In our last week working behind closed doors we decided to take one last day trip out of the office. This time we ventured north to Adavale and the beautiful Hell Hole Gorge National Park.
We set off on our journey and quickly realised that 2 of us (ironically the 2 of us who grew up in Quilpie) had not been to Adavale in a few years. We had forgotten how beautiful the country side is along the drive and how much the scenery changes between Quilpie and Adavale. Even more surprising was that on the 96km journey there is only approximately 30km of unsealed road left. Winning!
We decided to head straight up to Hell Hole Gorge which is 80km from Adavale. As it is all unsealed and 4×4 only through the park it did take us around 1.5hrs to get there. However we did stop along the road to chat to Vinnie who is currently doing road works along there (which is great news for everyone planning a trip….smooth sailing ahead so to speak).
Our first stop within the park was at Spencer’s Waterhole. This part of the park is for day visits only as camping is not permitted. None the less it is definitely worth a visit.
From Spencer’s we drove a further 3km to the park’s main site, Hell Hole Gorge. We spent some time walking around the area admiring the views down in to Powell Creek and the incredibly large trees that line the edges as well as the beautiful waterhole that is Hell Hole Gorge.
Unfortunately we couldn’t spend all day here as we had made plans for lunch at Adavale’s Elegant Emu. A relatively new business that has popped up in Adavale and we had done a little stalking on their website but we couldn’t wait to find out more.
As we arrived at the Elegant Emu we immediately felt a warm welcome. Not sure what was more welcoming, the lovely sign Cristina had put out for us or the very fluffy and (well let’s just say she has her winter coat) jolly dog, Mabel.
We walked in and were instantly transported to a quirky little café in a seaside village somewhere. Bright colours were everywhere and yet somehow they all complimented each other and the ornate objects that decorated the enclosed veranda on this refurbished vintage house.
From the colourful glass bottles on the day bed covered in cushions to the stark red earth out every window or the chandelier contrasted against the tin roof, it’s safe to say that this eclectic little establishment is something truly unique.
Cristina is the brains behind this little business and her story is as unique as her businesses. They (her and her husband Les) purchased the house 20 years ago as they were travelling around the Outback and visiting Adavale from their home at Byron Bay. For the next 10 years they returned at different times to do work to the house and eventually made the move. Even more interesting is the history of the building itself. It was the old doctor’s house which was next door to the hospital and is away from the main part of the town on the higher ground out of reach of flood waters. But we don’t want to give out to information as Cristina is a great story teller and hearing her story from her is part of the Elegant Emu experience.
As we made ourselves comfy Cristina informed us that she had made 3 plates for us which had little samples of what she provides for high teas and our mouths instantly started to water. Our first course was a Bacon and Mushroom Roulade, a sort of soufflé cross savoury sponge roll and an eggplant Braciole, which is basically an eggplant nugget or meatball. Now at the mention of eggplant I’m sure some of you have made a face but take our word for it….they were AMAZING. So much so I found myself purchasing 2 eggplants and scouring google for a recipe. I’ll have to let you know how it goes….
Our second plate were these delicious little suckers; Pork and Dijon sausage rolls with apple sauce….and OMG. Cristina makes her own puff pastry (which takes 3 days by the way) and let me tell you it is worth the 3 day wait. They quite literally melted in your mouth when you bite in to them and the taste was incredible.
We were already pretty full from the sausage rolls as they were quite satisfying but alas we rallied and found room for dessert (it was a tough job but someone had to do it). Our last course were these incredible sweet treats of a Lemon frangipane tart, chocolate cinnamon pastry slice and a chocolate cake truffle with choc chips and chocolate berry buttercream. To be honest we were lost for words at how delicious they were (still am) and we strongly considered a lay down on the day bed and a quick nap.
Unfortunately there was no time for napping as we had to say goodbye to Cristina, Les and Mabel and get on the road. Well some of us perhaps caught some z’s in the car on the way home but don’t tell the boss.
On the drive we found there was an abundance of birdlife along the way. The Galah’s and swarms of budgies swooped along beside the car as we travelled the red dirt road and we couldn’t help but start planning our next trip to Adavale.
For more information on Adavale and to plan your journey visit: https://www.visitquilpieshire.com/attraction/adavale/ and to book a High Tea at the Elegant Emu visit: https://www.elegantemu.com/ (please note that High Teas are not available until July and bookings are essential).