Pubs are so much more than just drinking and eating establishments – they’re community hubs where friends and families have gathered for generations. They’re a home away from home, offering a warm meal, a cold pint, a yarn with friends, and a meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Don’t tell the Brits, but pubs are quintessentially Australian (there, we said it!). Whether it’s a lone building in the middle of the outback, or an inner-city rooftop affair, Australia’s 6700-plus pubs ought to be celebrated. Here, we bring you some of our nation’s weird, wacky, wonderful and, arguably, best pubs.
Desert Cave Hotel, South Australia
Most people come to South Australia’s famous Coober Pedy to try their hand at fossicking for opals, but there’s more than meets the eye in this mining hotspot. While Coober Pedy is home to one of the biggest opal deposits in the world, it is also famous for its underground houses, which help to protect residents from the extreme summer temperatures. It makes sense that the town has an underground pub, too. The Desert Cave Hotel is the only dugout hotel in the world, and is a pretty cool place to stay. You can opt for a regular accommodation experience by choosing the above-ground rooms, or live like a local in an underground room instead. The underground rooms naturally regulate their temperature, so there’s no need to pop on the air conditioning. Once it’s pint o’clock, head on over to the bar and enjoy a game of pool with your travel companions.
Pub in the Paddock, Tasmania
Last, but certainly not least, on the list of Australia’s quirkiest pub stakes us away from the outback and down south to Tasmania. Head to the rural north-east village of Pyengana, just over two hours east from Launceston, to discover the Pub in the Paddock. The aptly named pub has been licensed since 1880, and has become a bit of an iconic tourist attraction (it is, quite literally, a pub in a paddock). While the establishment has a delicious menu complete with all your pub favourites – like panko-crumbed chicken schnitzels and tasty kangaroo burgers with chips – the pub’s shining star is Priscilla the pig, a much-loved local legend who is happy to guzzle down a beer. You can head inside to order a special watered-down beer for the famous pig, which isn’t really beer at all… but the novelty is fun!
To discover the rest of Australia’s weird, wacky and wonderful pubs, read the Winter 2023 edition of Caravanning Australia.
Pictured: Daly Waters Pub. Image courtesy of Tourism NT and Helen Orr