- We are the world’s 4th highest consumer of beer (i) and Australians drink on average over 100 litres of beer each year. (ii)
- The Walkabout Creek Hotel in Queensland is famous as Crocodile Dundee’s regular drinking spot in the movie. Known originally as theFederal McKinlay Hotel, it is now the town’s number one tourist attraction.
- The William Creek Hotel is in South Australia’s smallest town in the middle of the world’s largest cattle property, Anna Creek Station which, at 23,000 sq km, is roughly the size of Belgium.
- Australia’s best-known and much-loved national song and the nation’s unofficial national anthem, 'Waltzing Matilda', is believed to have been sung first in 1895 at the North Gregory Hotel, in Outback Winton.
Next time you’re passing through a country town, head for the wide verandahs and cheery atmosphere of the local pub. It’s here you’ll discover the soul of a town – it’s also where the beer is cold and yarns are spun; pubs across Australia are brimming with character.
There’s nothing that we Aussies like more than to crack open a 'cold one' on a hot summer’s day. But, when you’re in the Outback or Bush stopping at a welcoming watering hole to wash down the taste of dust with an ice-cold beer is the closest sensation to heaven you’re likely to get.
Country pubs are the gathering place for locals, where you’ll find ‘fair dinkum’ Australians who’ll share their stories and call you ‘cobber’. Shout the bar, make good mates and escape the heat. Buy a raffle ticket, bet on a cane toad race or take part in a game of ‘Two-Up’. Then enjoy a hot meal and bed down for the night.
True Australian country hospitality is still very much alive and well in our pubs, whether it’s an Outback ‘motel’, an historic old pub in the Flinders Ranges offering world-class ‘bush tucker’ cuisine, or the legendary Pub With No Beer. Whatever the style of accommodation or the location, the locals will greet you with a firm hand shake and call you ‘mate’. In the Outback and Bush, it’s all about the people, the places and the pubs.
- You can’t get more Outback than the famous Prairie Hotel at Parachilna in South Australia. Built in the 1890s, the pub attracts visitors from all over the world who come to try the renowned Australian native cuisine or ‘bush tucker’, otherwise known as ‘feral food’ while drinking in the view of the magnificent Flinders Ranges.
- The Pub in the Paddock is surely one of Australia’s quirkiest pubs. This 1880s watering hole sits in the middle of a paddock in Tasmania’s Pyengana Valley and is famous for its beer-swilling pig, Priscilla Babe, who can scull a watered-down stubby in four seconds. A Tasmanian institution, the pub offers hearty country meals and comfortable accommodation.
- While sunset camel rides on Broome’s Cable Beach are world-famous, it’s the tales about beer-drinking camels that draw attention further south at Whim Creek Hotel. Half way between Karratha and Port Hedland, it has its own wildlife sanctuary and was once home to a camel with a penchant for beer. Don’t worry about missing the pub – it’s painted bright-pink!
- Apart from the legendary Pub With No Beer in NSW, the Outback is littered with quirky and colourful character pubs.
- Over on our west coast, 'The Roey' (Roebuck Bay Hotel) Broome’s oldest pub lives by the saying “If it’s going to happen in Broome, it’s going to happen at the Roey”. If you stumble across local character, ‘Swindle’, pull up a chair and order a coldie because he has enough tales about pearling and gangsters to last a week.
- The William Creek Hotel has an almost legendary status and is the only ‘watering hole’ on the Oodnadatta Track between Marree and Oodnadatta. The only iron hotel still trading in South Australia, this original pub is filled with unique mementos left by thousands of visitors.
- Right in the heart of Burke and Wills explorer country, the Innamincka Hotel at Cooper Creek in South Australia once played host to early drovers who brought cattle down the Strzelecki Track. The pub’s convivial ‘Outamincka Bar’ has become the stuff of bush legend and is a must-stop for anyone travelling in these parts.
- The four-star Aurora Alice Springs Hotel recently underwent a major facelift so it’s a bit more ritzy than your average Outback pub, with a pool and spa. With its central location fronting the banks of the famous Todd River, it also has one of the best restaurants in Alice, the Red Ochre Grill, serving bush tucker cuisine, and some of the very best rooms.
Originally published 17 December 2009.