1. Grand Hotel, Cookkini, Western Australia
The Grand Hotel was built in 1902 as a gathering place for local gold prospectors. The gold is long gone, as are most of the town’s people. But for the intrepid traveler, the grand hotels are still great places to hang out and cool off on the wide, shaded balconies.
The bar at the front of the hotel is filled with photos of the good old days and examples of gritty, off-the-cuff Australian humor. An Aboriginal spear with a rifle scope hangs above the bar, along with a blackboard that reads “beer makes you see double, act single”.
If fate smiles on you, you might end up the owner of this fine outback hotel. The tavernkeeper promised that whoever was at the front bar at the time “gets the bar” if his lottery numbers came up.
The Grand Hotel is located on Kookynie Rd in Kookynie, 200 kilometers north of Kalgoorlie. Please call (08) 9031 3010.
2. Nindigully Bar, Queensland
Situated on the banks of the Moonie River, Nindigully is Queensland’s oldest continuously licensed pub. The coal miners of the local Nindigully station lived here before becoming a pub in 1864. Visitors can now camp for free next to the bar and enjoy swimming, fishing and crawfishing in the nearby river.
Nindigully Bar (Nindigully.com)
The pub is famous across Australia for its collection of Akubra hats. There are about one hundred and forty sheets hanging on the wall, most of which were donated by local farmers and livestock keepers.
The Nindigully pub is located on the Carnarvon Highway via Thallon, 160 kilometers west of Goondiwindi, 45 kilometers east of St George and 100 kilometers from the Queensland and New South Wales border 70 km. Please call (07) 4625 9637.
3. The Loaded Dog, Tarrago, NSW
named after old name henry lawson yarn A tale of a prospector’s hound and a stick of dynamite, the Loading Dog has been catering to thirsty travelers en route to Canberra long before it was just a sheep farm. It’s now a country music mecca, with some of the biggest names in the Australian music scene making their mark here.
The Loaded Dog Hotel circa 1927 (Loadeddoghotel.com)
The pub was built in 1848 in the then bustling town of Tarrago, 69 kilometers north-east of Canberra, on a now little-used road. This scenic route is popular with motorcyclists who detour to Loaded Dog to enjoy its open fires and famous bistro food.
The Loaded Dog is located at 1 Wallace Street, Tarago. Their phone number is (02) 4849 4499.
4. William Creek Hotel, South Australia
The Williams Creek Hotel is halfway on the Oodnadatta walking track, the social heart of the smallest town in the Australian outback, and since Noah was a boy, Williams Creek The Williams Creek Hotel has been quenching the thirst of hungry travelers. You can also arrange a scenic flight over Lake Eyre here, just a little up the runway.
William Creek Hotels (SATC)
As with most Australian pubs, the bar at the front is filled with ‘souvenirs’ ranging from failed proposals to banknotes from around the world. The food is simple but filling – burgers taller than beer cans – and there’s a fuel pump up front to top up before you continue down the track.
Ask the landlord what brought him to this dusty spot in the middle of the outback, and in true Australian fashion he will point to the battered Toyota parked outside.
The William Creek Hotel is on the Oodnadatta Track at William Creek, 210 kilometers north of Coober Pedy. Please call (08) 8670 7880.
5. Daly Waters Pub, Northern Territory
Built in 1930, the Daly Waters Pub has seen murders, Main Street shootouts, cattle scurrying around town and the odd drunken brawl. It is now known for its collection of bras left behind by visiting customers, a tradition that began with a drunken bet in the 1980s. The men have also been leaving things behind in order not to be eliminated. An Irishman donated his throwing stick.
Daly Waters Bar (Creative Commons: LakeyBoy)
Situated on the Explorers Way, 600km south of Darwin and 900km north of Alice Springs, the pub claims to focus on the important things in life, such as serving -1-degree beer and glasses that cross the line. This may explain why Daly Waters Pub is a “must-miss” rest stop on any Australian outback adventure.
Daly Waters Bar is located at 16 Stuart Street, Daly Waters. Call (08) 8975 9927 or visit their website dalywaterspub.com
look at our An Explorer’s Guide to South Australia and Northern Territory, Australia Find out more outback adventure ideas.