Ewan McDonald gets in touch with his inner Easy Rider and heads out on the highway in a laid-back area of Queensland.
Queensland's gang laws mean it's surprising to see 30 chopper-style motorbikes, some with Stars and Stripes petrol tanks and ape hanger handlebars, their tattooed riders in flame-painted helmets and patched leather jackets, cruising single-file along the highway.
It's even more surprising that I'm the leader of the pack. Perhaps because I'm one of the ... er, most experienced bikies in the "gang". I've ridden machines like these since they came with a clutch on the handlebars and gears that needed to be changed on a foot-pedal.
Most of the others are backpackers, European and British, and many have never ridden a two-wheeler before. On the other side of the world, they kickstart their holiday adventures on Australian-made Easy Rider lookalikes - in reality, 49cc mopeds that don't have gears or front brakes and are restricted to 35km/h. That's on the flat: up one of the hills on the two-hour, 20km ride, they'll slow to walking pace.
Dreamed up as a way to entertain bored backpackers at an out-of-a-sleepy-town hostel, a Scooter Roo Tour has quickly become one of the top five things to do on Australia's east coast.
There's a quick lesson in the hostel paddock, temporary tattoos are pasted to forearms, faces and any other exposed flesh, before the leisurely ride takes in country back roads and oceanside esplanades. Then, during a roadside team-photo break, there are shrieks of excitement as inquisitive kangaroos hop out of the bush to see what's going on - or who's coming off. No one, actually.
Finally the bikie-gang-members-for-a-day take a break before heading home to the hostel. They scoff wedges with chilli or tomato sauce. They watch the sun go down over the sandbanks of a serene lagoon at the Town of 1770 burger bar. Some even chug on a ginger beer.
So what's it like, the only place in the world that can claim its name is a four-number word? Perhaps that's not such a stretch when you hear it's on the shores of Bustard Bay.
The twin villages of Agnes Water and Town of 1770 are described as Queensland's "least hectic" seaside destinations, quite an achievement in this particularly laid-back area of Australia. The nearest airports and cities are Gladstone and Bundaberg, each about 90 minutes' drive past gums, farms, the rare pub and not much else.
Agnes Water - no one really knows where that name came from - is the state's most northerly surf beach, because the Great Barrier Reef kills the breaks past here. It has shops, a motel and a stunningly placed upscale campground right on the shore.
Six clicks down the street, its neighbour has history and everyone knows where its name came from. On Wednesday, May 24, 1770, Lieutenant James Cook moored the Endeavour and went ashore with scientists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander "to examine the country". The crew found a large bustard (rather like a turkey) weighing 8kg, killed and cooked it. Cook named the water Bustard Bay and the land Round Hill. It still is.
This was his first landfall in the part of Australia that would become the Sunshine State; the region brands itself the Discovery Coast and the town as "the birthplace of Queensland".
The name was changed in 1970 to mark Cook's bicentennial and honour its contribution to the motel, pub, opulent seaside home, recreational fishing, restaurant and tourism industry (it's the launching place for boat trips to Lady Musgrave Island on the reef).
It was changed a few years later when the Geographic Board objected to a town being named after a number - and the postal service refused to issue the zip code "1770" - and became Seventeen Seventy. It has now reverted to Town of 1770, a decision doubtless met with enthusiasm from local signpost manufacturers and printers.
I park just outside the town at the cairn that marks Cook's visit and walk into the bush that straddles a ridge. Within 10m I'm in gum and she-oak forest wet with a recent shower. Within 20m I startle three good-sized kangaroos grazing a couple of metres from me. Cook's sailors fresh in my mind, I shoot a couple of photos before moving on, making the acquaintance of vivid violet butterflies, skittering lizards, sunset-pink rosellas, flittering and tittering birds.
Continuing along the ridge to Round Hill I come out of the bush and into a full-force gale along the coast. No wonder Cook turned the corner and parked.
That's enough nature for the day. Dinner is at one of the town's better but still casual restaurants, outdoors of course, just across the road from the beach. I ask my host, a local who fishes as often as his wife and boss allow, whether "Today's Reef Fish" on the menu really is. "You'll know as soon as it arrives," he says, and he's right: sweet, firm fleshed, reef snapper that hasn't been battered or abused in any other way.
Bed is at that campground in Agnes Water: a safari tent (with fully equipped kitchen and plumbed bathroom, of course). I leave the door flaps open to hear the surf crashing on the sand, just 20m away, all night.
Getting there: Air New Zealand and its partner Virgin Australia fly to Gladstone and Bundaberg via Brisbane.
Ewan McDonald travelled with Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland.