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“Mixed feelings on this place - crowded camping area, excellent restaurant!”

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El Questro The Station
Certificate of Excellence
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
177 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 242 helpful votes
“Mixed feelings on this place - crowded camping area, excellent restaurant!”
Reviewed 28 July 2013

This was the last 'station' we visited along the Gibb River Road (8 weeks in the Kimberly, including Cape Leveque), and I have mixed feelings...

Like some other reviewers, given the premium branding and charges (entry fee to the park + camping fees - the most we paid anywhere in the Kimberly), we expected a lot. In some respects I was impressed and in others I was underwhelmed...

The main campsite at the 'township' was definitely high density camping (mid July). It was VERY busy and the campers were packed-in - people constantly coming and going...

Only one main ablutions block area (in 2 parts) and it was constantly busy, often meaning a wait for a toilet or shower. The newer (en-suite-style) ablutions were good and in constant demand with the tour bust groups as well as campers. The older ablutions block was clean, but again in constant demand for the same reasons. I would have thought that another ablutions block should be on the radar for the camping area to improve the situation - given the camping fees charged.

Campsites were (mostly) flat and the sites nearer the river seemed to be most popular - possibly because of the allowed fires in fireplaces (BYO firewood).

A couple of rowdy groups partied on well beyond 11pm on a couple of the nights we were there and there seemed to be no 'ranger' presence to sort it out. (perhaps we should have opted for the more private camping area out along the river)

The corner store (and bar/cafe area) is well organised - friendly staff, and offers a great selection of food/drinks/coffee etc, and the evening entertainment in that are seemed to be well patronised. Junior Rangers at 5:15 was incredibly well patronised by the kids (not that we had any with us)

Fuel and Gas are available, and there are plenty of 'organised' tours if that's your thing. We did a couple of the self-drive 4WD tours and they were great.

Clearly for some visitors (there were caravans in there) - this is their Gibb River Road/Kimberly experience, and I'm sure they went away with great experiences. For us - after 8 weeks in the Kimberly in some very out of the way places in our 4WD and Off Road Camper - it was just a little too commercialised!

We also did the river cruise, which was ok - not outstanding in terms of scenery etc. The rangers were very 'chirpy' and knowledgeable, and the fruit/champagne was a nice touch.

The 'highlight' for me was the Steakhouse Restaurant. We had lunch there one day - excellent, and dinner the following evening (group of 5). Restaurant Manager was very accomplished and excellent interpersonal skills (apparently her hubby is one of the chefs as well!) -- Well done that lady!

Food - the eye fillet steak - perfection on a plate! Other meals were also of the same very high standard, and it was big city restaurant standard all round... The other big positive at this restaurant is its BYO - so we were able to enjoy a french bubbly we had been savouring and an excellent Bordeaux I had stashed in the 4WD with this spectacular food. Wathing the chefs at work - they clearly knew their stuff, and looked totally organised and in control...

We visited Zebedee Hot Springs - great spot - also very busy and only open to the campsite guests until midday - worth the visit. Also visited Emma Gorge Resort - another nice spot with friendly staff etc

Overall, we generally enjoyed our stay. I found ELQ a little hyped in terms of commercialisation and scale. We preferred the less commercial experiences at a couple of other stations with less high density camping areas.

None of my comments would deter me from recommending people visit El Questro - just our personal preferences would suggest its unlikely we would return to the Station/Campsite Area.

May return to stay at the homestead on a special occasion however!

Room Tip: The private campsite offer privacy and space but they are a long way from the ablutions!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank travellingchef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lori_Litwack, General Manager at El Questro The Station, responded to this review, 1 August 2013
Dear travellingchef

Thank you so much for providing feedback of your stay at The Station. It is understandable that when visiting during July school holidays that you would find some of the areas at El Questro too busy and cramped as you have stated. We understand that we need more ablution blocks for the camp ground and how much the lack of facilities impacts our camping guests. It is one of the tops priorities that we hope to be able to address in the near future. We have a strategic plan for the whole property with a large focus on the camping aspect.

I am sorry for the noise caused by the rowdy campers. We do monitor the grounds for noise and have emergency radios for guests to access in the event of problems after hours. I apologise that this group was not asked to tone down.

What is really pleasing is your praise of the Steakhouse, particularly given that you are a chef as well. They are a fantastic team and both the food and service consistently receive similar rave reviews. Thanks again for highlighting their efforts.

We would certainly love to show off the Homestead to you, we hope that you do make it back for that special occasion.

