Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Birdsville's café culture

Story and photos Paul Myers

The Blue Poles Gallery"The only problem with the bush is that you can never get a decent coffee" has become a catch-cry of many city slickers - and a few bushies - especially those imbued with what has become known in the big smoke as 'café culture'.

Well, things are changing, and quickly. Many a café, restaurant and even a few pubs in the most unlikely places have decided that "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" by investing in a cappuccino machine and serving something more adventurous than steak and chips.

Birdsville, on the edge of the Simpson Desert and the proud holder of a beer-swilling reputation, is one of these unlikely places.

The unusually-named Caravanserai Café just around the corner from the famous Birdsville Hotel is where you can get not only well-made Italian coffee, but innovative food as well.

Caravanserai's café latte and lamb-and-pistachio nut curry didn't occur just because a city foodie decided to go bush - although that's part of the reason. It goes back much further - to 1976, in fact - when German immigrant and textile designer, Wolfgang John, first visited Birdsville.

Eighteen years and many visits later he decided the outback, where he had travelled frequently since arriving in Australia in 1960 and particularly Birdsville, was to be his permanent home. Story end

Full story: Issue 24, August/September 2002

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