birdsville feature


Australia’s most iconic outback pubs

Published April 8th, 2016

A fair dinkum Aussie outback pub can be as iconic as the Crocodile Dundees, drag queens, Red dogs, jackaroos and mates named Duncan who frequent them. It’s the sound of birds screeching at sunset heard over pints on wide set verandas, rain falling on a tin roof and tasty Schnitties and Sunday night roasts without the ‘gastro’ pub price tags. It’s where jukeboxes overflow with golden oldies in lieu of mass pokies and guaranteed the first place you will find the town coming together in tough times (they ain’t called the heart and soul of a town for nothin’). It’s all of these things, dunny doors labelled ‘sheila’ and ‘blokes’ and an ice cold beer on a hot day that makes a trip to a good old-fashioned Aussie watering hole an essential part of all outback adventures. Here are some of Australia’s most iconic pubs well worth a visit next time you find yourself out of the big smoke…

Walkabout Creek Hotel, McKinlay

Yep, Mick Dundee’s local immortalised in Crocodile Dundee with memorabilia to prove it. It’s as old as Australia having received a liquor licence in 1901 and since its Hollywood fame circa 80s has managed to retain much of its simple charm and in despite of becoming the small town of McKinlay’s number one tourist attraction.


A photo posted by Kelsey Rae Kent (@stuckin1967) on

Birdsville Hotel, outback Queensland  

Rightly so, Sunday night is roast night at the legendary Birdsville Hotel. Built in 1884 with the Simpson Desert as its neighbour, people come from near and far to soak up the history, hear the tales of times gone by and forge new mateships over backyard bonfires. It's the number one (maybe the only) pit stop for thousands who flock here for the annual Birdsville Races.  

Have a cold one at the iconic Birdsville Hotel


Silverton Hotel, outback New South Wales

Silverton Hotel first opened in 1884 to cater for miners (not minors) and relocated to the old post office building after a fire in 1918. The pub took on another life in the 70s, with regular cameos on the screen including Mad Max II, Dirty Deeds and A Town Like Alice. A popular watering hole today, make a day of it arriving by camel in time for one of their famous hot dogs followed by a cold one. Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel

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 Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth

A Ned Kelly adventure may well be incomplete without a tipple at nineteenth century Tanwell’s Commercial Hotel. We’re told Tanswell’s is one of the local establishments frequented by this notorious Aussie and his band of misfits and subsequently became ‘police headquarters’ during the two-year manhunt the followed. Kelly links or not, the front bar remains much the same as what it was back then, the beers are cold and the wrap around verandas are pretty neat.


  A photo posted by Amelia Tanswell (@ammeliaa) on

Prairie Hotel, Parachilna

You can have your iconic Aussie experience and drink and eat it too at the Prairie Hotel. Famous for Flinders Range Food from bush tomato chilli jam and caramelised anise myrtle figs to their own Fargher Lager, Prairie Hotel also boasts everything from accommodation to local artists works and spectacular mountain views – it’s the ‘hip outback hotel… where the desert meets the Flinders Ranges' after all.

Pub in the Paddock, Pyengana, northeast Tasmania

Yep, it’s in a paddock surrounded by Tassie’s famous lush green goodness. One of the state’s oldest pubs opened (well, licensed) in 1880, good old-fashioned hospitality still shines here where you’re welcome to pull-up in your RV and sleep the night in the paddock after sampling a few local brews. Great for a cold one after visiting nearby waterfalls and for tasting local delicacies like award-winning cheddar cheese.

Daly Waters Pub, north of Alice Springs

One of the oldest pubs in the NT, if Daly Waters’ walls could talk they would probably have a lot to say. Instead they’re lined with quite a few bras and other memorabilia left by passers-by over its many years in operation. Known to get rowdy, the pub has seen murders, shootouts and cattle stampedes in the past – but today offers cold beer on tap, accommodation and publicans say they will bake you a cake for a special occasion.


  A photo posted by @thebackpaxker on

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Jolee Wakefield

A seasoned backpacker and travel writer, Jolee has spent the past decade wandering the globe in pursuit of good vibes, unusual conversations and unforgettable adventures like cave diving in Mexico, mountain climbing in Borneo and learning (failing at) local dances in the Pacific nation of Kiribati.