A local’s guide to Longreach: Gemma Deavin from ABC Open
With a day job as Western Queensland producer for ABC Open, Gemma Deavin knows how to sniff out the best places to eat, most interesting places to see and things to do in Longreach better than most.
Every Sunday the Ilfracombe Cafe, a 20-minute drive away, does a breakfast buffet. It’s always good to hit the open road – even for a short time – and it’s a lovely place to sit and read the paper.
The Drawn In Cafe (eds note: business now closed) is famous for having the best coffee in town but for coffee AND location I love the Outback Gallery. Apart from their beautiful canvasses nothing beats sitting under the big Poinciana tree out the back. They also have a very friendly dog, Lilly who always gives you a warm welcome.
Harry’s Restaurant attached to the Longreach Motor Inn. My favourite dish has to be the Beef Wellington. I get it almost every time. It’s not on the menu but never leaves the specials board. Let’s hope it stays that way!
Top spot for a tipple
The Eagle’s Nest has a great beer garden out the back and the best array of ciders for a hot evening. But BYO drinks to the Thomson River bank wins hands down.
Best activity for under $50
There’s so much to do in Longreach without paying a cent. But if you are looking to do something inside on a hot day, the Qantas Founders Museum main exhibit is worth a whirl around. For a bit more you can do a plane tour – also excellent! The food at the cafe is pretty good, too. Try the fried chicken.
Favourite way to spend a Sunday
Sundays usually involve sitting in a friend’s back garden with the sprinklers on our legs or going to the Thomson River for a spot of waterskiing or a bob on a noodle in the cool water. You can always rely on the RSL for a good Sunday lunch, too. The air conditioning is very effective!
Best spot for shopping
The Tak Room has an amazing collection of ladies fashion. Sometimes I go in there just for the smell of the candles and to see what new pieces have come in.
Must-see natural attraction
The Thomson River. I try to go every day. Some evenings I go for long swims. We have a good pool in Longreach but it’s always a treat swimming ‘laps’ in that refreshingly cool muddy water.
Secret only a local would know
One hour from town there’s a small rise called ‘Starlights Lookout’. The road there is dirt, but graded. It’s a must for anyone visiting. The key is to get there an hour or so before sunset, climb up the top with some drinks and snacks and watch the sun set over big sky country. Magnificent.
Gemma Deavin may originally hail from Sydney but now revels in soaking up the best that her new home in Outback Queensland has to offer – a stark contrast to her fast-paced life in Jakarta where she was working before joining the ABC in December 2011.