Top 10 iconic pubs in regional Queensland

In Queensland? Don't skip these top 10 watering holes

Outback Queensland is renowned for many great things, the ever-changing scenery, cultural attractions and country hospitality, but it's vast majority of iconic pubs, are what leave a lasting impression on visitors.

Country pubs are an integral part of Queensland's history, with several buildings standing the test of time, dating back to the early 1860s.

Whether you're stopping in to reward yourself with a cold beverage, a bite to eat or to marvel at the history and memorabilia inside, there's an experience waiting to be had at any outback pub.

According the Queensland Hotel Association, there are around 323 licensed commercial Hotels across regional Queensland, but these are my top 10.

Birdsville Hotel

Age of the pub: Established in 1884.

The Birdsville Hotel. Picture: Sally Gall

The Birdsville Hotel. Picture: Sally Gall

Birdsville - deep in the heart of wild and isolated country, a place known for the world-renowned Birdsville races, Big Red bash, and the iconic Birdsville Hotel.

Notably one of Queensland's most isolated and western watering holes, the Birdsville Hotel establishment first started pouring beers in 1884 for cattle drovers moving stock across the Channel Country.

With history etched within it's weathered sandstone walls, the establishment has been a refuge to travellers from across the globe for more than 130 years.

nduring temperatures well above 40 degrees, floods, fires and even cyclones, the Hotel has won the hearts of Australians as a symbol of the spirit and character of the Queensland outback.

The hotel was purchased by NSW tourism entrepreneurs Courtney and Talia Ellis in late 2019, who have brought decades of experience in tourism and outback hospitality to the Hotel.

Mrs Ellis has been an outback pilot since 2009, flying her family to and from Birdsville from their home in NSW. .

"Our focus is making the experience satisfying for people who make the long trek out to Birdsville. The Birdsville Hotel is a significant drawcard, and we're very respectful of that long, and proud, tradition," Ms Ellis said.

"The past two years have obviously been a bit tough but we have been lucky to still have had a good number of visitors trickling through to keep us going.

"If anything, the events of the past couple of years have shown us that the Old Girl is pretty resilient and it's given us the opportunity to do a few updates and renovations."

The Birdsville Hotel is steeped in history and Mrs Ellis said the Hotel has played a fascinating, and an important part in the exploration and settlement of Australia's desert country.

"Our pub appeals to people that want to get out into the real outback and taste the remoteness that Western Queensland has on offer," she said.

"Getting to Birdsville is an adventure in itself and the hotel gives travellers a place to celebrate their journey and enjoy a cold beer and yarn with the locals from Birdsville and the surrounding cattle stations."

Nindigully Pub, Granite belt

Age of the pub: Established 1864.

Picture: Sean-Scott-Photography

Picture: Sean-Scott-Photography

Nestled on the banks of the Moonie River, between Thallon and St George, lies Queensland's oldest pub, the Nindigully Hotel 'The Gully'.

Built as shearer's accommodation in 1864, the Hotel, still in it's original condition, has been put on the map for not only its historical value but also its supersized menu.

Sourcing locally produced food, the Hotel offers a 'road train' burger - a 5.5kg burger, with around 40-50 road train burgers ordered each week.

The pub's challenge is that if a single person - alone - can eat the whole thing, they're awarded a keg of beer.

Visitors can also immerse themselves with the century old features and memorabilia inside the hotel, with the original windows, doors and knobs all the same as when it was built in 1864.

The Nindigully Pub has been a vital meeting place for the region's farming community, integral to supporting those in need during the drought.

Einasleigh Hotel​, north-west Qld

Age of the pub: 112-year-old

Publicans: John Green and his partner Bianca Brooker since April 2020.

The Einasleigh Hotel, constructed in 1909, was erected during a brief period of prosperity and expansion in the copper mining town of Einasleigh, during the peak extraction years of the Einasleigh Copper Mine. Picture: Supplied.

The Einasleigh Hotel, constructed in 1909, was erected during a brief period of prosperity and expansion in the copper mining town of Einasleigh, during the peak extraction years of the Einasleigh Copper Mine. Picture: Supplied.

The Einasleigh Hotel has had a century experience of pouring beers (est. 1909) for residents across the Ethridge shire, 360km south-west of Cairns.

Perched metres away from the pristine Copperfield George, the Einasleigh Hotel was erected during the peak extraction years of the Einasleigh Copper Mine.

You can't miss the galvanized corrugated iron pub as you drive into town, the Einasleigh Hotel is the principal building in the township of Einasleigh.

A focal point for outback families each Easter, holidaymakers travel to the iconic town for the annual Easter at Einasleigh each year. Publicans final words - "We think our Pub is iconic because of the beautiful heritage architecture as well the atmosphere and history when you walk in."

The Lions Den Hotel, Cape York Peninsula 

Age of the pub: Established in 1875 by Welshman family.

The Lions Den Hotel is located 300 kilometres north Cairns in Far North Queensland and was named after a nearby tin mine. Picture: supplied.

The Lions Den Hotel is located 300 kilometres north Cairns in Far North Queensland and was named after a nearby tin mine. Picture: supplied.

Dubbed the 'Gateway to the Far North', thousands of travelers have stopped in for a beer and left their mark on the walls of The Lions Den Hotel.

Situated on the lush banks of the Little Annan River, surrounded by 100-year-old mango trees and tropical landscapes the Den is the perfect place to visit the 'real' Australia.

The Hotel is an important stop for tourists and locals for decades as a rest stop from the gruelling travel throughout the Cape York Peninsula.

Thousands of signatures adorn the walls of the Lions Den, which stem from an early tradition begun in the early mining days.

