Delaware North Australia Parks & Resorts have taken ownership of El Questro Wilderness Park and Homestead, a million acres of rugged landscape in the heart of the ancient Kimberley region in Western Australia.

The addition of El Questro completes the first stages of Delaware North’s expansion in Australia, and comes just a few weeks before the re-opening of El Questro Wilderness Park on April 1, after the annual wet season.

In November 2009, Delaware North Australia Parks & Resorts acquired Lizard Island, Heron Island and Wilson Island in Queensland’s World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, plus Kings Canyon Resort in the Northern Territory.

Wayne Kirkpatrick, Managing Director of Delaware North Australia Parks & Resorts, said: “We are delighted to have finalised the acquisition of El Questro and to be the new custodians of this very unique and special place.”

“Spread across a vast area of land, nearly a million acres in size, El Questro Wilderness Park offers visitors a truly magical experience and we are looking forward to refining the guest experience and welcoming holidaymakers for the forthcoming 2010 season.”

El Questro Wilderness Park is situated in Western Australia’s East Kimberley, 110 km from Kununurra, almost half of which demands 4WD vehicles thanks to the Gibb River Road, recognised as one of Australia’s great 4WD tracks, extending 700km to Derby near the West Australian coast above Broome.

El Questro was first owned by Torrance McMicking who, in 1958, lodged a pastoral claim and named the property. Several owners later, Will and Celia Burrell purchased the lease in 1991, opening Emma Gorge after the wet and launching it as a wilderness resort in May 1992. The now-famous Homestead, with its spectacular location overlooking the Chamberlain River, was opened in September 1992 followed by the Station Campground and Bungalows a year later in May 1993.

Today, around 3,500 head of cattle still roam the northern flats of the property while tourists can enjoy a range of accommodation and experiences suited to any style or budget: from the Station Campground and Bungalows, to tented cabins at Emma Gorge and the luxurious Homestead overlooking the Chamberlain River.

Touring experiences include cruises along the Chamberlain River, barramundi fishing, scenic helicopter flights, Zebedee Thermal Springs, bird watching, 4WD tracks, gorge hikes and bush walks, history and bush tucker tours, horse riding and much more.

El Questro Wilderness Park opens from 1 April to 31 October every year, allowing for the dramatic thunderstorms to pass over the Kimberley and replenish its numerous gorges and waterfalls during the annual wet season.

El Questro, Lizard Island, Wilson Island, Heron Island and Kings Canyon Resort were previously owned by the GPT Group and operated under the Voyages brand. Delaware North Australia Parks & Resorts has chosen not to rebrand or rename the properties, but allow each property to retain its individual nature and unique attributes.

Kirkpatrick added: “We’re delighted to have taken ownership of these properties which are all located in spectacular locations around Australia, from the Red Centre, to the Kimberley region and the Great Barrier Reef.  We look forward to enhancing the guest experience and delivering special and memorable holidays across Australia.”


El Questro Wilderness Park & Homestead, WA
A jewel in the Kimberley, El Questro Wilderness Park and Homestead is set in over a stunning million acres of rugged terrain, offering a true last frontier Outback experience. The Homestead was listed on Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List in January, receiving praise for its location, outdoor activities, excellent cuisine and rustic-chic decor.

Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Gladstone, QLD
A coral cay island on the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island has long been a favourite for divers, snorkellers and families looking to immerse themselves in a truly natural island with sensational marine life. A breeding ground for mutton birds and black noddy terns, Heron Island is also home to green and loggerhead turtles.

Wilson Island, Great Barrier Reef, Gladstone, QLD
Just five acres in size, Wilson Island is a tiny coral cay island with a big personality. Wilson Island can accommodate just 12 adults at any one time (six couples) in castaway themed tented cabins and offers guests sumptuous cuisine, premium beverages and snorkelling over coral gardens.

Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, QLD
Also appearing on Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List in January, Lizard Island is a regular award winner, consistently gaining praise for its unrivalled Great Barrier Reef location, its natural beauty, incredible diving and exceptional service and style. Fringed with colourful coral reefs and 24 powdery white beaches, Lizard Island is a picture-perfect island for discerning travellers.

Kings Canyon Resort, NT
Located in the Australian Outback, between Alice Springs and Uluru, Kings Canyon Resort is the perfect starting point from which to explore the wonders of Kings Canyon, with its ‘Lost City’ of rock domes, dramatic 270m sandstone vertical gorges and Garden of Eden oasis. Tracks and bush walks are dotted in and around the Canyon, offering keen bush walkers a real taste of adventure in the Outback.


About Delaware North:
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. It is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2.3 billion annually with 50,000 employees serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The company’s tourism portfolio includes iconic properties in North America, such as Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex; Tenaya Lodge; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; Jones Beach; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; Holiday Inn West Yellowstone; and Gideon Putnam Resort.  www.experiencednc.com.

Delaware North Companies International, its Australian subsidiary, manages operations outside of America in airports, railway stations, cultural and leisure centres, educational institutions and sport and entertainment venues. In Australia and New Zealand, Delaware North currently operates at more than 30 venues and sites, including Melbourne Park, Etihad Stadium, every state capital city airport, Melbourne Zoo, Sovereign Hill and Royal Botanical Gardens.  www.delawarenorth.com.au

In Europe, Delaware North Companies UK operates at Wembley Stadium, Emirates Stadium, the home of Arsenal Football Club and Derby County Football Club’s home ground at Pride Park.

About Wayne Kirkpatrick:

Wayne Kirkpatrick has extensive business, financial, marketing, sales, tourism, resort management and property development experience and as Managing Director / CEO has successfully led some of Australia’s most significant resorts over the past 25 years, among them Thredbo Alpine Resort, the two Mirage Resorts in Queensland , Ayers Rock Resort and Hamilton Island.


Louise Longman
Longman Communications
+61 488 215 983
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