Interview - Capricorn Dave Hitchen

Interview: Capricorn Dave Hitchen, Bushman, Adventurer and Tour Guide

What's your background?

Blue-collar, all the way. I grew up on the outskirts of Brizzie, back in the days when the outskirts were still bush and dirt roads. You could still buy a .22 at Kmart and ride to wherever you wanted to use it on your pushy with it hanging off your back. Try that now, the cops will kill you…hasn't the world changed? I became a cabinetmaker by trade when I left school and stuck with that until 1992 when my own cool business went broke. . So, disillusioned after busting my arse for so long to wind up with nothing at all, in 1992 I changed tack and became a backpacking hobo visiting various parts of the world including several places in Asia, UK, and USA. It's this period of my life that has defined me. I lived so many different lives while travelling Greg - from homeless manic depressant living under the Brighton pier in the UK (the same one mentioned in the rock opera "Tommy's" Pinball Wizard - to Managing Director of an International company in Hong Kong and so much in between. I came to thrive on the uncertainty; the adventure of not knowing what's going to happen next. I enjoyed living outside my comfort zone. Now, every day I head out on a day trip, it's still like that. I've got no idea what's going to happen, I push myself outside my comfort zone and take my customers along for the ride. They love it. So do I.

In November 2000 I arrived in Rockhampton (Rocky) with plans to stop for a beer and a good nights sleep but, as fate would have it I didn't leave the region. It held me spellbound and within a few months I was calling it home. Been here ever since. No-one knows it but Rockhampton's' Capricorn Region is Australia's most diverse destination thanks to it's geographical location and the tourism boffins are too dopey to let the world know that. So I figure - fuckem! I'll make it Capricorn Dave's Rockhampton - Australia's Most Diverse Destination. The crown is there for the taking, some one has to grab it, why not me? , If they don't want it, I'll grab it thanks. That's where I'm at now. In my own small way, I'm telling the world this is the place to visit to see Australia, this is the place you want as #1 on your list.

I do what I do now because it allows me to continue the adventure, keep exploring, pushing the envelope, enjoy the challenges and most importantly - have fun.; that's important. Beyond that, I've wondered into a place that is more diverse than any other part of this incredible country and virtually nobody comes here- can you fathom that Greg? Australia's Most Diverse Destination and nobody comes here? That's because the marketing savvy of the powers that be could fit inside the first gentle squeeze of a gnats fart and still have room to wonder what the fuck it's even doing. I want to change that. I want to make Australia's Most Diverse Destination - Capricorn Dave's Rockhampton - the #1 destination in Australia because that is what it should be. It's not going to be easy, probably impossible for a little guy like me, so I'm just getting on with making it happen. The word impossible translates to I'm possible with the slightest of effort - that's good enough for me. The best way to let masses of people know anything is the media and you're the media man so lets do it together?

Highlights of your career?

Every time I get a customer that freaks to crying tears of a fear at the thought of even seeing a spider or snake and by the end of just one day with me, by being gentle and patient with her, she's so proud of herself because she had a huntsman crawling on her face, or a wild snake in her hands, she's got the photo to prove it and she just plain aint scared anymore! This young girl, many years from now, is going to be showing her grandkids that photo mate. Also… my first snake bite (non venomous) The first time I got a red back on my hand. The first snake that went to sleep in my mouth.

Ever been close to death?

Not sure. Hitch hiked through a black neighbourhood in Washington DC and was told about 20 times I was going to die that night, but I didn't; got x on, kicked, punched and abused but not dead. Hitchhiked through the Bronx, thought I was going to die for sure, but I didn't. Lost a windscreen in an Aeroflot jumbo at 30,000 feet, dropped like a stone to about 3000 feet, then levelled and didn't die (we all thought we were going to though.) The first red back bite worried me a bit, the second didn't have much effect physically or mentally. Maybe the most feared time of all was, as odd as it seems, an attack of "killer prawns" I bought a kg from Coles at about 6pm one night. By 7 pm I was in hospital bloated and barely able to breathe, pink as a piglet, adrenalin needles into me and steroids down my throat to keep my heart going. Doctors wanting my next off kin details "just in case." Was the loneliest time of my life I think, as I've no family up here, but it worked out ok. Doctors told me I was all of a sudden allergic to prawns, but screw it - I couldn't believe that! I love prawns! So a few weeks later I got some more prawns and ate them all in the hospital car park (just in case), God they were good - fresh from the co-op, not Coles crap - No worries mate, been good as gold on them since. I guess I'd have to ask how close is close?

What's the best things about your tour?

It's not a tour; it's a bloody adventure.

Are you a crocodile hunter also?

No. But I'm only just getting started.

Is mud wrestling possible after the mud slide?

Yes it is. And we've had a few. But you need to get back in the water for the mud. The billabong area is typical of this region in that it offers very diverse extremes…you can sink into mud to your knees in the water, but get out on the bank and it's as dry as a dead dingoes donger - gotta love it!

Do you get many good looking sheilas on your tour?

Yes I do. My adventure seems to mostly appeal to girls rather than guys (tough break eh?) and they're usually aged from 18- 25 and from Scandinavian countries. Blonde blue eyed adventure-seeking backpackers with a thirst for the unusual. If I get guys, usually they've been ordered to come by their blonde haired blue-eyed Scandinavian girlfriends. What are they going to do, say no????

What's sex under the stars like?

Depends on the stars…if it's under Carmen Electra it'd be great!

What sort of flora and fauna can one expect up there?

70% of all flora and fauna you can find in all of Australia can be found within a few hours of Rockhampton. It is Australia's most diverse destination due to its unique geographical location. (We're smack bang in the middle of the tropic of Capricorn - where the tropics overlap the temperate zone AND we're sandwiched between the outback and the coast... Tropical, Temperate, outback and Coast…What's left?

