By Sally Bird
Australia might not have a national dish, but surely the chicken parmy comes close?
Smothered in sauce, topped with ham and loaded with cheese; it’s a meal that gets everyday Aussie’s mouth-watering from the country to the coast.
While we’ll bet your bottom dollar you’ll find a good parmy or two in Outback Queensland’s pubs to fill up on; if parmys aren’t your game, then put these nine Longreach establishments to the taste test.
1. Fine dine it at Harry’s Restaurant
Named after local outback legend Harry Redford, the award-winning Harry’s Restaurant sits in Longreach’s CBD; a short stroll from most places in town or only steps away from your bed at the Longreach Motor Inn.
Their menu ranges from grilled protein favourites to fresh seafood specials, all which can be expertly matched with wines or craft beers for your inner hipster.
Come prepared by wearing stretchy fabrics, entrées are a must at Harry’s. American style sticky pork ribs, seared tuna tataki or salt and pepper crocodile drizzled with chilli lime glaze, are only the start of their entrée menu.
Our pick? The baked brie pot with honey-thyme glazed walnuts, mini toasts and house jam.
If the smell of sizzling steaks off the grill doesn’t tempt you for mains, aim for their herbed lamb cutlets, king prawn and scallop linguine or creamy mushroom risotto.
If you’ve got a second stomach, their sticky date pudding goes down a treat on a cool winter evening.
2. Sizzling Stonegrill at The Welcome Home
If Teppanyaki was born in the Australian outback, it would be The Welcome Home’s Stonegrill. Serving up only the best cuts and freshest produce on their 400-degree hot-stones right at your table, you’re guaranteed an experience worth Instagramming.
It takes traditional campfire cooking from outside to in, making sure you get to enjoy a true hearty outback dinner with all the trimmings.
Take your pick from beef, salmon, chicken or lamb; or take a bite on the wild side and try their native tasting stone – a serve of local beef with samples of kangaroo and crocodile.
Then pick your weapons (aka sauces and sides) to make your meal complete. Sauces include lemon myrtle, pear and ginger, and Dianne (with a difference). Help yourself to all the sides including, stir-fry, salad and steamed veg.
Love dessert? Well you’re in luck. Dive into their all-you-can-eat dessert bar (we aren’t kidding) including Grandma’s homemade favourites, ice-cream and a lolly-bar.
No one walks out the Welcome Home’s door hungry, that’s for sure.
3. Jet set for breakfast at the Qantas Founders Museum
If you’re not a fan of airport breakfasts, then the Qantas Founders Museum is about to change your mind.
If you’ve got an early take off, sit down and fuel up for a hot breaky before taking flight on their Jet Tour or Boeing 707 Wing Walk.
On weekends, graze through eggs benedict, pancakes and pork and parsley sausages in their buffet breakfast. Weekday breakfasts are suited to those catching early flights with toasted bagels, breakfast wraps and omelettes with your choice of filling on the menu.
If hunger strikes post museum tour, grab an inflight bite on the way out or pit-stop for lunch from their McGinness’ Restaurant.
4. Dinner with a cowboy show at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame
Hold tight onto the edge of your seats for this one, this is the real Australian Outback Spectacular.
Over two courses of barbequed prime rib steak, sausages, chicken skewers with veg and salad, watch a stockman crack whips and perform tricks that will get you saying plenty of “oohs” and “aahs”. And if you love dogs doing tricks, we’re paws-itive this is the show for you.
Don’t worry, there’s dessert too.
Looking for more bucket list Longreach experiences like this one? Here’s 10 other things to do while in Longreach.
5. Brunch with Casey
You won’t get lost looking for Casey’s; not just because it’s in the centre of Longreach’s main street, but the smell of freshly baked muffins (they’re known to sell out before even getting past the kitchen) and carefully crafted coffee will lead your nose to the door.
You can expect a dose of deja brew because Casey’s will have you thinking you’re in a Melbourne laneway hidey hole.
Finish your games of UNO and Connect Four to make way on the table for breakfast burritos and brightly coloured smoothie bowls in this cosy café.
But if you’re in a #treatyoself mood, grab one of their homemade cakes or slices. Their cookie pizza and old school honey joys are crowd pleasers from youngsters to baby boomers.
6. Camp cooking luxury all done for you
Jump on board the Longreach Explorer and set sail for sunset down the Coolibah lined Thomson River with cold bevvies and cheesy nibbles in hand.
After filling up your phone’s memory with photos of river sunset hues, turtles and local birdlife, it’s time for a riverside tucker under the stars with Smithy’s Outback Dinner and Show.
Your two-course camp oven cuisine gives you the camp cooking experience without lifting a finger (or drawing the short straw on dish duty).
The camp comes to life with guest performers providing entertainment with their stories and songs that’ll have you up dancing the night away.
An outback camp cook-up wouldn’t be complete without damper, so spare some room and devour damper done right with golden syrup and a cup of billy tea to wash it down with. Not to worry, seconds aren’t frowned upon here.
Looking for more outback foodie experiences like this to fill your pie hole? Check out these 15 best places to experience an outback menu.
7. The not so secret, Secret Garden
Tucked away on Longreach’s Eagle Street, behind towering white walls is The Secret Garden Café.
All your breakfast to lunch needs are sorted here and the front cabinet is stocked with more sweets than your Grandma’s cupboard.
Health junkies can also rejoice with smoothies like the ‘Detox Demon’ and ‘Hunger Blaster’ to take on the road with them.
Lunchtime is never boring in their shady outdoor garden with something new on the menu daily.
8. The local bakery
If you’re wondering where the smell of fresh bread wafting down the street is coming from, the Merino Bakery is your answer.
Outback locals take their smoko seriously, so by mid-morning you’ll find this bakery packed with everyone piling in for a snack and a cuppa.
Eat like the locals do and get your hands on a flaky pastry pie or cast your eyes to their sweet’s cabinet. Can’t choose? We recommend the local favourite, a fresh cream filled Peach Blossom.
9. Graze all night long at a foodie festival
Fill your Outback event calendar (and your stomach) with the Outback Food, Wine and Music Festival. Come September, the sell-out foodie frenzy delivers a delectable line-up of great food and wine to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame. Raise your glass to this event celebrating the diverse flavours of regional Queensland, and the world with craft beers and outback inspired wines. Don’t be surprised to spot a celebrity chef or two amongst the live entertainment.