From Broken Hill we took the road to Wilcannia then followed the Darling river to the little town of Tilpa. Tilpa pub doesn’t see too many visitors, mainly passing shearers and local farmers.



The pub walls are scrawled with names from the past 40 years (or whenever texta colors were invented) I stayed at the pub 25 years ago and it hasn’t changed a bit.



While we were there, discussion around the bar was centered on the pet sheep overdue for shearing. There was a shearer at the bar with a set of 12 volt clippers, so it was decided to shear the sheep then and there. Coaxed to the front of the ute by a handful of twisties, the poor old sheep was flipped over and shorn before she even knew what happened.



After all the excitement, another handful of twisties for being a well behaved sheep.


Half way between Maree and Oodnadatta, on the southern edge of the Simpson Desert, is the William Creek Hotel. It was established in 1885 as a watering stop and provider of refreshing beverages for the original Ghan railway.


It is the closest pub to Lake Eyre, which normally doesn’t mean much, but this year the Lake filled with water and the pub was busier than it has ever been.


Entering through the front door is thirsty work if you stop to read all the business cards, student ID’s and numerous other items of social importance.


Once inside it is very hard to leave. Not just because of the excellent beer …


…the abundance of  fascinating literature covering the walls, ceiling  and any other vertical surface will keep you reading for hours!

A pub not to be missed if you are traveling the Oodnadatta track.

PUBS – 2


grove hill map

Whipping along the Stuart Highway north of Pine Creek, we saw a sign pointing to Grove Hill Hotel. We figured it must be a pretty impressive pub – the sign said “HISTORICAL” so off we went along a twisting dirt road to Grove Hill.


At first sight the pub didn’t look that impressive. The garden was struggling, paint peeling and “New Ownership” sign, badly faded, but we went in anyway.


The foyer was an elegant mixture of art deco and Territorian casual. We made our way through to the bar and ordered some drinks before wandering through the rest of the pub.


The bar served a variety of beers in either cans or stubbies.


The dining room – simple and tastefully decorated.


Each table displayed a magnificent arrangement of artifical flowers.


The bedrooms were comfortable and inviting.


Keeping everything running smoothly required some fairly sophisticated, high-tech equipment.



A piano accordian on the sideboard looked to have provided hours and hours years and years of first rate entertainment.


Out the back, the matinence shed contained all the necessary tools to keep everything in ship shape condition.


There was even a ride on mower to keep the grounds immaculate.

The car park is always a good indicator of the quality of a hotel. Looking at Grove Hill’s car park, it appears a lot of patrons arrive, park their car and never leave – and who could blame them.











So next time you happen to be whipping along the Stuart Highway north of  Pine Creek, take the detour to Grove Hill Hotel.


They even offer camping and budget accommodation.



Croydon sprang up in the 1880’s. It was a gold rush town, swelling to over 7000 people and 122 pubs. The Club Hotel is the sole survivor, which gives a clue to the quality of their beer. It’s a typical Queensland pub of the era – all timber, high ceilings, wide veranda with outside seats. a great place for a beer and a meal.


Normanton’s “Purple Pub” is built in the same wide veranda, high ceiling style, but is an unusual combination of two separately roofed buildings. I doubt it was called the purple pub when it was built in the late 1800’s –  purple wasn’t invented till way after that. It’s now the best known landmark in town.

A green butchery has sprung up since we were last there, but it doesn’t seem to be attracting near as much attention.

Mt Morgan 1

This is a shot I took of the National Hotel, Mt Morgan back in the early 80’s. It was a great pub with lots of character. I went back to Mt Morgan 5 years later, intending to stay in the National, only to find it had been converted to a Methodist Church!

Mt Morgan 2

Returning to Mt Morgan this trip, we drove up the hill to see what had become of the old pub.

Well, the Methodist  church had vacated and it was now a private residence. What a shame, such a great example of over the top, goldrush, hotel architecture should have drifted away from it’s intended purpose.

Mt Morgan 3




Daly Waters Pub is one of the NT’s most famous. Built  on a busy droving route in the 1930’s, it was once a watering hole for thirsty cattlemen. Today it attracts tourists from all over the world. There are walls adorned with signed thongs, bras, knickers and foreign banknotes, marking the travels of thousands of visitors enjoying a rowdy beer.

daly waters pub

Couldn’t resist taking a photo of this colour coordinated lady taking a photo of someone drinking a pint outside the pub.