed, all four were good. We loved the atmosphere; in fact, its warehouse style felt like a more developed version of our Oxford favourite, the tap social. It was a great way to end a surprisingly tasty set 63 of Australian beers.

*Apologies to Scandinavians, who do know good beer.

Idioma Australis

Claro que no había planeado escribir sobre la Idioma en Australia, porque hablan más o menos mi lenguaje de madre. También, con televisión de aquí en Inglaterra, creíamos que ya sabíamos la mayoría parte de las palabras diferentes que se usa aquí. Sin embargo, hemos constatado más diferencias que habíamos esperado, así que vale la pena anotarlos aquí.

El tema más común es palabras que se terminan con ‘o’. Ya habíamos oído ‘Arvo’ para ‘tarde’ pero nos sorprendió que se usa este tipo de palabras en situaciones formales. Por ejemplo, tu coche tiene un ‘rego’ que viene del inglés ‘registración’ pero ‘rego’ parece ser la palabra oficial, que se usa por todo. Debe de haber unos cientos de otras palabras así, pero unos que oímos eran: Rydo – una empresa de taxi, Doco – un documental en televisión.

Otra cosa que encontramos difícil era las cantidades de cerveza. Al principio, suena inocente con ‘pint’, lo mismo que en Inglaterra. Pero tengáis ciudad: a veces un ‘pint’ no significa 565ml como esperéis. Después, llega a confundirse mucho más. A causa de los precios de cerveza tan altos ($10-12, ie €7-9 por pinta) no se bebe muchos. En vez, se puede tomar un ‘pot’ (media pinta, creo), schooner (me parece que puede ser cualquier medida entre 300-500ml!), middies (ningún idea – otra nombre para un pot?!) y stubbies (botellas, como se usa también en Inglaterra?!).

Al final, unas otras palabras que no se usa en Inglaterra: ‘beut’ es un palabra que puede significar ‘bueno’ o ‘muy’ (un poco como ‘bear’ para adolescentes en Londres!), Un ‘bogan’ es un ‘chav’, particularmente si viene del campo y un ‘ute’ es un ‘utility vehicle’, que llamaríamos simplemente un ‘truck’. Un ‘golah’ es un tipo de pájaro, pero también se usa como insulto general.
!Espero que entendáis cuando llegáis aquí!