I have a love of the Outback Pub, the pub lunch/dinner and particularly the character of such places. Like the American roadside diner they are becoming few and far between but when you find one… well they are worth their weight in gold.
Unlike the American diner, the Aussie country pub is often the pure centre of the community… it is the community! It is a place to meet and greet, a place to relax, not just eat. Usually the company is unsurpassed in its individuality, entertainment and variety. Pub grub is my favourite meal, usually hearty, healthy and plentiful… it competes well with fast food, in fact it leaves fast food chains in the shade.
One of my favourites has to be the iconic Lion’s Den in Far North Queensland, something of a tourist adventure now it still retains its character and service and is a special lunch shop when headed up the Bloomfield track and on into Cooktown.
We discovered what has become another favourite recently and it didn’t disappoint. The Renner Springs hotel which is about 150ks north of Tennant Creek is another of these iconic adventures. It features on its menue things like ‘Bread and Butter Pud’, triffle and the tiny steak 200gm is called NY steak, while the 450grm is simply… the T Bone. On the hamburger and steak sandwich there isn’t a whiff of mayo, and they both are graced with good slices of beetroot… Now that is a statement on lifestyle methinks!
There is nothing more entertaining that reading the walls… yep… the walls. Any outback pub worth its salt is decorated by the patrons with all manner of things from hats, rego plates, old bric-a-brac and other interesting stuffs that can keep you entertained and exercised for ages after a long drive. The Renner Springs pub features a Unihog, a spear with site attached and advice that “The Beer is Free Tomorrow” and we all know when tomorrow comes.
Wonderful stories can be unearthed in these decorative icons, and they are a delight to discover. For example even reading the beer cooler can be an adventure such as we found around Litchfield NP… and the tale of the ‘Rum Jungle’, a rollicking Northern Territory tale in a place that is something of a national disgrace. Even here you can find the Aussie humour in play. But one of our true time favourites whenever we are venturing between Boulia and Winton in the Queensland Outback is the Middleton Pub, not to mention the freecamp in the ‘Hilton’ across the road… You have to be there to appreciate that!
You gotta love it.
Yep… there is nothing like the good old Outback Pub and Aus’ knows how to do this particularly well.
Jan is an author and writer. You can find out more about her Aboriginal tales in The Dreaming Series and the Spirit Children. Books are available in ebook and print.
For the price of a cuppa you can also purchase an archive of her travelling blogs to read at your leisure in “Discovering Australia and Her Lore.”