The quality of pâtissier Kate Reid’s croissants have been acclaimed around the world as the best that you can buy. Kate now has five stores in the Lune Croissanterie brand that she’s launched in her homeland of Australia – but the opening of her store in Brisbane, didn’t go quite as originally planned. In August 2021, just as it was about to open, Australia entered a strict lockdown. Sadly, for Kate, she was a considerable distance away – Melbourne, some 1,800km to the south. And there she would have to remain until restrictions eased. It did have one silver lining, thankfully – the former F1 aerodynamicist had plenty of time to hatch a plan to get from Melbourne to Brisbane in memorable fashion once the lockdown was finally lifted.
Lune Croissanterie’s buttery, flavoursome treats regularly lead to queues outside their stores, which are spread across the cities of Melbourne and Brisbane. By the time that Australians were given the green light to travel, Kate had arranged a very special way to join in the fun at the Brisbane store. Porsche Australia had provided Kate with a Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo and she had enlisted the help of a photographer friend, Bianca Tuckwell, to join her on an epic electric roadtrip. Ahead was an open road, an open mind and three days of emission-free driving.
Introducing ‘Steve’ – the all-electric Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
After departing for Brisbane from the Lune Croissanterie shop in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, it didn’t take long for Kate and Bianca to discover that their Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo in Neptune Blue – which they soon nicknamed ‘Steve’ – was comfortable, quick and spacious. In other words, the ideal long-distance tourer. Although they had already planned their charging stops en route, they were initially a little anxious, so decided to stop ahead of schedule in the town of Euroa – some 150km north of Melbourne – for an early practice session in the art of charging an EV.
“We found out that we needn’t have worried after all,” says Kate. “Bianca realised with her first attempt at charging an electric Porsche that it’s ridiculously simple. Once plugged in, we could leave Steve be and go explore the service centre amenities – although it’s safe to say that the baked goods offering at Australian roadhouses could do with a little upgrade.”
We know what you’re thinking – why the name Steve? “I know a few guys [called Steve] who are just great Aussie boys,” explains Kate. “Good-looking, reliable and they get stuff done – but in a classy fashion. And that was Steve wrapped up. He’s even better than any human Steve I’ve ever met!”
Representing women in automotive
The prospect of spending nearly 2,000km driving in a car with the same person may fill some people with mild dread, but that never entered Kate and Bianca’s minds. Not only are they best friends, they had previously worked on a Porsche shoot together (where Kate’s Porsche 718 Cayman GTS was the focus), so already knew that traversing deepest rural Australia wouldn’t be an issue. The chance to head out on another roadtrip, this time with the all-electric Taycan 4S Cross Turismo, was impossible to resist says Kate. “We thought it was just the coolest idea ever, because the Taycan represents the future,” she explains. “My dad used to restore vintage Porsche vehicles, so I grew up surrounded by the cars. It’s a brand that’s always been close to my heart.”
Another important element of this all-female partnership was to help reset how women are typically portrayed on film when engaging with cars – where they are often positioned posing, leaning or sitting on cars. Here was another chance for Kate and Bianca to change the narrative.
“Because of how I’d previously been photographed by men, I wanted Bianca to get amazing shots of me using the car in everyday situations,” says Kate. “With my background as an aerospace engineer and working in F1, not only do I know how to drive my car, but I also understand all of the design and engineering behind it. So, when I drive it, I feel like I really connect with it.”
From fast charging Taycan to retro motels
From Euroa, they continued the drive northwards into New South Wales. On their way Kate and Bianca sought out examples of the recent revival in retro Australian hotels and motels. And there was one candidate in particular on their hit list. Decorated in pastel hues and featuring nostalgia-inducing neon signage, The Astor Hotel Motel in Albury, New South Wales was the perfect backdrop for Steve’s first proper photoshoot. “There was more than enough storage in the Taycan,” says Kate. “Even though Bianca had all her photography equipment and she made me bring so many outfits for each day – I had three huge bags.”
Next, Kate and Bianca headed off to an ultra-rapid charging station in Gundagai, in between Wagga Wagga and the capital city of Canberra – but not before being wowed by the car’s power on long, open stretches of road. “What I love about the Taycan is that at its heart it’s still a sportscar,” Kate says. “It hasn’t compromised on design or performance – it’s simply electric. It’s everything you could want in a car.”
