Cover image for Cold beer and crocodiles : a bicycle journey into Australia
Cold beer and crocodiles : a bicycle journey into Australia
Smith, Roff Martin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Adventure Press, National Geographic Society, [2000]

Physical Description:
284 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1046.A8 S65 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The born wayfarer takes his time, stays close to the land, and lives by its rhythms, always ready when a friendly nod turns into a dinner invitation but just as happy to camp alone under the Southern Cross. He's a free spirit, following the road map of his own adventurous imagination. When he happens to be a keen observer and a vivid writer as well, the result is a classic travel book.

American Roff Smith had been living in Australia for 15 years when he quit his job, pared his life to what could be carried in the panniers of his bicycle, and pedaled off on a 10,000-mile circuit of the continent. By the time he coasted back into Sydney nine months later, he had discovered an Australia that eludes the casual traveler; "Cold Beer and Crocodiles" is his evocative, eventful report from the highways and byways of "Oz," an affectionate portrait of his adopted country and its colorful people.

It's a tale worthy of the bold explorers who lived -- and sometimes died -- to open up this vast, isolated, beautiful world, from chilly Tasmania to the arid, blistering outback, where temperatures soar to 140 degrees in the midday sun. On a go

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Smith relates the story of his bicycle trek through Australia in this amazing travel account. The New Englander, who has lived in Australia for the past 15 years, had never taken the time to see the country and realized he had no feel for the nature and character of Australia. Restless, he impulsively quit his prestigious job to embark on this journey. His adventure takes him through cities, mountains, deserts, and incredibly remote outback villages. Pitting himself against nature's harshest elements, Smith battles steep hills, headwinds, 140-degree heat, tropical storms, and xenophobia with a strength of purpose that rarely falters. Along the way, he crosses paths with a number of hostile and unsavory characters, but it is the surprising kindness and generosity of most of the people that touch him the most and teach him what it means to be "Australian." Smith set out as a foreigner, but he returned with a new and profound understanding and appreciation of that beautiful country and its people. The story of Smith's initiation into his adopted culture proves to be an engaging read. Gavin Quinn

Library Journal Review

In 1996, after 15 years of working as a journalist in Australia, expatriate New Englander Smith (Australia: Journey Through Timeless Land) circumnavigated the entire Australian continent on his bicycle. This is an account of his lone nine-month bicycle journey, in which he covered 10,000 miles. Most of the book describes the Outback, sheep-shearing in Queensland, the mining towns and rain forests of the Northern Territories, pearling ports and aboriginal communities in Western Australia, cattle stations, and desert campsites. And while the trip may be grueling, Smith's style, even when he writes of heat and desolation, is dazzling. Equally fascinating is the description of the derelicts, drifters, and Crocodile Dundee characters whom he meets. Whenever he is down and on the verge of ending his odyssey, Smith fortuitously meets strangers who encourage him to go on. At the end of the book, Smith's response to Einstein's question, "Is it a friendly universe?" is a decided yes. Highly recommended.DRavi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
1 Shaky Pedalingp. 5
2 Escape Routep. 15
3 A Fantom Encounterp. 19
4 Numb in Nimbinp. 23
5 Gold-Coast Gantletp. 29
6 Twilight Time in Brisbanep. 35
7 Cross Cultures in Sugar Countryp. 39
8 Bundaberg Bayoup. 53
9 In Which I Contemplate Tackling the Capricorn Highwayp. 63
10 Into the Outbackp. 65
11 Getting to Know Ewep. 75
12 Rule Birricanniap. 83
13 Effin' Qp. 91
14 Kentucky on the Coral Seap. 97
15 Emus and Mep. 107
16 Mates in Paradisep. 113
17 A Long Shot Comes Homep. 127
18 Barkly Tablelandp. 129
Tableland Tales IIp. 130
Tableland Tales IIIp. 131
Tableland Tales IVp. 133
19 Ants, Sweat, Salt, and Fliesp. 137
20 Buildup to a Downpourp. 143
21 Lost in the Labyrinthp. 151
22 Watermelon Manp. 155
23 Life's a Beachp. 161
24 Father Matt of Bidyadangap. 169
25 I Love a Sunburnt Stationp. 177
26 Death March to DeGrey Riverp. 185
27 Shagsie and the Pythonp. 189
28 Roadhouse Bluesp. 193
29 "Sure Hope You're Heading South!"p. 199
30 "We Sell Water Here!"p. 203
31 Christmas in Geraldtonp. 209
32 Down to Perthp. 215
33 Road Rashp. 223
34 Robo-Biker Reboundsp. 229
35 The Southernmost Norseman You Can Findp. 233
36 "Refusal Often Offends"p. 235
37 Nullarbor = Much Ardorp. 239
38 Of Headwinds and Headcasesp. 247
39 Answering Einstein's Questionp. 251
40 Back to the Barossap. 255
41 White-Line Feverp. 259
42 Making Mandolinsp. 265
43 Black-Stone Roadway by the Seap. 267
44 A Tasmanian Devilp. 269
45 Memories of Melbournep. 273
46 The Last Legp. 277
Epiloguep. 282
Glossaryp. 284