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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duel in the Sun., 8 Jun 2003
By 
Michael Murphy (Glasgow, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Cold Beer and Crocodiles (crocodiles barely feature at all!) is an excellent travel adventure that will appeal to anyone who cosily enjoys the vicarious experience of someone else battling to survive in an extreme landscape: in this case, the Australian Outback. Having lived in Australia for 15 years without developing any emotional attachment to the country, Roff Smith quit his job at Time magazine to undertake a mammoth 10,000 mile round trip of Australia, the rationale being to try to find the 'real' Australia and 'real' Australians, engage emotionally "with the country I'd lived in as a stranger all these years". His chosen mode of transport, a 21 speed touring bicycle would let him get close to the land, experience Australia, its sights, sounds and smells.

In the early stages of the venture, Smith expends much pedal power shaking off the Sydney suburbs and running the gauntlet of heavy, aggressive traffic. City and suburbs sloughed off, six months of gruelling Outback travel follow: its when he hits the furnace of the Outback that the words blaze off the pages as he is plagued for months on end by flies, thirst, dust, scorching heat and feelings of loneliness; is passed by huge triple roadtrains, horns blaring, barrelling down desert highways; witnesses spectacular thunder and sizzling forked-lightning desert storms; bivouacs in scrub under night skies "full of stars as sharp as needles"; works in sheep and cattle stations in the guts of the country - the barren interior; visits an Aboriginal community; picks melons; duels for weeks on end with the vast, hostile expanses of empty, reddish plains baking under the blistering sun ("so much nothing out there - just miles and miles of nothing"). Surviving to the next roadhouse is the order of each day!

On his travels, Smith encounters a mixed bag of characters (mostly helpful) slap bang in the middle of nowhere - in remote roadhouses, isolated settlements or in outstations hundreds of miles of sand, scrub and spinifex away from the nearest town. If the idea of living on the edge appeals to you, then you'll certainly enjoy Cold Beer and Crocodiles. Now try "One For The Road" by Tony Horwitz, another equally good and well written travel venture into the Australian Outback but this time from the very different perspective of a hitch-hiker. Both books highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duel in the Sun., 5 Jun 2003
By 
Michael Murphy (Glasgow, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Cold Beer and Crocodiles (crocodiles barely feature at all!) is an excellent travel adventure which will appeal to anyone who cosily enjoys the vicarious experience of someone else battling to survive in an extreme landscape: in this case, the Australian Outback. Having lived in Australia for 15 years without developing any emotional attachment to the country, Roff Smith quit his job at Time magazine to undertake a mammoth 10,000 mile journey around Australia, his rationale being a desire to try to find the 'real' Australia and 'real' Australians, engage emotionally "with the country I'd lived in as a stranger all these years". His chosen mode of transport, a 21 speed touring bicycle would let him get close to the land, experience Australia, its sights, sounds and smells.

In the early stages, Smith expends much pedal power shaking off the Sydney suburbs and running the gauntlet of heavy, aggressive traffic. City and suburbs sloughed off, six months of gruelling Outback travel follow: its when he hits the furnace of the Outback that the words blaze off the page as he is tormented for months on end by plagues of flies, thirst, dust, scorching heat and feelings of loneliness; is overtaken by huge triple roadtrains, horns blaring, barrelling down desert highways; witnesses spectacular thunder and sizzling forked-lightning desert storms; bivouacs in scrub under night skies "full of stars as sharp as needles"; works in sheep and cattle stations in the guts of the country, the barren interior; picks melons, visits an Aboriginal Community; duels for weeks on end with the vast, hostile, endless expanses of empty reddish plains baking under the blistering sun - "so much nothing out there...just burning sand and scrub and spinifex for hundreds of miles". Surviving to the next roadhouse is the order of each day! On his travels, Smith encounters a mixed bag of people (mostly helpful) in remote roadhouses, isolated settlements or in outstations slap bang in the middle of nowhere.

If you enjoy reading about people living on the edge, this book is certainly for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read. Feel like escaping!, 13 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia (Hardcover)
Well written & entertaining. Enjoyable read about one man's escape from the grind of life for a time. Most of the people he meets are uplifting & make his journey worth while.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intrigued, 7 July 2010
This review is from: Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the book, and was intrigued by the story to venture around australia on bicycle ---- I felt as i followed the long journey, there were gaps that seemed to be missing, I am sure that there must have been a lot more happening and a lot more stories between the various towns. Sometimes it appeared that 100, maybe 200 miles had been covered and i thought where did all that go and nothing was really mentioned.
However,.........the positives far outway the negatives, and a very good read...........thanks
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 13 Mar 2013
By 
Mark Swindell (Bolton, UK) - See all my reviews
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As good a travel book as you could find. Really brings the outback and its characters to life and makes some of the worlds most inhospitable places somewhere you're desperate to go and see! Cannot recoomend highly enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars review, 27 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia (Hardcover)
this book was recommended by a friend as a good funny read not to be missed, it is a true story
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful journey, 20 Jun 2006
A very enjoyable book, bringing many of the remoter parts of Australia (and its inhabitants) to life. A pleasurable read.
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Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia
Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia by Roff Martin Smith (Hardcover - 1 Oct 2000)
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