Australia Diary 25 March 2002

We had actually camped right next to a school playing field, and so the kids were setting up for an Aussie rules physical education lesson just as we started packing up.

From Wagga, we crossed the border from New South Wales into Victoria and drove to Echuca. I bought myself a blow up air mattress though before we left Wagga. Either I'm getting too old, or the ground is getting harder, but life is much too short to be sleeping on 4mm thin foam roll mats.

I saw lots of native Australian widelife today, including Kangaroos, dingo, birds and a sheep. Unfortunately, all of the above were road kill (dead, run over) - the sheep maybe not, as it didn't even have a head! I did however skillfully manage to avoid adding a rather impressive looking goanna to the statistics by swerving around him.

There is some starkly stunning scenery on the drive through this part of the country.

Deniliquin (Ute capital of Australia) - lunch stop off.

We stayed in Echuca campground. The town's name means 'Meeting of the waters' and is located at the meeting point of the Goulburn and Campasye riversas they join to form the Murray. It is famous for its tourist friendly port area and paddle steamers. We however, after eating a rather nice rice and veggie dish (cooked up by me), decided to check out the local pub (or hotel as they also call them over here). I've mentioned beer in this diary before a couple of times and also made reference to how confusing it can be to try and order one in this country. Victoria is even more confusing than the city of Sydney was. So confusing in fact that I resorted to asking Greg, our friendly barman at the Bridge Hotel to explain the whole confusing mess for me. So, here it is, the definitive (so far) guide to how to order a beer in New South Wales and Victoria - and what you'll end up drinking for your money...

Glass Name Size - metric (ml) Size - imperial (oz) Location - NSW, OZ Location - Vic., OZ Location - UK Price - Echuca (Aus $) Price - Sydney (Aus $) Price - Uk, South (GBP)
Pony 200 7 No No 2 - -
Pot (OZ)/ Half Pint (UK) (middy?) 285 10 No* Yes Yes 2.50 - 1 - 1.50
Schooner 425 15 Yes Yes No 3.20 5.00 -
Pint 570 20 No* No* Yes 5.10 - 2.00 - 3.00
* It is possible to get these measures in some pubs or hotels (most Irish pubs will serve Guinness in pints for you - although it's not very good over here).

The Australians in the hotel (Em, the barman, and bloke X) were convinced that a pint was only a little over a schooner in size. There was also a spirited discussion over how big a pot was - I thought half a pint, the others, more. The argument got heated enough for Greg to belt (run) over the road to the local Irish pub, borrow a pint glass to prove out who was right! I was right in the end!

The evening started to liven up when the local backpacker hostel's turned up. After a few more pots (halves) of beer and a free cocktail the conversation moved on to the important questions in life - such as how you should dance in a nightclub. Various styles were suggested, including the old favorite - big fish, little fish, cardboard box in addition to a few local ideas. The aussie suggestions included scooby doo (creep along slowly on tiptoe, before reering up in surprise or terror), shopping trolley (walk along miming pushing a shopping trolley), chainsaw (left hand in front of you, right hand alternates from hip to to shoulder height at your side)and the famous sprinkler (raise your hands above your head and pretend that you're a sprinkler - all those evenings at method acting school will help here).

Another topic of conversation (and I use that term loosly) was sizes of beer. This time, we were trying to work out the ideal size of a beer glass.It was suggested that a 'schmiddy', or a 'pooner' might be appropriate as a drink that's a little bit more than a pot or a middy and yet less than a schooner (these aussies like their beer cold)

Needless to say, I slept well, with a combination of my new air mattress and alcohol soothing me to sleep.

To tomorrow

Created by Dan Leigh /03/02