If you are looking to have a break from the journey between Darwin and Katherine, then Emerald Springs Roadhouse is THE place for a stop-by. I visited the roadhouse twice – once for breakfast during the journey to Katherine Gorge and again for dinner before returning to Darwin.
One can be forgiven for not noticing this place, which sits just below the Stuart Highway. The exterior is rather nondescript and except for the signage, “Emerald Springs Roadhouse”, you would think that it is just another abandoned farmhouse. The narrow entrance at the side doesn’t help either. There are no signs to invite the weary traveller in for a good meal and refresh himself.
However, once I got past the door, a whole new world opened up in front of me. I was really impressed by the warm ambience, the vintage-style decor and wood furnishing. What a big difference between the outside and the inside! I will go so far as to say that once you are inside, you really don’t want to get back on the road too soon. Instead, you will want to pamper yourself with a hearty, value-for-money meal, sit back, relax and enjoy the retro-modern atmosphere.
The main dining area is air-conditioned and tastefully furnished with wooden tables, chairs and bar stools – perfect for enjoying an Aussie meal and stretching those weary muscles. The full bar, decorated with some interesting ornaments and wall hangings, offers an impressive wine list along with pub classics.
Next to the restaurant is a beer garden, great for chilling out and for the children to run around.
The toilet facilities are clean and well-maintained. The owners have added a nice touch by placing a fresh flower stalk on each hand basin – even in the men’s toilet!
Emerald Springs Roadhouse boasts of serving the best coffee along this stretch of the Stuart Highway, as they claim to own the only cappuccino machine between Darwin and Katherine.
We were given only 20 minutes for breakfast. Considering that I had to stand behind a long line for my breakfast selection, then join the queue again for ordering drinks and making payment at the bar, and finally queuing up for the toilet, it really didn’t leave me much time to appreciate my surrounding. What a pity! I decided to try out their famous scones topped with butter, jam and cream. So yummy! I would have happily gone for a second helping of scones, had it not been for our tour guide urging us to hurry, hurry, hurry, as we still had a long distance to cover!
Fortunately, things were not so so rushed when we stopped by again for dinner. I ordered the Chef’s Special of the Day – Grilled Barramundi with Potato Chips and Mixed Salad. It was lovely to have my meal out in the garden, waiting for the night to set in. It gave me the chance to reflect on the three National Parks I had visited in Northern Territory – each one giving me the permission to take back with me a small piece of their uniqueness, and finding a place in my suitcase of memories.
Granted that it wasn’t a brilliant sunset, this silhouette shot I took just before boarding the coach will always be a beautiful reminder of the cozy ambience, sumptuous food and wonderful people at Emerald Springs Roadhouse!
This marks my last post about my trip to the national parks in Australia’s Northern Territory. Up to today, I still cannot say which visit I enjoyed most – Maguk, Nitmiluk or Jim Jim Falls. All I know is that whenever I recall these places, I tend to remember the journey there, rather than the destination!