I first met Steak the adventure dog in Buckley’s Plains – about 10 kilometres north of Broome in Western Australia – lazing in rust-coloured dirt next to an old shed. We were about to head north with camels and a trailer towards Cyclone Nicholas, a journey I won’t soon forget. Little did I know, however, I would later follow Steak through ghost towns in Tasmania and to an old bushranger cave, hidden behind a forested mountain in southern Queensland.
Formerly known as Sasha, Steak’s life changed irrevocably when she crossed paths with Luke, a mad hatter Australian adventurer who is also my mate. The story goes that one day, Luke visited his sister’s house and came across her dog. Seeing Luke with his Akubra hat and sporting a bushy beard, Sasha fled under the house, horrified. Luke managed to lure her out with a piece of steak, the two became mates and the rest is history.
Steak then inadvertently embraced a life of adventure under the tutelage of her new master, Luke. And it was after wandering around northern Broome for a couple of months that Steak and I got to know each other fairly well. She’s a laid-back sweetie who’s up for pretty much anything. I’ve also never heard her complain.
It was great to catch up with Steak the adventure dog six years later in 2014, in Gormanston – a ghost town in Western Tasmania. I climbed the town’s Mount Owen through fog and autumn chill by her side, and so it was an even bigger hoot when I caught up with her again in Byron Bay. She’s looking a tad stiffer now, however she handled her latest adventure admirably, exploring the wildly beautiful Bushrangers Cave in QLD with her trademark grin.
Standing beneath the towering rhyolite overhangs – where many an adventurer (some nefarious) has found refuge – she looked right at home. I was going to take Steak and Luke to Coomera Falls afterwards, however I found a tick on my leg on the return journey and we worried she might have one too. I took Luke back to Byron Bay, where he gave her a much needed haircut and a tick rinse to keep her healthy.
Luke went a little crazy with her haircut and apparently the vet laughed just as much as I did when she was done. Steak looked embarrassed too. Although she’s now ready for her next adventure, a road trip back to the wild, pindan-stained country of Broome, where Luke is set to work in Malcolm Douglas’ crocodile park once again.
Have you ever travelled with a dog? Do you think they’re too much of a hassle with Australia’s national park laws? I’d love to hear your thoughts!