It’s not often I’m the most sober and well-dressed bloke in town, but that was the case when I swaggered into Bundaberg, a remote Queensland outpost built on alcoholism and liver failure. The locals love getting hammered so much they named the joint after their favourite booze, Bundy Rum, a throat-burning syrup which doubles as lawn mower fuel and is traditionally knocked back before knocking out the missus. And trust me, Bundabergians would take that as a compliment!
Bundy offers no shortage of picturesque places where you can pass out in a drunken stupor, from the deserted beaches just out of town, to the Asian-inspired botanical gardens. A favourite pastime of the locals is sitting by the banks of the majestic Burnett River, counting the shopping trolleys as they float by as they wait for the kids to get back from Bunnings with a bottle of metho and some ginger beer.
Philistines! Don’t they know metho should always be paired with a lukewarm cup of orange fizzy drink?
All roads lead to the famed Bundaberg Distillery, but if you do get lost, just follow the swarms of pissheads, barflies and drunkards making their pilgrimage to this sacred site for the shitfaced. As a barely-functional alcoholic, it was the only place I was interested in visiting, so I plowed through my breakfast box of wine and staggered along for the guided tour.
The burly security guide out the front took one look at me as I lined up for the distillery tour and shook his head. “Mate, I’m not letting you through in that state,” he said, as I held onto the doorway to stay upright.
“I mean just look at ya! Yeah, you’re hammered, but you haven’t pissed your pants, there’s no blood on your shirt, and you haven’t threatened to punch my head in even once. I’m offended! This is Bundy, mate, we have standards. Go off, have a bottle of rum and a domestic, then maybe I’ll let you in.”
As I staggered from the Metro Hotel to the Central Hotel to the Bundy Services Club, struggling through an endless tsunami of tasteless XXXX Gold and dodgy rum-and-cokes, dozens of hyped-up locals threatened to knock my teeth out. I was moved to tears, because they obviously wanted me to be one of their own.
Sadly I can’t tell you whether the distillery tour is worth it or not, because I decided to have a power nap outside the nearby Big Barrel and didn’t quite make it. If you happened to find my pants, get in touch with me. Actually, do the world a favour and just burn the bloody things.
Bundy, hey, what can I say? Sorry!