I bought my 2009 calendar today – halfway through January they were all on sale - 75% off – wheeeee! And I've only missed 4% of the year – ooh I do love a BARGAIN!!!
For the grand sum of $2.50 I got Australian Country Pubs - and it started me thinking about some of the Aussie country pubs I've stayed in since I started riding.
So... here's the Betty Tour (condensed version) of a selection of country pubs I have loved!
The Homebush Hotel, Penarie NSW. Already mentioned this one in an earlier post – it's in the middle of nowhere, out past Balranald, and a quirkier publican than Phil you are unlikely to meet anywhere!
The Jamberoo Pub, Jamberoo NSW. Rode through a severe thunderstorm (and I do mean severe) to stay there. When we arrived we were pouring gallons of water out of our boots, and wringing out our gloves. The pub seemed so warm and inviting and DRY! I didn't sleep a wink. Rain tinkling down a downpipe outside my room kept me awake most of the night, but one of the staff was kind enough to take the bike gear of our group to a clothes drier.
The Court House Hotel, Boorowa NSW. Only 100kms from Canberra. Me and "The Goilz" are known as the “mud-wrestling bikie chicks” out there (long story). Trust me, there was no mud-wrestling! It was just an ugly ugly rumour. Honest. Graham, the publican, is a rider, and we “kidnapped” him and had a great ride out to Wyangala Dam in 40 degree heat. We all felt like old friends after that.
The London Hotel, Ardlethan, NSW. Brown carpet, low-wattage lightbulbs and a gruesome Ladies' bathroom, with opaque plastic thumbtacked over the missing pane of glass in the door. You don't care about that stuff when you're having an adventure – and we had an adventure all right! Went there with my mate Deb, and we had a ball – met some out of towners whose ute had broken down, and spent a very late night with them at the Bowling Club, then back at the pub playing pool half the night. Was hilarious!
Jerilderie Hotel, Jerilderie NSW. Ned Kelly cut-outs sit atop the buildings in the main street of Jerilderie. Great place with fantastic hot showers and the best savoury mince in the universe. The room didn't appear to be heated though, and there was only one blanket on the enormous comfy bed. It was June, and freezing. Thank goodness I was on my way back from the Wintersun Rally, and had a sleeping bag with me. I dragged it under the blanket and spent a very cosy night. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep before 7.30pm, in the middle of composing a text message. You know, one of those text messages that biker mums send to their daughters at the end of a long day's riding - the "don't worry, I'm alive" messages.
Here's a view down the main street of Jerilderie. Note bushranger Ned Kelly in evidence...
Tathra Hotel, Tathra NSW. Tathra, on the NSW south coast, is one of my favourite places. The bistro had hearty pub food and the locals were friendly. The motel attached to the pub was clean and roomy. Tathra's great – just about every house in the place has magnificent ocean views – but you need to hang out over a clifftop to get mobile phone reception, heh heh.
Mallacoota Hotel, Mallacoota Victoria. My all time favourite town – great roads to get there and had a ball there with my (grown-up) kids for my son's 24th birthday... The pub is very bike-friendly, and offers discounts to bikers.
The Australian Hotel, Coffs Harbour NSW. Has a fantastic bistro which makes the most delicious garlic mash. Oh I am drooling, just thinking about it! One of those big country pubs with wide verandahs and atmosphere atmosphere atmosphere.
The Agricultural Hotel, Singleton. "The Aggie" is right across the road from the railway station. Brilliant if you're a heavy sleeper or kinky about trains. About every 20 minutes another bloody train from the coalmines goes rattling past. All night. The bangers and mash in the bistro were pretty darned good though!
Corryong Hotel, Corryong Victoria. I shared a room with 2 other girl riders, and woke up with their possessions all over me – shoes, sweaters, you name it. Allegedly I had been snoring the night before (yeah, right!), so they had entertained themselves by chucking things at me to try and shut me up. God we had fun.
The Black Stump Inn, Coolah NSW. This one deserves extra special mention! I'd been touring with some friends, and this was part of the trip home. By this time there was only JB and her Ducati, and me and my Suzuki GS500, whose name was Gus.
The day's odyssey began at Port Macquarie and ended at Coolah.
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Disaster struck at Tambar Springs when Gus fell over in the gravel outside the servo (which is a couple of bowsers on the footpath outside the general store.) The lady from the shop told us "The kids reckon bikes always fall over gettin' to the bowser.... fall over gettin' back on the road too". (Yeah thanks, thought I, not yet back on the road.)
On the store lady's advice, we headed to Coolah, the home of the Black Stump, and had a brilliant night at the Black Stump Inn.
When we first walked into the bar to ask if they had any rooms, it was like a scene from a movie - a hush fell over the bar and everybody (all 15 of them) turned to look at the "strangers".... An hour later, everybody in the bar knew where we came from and what we were drinking...
All credit to the young bloke behind the bar. Put yourself in his place. Tiny country town. Two short-haired women in motorcycle gear stride through the bar and ask about accommodation. He didn't bat an eyelid.
“Um, so – will that be single rooms, or – gulp – a double?”
As it turned out, we couldn't stay in the single rooms we asked for anyway, because of a problem with smoke alarms. The lovely publican offered us a room in the shearers' accommodation instead. I was a bit reluctant. In my head I had visions of the bunkhouse in Of Mice and Men. The last thing I wanted was John Malkovitch waking me in the middle of the night and asking me to tell him about the rabbits.
You should've seen our room in the shearers' "shed" at the back of the pub - vomit-green lino, pink chenille bedspreads with peculiar stains - and it was straight across from the "kitchen" that the boys used, which had nudie posters all over the walls. Yep, real bloke territory....and don't even try to imagine the toilet/bathroom set-up!
Being tough motorbike sheilas, though, we were unfazed by it all - particularly as the publican let us stay there free of charge - "it's not real flash, girls - a bit rough, so I won't charge youse". We had the BEST night – and the shearers were nice young blokes who made us welcome. The night at the Black Stump Inn ended up being one of the highlights of the two week tour!
The bikes parked in front of the Black Stump - really and truly!
Well – that's the Readers Digest condensed version – a short guide to some country pubs. My 2009 calendar features some more pubs I wouldn't mind visiting! Watch this space!