If you ask Capricorn Tourism they'd probably give you a shrug, I dunno…stuff… because the only thing fatter than their arrogant ignorant heads is the x arse they've got them shoved into. These people are in charge of letting you know, as a potential tourist, that 70% of everything you can find in all of Australia can be found within a few hours of Rockhampton but they wont! They'd rather tell you the tropic of Capricorn is a x little dotted line that takes you a few seconds to cross and you can take a photo before heading elsewhere to spend your tourist dollars. Why???? Well that's what they've done since way before tourism was a big big industry so why let the facts get in the way of seriously harmful fiction now? In fact that "line is impossible to "cross" because it's over 500 km wide! You have to spend weeks if not months exploring it, spending money along the way….tourism marketing savvy - where the bloody hell are you???? Being sandwiched between outback and Coast and smack bang in the middle of the Tropic of Capricorn means we have every zone in Australia and 70% of ALL flora and fauna Australia has to offer. It's like Mother Nature took our whole continent and squashed it down into one place to make it cheap and easy for you to explore. But you wont find anyone in tourism telling the world that, because they've got their fat heads shoved up their even fatter lazy x. If you can think of why they'd want to keep that a secret instead of claiming our deserved crown of "Australia's Most Diverse Destination" Please let me know. In short, imagine everything Australia has to offer, and then knock off about 30% (eg: snow, Uluru, Opera House, Penguins etc) and that's what this region has to offer you. A lot. More than you know, more than anyone knows.

On a typical two day trip we see roos emus, bearded dragons, brolga, black swans, Jabiru, wedge tail eagles, sea eagles, skinks, Geckos, red backs, huntsman, tree snakes, legless lizards, echidna, pythons, water chickens, long and short necked turtles and more while exploring the Outback, cattle farms, wetlands, billabongs, rainforests, creeks, dirt tracks, back roads, open plains, hinterland, state forest, national parks, volcanic plugs, beaches and more. Add a 3rd day and you can snorkel or dive reefs with countless fish, sea turtles, dolphins and rays, hike a sub tropical island for goannas, possums and breathtaking scenery. Also, If you want to take it further we can explore magnificent limestone caves, hold a crocodile, find them in the wild, explore a palm jungle, see ancient aboriginal art, go platypus spotting, catch a barramundi, fossick for thunder eggs, gold and sapphires, visit the dreamtime, see a goose that is in love with a 1 tonne Brangus bull, witness a rare tidal bore, watch 200,000 bats emerge from a cave at dusk and more than I can fit here as well and Greg, all that happens within 20 to 180 minutes from Rockhampton's GPO! But don't you do that Greg. Don't you dare x do that! Just pull up at the Spire, spend 2 minutes taking your dopey x photo of you "crossing a x hit dotted line" then x off and spend all your hard earned holiday dollars elsewhere!

Who are some of the celebs that have been on your tour?

I've had Steve-O and Pontius from jackass to film a new series called Wildboyz. Ado from blokesworld, Joe from Queensland Weekender, Andrew Daddo from The Great Outdoors, Mel Gibson and Prince Harry (nah, only kidding about Mel and Harry)

What media coverage have your attracted to date?

As above plus some bits in the local paper and my toenails made it into the Sydney morning herald. The Lonely Planet and Let's Go guidebooks rate the day as "very highly recommended" along with many travel books on Australia published in several European countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Germany and Norway. Google search blog - Capricorn Dave Rockhampton - for various traveller accounts.

What package tour do you recommend to folks coming up from Sydney?

Definitely the 5-day 4-night adventure if they have time. This takes in the two days in the bush including camping with me plus 3 days on Great! Keppel Island to recover. Otherwise the 2 day/1 night Adventure including camping in the bush with me.

What's your motto?

I've got two…

If it looks like fun and it probably wont kill you - Do It!

Persistence is the hub for the wheel of success.

What are your current projects?

1. Ripping down the Capricorn Spire legally and with the whole world watching. (The "Spire" is the marker used to mark the "crossing" of the dotted line invented long before tourism was a multi million-dollar industry for Australia) Worth noting markers for Capricorn and Cancer are still in place all around the world for the same reasons…. so tourists can spend just a few seconds "crossing it" offering the relevant region $0:00 in the process rather than spending weeks or months exploring it's rare and unique diversity spending countless tourism dollars within the blessed region. So yes, we'd have to be the first in the world to draw attention to the truth, start the trend and change the way tourists travel but s Greg, you're in media…Isn't being the first a good thing????????????????????????

2. I'm putting together a TV spot on an ABC template I found on the web which I'd like you to take a look at when it's done if you want to. This could be a stand alone series or a small part of a bigger show. Essentially it's my daytrip with 4 backpackers (suitably sexy) who are taken far outside their comfort zone as we explore the real Australia. Utilizing the incredible diversity of Capricorn Dave's Rockhampton, e'd have a very different backdrop and adventure each time. It starts from pick-up at the Greyhound Bus stop, follows their physical, mental and spiritual journey from seeing Australia as being full of deadly and dangerous critters as proclaimed by many many doco's through to seeing the real oz through their changed eyes after experiencing it first hand for themselves. All the while promoting this region as the place to be. You'd be amazed at how many people wont come to Oz because they believe our animal and insect life make it too dangerous and undesirable to contemplate as a destination.

3. Plodding away at getting Capricorn Dave's Rockhampton known as Australia's Most Diverse Destination and the rated within the top 10 destinations for visitors to Australia. Ultimately #1.

What do you do to relax?

I take unsuspecting backpackers out for the day, have a ball and get paid for it. It's not a job; it's a bloody adventure!!


Capricorn Dave

Northern Queensland


Capricorn Dave official website