AT readers have clearly visited a lot of pubs while travelling this vast country. Here’s a sample of the best to get you started on your next outback trip.   
Barrow Creek
In Barrow Creek, NT, we stopped at the pub with some trepidation after the bad press the area had encountered. We filled up with petrol after going in to get the key for the bowser. We then decided it was time for a drink after being on the road for so long. We marvelled at the atmosphere of the pub: money stuck to the ceiling from travellers (this goes to the RFDS); old farm pieces suitable for a museum; customers who rush in and yell that they’re “off to the hospital and will pay for the petrol later”; and a farmhand who worked in Les Girls. We struck up a conversation with this man and heard stories of Carlotta coming to the outback and the life he leads now. He was polite, full of stories and genuine . . . an Aussie with courage to try anything. What a find this pub was. It has reinforced our belief in Australia being the best place ever. At least in the face of adversity, this pub has retained its unique flavour. – Bonnie Vicary

Grand Hotel Kookynie

In a little ghost town in WA, this is basically the only thing standing. The pub is filled to the brim with historical pieces that show what was once a gold mining boomtown. Plus the owners are true characters that really love the land and the preservation of its history. – Vicky Atkins

Birdsville Hotel
The managers and staff could not be more helpful. Clean, cool rooms, tours for free to all the sites of interest – Big Red, the biggest dune in the desert, the rare Waddi trees, which have timber so hard they blunt axes, The Diamantina river to see why the town is so called (a myriad of birdlife) and finally the cemetery, where it was so sad to see people, the pioneers, that gave their all to establish this fine community. Then back to the pub for the finest meal on our tour. A must for both Australian and overseas travellers, and not just for the races! – Iris Tirkkonen

Matso’s Store
We went to Broome in March 2006, complete with 40-degree heat! We expected to sit by our resort pool sipping cocktails all day, fitting in massages now and then. Which we did, for the most part. What we didn’t expect was to stumble across Matso’s pub, complete with refreshing, home-brewed ginger-flavoured beer, delicious beer-battered fish and chips, and a place overflowing with character. The working fans were an added bonus. It gets our vote for best outback pub ever! – Hooma Mishra

The Lion’s Den
A few years ago I arrived at the Lion’s Den Hotel near Cooktown after a long and dusty drive. What a classic Aussie pub! An old timber and tin building, the interior walls are signed by the hundreds of thousands of visitors who have stopped by over the years. – Pauline Snape-Jenkinson

Toodyay Pub, WA
The food here is phenomenal and the locals are the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I’m a Victorian and there’s no way we get service like that down here. – Jaime-lee Page

Royal Mail in Hungerford
The best outback pub I’ve been to was at Hungerford in outback Qld. Out the front is a zoo made from all kinds of metal and junk found on outback properties. When a customer asks about the zoo, the publican charges them money for an explanation, with all monies collected going to the
RFDS. – Rose Dickson

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