The Purple Pub, Normanton

Age of the pub: Early 1900s.

Officially known as the National Hotel, the Purple Pub was established in the early 1900s. Picture: Supplied

Officially known as the National Hotel, the Purple Pub was established in the early 1900s. Picture: Supplied

Jumping out like a barramundi snagged on the end of a fishing line, The Purple Pub in Normanton, catches the eye of every passerby.

Originally painted a light mauve in 1968, then a few shades darker in 1975, it gained its current purple in 1979, and now attracts tourists from all over.

One of the most photographed buildings in town, the west wing of the building was previously the Exchange Hotel in Croydon and was relocated to the town.

This oasis glistening in the sandy Savannah grasslands lies 2000km west of Brisbane.

Here the publicans treat travellers with cold beer, that's best enjoyed after a sunset croc spotting tour or Gulflander train journey from nearby Croydon.

Betoota Hotel

Age of the pub: Established in the late 1880s.

The Betoota Hotel.

The Betoota Hotel.

Betoota - home to the satirical website, The Betoota Advocate, sand storms, Mt Leonard Station and the iconic Betoota Hotel.

The only building in the town, outside the race track, the Betoota Hotel is situated halfway along the long and stony road between Windorah and Birdsville.

The Hotel was best known for its Polish-born publican, Simon Remienko, who managed the business for 44 years before closing the doors in 1997.

Robbo Haken, a smash repairer from Logan, took over the reins in June 2019, restoring the 1880s building of sandstone walls and hardwood floors.

Victoria Pub, Goondiwindi

Age of the pub: Built in 1888, which makes it 133-years-old.

Lucy Keeping (Assistant Manager), Ben Harrison (Venue Manager) and Stephanie Harrison (Assistant Manager).

Lucy Keeping (Assistant Manager), Ben Harrison (Venue Manager) and Stephanie Harrison (Assistant Manager).

Whether you've visiting the Granite Belt or coming across from New South Wales, you'll be ready for a beer at the Victoria Hotel in Goondiwindi.

Situated in the central hub of Goondiwindi, the hotel is a single-story wooden structure, which encapsulates the eye of thousands of visitors each year.

Known for its good old-fashioned hospitality, locals flock to enjoy a cold beer after work, families gather for a meal and travellers immerse themselves in the history of the town and the pub.

Historical artefacts lay inside the hotel, including a piece of the original carpet from when it was a single-storey building standing in Marshall Street in the late 1880s.

There is a memorial for Gunsynd, The Goondiwindi Grey, and many photos of previous owners and licensees.

Sadleir's Waterhole, Morven

Age of the pub: September, 2020.

Sadleir's Waterhole, Morven. Picture: Supplied

Sadleir's Waterhole, Morven. Picture: Supplied

The south-western community of Morven made headlines in 2016, after the town's only pub, Morven Hotel Motel, burnt down in a fire.

Determined to fill the gap in the towns heart, a co-operative of eight families, constructed a new pub for the Morven community.

Some of the co-op that has brought a hotel back to the Morven community - Sweeney and Cathy Burey, Leanne and Andrew McInnerney, Lavinia and David Mackenzie, and Louise and David Winten - behind the Ooline timber bartop. Pictures - Sally Gall.

Some of the co-op that has brought a hotel back to the Morven community - Sweeney and Cathy Burey, Leanne and Andrew McInnerney, Lavinia and David Mackenzie, and Louise and David Winten - behind the Ooline timber bartop. Pictures - Sally Gall.

Named 'Sadleir's Waterhole', the pub's name has been derived from a waterhole of the same name in Hamburg Creek that the township was originally settled on, when Captain TJ Sadleir and his wife set up camp there in the 1860s.

Though young in age, the new watering hole features a homestead-style building with open-air verandahs and admired the bar top made from the timber of the rare Ooline tree.

The Great Western Pub, Rockhampton

Age of Pub: Built in 1862, the pub celebrates its 160th birthday in 2022.

Publicans Michael and Mieke Simpson outside the Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton. Picture: Supplied.

Publicans Michael and Mieke Simpson outside the Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton. Picture: Supplied.

One of Queensland's oldest pubs, The Great Western Hotel is unrivalled and is often referred to as "Australia's most unique pub".

Previously owned by country music royalty Lee Kernaghan, the rustic Queenslander style heritage pub is in the beef capital of Australia.

With a unique entertainment arena attached to the century old pub, The Great Western hosts bull riding, horse events and the best of Australia's live music scene.

Publicans' final words: "Everyone is welcome at The Great Western."

North Gregory Hotel, Winton

Age of the pub:Current building is 66 years old, original building was built 1879 (142 years ago)

North Gregory Hotel, Winton. Picture: Supplied

North Gregory Hotel, Winton. Picture: Supplied

Known as the "Queen of the Outback", the North Gregory Hotel hosted the first public appearance of Banjo Patterson, who first performed Waltzing Matilda in public in 1895.

Bursting with history and character the Gregory welcomes guests into a majestic foyer with Art Deco lighting, retro furniture and parquetry flooring.

The first quiet meetings were held for the formation of Qantas Airlines and the hotel also hosted former US president Lyndon B. Johnson, who stayed when his flight came down near Winton during WWII.

The last time the Gregory burned down (again), the local townsfolk petitioned the council to rebuild it - leading to the Qld Government passing a special Act of Parliament allowing the Winton Council to manage and operate a licensed premises.

Publican's final words: "It has history on its walls and a barman who gives cold beer and cheek to all who visit."

This story In Queensland? Don't skip these top 10 watering holes first appeared on The North West Star.