Warm regards,
Lori Litwack
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English first
Airlie Beach, Australia
Level Contributor
75 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2013 via mobile

I had a two day stay while clients stayed at the homestead. My meals at the restaurant were excellent. All were beautifully cooked. The staff were wonderful and very friendly. I didn't want to leave! I did the Explosion Gorge tour with Warren. He was very good and it was obvious he loved his job. I would have loved to explore this station some more.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Neil C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lori_Litwack, General Manager at El Questro The Station, responded to this review, 29 July 2013
Dear Neil C

We just wanted to thank you for your acknowledgement of the wonderful meals and service at El Questro’s Steakhouse Restaurant. We have put a lot of energy into making the restaurant on par with any top eatery one would find in the city and our chefs and wait staff alike are passionate about the quality. It is also fantastic to see that our guides were able to impress you too, hopefully you can return and enjoy more of their knowledge and hospitality.

Warm regards,

Lori Litwack
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Broome, Western Australia, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2013

We Camped at the private campsites and enjoyed our 5 day stay at this beautiful place. I must comment on the Ranger staff who acted like they had a huge chip on their shoulders. Experience 1. When we first arrived to check in the signage was very confusing I parked my Ute with camper trailer in what I considered to be a sensible spot across the road from the petrol bowsers while my wife went in to pay our fees ect. I left the car running as it was hot and the kids were in the car with me, I was approached by one of the 'Rangers' who stood about 5 meters away and he pulled some weird face at me and held his hands up with the a questioning gesture. I smiled and gave him a wave. He came over to the car and just stood there and pulled another face at me as if to gesture what you are doing. I opened the car window and he said we are very busy here and this area can become congested and you will have to park over there and pointed to an area about 10 meters away. I was not blocking traffic and thought his way of pulling faces and gesturing was very rude and unnecessary.
Experience 2. We had been camped at out spot for 3 Nights and the wife and children had taken the car to the 'Station' for horse rides, and other activities so I was alone at the campsite with just the camper set up. I was inside the camper watching a DVD when a car pulled up I thought it was my family returning as it sounded like my Hilux so I stayed inside and did not immediately come out, I could hear the door open and footsteps and couple of minutes passed buy when I heard a man's voice say hello ! I was a bit shocked and replied yes hello and jumped up to see who was in our campsite. It was another ranger an older man who began to what I can only describe as interrogate me about how long I was staying, why is the fire place there, and went on and on about other campers who had used logs 3 meters long on the fire and had a party the night before, I replied I did hear music but it was no bother to us and I was informed 'we called the police on them' Information I really was not interested about.
I felt my privacy had been rudely invaded for no reason, he had been in my campsite for some time before he announced himself and our site was clean and we were following all the rules set out in the handout provided to us when we booked in. El Questro staff I understand you have a huge volume of visitors to deal with but back off the bad cop routine it is unnecessary and damaging to your reputation try and be a bit more friendly, communicate better and be more respectful of people’s privacy

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank BossBoris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lori_Litwack, General Manager at El Questro The Station, responded to this review, 29 July 2013
Dear BossBoris

I want to thank you for bringing to my attention these two incidents involving members of our ranger team. I am truly sorry for the manner in which they interacted with you, it is not how we normally treat our valued guests. We do work very hard with all of our staff to refine their guest relations through our "Guest Path" program, which forms an integral part of our staff induction process.

We regularly find the behaviour of our rangers to be very professional, as noted in many other reviews. These 2 incidents were uncharacteristic of the individuals involved, I do truly believe their diligent work ethic outweighed common sense and etiquette. I have since addressed this issue with them, reminding them of the softer techniques that should be employed in these circumstances.

In addition to this, our signage will be the focus of an audit over the coming months to improve it’s efficiency, especially around The Station entrance, given the level of traffic. The size of the vehicles that pass through there tend to block the existing signage, making it difficult to direct traffic into the relevant parking areas. We hope that this alleviates the confusion you found on arrival.

Boris, please accept my apologies again for the actions of the rangers, I know they meant no ill will and I am sorry it came across as such.

Warm regards,
Lori Litwack
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leschenault
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 July 2013

We stayed as group of 7, on a private campsite,June 2013. The campsite was as expected being in the bush and by the river, lovely setting.. The down side was no toilet facilities available on the site, as a result previous campers had used the edge of the cleared site as a toilet facility, leaving human waste along with used toilet tissue. The closest long drops were a drive away and we were unable to walk through from site to site as there was no walkway through the bush cleared. In the main camp area the facilities were in need of an upgrade, could have also been cleaner. As noted by a previous reviewer, the water pressure was bad, water often luke warm and the washing machines took over 1 hour! This had nothing to do with being in the outback as other stations we stayed at along the Gibb had great facilities (charnley station, excellent!). For the price charged El Questro should provide newer facilities, as this is now the expectation by today's traveller. The George's outside of El Questro are better and free, as no $20 PP wilderness pass charge. On the
plus side the barbie night was great, good Musician, and entertainment. Time to pick up the game a El Questro.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank landi13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lori_Litwack, Manager at El Questro The Station, responded to this review, 21 July 2013
Dear landi13,

I understand your lack of praise for some of the facilities at El Questro’s camping areas. We are looking to refurbish, expand and generally improve our camping facilities and hope that this is accomplished soon. The hot water and water pressure have been fixed since you visited and is running well now for all of the showers.

