Raising cattle the way nature intended
Boasting vast, sprawling swathes of land, the Outback is a remote region in Australia that’s known for its arid but stunning landscapes. One family has made it their home, raising their population of cattle the old-fashioned way across some three million hectares of land spanning five properties.
Meet the Brooks, a family of farmers that began rearing cattle from the family’s home base in the small town of Birdsville during the 1990s. Their business was founded on century-old traditions – raising cattle the way nature intended. The more-than-40,000 heads of cattle on their farm are able to roam freely across their grounds with minimal fencing. This means no pesticides, pollutants or hormones are used, the cattle are raised in fresh air and sunshine, and they feast on seasonally changing pastures made up of hundreds of species of native grasses and herbaceous plants, choosing the diets that nature intended. The result: high-quality, grass-fed organic beef.
Brook Pastoral supplies beef to OBE Organic – the first organic beef exporter in Australia which was set up by a group of pastoral families, including the Brooks. Other farmers involved in the partnership can be found here. OBE Organic has been certified organic, and is working to make its entire supply chain more sustainable. This includes setting goals such as ensuring sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater and working with producers to reduce net carbon emissions, and promoting safe and secure working environments for all workers.
Sunshine Coast resident and 2016 MasterChef runner-up Matt Sinclair is a big fan of these producers’ natural practices. “One of the most incredible opportunities you can have as a chef, is to be able to come out to places like OBE Organic and meet the faces behind the produce,” Sinclair says. “You walk away with an incredible feeling inside knowing that these cattle are in safe hands.”
Sinclair is currently the owner of Sum Yung Guys, a trendy modern Asian restaurant in Noosa. Because visitors from other countries can’t yet travel Down Under, Sinclair has whipped up a sumptuous recipe of Soy Braised Short Rib with Pickled Papaya and Shiso, with a sesame salad on the side, which you can enjoy at home with locally sourced ingredients. You can get OBE Organic’s beef from retailers in Singapore such as Meat the Butcher, Swiss Butchery and Greenwood Fish Market. Check out the recipe below and give it a go.
Why you need to visit Outback Queensland
Although border restrictions are still in place, the Outback should be at the top of your list if you’re looking at a jaunt around Australia once leisure travel commences again. Spanning a whopping 901,574km², the Outback, also known as Queensland’s backyard, offers experiences that are full of adventure that will allow you to reconnect with nature and explore the great outdoors. Admire majestic red deserts; cool off at Julia Creek’s water park; pencil in a farm stay; enjoy a soak in bathtubs that boast spectacular views; and pitch a tent at various campsites as you gaze at the glorious starry skies – these are just the tip of the iceberg on what you can find in the magnificent Outback.
Not just that, with over 20 national parks that promise sheer beauty in the form of lush forests, winding waterways, towering cliffs, undulating sand dunes and deep gorges, a hike in any number of these spots will help you break a sweat and bring you great peace. Some to add to your bucket list: Munga-Thirri National Park; Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park; and Porcupine Gorge National Park.
Music lovers should not miss the unique Big Red Bash music festival that occurs in the Outback every July. It’s a three-day affair that occurs under the open skies of Australia’s Simpson Desert, where you can enjoy live music in the presence of a spectacular sunset. To learn more about the pioneers of the Outback and the history behind some of Australia’s greatest and bravest explorers, stock workers, pastoralist, and Aborigines, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame is not to be missed. There, visit the various galleries for informative exhibitions and sit through a cinematic experience detailing the stock industry.
With so many exciting towns making up this great expanse, you can make shorter work of getting to and from this diverse destination by flying into and out from any of the 19 different airports servicing the region. You can also take scenic rail services through Outback Queensland, one of which is the Spirit of the Outback, a 26-hour rail journey through ever-changing scenery and rugged terrain between Brisbane and Longreach. It is a great way to see the Outback in comfort. You can also go for an unforgettable road trip that will take you though a variety of landscapes. Whichever way you choose, it’s a sure-fire way to make lifelong memories with your travel companions, once we can travel freely again.
Get to know Matt Sinclair
Originally from the suburbs of Sydney, Sinclair comes from a long line of talented home cooks who honed his passion for great food. The laid-back young chef became a household name when he participated in Masterchef Australia’s eighth series, eventually coming in second.
After the season wrapped, Sinclair and his best friend decided to fulfil their lifelong dream of owning a food truck. and set up a store in the form of a 20ft shipping container at Eat Street market in Brisbane. The success of their food truck lent them the confidence to build a more permanent business on the Sunshine Coast. In 2017, they welcomed their first guests to Sum Yung Guys, a modern Asian restaurant that continues to be a crowd favourite.
Sinclair sees Queensland as a culinary hotspot and draws inspiration from the region for his menus. “Queensland’s food scene is ever-emerging with some amazing new establishments in amazing locations, championing the unique produce we’re renowned for,” he says.
Today, Sinclair also runs his own YouTube food channel (Mean Eating) and is an Ambassador for Noosa Tourism.
Covering the north-eastern portion of Australia, Queensland is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches, with a coastline that spans nearly 7,000km. Brisbane, its capital, is already an attractive destination, thanks to its thriving arts and dining scene, but its accessibility also enables travellers to use it as a hub for scenic road trips through the rest of the state.
Within the city, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the growing number of sophisticated dining venues popping up across town. A popular choice is the heritage-listed wharf along the Brisbane River, where you’ll find an eclectic collection of fine dining establishments, bars and breweries. Even nondescript laneways in the city have been spruced up to house chic cafés and trendy restaurants. To eat like the locals do, pop by Eat Street Northshore, which is the city’s largest street food market and features a mouth-watering array of international cuisines as well as live-music entertainment.
Taste of Queensland is a campaign that aims to highlight local produce from Queensland’s famous food bowls. From the Sunshine Coast for fresh ocean catch to Outback Queensland, producer of the finest Australian beef, all the way to North Queensland for tropical fruits galore, you can easily (and happily) eat your way around Australia’s second-largest state.
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