A distance of just over 1700 kilometres. A journey of this length gives you the perfect opportunity to sample the gamut of road trip cuisine. By the way, gamut is defined as ‘the full extent or scope of something’. It is not the name of the main ingredient in the Chiko roll – but more on that later.
This is a less-than-definitive guide to road trip nosh but it will give you some idea of the human fuel available to you as you make your way north from our home base in Brisbane, Queensland.
The meat pie: No road trip is complete without the consumption of at least one meat pie. And no meat pie is complete without a Pacific-ocean sized pool of tomato sauce floating on top. The meat pie is quintessential road food, as Australian as the Bruce Highway, the main road link between Brisbane and Cairns. Just don’t forget the sauce, cobber.
The hamburger: Many believe the hamburger to be as American as apple pie (which is not considered a road trip favourite by the way) but some food historians suggest it was actually invented in Europe when a chef placed a piece of Hamburg steak between two slices of bread. However, there is no argument as to the popularity of the hamburger on your average Queensland road trip. There’s many a roadhouse and takeaway bar between Brisbane and Cairns, probably a few thousand between Rockhampton and Mackay alone. If one of them doesn’t sell hamburgers, you’re in the wrong country.
Chips and gravy: Road trip food at its messiest. Chips and gravy combine greasiness, goopiness and sloppiness. For all that, this carb-rich snack should fill you up and keep you motoring for many a mile. Particularly good for that final stretch from Townsville to Cairns.
The Chiko roll: As we go to press, tests are still being carried out to determine what actually goes into a Chiko roll. Maybe it’s better not to know. However, the deep-fried Chiko roll is a tasty and popular choice for Queensland road trippers.
***TIP: To while away the hours on your way to Cairns, buy the Chiko roll in the early stages of your road trip – a place like Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane is ideal – and spend the rest of your journey trying to figure out just what the ingredients are.
Fish and Chips: There’s nothing nicer than stopping in a port town like Gladstone, or a beachfront town like Seaforth, buying fish and chips from a local takeaway shop and eating them while you gaze out over the water. Seagulls think fish and chips by the sea sounds quite nice too, and your picnic will soon attract their attention. By the time you’re onto your second mouthful, the sound of waves on the beach will be drowned out by increasingly desperate squawks. Your view of whitecaps on the ocean will soon be blocked out by feathery blurs, as more gulls fly in to join the party. And your head will become a target for those gulls that hover directly above you while they answer the call of nature. Oh yes, there’s nothing nicer…