The Private Campsites are in fact bush camping which is part of the experience and what makes them special. We do offer a few eco toilets amongst the sites, but by and large it is meant to be a bush experience. I am however truly sorry that the campers before you do not do the right thing with their waste. Whilst we clean every site after guests check out, sometimes items past the boundary are not always discovered.

El Questro is an amazing place and we welcome the feedback to continuously improve. We hope that you would have occasion to test our facilities again in the future.

Warm regards,

Lori Litwack
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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
90 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2013

Having stayed there before, we decided to get a private camp spot, for which you do pay extra. But it was well worth it. We were at least 5 km from The Station, and 500 m from our nearest neighbour. We had a huge area which was shaded all day and we had the river running right beside us. Just glorious. It was a bit of a hike to to eco loo, but thats what bush camping is all about.
Would do it again. We did the Explosion Gorge / Brancos Lookout tour which was excellent. We also walked Emma Gorge, so beautiful, Zeberdee Springs and Amalia Gorge. 3 days is no where near enough time to spend at El Questro. Next time we will stay a week.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Clareville251
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clementine M, Marketing Manager, Parks & Resorts Australia at El Questro The Station, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Dear Clareville251,

We just wanted to thank you for the most favourable review of El Questro Station’s camping area. The private campsites are definitely a unique experience, we are pleased that you were able to enjoy them. We hope you have the chance to return for a visit once again.
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Perth
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2013 via mobile

We camped for 5 nights in a private campsite and we absolutely loved it. Peaceful at night and a very short drive to the main area which had live music and a bar/restaurant if we couldn't be bothered cooking. All staff including tour guides, helicopter pilot, waitstaff and reception were exceptionally friendly and warm. Emma and El Questro Gorges were magnificent, warm springs were lush and exotic, heli-fishing and Miri Miri were well worth the money and we enjoyed the horseriding so much that we booked another ride in. Already planning the next trip up there!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lola_06Perth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clementine M, Marketing Manager, parks & Resorts Australia at El Questro The Station, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Dear Clareville251,

We just wanted to thank you for the most favourable review of El Questro Station’s camping area. The private campsites are definitely a unique experience, we are pleased that you were able to enjoy them. We hope you have the chance to return for a visit once again.
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Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2013

We stayed in the camping area for three nights last week at the beginning of our GRR trip. We were content but also pretty disappointed in the standard of some facilities especially due to the "premium branding" of El Questro. We had reasonably high expectations given the prices you pay. We paid the mandatory $40 park entrance fee for the two of us, and the campground fee for our unpowered site which was the average you'd expect to pay. Yes it has a restaurant, a bar, a tour desk and grassed shady camping sites, but on the negative side, the general ablution block was tired and dirty. Over the period of the three days we were there, the same broken golf tee sat on the floor of one of the toilet cubicles - was it ever cleaned in that period? The water pressure was almost non existent if showering in peak periods (i realise this is the outback but surely theres a remedy) Also the smaller self contained cubicles were a disgrace - partly due to people using them and not mopping them out after use, but they like the other block were tired and grubby in the main. The other major issue was that there were so many people packed into the area (3 huge tour buses of 20+ people each in addition to the many campers and all the day visitors) - there is no way the ablution facilities can cater let alone cope! Would we stay there again - unlikely, instead we would be more likely to drive through the next 50k of rough road (approximately one hours drive) to Home Valley Station.

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank nicoletta182
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clementine M, Marketing Manager, Parks & Resorts Australia at El Questro The Station, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Dear Nicoletta 182,
I do understand where the comments in your review stem from as we do have facilities that are a bit “vintage”, going back to when the park first started in 1992. They are still efficient but it is the overwhelming popularity of El Questro’s camp ground that puts so much pressure on our ablution blocks, making them appear unclean. I can assure you that we have staff attend to them at a minimum of 4 times per day. Whilst you were visiting or soon after, the hot water and the water pressure have received a major revamp and all showers are now running beautifully.

We endeavor to extend the refurbishment of the ablutions even further in the near future to meet the expectations of our valued camping guests. We hope that you have occasion to re-visit El Questro in the future and enjoy new facilities.
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Additional Information about El Questro The Station

Property: El Questro The Station
Address: 75 Coolibah Dr, Kununurra, Western Australia 6743, Australia
Region: Australia > Western Australia > Kimberley Region > Kununurra
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 17 Speciality Lodging in Kununurra
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — El Questro The Station 5*
Number of rooms: 12
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