Thursday, 17 April 2014

Brisbane; A Photo Set

25,990 km


My third stop on my way to join up with the harvest trail in central Queensland was in Brisbane. I stayed in the area of Petrie Terrace with my friend Morag that I know through the bike polo community back in Vancouver. It was a great home base and my hosts seemed as much up for the task of tackling pretty much a four day pub crawl. 

Here is a set of some great shots I seemed out during my visit. 










Stay tuned for an "FYI; Brisbane" post! 

~W

FYI; Brisbane Craft Beer

(Apologies in advance for the lack of pictures of ACTUAL beer) 

A mix of pearly office towers and awful 60's era precast concrete monsters bound together by a rats nest of urban planning errors, Brisbane still surprised me with things that may go unseen by the naked eye. Luckily I had a host of great friends that were able to guide me to the best craft beer bars, cafés and breweries all while seeking out some of the cities remaining architectural landmarks. What resulted was a four day long craft beer crawl. 



To my surprise Brisbane is actually home to a pretty developed and thirsty craft beer scene. What it lacks in the number of local or state craft breweries it more than makes up for in taphouses, cafés, and bars. The start of our tour began at one of the marquee craft joints in town, Archive Beer Boutique. Here I enjoyed some really good pints notably, Brewcult's Beer Geek Rage Quit IPL, and local a by Noisey Minor(Fortitude)'s RSVP Baltic Porter. Archive is know throughout Brisbane for its over 20 taps, and large selection of local, Australian and International bottle selection, of which I had to have a local favorite from back home, St. Ambroise IPA! After that we hit up a newer joint down the street called Burrows. 

Burrows has 4 craft taps and a moderate Australian and international craft bottle selection, and was fortunate to enjoy Mornington Peninsula Brewing's Mosaic IPA on tap. So delicious! Burrows is also a quaint little cafe with great coffee and lots of good food. 


The next day it was worth while to visit the Bottanical gardens where downtown seems to pop out of the far corner of the park. We also paid a visit to the Treasury(a great market is open out front every Wednesday), and the gallery upstairs in the old Brisbane city hall building. The exhibits were great photo collections of the indigenous people that populated the area and the history of Brisbane, which had maps, and I love maps.



We then had another big day of boozing on the craft tour starting at the Belgian Beer Cafe in the CBD. I personally only found the outside beer garden the only thing it really had going for it... Otherwise it was mostly AB InBev product and a rather uninspiring bottle list. 

Next stop was for a few jugs at the Brisbane Brewhouse, I would recommend trying the Belgian Wit, Rye Brown Ale, and if your into something a bit more sessionable the Brisbane Pale Ale. Next stop was the small taphouses that are almost directly adjacent to each other, The End and BOSC.

(Sorta related... Near Brisbane Brewhouse)

At The End you need to The End/BlackStar's Collab Mocha Stout and also they had one of my favorites on tap, Mountain Goat's Rare Breed India Red Ale. The bar sports craft 4 taps and a small bottle menu. 

At BOSC you can expect to find a bartender that is no stranger to chatting about beer, we went on and on about brewing and great beer. Also they sport about 8 craft taps and a moderate bottle menu. 

My final day was started nice and early out in the north east suburb of Teneriffe at the Newstead Brewing. The luxurious interior of this former warehouse turned brewery totally does justice for the food and beer menu. They have everything from sessionable to the $80 Bottle of scotch barrel aged ale made with truffles. They have twelve taps and from what I had I definitely enjoyed the Rye IPA and IPA's the most. 


Next stop was another brewery in Teneriffe and my favorite beer in the city, Green Beacon Brewing. They have about 8 taps and my favorite had to be the Reds Dead West Coast Red Lager, such a well balanced beer with Centennial, Columbus, and Citra hops. So good. 


The last stop and the spot that I think will have to take best customer service would be the Bar Scratch. The bartenders were so nice and they also have about 8 taps and a moderate bottle menu. It's a cozy place with relaxing couches and I won't forget, a great Stout spider with beer infused ice cream! 

One more shout out for a few good beers(4 taps) and great coffee, is the alleyway gem called "John Mills Himself". This little spot is off 40 Charlotte Street in the CBD.

That's is for my FYI Brisbane! 

Newcastle; A Photo Set

25,190 km

About a week ago my travels brought me to the quaint Australian seaside city of Newcastle. I had about 40 minutes there and here is what peaked my interest...







Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Sydney; AHBPC 14

A late post but better now than never.

