When travelling the Queensland outback, often there isn’t much to break up the long drives between towns, and there isn’t usually much in the cities themselves except a pub. These watering holes have become much more than local social hubs. They are where travellers refuel, cool off with a Goldie, meet the locals and share road condition advice.
Like the red highways they sit on, most of these pubs aren’t on the way between anywhere spoiled by fame, and to find them, you’re either taking a shortcut or going out of your way travelling with your camper trailer.
5 – Middleton Hotel, Middleton
One of Queensland’s most isolated pubs (and, in my mind, one of its most colourful), the Middleton Hotel is halfway between Winton and Boulia. Beautiful red mesas line the road just west of here, and Lester Cain, the proprietor, has a million stories to tell from his camel wrangling, opal-mining days. There is sometimes fuel, but always beer on tap. There’s even an old Cobb and Co. coach out front, as this is the last remaining changing station on the east-west Cobb and Co. route here.
6 – Hellsgate Roadhouse
Easily the best-named watering hole in Queensland’s hinterland, this gulf country spot is named for being the end of the local police territory back in the day; you were on your own until Katherine, in the NT. Funnily enough, the same ‘end of the world as you know it’ feeling still abides here. The Savannah Way heads west through some of its roughest kilometres to Borroloola from here. Bill Olive is the proprietor, and he is a wellspring of old stories and bush tales.
7 – Western Star Hotel, Windorah
Built-in 1878, the Western Star Hotel in Windorah is older than the Birdsville Hotel by about six years. With massive yellow belly said to inhabit the permanent waterholes of the Cooper Creek and surrounding channel country, this is a good place to come brag when you land the big one. It is almost too classy for our list with the attached Sandhill Grill and decent hotel and motel rooms, it is still a classic outback pub.
8 – Stonehenge Hotel, Stonehenge
Another great yellow belly centre, Stonehenge has some great tracks in the area and fishing holes, but the Stonehenge Hotel is the real deal. Worn out Blundstones adorn the cowboys’ feet propped up against a barrel fire out front. A 1950s bar fridge covered in stickers glints from the late afternoon sun, and you can listen in on anything from a good old fishing lie to the relative merits of Drought master and Brahman cattle.
9 – Mungallala Hotel, Mungallala
Yeah, the road through Mugallala is paved and the real outback starts in Charleville on my radar, but this is such a good, clean little pub in a town with almost nothing else. You can stop in here any time and the only limit to how many conversations you’ll get is how slowly you drink your beer.
The Next Steps
A camper trailer could be what you need to add more adventure to your weekends, contact the Maverick Campers team today. We’d be happy to help and answer any enquiries you have about our Campers and Caravans.