A well-versed dining experience awaits travellers heading beyond Bourke, NSW.

Story By Gretel Sneath

The back o' Bourke is a big place, but there’s an easy way to track down the outback dining experience Poetry on a Plate. Simply follow your nose, or the happy-hour trail of travellers juggling fold-up chairs and plastic wine goblets en route to the open fire at Kidman’s Camp, 8 kilometres north of Bourke.
The menu for this down-to-earth dinner on the banks of the Darling River couldn’t get any more Australian; BYO drinks, plates and cutlery for an entertaining feast beneath the stars. You’ll even sit under the shade of a coolabah tree but, unlike the bush ballad 'Waltzing Matilda', there’s no waiting for a billy to boil; rather, a suite of slow cookers inside a renovated tin shed, complete with red gum bar.
Sarah Goulden’s braised beef casserole, and lentil and vegetable hotpot have been bubbling away all day, casting a seductive spell over the campground. Some nights, up to 100 people line up for a taste, and the accompanying poetry presented by Sarah’s partner, Andrew Hull, is the icing on the cake (or, in this case, the fresh whipped cream on the lemon-curd tart).
“It’s a very dangerous trap to think it’s all about the poetry – people are mostly interested in the meal,” Andrew says. “Sarah has taken it 10 times further than I was ever going to with a bush kitchen.”
Sarah says she didn’t want to serve yet another barbecue. “Caravanners don’t really get the opportunity to have a slow cooked meal or dessert very often on the road,” she says.

This Story is from Issue #99

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2015