#Where to grab a feed
There might be plenty to see and do (and, let’s be honest, plenty of highway to drive) as you travel west into the Queensland Outback, but there are no excuses for letting your tummy grumble along the way.
From classic country bakeries and refined big-smoke worthy cafes to storied pubs, here’s where to eat and drink along the Outback Trail.
#Urban Paddock Cafe
An award-winning cafe set inside historic Quambi House, Urban Paddock dishes up terrific produce sourced from local suppliers with a dash of big-city refinement.
The seasonal menu is all-day but breakfast is arguably where the cafe shines brightest, meals such as eggs Benedict, stewed apple waffle stacks, and truffled polenta washed down with Di Bella coffee, T Bar and Clean Tea specialty tea, and a selection of frappes, milkshakes and smoothies.
Where to sit? Maybe get cosy inside if the winter winds are blowing. Otherwise, the cafe boasts a brilliant backyard. There’s also a playground and a kids’ menu, if you have any junior burgers in tow.
138 Cunningham Street, Dalby
(07) 4662 2628
#Mace’s Hot Bread
The humble country bakery done right, Mace’s Hot Bread is a celebrated east-west pitstop on Pine Street in Miles, just off the Warrego Highway.
Inside, you’ll find an enormous range of pastries including cronuts, old-school cream doughnuts and caramel slices. There are also specialty cakes and a lengthy selection of freshly baked pies, flaky sausage rolls and made-to-order sandwiches. Larger meals such as fish and chips and burgers are available if you want to go large, along with fancy Numoo ice-cream. And yes, you can get a decent coffee, the bakery brewing Burleigh Heads Amore Coffee.
Mace’s is designed for grab-and-go but there’s a shaded, paved courtyard if you’re keen to take a longer break from behind the wheel.
3 Pine Street, Miles
(07) 4627 1592
#The Dulacca Hotel
One of the Western Downs’ most Instagrammable icons, the Dulacca Hotel has stood for 113 years atop a gentle hill in tiny Dulacca, an hour west of Chinchilla.
Ownership of the hotel has changed hands a bunch of times over the decades but it’s the current proprietors, Danny and Natalie Scottney, who refurbished the pub in 2017 and revived its famous pink paint job, more vivid than ever.
Still, this place isn’t a gimmick, the Dulacca Hotel dishes up one of the best feeds on the highway, its extensive menu featuring local Rangeland beef, generously topped pizzas, and a long list of house-crumbed chicken parmigianas. There’s also a lunch menu of wraps, burgers and salads, if you’re after something more approachable.
The pub’s spacious verandah is the place to dine, but stick around for a beer in the rustic main bar if you have time. You might meet a local or two, and there’s always accommodation upstairs if you make too many friends.
Lot 4 Glynn Avenue, Dulacca
(07) 4627 6101
#The Tasting Co
The Tasting Co typifies elevated Australian cafe food’s march into the regions.
There’s no greasy spoon or burnished bain-marie at this popular Roma cafe – instead, think a constantly evolving menu that features dishes such as açai bowls, fragrant shakshuka, fresh salads and stacked burgers, with the kitchen also having a side focus on vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Order a stacked brekkie roll – egg, double-smoked bacon, cheese and relish on a brioche bun – grab-and-go, if you like. But there’s seating inside and out, and Fonzie Abbott coffee and Byron Bay Tea Company tea, for those wanting to take their time.
32 Hawthorne Street, Roma
(07) 4622 7413
#On the Rocks Restaurant
The Rocks Motel is a popular stay with road trippers heading west or perhaps north along the Matilda Way, but the jewel in this little inn’s crown is its On the Rocks Restaurant.
An unfussy, elegant timber and glass edifice with a handsome verandah that overlooks Wills Street, it’s the place to go in Charleville for elevated takes on classic Australian dishes. You might eat oven-baked chicken and mango salads, lamb shank pies, native-spiced lamb racks, or an enormous 30-centimetre tomahawk steak.
The food is washed down by an extensive wine list that leans towards Australian drops. There’s also a fabulous back bar stacked with whiskies, once the dinner plates have been cleared.
74 Wills Street, Charleville
(07) 4654 2888
Images courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.