A few weeks ago was the Australasian Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships 2014 in Sydney Australia. About 40 teams from Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia descended on Sydney to try and bid for spot in this year's world hardcourt bike polo championships in Montpellier, France.



For this three day tournament I played with my fellow Polo friends Will and Fran on the team Freewheel Burning. After a well-done first two days and after finishing sixth in the round Robin, we played hard on the third day but ended up finishing 17th. 


There was some really great action going on at Tempe recreation reserve and at the end The Fist of Melbourne/Seattle ended up taking all the spoils, with the Alchemists(PER) finishing second, and The Sentinels(BRI) fininshing third. 



It was a great weekend of partying and polo! Here is a photoset of team colours! :)




W

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Sydney, The Harbour City

25,030 km

Here I am still in Sydney enjoying every moment of this beautiful city. A reuniting with old friends, making connections that will live long in memory, the first dip in the ocean since arriving, and assimilating in a city with some really great culture. 


When I arrived a few weeks ago it was after a month of farm work in Victoria. That means a month of no polo and being away from my friends in Melbourne, so what better way to get to sydney than with a convoy of the Melbourne polo peeps! 

(Photo courteous of Dante Kurth) 

When I arrived for the purposes of the Australasian Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships, I was immidiatly reunited with my good friends Morag, Niki, Lachie, Jono, and Sean. All of whom I had pleasure to spend lots of time with in North America. The week that would follow was filled with lots of drinks, pubs, steak nights, and polo. (A post will follow a bit more in depth about the tournament)


I have been privileged to have all the time in the world while I have been here. So I have taken some opportunities to do the touristy things. Sean and I managed to get out for a ride around the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Royal Botanical Gardens, and out for a bit of Chinese food(I really like dumplings!!!)







My friend Adrian, who is still lingering in Sydney after the tourney, and I managed to get our shit together for a nice day out at Manly Beach on the north side of the harbour. Hot sunny weather, some bike rides, a swim in the ocean(well a dip... I just had a tattoo done, so no salt water for me), and a 6 pack of the local 4 Pines Kolsch made for a pretty memorable day. 





The rest of my time has been spent assimilating into the hip culture that radiates from the Newtown, Erskinville, and Darlingoton suburbs. Here are a few great photos from these areas. 




My time here is coming to an end but I think I have one more weekend and thankfully a couple more nights of polo! 

Cheers Sydney! 

-W


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ovens Valley; Myrtleford, Bright and Mt. Buffalo

24,396km

My travels have brought me to this picturesque area in Victoria that is situated on the western side of the Australian Alps. The valley is about 60 Km long and is bound by mountain ridges to the north and the high mountain plateau of Mount Buffalo National Park to the south. 



I arrived in the area via train from Melbourne to Wangaratta, and decided to bike the beautiful rail trail called the Murray to Mountains Trail that slowly climbs from Wangaratta to Bright. It is about 65km long and there are lots of stops at the old stations as well as water breaks. There is also a private bus service that can return you and your bike from Bright to Wangaratta(Bus-a-Bike). Don't forget to stop at the Bright Brewery for a great beer reward after finishing! 




The Ovens Valley is a mostly farming and timber producing region due to its firtile valley floors and pine forested hills. The primary agriculture is livestock, grapes, walnuts, and hops. There was also a thriving tobacco industry in the area up until about five years ago when the government took steps to shut the industry down. It is quite obvious of this history when biking or driving through the area due to the number of old tobacco kilns that are still scattered across the countryside.  



While working and living on the farm I managed to get up to a few things in the area while working long hours. One major  activity I did besides drinking a few microbrews at Bright Brewery and biking around the valley, I managed to get up to Mount Buffalo National Park. 





The park is a rather unique formation of sheer cliffs and remarkable granite tors  atop a high plateau. The geological features that are observed today were once covered in lava. About 500 million years ago the lava was slowly eroded away exposing the sedimentary rocks that are now breath taking features of the park. 




While we were in the park we did some hiking, some swimming in the lake, and we tried to find some geocaches which are things hidden and listed on the internet according to their coordinates. One of my friends on the farm did this for fun with a handheld GPS. We caught an interesting sunset to round off a memorable experience in one of the more beautiful places I have ever visited. 


Despite working long hours on the farm and being rather tied down there I still managed to experience a bit of culture and environment around me. It was a memorable place that I hope to be back at next season. 

Here are a few more photos. 

~W