Admittedly, one of our rural New South Wales pub picks featured in classic Australian film Wake in Fright – but we promise the reception at these country institutions will be less Wolf Creek and more Crocodile Dundee.
Royal Hotel Queanbeyan
This charming Art Deco pub
is just a 20-minute drive from Canberra and worth a detour. (It also offers affordable accommodation if you feel like a stopover.) Ask for the Royal treatment: beef-and- Guinness pie with a local brew.
85 Monaro Street, Queanbeyan; (02) 6297 1444
Burrawang Village Hotel
Surrounded by rolling green fields, the Burrawang epitomises everything that
is good about the Southern Highlands. It serves family- friendly meals and a solid list of Australian wines and beers. In summer, take your drinks out to the back lawn.
14-16 Hoddle Street, Burrawang; (02) 4886 4206
At this pretty hotel just inland from Byron Bay, there are open verandahs for summer, open fires in winter and regular music nights featuring local talent.
1 Byron Street, Bangalow; (02) 6687 1314
The Sir George
This elegantly restored southern NSW pub is a short walk from the Murrumbidgee River and has snow pear trees in the garden, a whisky lounge and an artisan bakery called Bakers Lane Bread. A good old-fashioned country pub,
it serves locally sourced Riverina produce, excellent wines and boutique beers.
Riverside Drive, Jugiong; 0419 098 828
The Loaded Dog Hotel
South of Goulburn,
The Loaded Dog’s comfy hearths and bar have been welcoming drinkers since 1848. Country music artists travelling between gigs
in Sydney and Melbourne drop in to perform on
the third Saturday of the month, from February
1 Wallace Street, Tarago; (02) 4849 4499
David Bowie’s death in 2016 was keenly felt at the Carinda Hotel, a location for his 1983 Let’s Dance video. This outback NSW drawcard has recently been renovated but the yellow-tiled wall against which Bowie performed is exactly as it was.
22 Colin Street, Carinda; (02) 6823 2218
The distinctive, single-storey stone building in Far West NSW has appeared in Aussie classics such as Wake in Fright, A Town Like Alice and Mad Max 2. Today’s visitor will find movie stills on the walls and donkeys in the front yard. Visit silvertonhotel.com.au.
12 Layard Street, Silverton; (08) 8088 5313
You may have to battle for a table but the ocean views are worth it from the large cliff-top beer garden of this family-friendly pub south of Sydney.
383 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Scarborough; (02) 4267 5444
The Family Hotel
Tucked away in remote Corner Country – where NSW, Queensland and South Australia meet – the sandstone pub’s interior features murals by Russell Drysdale, Clifton Pugh and other artists who have worked locally.
30 Briscoe Street, Tibooburra; (08) 8091 3314
The Palace Hotel
The grand 1889 pub and its vivid murals, painted by Indigenous artist Gordon Waye, featured in 1994’s The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
227 Argent Street, Broken Hill; (08) 8088 1699
Royal Federal Hotel
With two storeys and an upstairs verandah out
the front, the Royal is your archetypal country pub,
at the northern gateway to the Hunter Valley wine region. What’s not typical is the excellent food served in the Swill n Grill bistro, reached through a small library. The steaks are a highlight and there’s a good selection of beer and wine, too.
50 Maitland Street, Branxton; (02) 4938 1335
Whether you’re in the beer garden or on the upstairs verandah, the sweeping views of the Nambucca River are magnificent – just like this refurbished 1885 building on the Mid North Coast.
16 River Street, Macksville; (02) 6568 1008
Lawson Park Hotel
A local institution in Mudgee, 260 kilometres north-west
of Sydney, the handsome Lawson is famous for its man-size steaks and delicious Sunday roasts. The original building dates from 1860 but has several modern additions, including the beer garden. Join the locals in the main bar for a cold beer and a yarn about beef prices.
1 Church Street, Mudgee; (02) 6372 2183
Gol Gol Hotel
A vast beer garden out the back, dotted with towering gum trees, runs down to the mighty Murray River just outside Mildura. Eat on the patio and watch the rented boats and paddle-steamers chuffing past. Visit golgolpub.com.au.
Sturt Highway, Gol Gol; (03) 5024 8492
On the banks of the Tweed just south of the Queensland border, the 1887 “Tumby Pub” doubles up with views of the river and Mount Warning. Drink them in on the front deck or verandah.
Riverside Drive, Tumbulgum; (02) 6676 6202
Willow Tree Inn
The steaks shine at this luxuriously cosy inn and restaurant between Scone and Tamworth. Pasture- fed, grain-finished and dry- aged, the beef comes from just two kilometres away.
New England Highway, Willow Tree; (02) 6747 7711
The Commercial Boutique Hotel
Built in 1941, the Commercial was derelict for eight years before reopening in 2014 as an Art Deco showcase with eight ensuite rooms and the best restaurant in town. Come here for French- Australian fusion food.
288 Rouse Street, Tenterfield; (02) 6736 4870
The Royal Oak Hotel
Old-school elegance meets topnotch seasonal food at this hotel at the gateway to the Hunter Valley. Pre-book for the dégustation menu, offered from Thursday to Sunday. Pan-fried miso- glazed quail, anyone?
221 Vincent Street, Cessnock; (02) 4991 3700
Max Anderson, Lee Atkinson, Keith Austin, Melanie Ball, Max Brearley, Hilary Burden, Mal Chenu, Mark Chipperfield, Carla Grossetti, Kendall Hill, Belinda Jackson and Natascha Mirosch.