Student Flights

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Australia’s 12 Best Outback Pubs

Published March 23rd, 2017

How good is Aus? This great wide, ever changing land of ours, it's got us all itchy feet to hit the road outback for an adventure. To do that of course, we'll need to know the best spots to stop for a cold one. From the quintessential to the quirky, here are a few for a pit stop and an old fashioned pub meal. 

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Nindigully Pub, Queensland

500 kilometres inland from Brissy, this is Queensland’s oldest, and we reckon maybe most beautiful pub. Bring a swag and set up on the verandah or pitch your tent and you can use the pub’s showers for free.



Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, South Australia

Standing strong for 140 years, it is at this pub that you can order wild outback food like camel sausages, emu rissoles, goat steaks and of course kangaroo burgers. The view from the front verandah over the Flinders Ranges pairs perfectly with a pint.



The Pink Roadhouse, Oodnadatta, South Australia

Look, it’s bubblegum pink and it serves ice cold beer in the town that, since 1960 has held the record for Australia’s hottest temperature of 50.7 degrees Celsius. Sounds pretty decent to me.



Birdsville Hotel, Queensland

Obviously this one had to make this list. It’s an iconic pub, and if you don’t want to drive all the way there (it’s a long drive), you can fly in, to the airstrip across the street. The annual Birdsville Races are held here too, which are quite the hit, swelling the town from 120 to about 6000.


 

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Daly Waters Pub, Northern Territory

This pub was actually one of Australia’s first international airports pre World War II, when it served as a pit stop for planes flying the London to Sydney route. It’s also moonlighted as a pit stop for drovers moving cattle between Alice Springs and Darwin, amongst thirsty travellers on the inland route.


 

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Blue Heeler Hotel, Kynuna, Queensland

If it’s history you seek, this is the pub. Banjo Patterson frequented the Blue Heeler, and it’s rumoured that Patterson’s famous Waltzing Matilda had his last drink inside these walls. It’s also, surprise surprise, dedicated to man’s best friend, the working dog.


 

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Walkabout Creek Hotel, McKinlay, Queensland

If it was good enough for Crocodile Dundee, it’s good enough to be on this list. Featured in the 1986 film classic, this pub has been standing since 1900. A 2.5 hour drive from Mount Isa, it’s a welcome schooner stop in the outback too.


 

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Tilpa Hotel, New South Wales

It may be tiny, but it’s got a big personality. The Tilpa Hotel is the centrepiece of this sleepy town, which has the shortest heritage trail in Australia (a few metres) and a cemetery with no one in it. The pub interior has been lovingly decorated with graffiti by adoring visitors. For a $2 donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, you can leave your mark on the wall too.


 

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William Creek Hotel, South Australia

With a population of just six, William Creek is about halfway along the famed Oodnadatta Track, at the entrance to the Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre salt pan. Built in 1935, the hotel was once a siding on the Ghan railway line, today providing everything travellers could need, from camping spots and accommodation to a mechanic and of course ice cold beer.


 

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 Shakespeare Hotel, Barcaldine, Queensland

One of the larger outback towns on this list, you can actually do a pub crawl in Barcaldine! Arguably the best of the four remaining pubs, the ‘Shakey’ is a grand two story hotel with wide verandahs overlooking the railway. Fun fact: Barcaldine is also known as the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party.



Wellshot Hotel, Ilfracombe, Queensland

A restored Queenslander and once a railway station, the Wellshot Hotel is decorated in wide brimmed hats and foreign currency. Pull a chair up to the wool press bar and order a Wellshot Burger. They’re not at all bad.

Ironclad hotel, Marble Bar, Pilbara, WA

This pub has been a lifeline to the people of Marble Bar for 120 years, through cyclones, fires and no less than 160 consecutive days above 37.8 degrees in 1923-24. We wouldn’t call it fancy, but downing a pint of chilled beer on a bloody hot day will have you feeling like a king.

Student Flights

Vicki Fletcher

An Australian travel writer and photographer, Vicki loves road trips down unknown tracks, following locals to the best food in town and spending long afternoons people watching in city squares. She's obsessed with colours, stops to admire flowers and dreams of one day restoring a chateau in France. Her top travel tip: always look up. Follow her on Instagram @vickijanefletcher.