There are few visitor experiences left in this world that you can really set your watch to, but the dine-in experience in a country pub is one of them.
You’re guaranteed the beers will be cold, the locals warm and the décor built for comfort rather than style, the perfect trifecta to settle in, feel at home and stay awhile.
Perhaps what we’re all so drawn to is not just the fact that country pubs serve a purpose – a place for a brew and chew – but the fact they are where you can get a true read on the town you’re visiting.
Consider country pubs mini museums (with beer) that reveal the real character and history of a town.
If you’re thirsty for a pub crawl through our country, start planning your next road trip (with a designated driver) to visit a few of our favourite watering holes.
1. Mulgowie Hotel, Lockyer Valley
The Mulgowie Hotel, affectionately known as The Mulga, is the heart and soul of Laidley Valley, which you’ll find just over an hour’s drive west of Brisbane’s CBD.
Considering the Lockyer Valley is touted as the salad bowl of Queensland, it’s no surprise to find farm-fresh produce across their pub menu.
Take your meals inside the air-conditioned dining hall or on the deck to breathe in the fresh, Lockyer Valley country air.
To see the pub come to life, time your visit for one of the regular live music nights, family-fun days or the twice-yearly Outback Bull Ride.
If you find you’re having too much fun to head home, you can easily extend your visit with a stay in cabin accommodation behind the pub – the perfect jumping off point to tick off these 10 things to do in the Lockyer Valley.
2. Victoria Hotel, Goondiwindi
As you drive down the main street of Goondiwindi, the iconic Victoria Hotel turns heads with its two-storey street appeal.
From an architectural perspective it’s a good mix of Victorian, jazz age and early colonial, with thanks to the many reincarnations and renovations of the hotel over the decades.
While the Victoria Hotel might have been pouring beers since the 1920s, its menu is anything but old fashioned, reflecting modern Australian cuisine with influences from Goondiwindi local produce suppliers.
On the menu you’ll find the likes of karaage chicken and halloumi fries alongside pub staples like chicken schnitzel and steak sandwiches.
Like any good country pub, you can easily turn one drink into one too many, booking one of the 14 rooms above the hotel with views over the main street.
If you do end up staying the night, wake up to the smell of coffee at one of the nearby cafes and start planning your day with this Gundy guide.
3. Condamine Hotel, Western Downs
Few hotels can lay claim to being found in both an epicentre of cattle and cod (Murray cod that is) but the Condamine Hotel can.
You’ll find it overlooking the banks of the mighty Condamine River in the Western Downs town of Condamine.
On the menu you’ll find Meandarra producer favourite, Four Daughters Premium Black Angus served a few different ways – rib and eye fillet, brisket and cheek – and we challenge you not to taste the paddock to plate difference.
The Condabilla Fish Farm, just down the road takes care of the Condamine Hotel’s Murray Cod supplies, so you know the seafood scene is fresh even though you’re nearly 400km from the ocean.
If you decide to kick on, no need to lament not bringing a designated driver with you. Stay the night in one of the 13 air-conditioned motel units that are onsite.
4. Rudd’s Pub, Nobby
This pub is so synonymous with Australian pub culture, it played muse to writer Steele Rudd who wrote his famous Australian book series, On Our Selection, inside these very walls. You could say his characters Dad and Dave were born here.
During your visit, you’ll be hard pressed giving your dining company your undivided attention with all the memorabilia adorning the walls, but take it from us, your eyes will be glued to your plate when the meal hits the table.
There’s over 50 things to choose from on their near encyclopaedic menu, but steaks are always a popular choice, with names which give a nod to this pub’s history like “Dads Mighty Mixed Grill” and “Dave’s Terrific T-Bone”.
5. Stockman Hotel, Texas
There’s a reason you’ll find motorbikes parked out the front of this establishment most days and nights, and its all to do with the country hospitality of this country waterhole.
Set in the tiny town of Texas on the banks of the Dumaresq River, the Stockman Hotel knows its audience are drawn to the sweeping stretches of country road for a weekend of riding.
To capitalise, they’ve set the benchmark (or handlebar-mark) for every other country pub with a motorbike friendly policy that sees any rider who’s booked overnight accommodation get free undercover bike parking, bike cleaning kit and their first drink free (and not just a pot of light beer either) with their stay.
Beyond bike hospitality, you can expect all the other usual country pub finds like cold beer, a dining room serving pub grub and model style accommodation out the back.
6. Farmers Arms Tavern, Cabarlah
Considering the Farmers Arms Tavern has been pouring beers since 1863 and claims to wear the title of the oldest continually licenced pub in all of Queensland (along with several others we might add!), you know you’re in good hands at this Cabarlah establishment.
You’ll find it on the New England Highway, with a menu of country pub favourites like steaks served several ways, parmis and pizzas.
Sure, you could sit inside, but most opt for the beer garden which overlooks the country scenery.
You can feel your shoulders drop with every minute you spend here. Or that could also be the beers starting to take their effect.
7. Killarney Hotel
If you wanted to show an international student what a country pub in Australia looks like, a picture of the Killarney Hotel would do the trick with its two-story, wrap-around verandas.
You’ll find it serving lunch and dinner seven days a week from its two bars and dining rooms that spawl out, giving the pub a sense of old-world grandeur.
Like most country pubs, you can opt to stay the night in the hotel accommodation should one drink turn into ‘just one more’, rendering you unable to drive home.
A sleepover in the Southern Downs charming town of Killarney will stand you in excellent stead for a day’s worth of adventuring. Did someone say waterfall chasing? Lucky for you, we have just the guide for must-do waterfalls.
Thirsty for more?
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