Slow English

Podcasts about Australia for intermediate learners of English

Podcast 10 – A Hobby in Melbourne – Motorcycling


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Learn English while learning about daily life in Australia, with Rob McCormack

Podcast Number 10 – A Hobby in Melbourne – Motorcycling


Melbourne is one of those cities where you can do a large number of hobbies or pastimes.  One popular pastime in Melbourne is motorcycling.


It is also growing in popularity.   In the countryside around Melbourne there are many fantastic places to go motorcycling.  The major highways out of Melbourne are wide and generally mostly straight.  But if you turn off the major highways onto the minor roads, you will find the roads are still bitumised, adequately maintained and there are plenty of curves and wonderful scenery to enjoy on a motorcycle.

In particular, the area to the north east of Melbourne, within say 300 kilometres, is a great place to go motorcycling on a day ride.  The hills close to Melbourne are called ‘The Dandenong Ranges’, or as most Melbourne people say, ‘The Dandenongs’.   Another name for this region is the Yarra Valley, as the river Yarra runs through it.  This region has a lot of agriculture and also is strong on tourism.  For example, there are about 80 wine growers in this region.


These are world class vineyards and wine making places.  These are always fun to visit, but if you are riding a motorcycle, any drinking of wine must be left for another time.  When on a motorcycle, you need all your senses to be sharp.

There are many small towns in this region. One of my recent motorcycle rides was to a small town called Marysville.  I think this is my favourite small town in Victoria. Let me tell you about this ride.

I often ride with my friend Ray.  Ray has been riding motorcycles since he was a young man and he is now retired.  So he knows nearly all the great places to ride around Melbourne.


For our ride to Marysville, we decided to meet up at Lilydale, a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne. When I arrived, we had a drink and talked about where we would go. Then we looked at and talked about our motorcycles, as we often do. Ray rides a 2006 red and white Honda CB1300.  I ride a 2001 blue, white and black Yamaha XJR1300.  We love our motorcycles.

Then we set off.  We rode off down the highway but were soon riding on minor roads with lots of curves towards a town called Warburton on the Yarra River.  After about an hour’s riding, we stopped for a break.


We always carry a Thermos of hot water so we can make a cup of tea.  At our stop, we were next to thick forest. All we could hear were the birds and the sounds of the forest.  Life is good, we said to one another.

We set off again towards Marysville and rode through dense forests of tall trees on roads that wound around, through, up and down the hills.


The ride was magnificent.  It was a very hot day, but in the hills and riding past the magnificent trees and undergrowth, the air was cool and fresh.

Finally we arrived at Marysville and parked our motorcycles under the shade of large trees in the main street.


Only 4 years ago, Marysville was almost completely destroyed in a terrible bushfire.  It has now been almost fully rebuilt and is a beautiful village once again.


In another podcast, I will tell you about the bushfire danger in Australia.  It is a very real danger and one which we take very seriously.

After eating a fine lunch and having a long chat, we got back on our motorcycles and came back to Melbourne. There is no better way to spend a day, than riding a motorcycle.

If you have a question or a comment to make, please leave it by clicking the comments link at the top of this story. You can leave your comment in English or in any language and I will translate it. Or, you can send me an email at I would like to hear any suggestions you may have. I would especially like your suggestions for podcast topics. Goodbye until next time.


Podcast 10 Quiz - Did you understand the podcast?

You can take the quiz as many times as you like.



adequately = when something is done well enough

agriculture = when people grow plants or animals on the land

arrived = when something has come to a place

bitumised = when a road is covered with a hard, dark blue surface.  Then it will last a long time

break = when you stop doing something for a short time, so you can have a rest

bushfire = when the bush catches on fire and burns everything. Sometimes houses are burned too.

completely = totally

curves = when something bends, like a road when it goes around a corner

danger = when people can get hurt or die

dense = when there are many things together in a small space

destroyed = when something is no good anymore. For example, when soemthing is burned in a fire

forest = an area of trees

growers = people who grow plants on the land

hobbies = things you do for fun, in your free time

magnificent = when something is very, very good to look at, or very, very good to do

maintained = when something is looked after and works well.

minor = not so important

outskirts = on the edge

parked = when you stop your car or motorcycle and turn off the motor

pastimes = the same as hobbies

popularity =high popularity means that many people like it

rebuilt = when a house is built again, after it has been destroyed

region = an area or part of a country

scenery = what you can see in the countryside. For example, hills, valleys and fields

seriously = when we take notice, when we do not ignore it

sharp = when things are very clear

straight = when something has no bends in it

terrible = when something is very, very bad and causes great fear in people

Thermos = this is the name of a container which keeps hot water hot for a long time

thick = when things are very close together

undergrowth = the plants which are growing low on the ground, under the trees

vineyards = where grapevines are grown. Wine is made from the grapes

wonderful = when something is really good

world class = as good as the best in the world

wound around = when something goes around in a curve


  1. Hi Mr Rob

    Nice to know you

    Thank you so much for your podscats.I’m Nhan .I come from Viet Nam

    I listened to podscats and i really love it .I begin to learn English

    Can you help me suggest method to me that how to speak English efftive ?
    Thank you so much Mr Rob

