Luxury Adventures are conducting a series of interviews with some of our key suppliers looking at the different aspects of their lives and how these influence the experiences they offer. El Questro Wilderness Park & Homestead is near the town of Kununurra in the Northern part of Western Australia and is operated by Delaware North Parks & Resorts.
Tell us more about the unique location of El Questro Homestead, how would you describe the experience? At the heart of El Questro Wilderness Park lies The Homestead. Perched atop a cliff with vistas of the Chamberlain River, The Homestead is a boutique oasis, catering for a maximum of 18 guests. The Homestead is renowned for serving premium cuisine in dramatic locations.
– Privacy and exclusivity nestled in a unique landscape
– Appreciate the untamed beauty of the Kimberley in absolute luxury
– A culinary adventure: The Homestead’s vibrant dining is as inspired as your imagination
– Personalised and intimate touring experiences
What are the transfer options to reach the property? Regular flights are available from all major Australian capital cities to Kununurra via Darwin, Broome and Perth with Qantas, Air North or Skywest. Guests travelling from the Eastern States are encouraged to fly through Darwin as opposed to Perth. This enables arrival in time for lunch at El Questro Homestead and makes the most of your time with us. Aeroplane charters are available directly to the El Questro airstrips from Kununurra, Darwin, Broome, Uluru and Alice Springs. Private VIP jet service is also available from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth direct to Kununurra. Helicopter charters and scenic aeroplane flights are available between Kununurra and the Homestead.
What are the top three on site activities that you recommend to quests at the homestead?
Miri Miri Waterfall: Our most popular tours are the Miri Miri Waterfall tour by helicopter where you will enjoy a scenic helicopter flight, land at Miri Miri Waterfall and enjoy a beautiful gourmet picnic lunch enjoying a swim in the waterhole of the waterfall. The serenity of this beautiful setting offers an unparalleled romantic excursion for a select few.
Zebedee Thermal Springs: Every afternoon beautiful Zebedee Springs closes for exclusive use for El Questro Homestead guests. This is a beautiful Oasis where our guests can enjoy a series of thermal pools and small waterfalls. Set amongst a back drop of sheer cliffs and Livistonia palms, Zebedee Springs is a magical place to relax and rejuvenate.
Explosion Gorge and Branco’s Lookout: This tour has an informative 4WD journey to Explosion Gorge and enjoys a 45 minute cruise along the beautiful Gorge. The tour then continues on to Branco’s lookout for you to enjoy the magnificent sunset whilst enjoying cheese and champagne.
What other activities or experiences can be found in the region that you can recommend? El Questro tours and activities form an integral part of every visit to the property. The Homestead offers a wide range of excursions that provide opportunities to fully immerse yourself in the natural attractions of the Wilderness Park. The majority are exclusive to Homestead guests, facilitating engagement between the small group and their guide. El Questro’s enthusiastic rangers are adept at personalising the experience to individual tastes. Activities range from helicopter tours, boating and fishing, horse riding, spectacular gorge walks, and exploring further afield the Bungle Bungle Range, Argyle Diamond Mine and Mitchell Falls.
How long do you recommend guests stay at El Questro to fully experience what the property offers? A minimum of 4 nights is recommended.
Tell us about some of the private dining opportunities at El Questro?
Breakfast: The Homestead comes alive early each morning as staff and guests alike take pleasure in this most exceptional hour of the day. The intense Kimberley sun bathes the nearby ranges in a soft pink glow, appearing to light them up from within. A myriad of birds take delight in the cool morning dew, either to put a gleam on their feathers or find their own breakfast feast. Guests enjoy their breakfast in true country style on the wide, sweeping verandah with views of the range as it casts perfect reflections in river below. Arrive early before going on a guided walk or nature tour; come later after your bird watching or horse riding adventure. Or perhaps breakfast on the lookout at sunrise is your morning activity. Whatever the time, you can expect beautifully prepared fresh, seasonal ingredients. Local Ord Valley treasures include giant red paw paw, ripe fragrant melons and hand squeezed pink grapefruit juice. Breads are hand made by our chef and feature a different sour dough variety each day. An old fashioned butcher crafts double smoked spec bacon, herb sausages and even black pudding to exacting standards. From farther a field, Scottish Kippers and Canadian maple syrup represent Chef’s dual roots, providing familiar comfort to visiting travelers. The beginning of your day is as inspired as your imagination.
