Saturday 24 April 2010

Rocky for... a great steak

Started with a 3-hour tour of the wetlands attached to Capricorn Resort: birds, butterflies and dragonflies, and some interesting chat from Graham. "You could throw a swag over your shoulder and walk north for a week and not see another human," he said, waving his arm expansively over the landscape of rainforest, swamp and beach that stretches up to Mackay with nothing more than a few cattle-stations on the way.

There were more cattle at The Caves Show, the annual A&P event where we found the usual plates of 6 scones, displays of garden produce, photographs with crooked horizons and children's penmanship competitions. Outside, shiny horses flipped over jumps, people in cowboy hats clutched stubbies at the bar and, this being Australia, there were camel rides and souped-up utes to drool over. To be fair, there was as much drooling over at the cattle judging, where Angus - his real name?- explained over the microphone to his deeply interested audience, cowboy-hatted to a man (or child), that he'd placed this particular cow first because of her feminine shape and fine legs. She was a Brahman, the breed of choice up here it seems, though Angus cattle are popular too in Rocky for their excellent eating.

We actually lost count this afternoon of the giant plaster bulls around Rockhampton, Australia's beef capital: they're on business roofs all round town, with puns like Move-a-bull on top of a relocation firm, or Incredi-bull on the media place and so on. We ate part of one at the Heritage Hotel, in wagyu form, and it was perfect - and the service was excellent too.

There was a nasty cane toad on the river path on the way back to the hotel though - horrible things, and an environmental mistake even worse than our possums back home.

And tonight we catch the Spirit of the Outback train to Longreach, and will spend the ANZAC dawn tucked up in bunks, being rocked gently as we head away from this warm, humid, lizard-chirping, palm-fringed coastal life into the red heart of Queensland.

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