    Kind regards
    Trung Nhan

    • Hi Trung Nhan,
      Many thanks for your comment, and for your kind words about my podcast. I am afraid there is no method for learning a language quickly. The quickest way is to go and live in a country where that language is spoken. Otherwise, it is just hard work. Use as many methods as you can think of, such as podcasts, reading, youtube videos, classroom lessons if you can afford it, getting a tandem partner on such sites as, use an online teacher if you can afford it using sites such as or (there are many other sites on the internet). You just have to work hard and practise as much as you can. That’s what I am doing with my German.
      Good luck with your English studies.
      Have a great day.

  2. Thank you very much for your postcast. It is e very good idea to speak slowly.i learn many things about life in australia and also the vocabulary and the expressions
    I hope to go in your big coutry one day.
    I have still many progress to do
    Have a reat day

    • Hi Martine,
      Many thanks for your comment and your kind words. I hope you can visit Australia one day. Good luck with your English studies.

      Have a great day.

  3. Hi, this Is Ye. you really Do a Wonderful thing and Thanks a lot. I’m a Chinese and I stay in a host family in Australia now. I find It’s really hard to understand what my host said sometimes and sometimes they also cannot understand what I said, so I’m trying to improve my listening and speaking, your podcast help me a lot, and I need insist in listening your podcast. specially, your accent of Australia and culture of Melbourne.

    • Hi Ye,

      Welcome to Australia. Many thanks for your comment and your kind words. Staying with a host family is the best way to learn a language fast, even though it is often hard to understand what your host says. I know how you feel. I stayed with a host family in Germany for 2 weeks and I also found that, sometimes, I could not understand what my host was saying. But I learnt a lot and I am sure you are learning a lot too. Keep practising your English. You are doing very well and will continue to improve.

      Have a great day.

  4. Hi Rob, how are you ?.Thank you for your podscats.Do you know other person what can upload videos because i need more videos to practise read and listen or other website because i need to speak english to improve my english.

    • Hi Cristian,

      Thanks for your message. If you like to watch videos, then I suggest that you try Yabla English. They have many videos of different levels of English for you to watch. Each video allows you to also see the language used in subtitles on screen. I have used Yabla German to help me with my German and I found it to be very good. I am sure that Yabla English would also be useful for someone learning to speak English. The link is While there are some free videos, you will need to pay a subscription to obtain access to all their English videos. Good luck.

  5. Hi Rob,

    Two questions:
    -Why “Thermo” with capital letters. Is it a trade mark?
    -Hot tea in such a hot day? Don´t you use the Thermo for keeping cold drinks?

    I´ve never had a motorcycle, but I love cycling, which is different but I think both activities have in common the enjoyment of nature.

    By the way, I´ve linked to your friend´s blog and it is also very nice. Both of you show love for your country.

    Again, thank you for your pictures of Australia.

    • Hi Ignacio,
      Many thanks for your comment. Yes, Thermos is a trade name, so it needs a capital letter. You can also use a Thermos for keeping things cold. I’m not sure why we take hot tea on our rides, even when the weather is hot. I guess it is perhaps habit, but a nice hot cup of tea is somehow refreshing, even on a hot day. I’m glad you checked out Ray’s motorcycle blog. It is excellent and full of wonderful information about Australia. I agree that cycling and motorcycling have something in common. It is great to get into the outdoors and make that connection with nature.
      Have a great day.

  6. Woah, what amazing experiencie !
    Nice to meet you Rob!
    Thanks for the podcast you do, I can’t wait to go to Australia with a W&H Visa

    I wish to know about a lot of things!

    I’m a graphic designer here in Chile. And we do fairs or little markets, where small independent designers show their work like illustrations and craftworks… Do you have something like this in Australia?
    How the art & illustration are shown there? do you have cultural centers or public places where they are expressed? Here we have GAM (Gabriela Mistral Center There people gather to have a nice walk around, and you can find a theater, expositions, videos, people dancing (the most are students in dancing or actors…) I wish I could find something like this when I go…

    By the other hand, do you know Perth? What does it have in special that all the companies who offer studies overseas, want to us go there? Saddly I don’t have enough money to pay a full course… I’ve just been working since two year… but with that I’m doind an english course and a TOEFL preparation to do the exam…

    I hope to be there in Autralia, whether Melbourne, Sydney or Perth, earlier than late… !

    • Hi Alejandra,
      Many thanks for your message. Sounds like you are going to have a great time when you come to Australia. I don’t know of anything in Australia where independent designers can show their work, however I’m sure such things would exist. I know Perth very well, as I lived there for many years. It is a wonderful city and there is a lot to do there. That is true also of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. I’m sure you can find English courses in all of these cities. I would find it hard to choose between these cities, as they are all unique and are great places to visit and to study.
      Good luck with your adventure.

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