Lunch: Lunch at the Homestead is as much a social event as the time for sating appetites after an active morning. A welcoming long table transforms guests into knowledgeable tour guides as they compare details of their morning excursions and offer advice to new comers freshly arrived from the morning flight. The outdoor setting is kept cool under a shady awning and offers opportunity to spot wallabies and goannas claiming their patch of lush Homestead lawn. Savour two cool courses accompanied by artisan bread and olive oil and a perfect glass of Western Australian white wine. Perennial favourites include Mangrove Jack or free range chicken on a Nicoise salad that showcases the fine local produce. Or chef’s sophisticated version of the Ploughman’s lunch. Refreshing sorbets and ice cream feature in desserts that few can resist. Picnics are also a much loved indulgence. Guests take delight in the basket of surprise treats presented. One may find country pate with rosella flower chutney or Exmouth prawns and green mango dressing. Revitalise with cuisine that embraces the spirit of endless summer. Stars of the Margaret River region feature prominently on the wine menu, beside up and coming Western Australian ingénues and iconic labels from Australia’s Eastern states. This ever changing culinary adventure is outdone only by the dramatic, ever changing views from the outdoor dining tables. 1,000,000 acres is your restaurant.
Dinner: The evening begins at the convivial bar as guests are drawn in to sample hors deouvres and regale each other with tales of the day’s adventures. Over a glass of Champagne or a signature cocktail, the trophy Barramundi is suddenly 1 ½ metres and the birds spotted number more than 40! The Homestead has long been renowned for providing a choice of dramatic dining locations. While the dinner party beneath the stars comes alive, tables set on the cliff side may beckon romantic couples to share a moment. That is if they aren’t distracted by the crocodiles floating in the gorge below. The three course menu changes nightly, offering a perfectly balanced selection that won’t be duplicated throughout your stay. Exceptional Western Australian lamb and beef or wild Cambridge Gulf Barramundi follow glazed quail or local fresh water scampi. Desserts reveal our chef’s talent for precise techniques that deliver vibrant flavours. A surprising array of carefully chosen cheese may be served by the open fireplace for all to share. Or perhaps the evening will conclude on your private verandah watching the night sky mirrored in the river beneath your suite. Culinary artistry always in harmony with breathtaking landscapes.
What is the best time to visit El Questro? The best time to visit the region is between May – August.
There must be some very interesting wildlife to been seen in the region, can you expand on this? The mighty Barramundi are the main attraction at El Questro. In addition, resident Rock Wallabies, Johnston Crocodiles and the always cheeky Archer Fish are familiar inhabitants of the gorge. The park attracts over 100 different bird species including Rainbow Bee Eaters, dancing Brolgas and even the once near extinct Gouldian Finch.
Tell us more about the history of El Questro Wilderness park. When Will Burrell and Celia Shelmerdine saw the property in 1991, trees had fallen over the roads, and rocks protruded through the wheel ruts. The original homestead uninhabited for three years, was derelict. The Homestead with its spectacular location on the Chamberlain River required 20,000 cubic metres of sand to level the land, and 12 tonnes of grass seeded soil was sown at a cost of around $70,000. The Homestead, furnished with antiques from Indonesia and Australia, was opened in October 1992. In 1995, El Questro took out the coveted Sir David Brand award for the premier tourist attraction in Western Australia and received further recognition for its contribution to tourism in 1997 when it again won Western Australia’s top tourism award. In 1998, Western Australia tourism awards went to the Homestead in the luxury category. Will and Celia Burrell reluctantly sold El Questro to General Property Trust in 2005. General Property Trust onsold the Wilderness Park to Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts in March 2010.
We understand El Questro has been enjoyed by celebrity guests in the past, are you able to divulge some of the names? Our guests privacy is paramount and we would never divulge their travel details. We have Royalty, celebrities and millionaires that all enjoy our beautiful resort.
The Homestead would be a unique wedding location, is it possible to hold weddings there, if so please tell us more about the options? Yes. You and your partner stand on a private cliff top to exchange vows, as an intimate group of friends and family share your special moment. After the ceremony, relax with guests, as you sip Champagne on the rambling verandahs of this exclusive retreat, cantilevered over the magnificent Chamberlain River. Experience the ultimate in hospitality and luxury in the midst of the rugged Kimberley in far North Western Australia, surrounded by one million of the most spectacularly remote acres in the world. El Questro Homestead offers you and your wedding party a superb base from which to explore the wonders of this breathtaking region.
Apart from weddings El Questro is also a great location for conferences and incentives, are you able to describe the options available? The Homestead is available on an exclusive use basis for an event, special occasion or unique family holiday. Imagine yourself and seventeen of your closest friends or family having the run of the ultimate holiday house. Homestead staff will ensure that every moment is an experience by tailoring meals, tours and activities to your personal tastes. A company sponsored incentive at the Homestead says thank you in a manner that cannot be duplicated. Regardless of the reason, exclusive use of the Homestead is an experience you should have at least once in your life time.
