Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Awesome Geelong Coffee

I have to share my latest discovery that just happens to be right here in Geelong!
Having spent some time in Brisbane seeking out a decent coffee, I finally found an app that I could use to sniff out the best caffeine hit in town. It's called Beanhunter - and it works! If you only want the best coffee then this is the app for you! It kept me alive while I was in Brissy when I found a little South American owned cafe called SIP.
So now I'm back in Geelong, I thought I'd see what was rating highly in my home town. To my surprise it was a coffee shop in an industrial area called Breakwater - not the sort of place you'd expect to experience a good bean! So, I had to check it out... the place is called Cartel and it is truly unbelievable!
Driving through the industrial estate, I wasn't sure what to expect. Walking through the door was like walking into a coffee den - the roaster at one end of a cosy labyrinth with a mix of sofas and classic wooden tables and music that immediately injected a chill out vibe.
The staff are passionate about everything coffee and even tea - there was a tea room with 100+ different varieties. The coffee is roasted on-site and the roasting area is open so you can have a look. They do everything from expresso to plunger to drip coffee - I tried a cold drip filter coffee fr the first time and was amazed how good it was - straight out of the fridge. Some areas looked more like a science experiment from a school lab :-)
It's an educational experience, the staff all too eager to tell you about the origin of the beans, the way the coffee's produced and some background on the way it's grown and harvested. I love the place. There's even a picture of Her Majesty on the wall - what more could anyone want...
After a few amazing coffees & a few sampler expressos I was almost ready to run a marathon.
If you're a coffee or tea lover then you've got to visit when you're in Geelong. If you visit on a Saturday you might have to park a few blocks away as they reckon it get busy - I can understand why!
Check it out online -
Once the weather gets warmer & I get out on the bike then it'll definitely be a stop here on the way.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Where's the whales?

Brisbane River
After 5 months in BrisVegas it was time for my final flight back home to Geelong last week & the thermal long-johns have been on ever since :-) At least we're heading towards Spring in the next few weeks so with a bit of luck the sun should start moving higher in the sky so the days are longer and warmer.
Point Addis lookout

Anyway, the weather didn't stop a couple of us getting on two wheels & taking a trip down the Great Ocean Road last week.
It's been so long since I've ridden the GO road that I forgot how beautiful it is. The scenery really is breathtaking, and with the road snaking along the cliff edge it's got to be one of the most amazing places in Australia.
We'd heard there'd been a few Southern Right whales spotted along the coast near Apollo Bay so we were well armed with cameras ready to stop at a moments notice. The pillion on the Speed3 was the lookout!
The Arab Cafe - Lorne
It was the perfect day for a ride, sun shining, no rain and no wind. The road was a bit wet in places and there was quite a bit of damage to the bitumen just before Apollo Bay, but overall it was a steady, smooth ride with very little traffic to hold us up.
Our first stop with The Arab cafe in Lorne for a coffee - great to be sitting outside that iconic bike cafe again & the R1 still hangs above the serving area at the front. It's all kitted out ready for bikers with the outside coat hooks for jackets and little shelves outside for a bunch of bikers to rest their coffee cups while they tell each other tales of their motorbike adventures.
As always happens with bikers, we got chatting to another guy who pulled up on his latest purchase - a Spyder! He'd ridden bikes of all shapes & sizes all his life & decided to give the Spyder a try - he was actually still learning how to ride it - very different to riding 2 wheels he reckoned. Interestingly, he'd spend some time working in Leicester and because of his connection with the fire service, he did a tour of the Triumph Hinckley factory after the 2002 fire. He had some great stories.

As we were about to get up & leave we were visited by a friendly cockatoo - he was a cheeky fellow - came right over to us & gave a few naughty squawks asking for food!
We jumped back on the bikes for the best part of the road - the ride from Lorne to Apollo Bay. There was still no sign of whales but it was like a having a tonic getting out on those roads again and experiencing the awesome scenery.
With no whales in sight, we stopped for a bite to eat in Apollo Bay. Looking back at where we had come from looked bleak - dark clouds & overcast. It made us shiver thinking about riding back again.
Our assumptions proved right - as we headed back along the winding Great Ocean Road, the temperature dropped and even with double layers and thermals, it was chilling right through to the bone!
A quick ride via Bells Beach and a stop at Torquay but still no whales - maybe they've all gone north to Queensland where it's warmer :-)