Despite it’s name,the remote, outback town of White Cliffs can’t offer a white Christmas but the sunbaked hamlet’s famous underground motel will share the spirit of the season with a festive, subterranean feast on December 25.
Locals and visitors to the tiny opal township 1025km west of Sydney and 781km north-east of Adelaide will head to the White Cliffs Underground Motel for a three-course lunch under the earth on Christmas Day, enjoying a constant temperature of 22 degrees while expected 36-degree heat cooks the 120-strong town above.
Tickets to the underground lunch at 12.30pm on December 25 are still available for those keen for a true-blue Aussie Christmas in the NSW outback.
The managers of the unusual, 30-room motel, Sean Auld and partner Mandy Foster, will cook the lunch – their first at the property since they started looking after the cool, ‘dugout’ motel in June this year. For $60 a head, guests will enjoy a prawn cocktail or mango chicken salad for entrée, ham, turkey and roast vegetables for main course and traditional, home-made, plum pudding with brandy custard for dessert. And Santa is also expected to make an appearance at the lunch in far-west NSW “We’re expecting around 50 diners for lunch on Christmas Day but we can look after 100 or so – the more the merrier,” said Sean. “A coach-load of 25 people from Adelaide are staying with us for Christmas and they’ll be here celebrating Christmas in a unique way with us. It will be lots of fun, especially out of the heat.”
The motel – the biggest underground accommodation property in Australia – dates back to the early 1900s when opal minders sought sleeping quarters away from the heat. It later became a family home and opened as a motel in 1989, sporting a licensed restaurant, café, bar and above-ground swimming pool.
The White Cliffs Underground Motel was bought bypassionate bush lover and tourism businessman, Scott Smith, in mid-2016 as part of his newoutback tourism company, Out of the Ordinary Outback, which also owns the Warrawong on the Darling holiday park at Wilcannia,Cobar’s Copper City Motel, the Ivanhoe Hotel and well-known, outback touring company, Tri State Safaris. The four properties are included for overnight stays on many of Tri State Safaris’ itineraries in far west NSW.
Christmas Day lunch at The White Cliffs Underground Motel is available for $60 a head while accommodation in a double or twin room is priced from $149 a room per night including continental breakfast, or $118in a single room. Cooked breakfasts are $10 extra.