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发布于:2018-6-12 08:13:31  访问:112 次 回复:0 篇
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A Star-studded Dinner In The WA Outback
The woman in the red sequined dress and matching hat tells me the best revenge is \"living your most fabulous life\".
We`re standing in the middle of an airfield in the Kimberley as the setting sun burnishes the backdrop of iron-stained cliffs in pinks and gold price. She twirls her dress while her social media manager records on her phone before they pose on a red carpet lit up by Tiki torches.
Dianne is a 40-something, self-described social media celebrity (#dumpedwivesrevenge) and a frequent guest at the El Questro Homestead, an exclusive and isolated piece of luxury perched above the Chamberlain River in the far north of Western Australia.
On a cruise of Chamberlain Gorge I get a sneak-peek of the $3,000 per-night cabins as well as a small, juvenile saltwater crocodile sunning itself on a muddy bank.
\"Isn`t he cute,\" a woman says as she snaps a picture.
\"He is now,\" our guide says.
Native figs hang from the sheer cliffs that line the gorge, their roots barely clinging to the rockface, which soars high above our boat and provides a home for the elusive rock wallaby and white quilled rock pigeon.
At just under two billion years old the russet towers are thought to have once stood as high as the Andes and formed part of a mountain chain stretching about 350km from Kununurra to Halls Creek.
\"Over time the sandstone wore down into an ocean basin where sediment mixed with water and formed iron-oxide, which gives the cliffs their colour,\" our guide says.
By the end of the cruise I am hungry enough to eat one of the gorge`s elusive barramundi but luckily my stay coincides with the Argyle Diamond`s Ord Valley Muster, a 10-day festival celebrating the produce and artisans around Kununurra, which began as a large dinner in 2001.
This year El Questo is holding a long table dinner on the airfield at its Emma Gorge resort, attracting locals from Kununurra and Darwin (a short nine and a half hour drive away) as well as guests from across Australia.
I get my barramundi, fresh caught and served lightly seared with sweet scallops and cut through with lime, which reminds me of floating under the broad leaves of the Livistona palms at the thermal heated Zebedee Springs.
By the light of petal-shaped lanterns strung over the white tablecloth the dinner guests swap stories. Seated next to me is Bronwen Lee, the petite partner of musician Dan Sultan who is the main entertainment and El Questro`s drawcard for the evening.
The multi-ARIA award winning artist has been quietly surveying the guests beneath a broad-brimmed black hat all evening.
\"He gets a bit nervous playing in front of such a small crowd,\" Lee tells me.
Sultan perks up when he catches sight of Dianne and her entourage.
\"Whatever she`s doing she`s doing right,\" he says.
Lee laughs when I explain Dianne is an Instagram celebrity and tells me she met Sultan through the social media site.
She says they messaged for over a year before he took her out on their first date.
\"He said he just had something on and then we turned a corner and there was a red carpet and it was the Australasian Performing Rights Industry Awards and obviously he was performing.\"
Sultan has a family connection to northern WA. Born and raised in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy he never got to meet his maternal grandmother as his mother is a member of the Stolen Generation, taken from her parents as a child.
He tracked his grandmother`s grave to the Kimberley, turning his experience into a song called Kimberley Calling.
As we wait for dessert Sultan plugs in his guitar and sits without ceremony on the small stage, blue floodlights shadowing his face as his voice - a raw, guttural power coated by a choral sweetness - carries over the grass and scrub towards the looming mounds of the Cockburn Cliffs.
A newly married couple from Kununurra sway together in a slow dance as the guests warm their hands around a fire pit, drawn closer to the stage.
\"When you can hear the Kimberley calling/then you know that it`s time to get moving/I`ve been away/I`ve been blind/I`ve been away,\" Sultan sings.
As the last strains of the song fade away someone turns off the lights and the Milky Way is suddenly visible in the night sky. Two shooting stars spark and fade above us.
I would make a wish but right here and right now, life is a little bit fabulous.
IF YOU GO
GETTING THERE:
Flights to Kununurra Airport from Perth take about three hours with connecting flights available from most capital cities. The Argyle Diamond`s Ord Valley Muster offers land and air packages. For availability and prices for 2019 visit ordvalleymuster.com.au
STAYING THERE
El Questro Wilderness Park offers a range of accommodation from non-powered campsites at $22 per night to safari-style tented huts at Emma Gorge. Prices at the Homestead start at $2029 per night for two adults.
PLAYING THERE
The Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster runs over 10 days during May in the East Kimberley region. Go on guided tours exploring the amazing landscape, working stations and ancient indigenous art. Enjoy performances from top Australian music and comedy acts or book a ticket to the black-tie Kimberley Fine Diamonds Dinner.
The writer stayed as a guest of El Questro Wilderness Park.
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