How many guests can stay at El Questro at any one time? 18 people
The inclusive tariff includes a personalised itinerary and guided tours within the El Questro Valley, can you give more detail on a typical itinerary and the options available?
3 Night – Taste of El Questro:
Day 1 – Arrive Homestead at noon, Lunch. Chamberlain Gorge Cruise 3:00-5:00
Day 2 – Spectacular Guided Gorge Walk 8:00-11:00 Gourmet Picnic Lunch to Miri Miri Waterfall by Helicopter 12:00-2:00 Zebedee Thermal Springs 2:30-5:00
Day 3 – History, Nature and Bush Culture Tour 8:00-11:30, Lunch Bungle Bungles Scenic Flight 2:30-4:30
Day 4 – Bird Watching Tour 6:00-8:00; Departure
3 Night – For the Adventurous:
Day 1 – Arrive via a Scenic Flight over the Bungle Bungles 11:30, Lunch Explosion Gorge and Branco’s Lookout 2:30-6:00
Day 2 – Spectacular Guided Gorge Walk 8:00-11:00, Lunch Chamberlain Gorge Cruise 3:00-5:00
Day 3 – Lost City Cave Tour and Miri Miri Waterfall by Helicopter 6:45-10:30 Self Drive Boat/Fishing in the Homestead Billabong, Lunch Zebedee Thermal Springs 2:30-5:00
Day 4 – Horse Riding 6:30-9:30; Departure
4 Night – El Questro Highlights:
Day 1 – Arrive Homestead at noon, Lunch Explosion Gorge and Branco’s Lookout 2:30-6:00
Day 2 – History, Nature and Bush Culture Tour 8:00-11:30, Lunch Zebedee Springs 2:30-5:00
Day 3 – Spectacular Guided Gorge Walk 8:00-11:00 Gourmet Picnic Lunch to Miri Miri Waterfall by Helicopter 12:00-2:00 Chamberlain Gorge Cruise 3:00-5:00
Day 4 – El Questro’s Big Day Out 7:30-5:00
Day 5 – Bird Watching 6:00-8:00. Depart via Helicopter Charter; Departure
4 Night – Waterfalls, Gorges and Lookouts:
Day 1 – Arrive Homestead at noon, Lunch Zebedee Thermal Springs 2:30-5:00
Day 2 – Spectacular Guided Gorge Walk 8:00-11:00, Lunch Explosion Gorge and Branco’s Lookout 2:30-6:00
Day 3 – Mitchell Falls and Kimberley Coast Tour 7:00-3:00
Day 4 – Champagne Springs Walk returning by Helicopter 7:00-11:00, Lunch Chamberlain Gorge Cruise 3:00-5:00
Day 5 – Sunrise Breakfast alternate location of Pigeon Lookout 4:45-7:00; Departure
4 Night – For the Very Active:
Day 1 – Arrive Homestead at noon, Lunch Chamberlain Gorge Cruise 3:00-5:00
Day 2 – Spectacular Guided Gorge Walk 8:00-11:00, Lunch Explosion Gorge and Branco’s Lookout 2:30-6:00
Day 3 – 4WD Fishing Tour to the Pentecost 4:45-10:00 Gourmet Picnic Lunch to Amaroo Falls by Helicopter 11:30-2:00 Zebedee Thermal Springs 2:30-5:00
Day 4 – Bungle Bungles Full Day Tour Fly / Drive/Walk 9:00-4:30
Day 5 – Horse Riding 6:30-9:30; Departure
5 Night – The Relaxing Experience:
Day 1 – Arrive via Scenic Flight over the Bungle Bungles 11:30, Lunch Chamberlain Gorge Cruise 3:00-5:00
Day 2 – Spectacular Guided Gorge Walk 8:00-11:00. Relaxation or take out Homestead Boat, Lunch Zebedee Springs 2:30-5:00
Day 3 – Helifishing 5:45-11:00. Lunch. Free Afternoon; Sunset Views from the Homestead of the Chamberlain River
Day 4 – El Questro’s Big Day Out 7:30-5:00
Day 5 – Amaroo Falls by Helicopter 8:00-10:30. Easy Morning; Lunch Explosion Gorge and Branco’s Lookout 2:30-6:00
Day 6 – Bird Watching 6:00-8:00; Departure
Are there any current special offers or packages we can tell our clients about? We offer a special 20% discount off accommodation for all stays of 4 nights or more.
Carolyn Pike is a Luxury Specialist at El Questro Homestead & Wilderness Park.
Tony Townley is a luxury lifestyle specialist and owner of Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.