Your Mates pack er’ up and send it through the Great Southern Land in a race to make it on time for the Indies Awards.
Your Mates Brewing have been to Melbourne more than a few times, but we’ve never taken the long way down and never taken the longer way back. After a crazy year of construction, beers, openings, brewing and some more beers we took the Independent Beer Awards, aka the ‘Indies’, as an opportunity to get out and see a bit of Australia.
Before we could really enjoy ourselves, we had to drive the 20 hour trip to Melbourne in time to deliver beers the Indies. We packed the Amarok, grabbed just a couple cases of beer and stocked up brisket and house made slaw, prepared lovingly by our Head Chef Jutto and Cotton Tree Meats.
McGarry was first up on the navigation and sent us out on a slight detour so we could get onto some of Australia’s lesser known highways. First stop was Blackbutt and its famous Bakery for a round of pies and homemade custard tarts.
Back into the truck we followed the highway south clocking over k’s and getting a glimpse at the Australian outback as it flew by the window. Just outside of Toowoomba, we couldn’t help but stop by Jim’s Jerky and get something to keep us going.
Turns out Jim was a beer drinker, so we bartered a trade, a carton of Larry Pale Ales worth of jerky with Jim’s daughter, Emily. A solid selection of jerky and biltong on board and we were off down the highway again.
Pulling over a few hours later for a little leg stretch, a cheeky Macca Lager somewhere by Wyaga and to watch the sunset while trying to keep the flies out of our beers. A quick driver swap and we were back on the road for a few more hours, eating dinner at a lonely brightly lit truck stop before finding somewhere to throw out our swags by the highway.
We all woke up on queue as the sun came up with mixed reports on how well everyone slept between the rocky ground, almost zero temperature and the constant sound of engine breaks from the nearby truck stop.
We got back on the road for an hour or so before we reached Dubbo for a coffee and some brekky burgers, then it was full pace to Melbourne. Kilometres, hours and the Australian outback blurred by the windows as we made up ground.
Around lunch time we stumbled onto what was the beginning of one hundred kilometres of Canola fields and figured it was as good a place as any to stop for lunch. We burnt a couple laps in the dirt making sure the truck got extra filthy then found a spot to pull out the awning and fire up the burner. A couple Larrys and some brisket and slaw burgers later, we packed up and kept on south.
From then on it was full pace. We crossed the Murray River into Victoria and some more lush bushland, then straight into Melbourne’s outer suburbs and lagged into some traffic. After an hour of crawling through the CBD, we rolled into our accommodation. Exhausted but stoked, we’d made it in time for the Indies.
Taking the long way gave us a chance to meet some characters and see some of the Aussie outback. We traded beers for jerky, slept by the side of the road and got a feel for what Australia’s really like before coming back to the reality of life as we hit the afternoon traffic in Melbourne.