Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Books

These Easy Riders are wizards in Oz

With the travel sections of many high street book stores littered with the follies and memoirs of modern travel writers, it must be hard to carve a niche of your own - to do something a bit different.

And, though Geoff Hill and Colin O'Carroll have chosen a well-documented country in Australia, with its seemingly endless mystique and wonder, the fashion in which they've gone about penning their experience is refreshingly unconventional.

The pair travel on their Triumph motorcycles on a round trip from Adelaide to Adelaide, following the edge of Australia anti-clockwise to Rockhampton, then cutting through the interior on their way to Darwin.

Written in diary form, both Hill, a veteran of travel writing, and O' Carroll take turns to start from where the other left off, or give a different look into a similar scenario the pair faced. In this, you find yourself drawn from page to page, less reading about their journey than riding on the back of one of their bikes with a 'tinnie' in hand (and humming Puppy Love).

Hill and O'Carroll's writing fuses wonderfully, with Hill offering bursts of tongue-in-cheek coupled with O'Carroll's factual geographical commentary and witty takes on the areas they visit.

O'Carroll also manages to wedge moments of poignancy in between the anecdotes, as it is, for him, a great exploration of the country that he and his family emigrated to when he was a 10-year-old boy in order to escape the Troubles.

The catalyst that helps the book flow is the punchy sharp dialogue regularly reflected by the pair and they manage to shine a light on some of the social and political issues that still lurk in Australia to this day. In one such example, Hill asks an Aboriginal sitting under a tree: "How you doing?''

"Doing all right, mate. No white fella's ever asked me that before.''

"Really? Since when?''

"Since all my life, mate."

Not just a hilarious journey around the country with Hill and O'Carroll, with their ill-functioning laptops and charger-less mobile phones, the book doubles up as an insight into Australia in the present day, from the modern architecture of the cities to the laid back attitude prescribed to small town dwellers.

A must-read for anyone planning to visit the big island soon.


From Belfast Telegraph