10 Of The Best Country Pubs
Some of the best plans are hatched over a beer in a country pub and we’ve got some beauties for you right here in Southern Queensland Country. They’re the perfect pit stops on a Big Sky Country Drive – serving everything from coffee and cake to hearty meals and a variety of brews and many have comfy, pub-style rooms and motel units if you want to settle in for the night.
Here’s our guide to some of the best country pubs in the region:
Image credit: Balonne Beacon
Road trip to: Sternes Street, Nindigully
If you’re going to meet interesting people with stories to tell, it’s here at The Gully - a classic 1864 pub perched on the banks of the Moonie River, nudging the edge of the outback.
The food here leaves regular pub grub in the dust - make sure to leave some room for their legendary Roadtrain Burger - weighing in at more than 2kg, it’s a challenge for 4 people, and impossible for 1!
You can park your van or pitch your tent in the adjoining campground and use the pub’s hot showers and toilets – a welcome comfort after a day trying to land a big one in the river; or stay a night in one of the basic pub rooms or roll out your swag on the veranda.
Bull and Barley Inn
Road trip to: 61 Eton St, Cambooya
Settle in for some good old fashioned hospitality at the Bull & Barley Inn – a fully restored old-style watering hole dating back to 1902. An easy 25 minute hop from Toowoomba past a patchwork of cropping and grazing paddocks, this pub oozes rural charm.
Local tip: get there early to score the best spot on the veranda or a picnic table on the lawn – prime spots to sit back, enjoy the country views and watch the world go by with a cold bevie and a juicy steak.
There’s a wide selection of wines and beers on tap or test the temperature of the bottled beer and cider from the original cedar chiller box which has been cooling drinks here since the 1930s. Historic photographs tell the story of the pub and the surrounding Darling Downs.
The Spotted Cow
Road trip to: 296 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba
A Toowoomba institution that draws locals and travellers keen for prime steak and a selection of top pub grub, The Cow is a must on your top pubs list.
You’ll find a cosmo-country kind of vibe - warm and friendly hospitality, a 50-strong label, hand-picked red wine cellar and did we mention the beer?! From pale ales to porters, you can sample old favourites and obscure craft brews amongst more than 70 beers on the pour here.
And each August The Cow is one of three locations celebrating Brewoomba – Toowoomba’s huge craft beer festival.
Road trip to: 19 Pine Street, Thallon
After a long drive there’s nothing like settling in for a cool ale and a yarn at the Francis Hotel in Thallon.
You’ll know you’ve arrived in town when you see "The Watering Hole" – a beautifully painted mural on the town’s towering grain silos, thanks to internationally renowned street artists Drapl and The Zookeeper.
In the park opposite the pub you’ll meet William, the giant Northern Hairy-nosed wombat (endangered in these parts)… and if you think he’s big, wait till you see the plates of pub tucker Guppy the publican serves up! The shady beer garden at sunset is the best spot for a classic country pub session.
St George Hotel
Road trip to: Corner Henry St & St Georges Terrace, St George
You’d be hard pressed to find a more tranquil spot to have a beer and a pub meal than the deck of the St George Hotel overlooking the Balonne River.
The atmosphere is ultra-relaxed, a cool breeze rises up from the shady river gums and all is right with the world!
The Barnyard Burger, bangers and mash and the mammoth Cave Man Steak gets the locals’ seal of approval. Weekends are a little more upbeat with live bands keeping the locals and travellers entertained.
Road trip to: 45 Tooth Street, Nobby
This memorabilia-packed country pub, built in 1893, is quite an experience!
Friendly hospitality, cold beer and juicy steaks so big you can’t jump over them are standard here – what’s fascinating is to spend some time browsing the old black and white photographs and reading the history and pioneering stories of the area that line the pub walls.
Famous author Steele Rudd lived locally and it’s said he penned many of his classic Dad ‘n Dave stories in the hotel’s Heritage Lounge bar. Rusty farm equipment, horse shoes and Akubra hats adorn the walls, leaving you in no doubt you’re in fertile farming country!
Road trip to: 30 Main St, Meringandan
The steaks at this little gem of a country pub, 19 km from Toowoomba, are worth the drive – but make sure you book a table or you may be disappointed!
The servings are generous – big eaters can even tackle the monster 1kg steak served with a mountain of chips and salad!
Sit on the back deck or in the shady beer garden and when you’ve finished eating, ask to see the adjoining hobby farm – where you’ll meet happy goats, geese, chooks and Chips ‘n Gravy, the resident camels.
The Bun Pub
Road trip to: 72 Moffatt St, Kaimkillenbun
The Bun is the perfect pitstop on your way up to the Bunya Mountains. It’s a friendly old-school pub serving cold beer and tasty counter lunches in the bar, the old fashioned dining room or the beer garden.
The walls are lined with sports, car and truck memorabilia and publican Bud is always at the ready with a story.
His dog Barley greets you from the back of a ute out front and then perches in the window to keep an eye on the bar.
Road trip to: 17 Willow Street, Killarney
If walls could talk, the tongue and groove boards of the historic Killarney Hotel – a classic Queenslander pub – would tell tales of pioneering farmers and cedar-getters that roamed these green hills in the late 1800s.
You can get a good feel for the local history perusing the old photographs and maps on display or by chatting to the friendly locals at the bar. The wide verandas are a great spot for a counter lunch or dinner – try the local beef and lamb.
It’s a short drive from here to explore the 14 River Crossings (4WD only) and the Falls Drive – an easy 11km scenic route that takes in Daggs, Browns and Queen Mary Falls.
Yangan Hotel Motel
Road trip to: 13 King St, Yangan
Just 15 minutes from Warwick, the Yangan Hotel is a must-do lunch stop on the scenic Settlers Route.
It’s the perfect Sunday drive destination or take advantage of their comfy motel units or free campsites and stay a night or two to relax in this quiet village set on Swan Creek with views to the picturesque Swanfels Valley.
From here it’s an easy hop to explore the Border Ranges, Killarney and Main Range National Park.
For more inspiration on where to explore across Southern Queensland Country, check out our handy guide or head to our blog.