Upon reaching the charging point in Gundagai – a short walk from the historic Dog on a Tuckerbox monument, inspired by a well-known Australian folk song – they quickly plugged in and headed off to stretch their legs. After a photo opp by the monument, the two women wandered up into the lush, green hills beyond. “The country air was invigorating. It was as if we were seeing the natural beauty of the countryside for the first time,” says Kate.
Returning back to the Taycan, they got into conversation with another EV driver who was about to plug in his car – “It felt like we were in this club of electric vehicle owners!” says Kate. At their next plug in-and-go stop, 250km away in Orange, a town famed for wineries and gourmet culture, it was becoming increasingly evident to Kate and Bianca that travelling by electric car was allowing them to see corners of the country they might otherwise have missed.
What I love about the Taycan is that at its heart it’s still a sportscar. It hasn’t compromised on design or performance – it’s simply electric. It’s everything you could want in a car
Sampling the full power of a Taycan 4S Cross Turismo
When it came to negotiating longer highway stretches, Kate relished putting the Taycan to the test. “It just confirmed for me that it’s every inch a Porsche sportscar. The acceleration is simply exhilarating,” she says. The experience was even more vivid for Bianca, who had never driven a Porsche before. “The first time she took over the driving, she looked at me and got a bit emotional,” adds Kate.
The long, straight roads that lead into the town of Parkes proved the perfect location for discovering how powerful the Taycan could be. “That was probably the most fun day,” says Kate. “There was one very memorable hour where we were in awe of how fast, and yet how quiet, the Taycan was. It felt space-like.” As they passed by rolling hills at sunset, the sky burned a deep orange. Kate said that it helped give Bianca and her a whole new appreciation for Australia. “We looked at each other in wonder at how incredible it was to have the opportunity to do this,” she recalls.
From Melbourne to Brisbane: the home straight
Continuing into rural New South Wales, Kate, Bianca and Steve the Taycan 4S Cross Turismo passed through the small town of Tomingley, which revels in the claim of being the ‘Gateway to the Highway’, before a quick stop at the Western Plains Cultural Centre in Dubbo to for another recharge. From there it was onto the somewhat surreal location of a cactus farm in tiny Gilgandra, before passing through the barren landscapes between the towns of Coonabarabran and Gunnedah.
Arriving in Armidale presented yet another great photo opportunity as they pulled up in front of the beautifully restored Tattersalls Hotel. Its bright art deco frontage felt somewhat at odds with the mist and chilly temperatures that met them in Armidale, but after a stroll around town they returned to their car to be met with a welcome surprise – a very toasty Taycan. Using the Porsche mobile app, Kate had been able to pre-warm the car’s interior. “The level of smart just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that ‘Steve’ had our backs once again,” says Kate.
From Armidale they drove east towards the Pacific Ocean and a rendezvous with the coastal city of Byron Bay. Bianca, who grew up in the area, directed Kate towards Wategos Beach where they somehow managed to get this spectacular spot all to themselves. “Iridescent afternoon light, one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, my best friend and ‘Steve’, on the road trip of a lifetime? It doesn’t get much better than that,” says Kate. All that remained now was the final stretch from Wategos in to Brisbane city centre.
Rolling up – finally – outside the Lune Croissanterie in Brisbane at the end of their epic roadtrip gave the two adventurers a real feeling of accomplishment. “All these months later, with the lockdowns behind us, here I was eating croissants in my new store with my best friend,” says Kate contentedly. “It was the most perfect, fitting way to celebrate. It was also emotional to finally witness the business that I’d opened from afar flourishing and embodying all of Lune’s values.”
At the end of three days spent together in one car, Kate says that both Bianca and the Taycan proved to be perfect roadtrip companions. “Bianca and I have never had a fight in our entire lives. When you go on such a long roadtrip with someone, that’s a test of friendship – I don’t think there’s anybody else I could have done it with,” she says.
“I don’t think people buy a Porsche just to get from A to B,” Kate says of the Taycan. “You buy one because you love the experience of driving it. I jump into my 911 and I get the greatest rush. And I felt that same rush when I was driving the Taycan 4S Cross Turismo.”
With several Lune Croissanteries now open and her first cookbook – the only one in the world to be dedicated solely to the croissant – just published, the future for Kate looks to be a sweet one. Perhaps there will be another Lune Croissanterie opening soon – one worthy of another epic Porsche roadtrip, surely?