The most unique places for a cold one in NSW's sprawling outback.
1. Packsaddle Roadhouse, Packsaddle
On the long, lonely stretch of highway north of Broken Hill you’ll stumble upon the welcome sight of the Packsaddle Roadhouse. No, it’s not a mirage and yes, the beer taps run icy cold.
Quench your hard-earned thirst as you wander beneath a canopy of old boots and hats* from bygone travellers in the dining hall, imagining the feet and heads that filled them in this harsh but beautiful arid countryside.
*Donated, not stolen. Calm down.
2. Family Hotel, Tibooburra
Not every outback town can boast a pub with an entire wall painted by an Archibald Prize winning artist, let alone the most remote town in NSW. The Family Hotel in Tibooburra, in the state’s distant Corner Country, is the only Australian town that can make that impressive claim.
Here the service is friendly, the food is tasty and the story of that mural depicting an orgy with the devil? Well, you better ask the bartender after you buy him a drink.
3. Silverton Hotel, Silverton
Possibly one of the most photographed outback pubs in Australia, the Silverton Hotel is an icon of the bush and the social hub of the quirky, semi-ghost town of Silverton. Made famous by Mad Max and home to the museum of the same name, these days it’s artists, tumbleweeds and donkeys that call Silverton home.
Be sure to let the bartender know you’d like to play the special Silverton Hotel drinking game. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
4. Willow Tree Inn, Willow Tree
Located on the Liverpool Plains at the eastern gateway to Outback NSW, the Willow Tree Inn has been newly restored into a downright fancy country pub with an acclaimed restaurant, antique leather furniture and meat ageing facility producing its award-winning, locally reared steaks.
There are even chandeliers at this joint and the accommodation is just as stylish. We liked the Willow Tree Inn when it was unofficially reserved for the flanno brigade, but we like it even more with its new lease on life.
5. Palace Hotel, Broken Hill
Made famous by Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the Palace Hotel is a vibrant, rambling desert oasis full of lush landscape murals, taxidermy animals and a restaurant worth travelling for.
Rumour has it this sprawling corner pub is linked to the mines far underground by a network of secret tunnels carved by thirsty workers seeking liquid reprieve from their harsh underground existence. Rumour also has it some of them remain in a non-bodily form, their spirits etched forever into the walls.
6. Cameron Corner Store, Cameron Corner
Just follow that old Dingo Fence ‘til you get to the spot where NSW intersects with Queensland and South Australia, and you’ll find yourself at Cameron Corner Store.
More of a pub than a store (though we beer-swilling booze hounds fully condone the use of euphemism in our exploits), at Cameron Corner the only thing that penetrates the gentle whir of the wind across the endless outback plains is the belly laugh of the publican and his red dirt-encrusted guests who travelled bloody miles by 4WD to get here.
7. Tibooburra Hotel, Tibooburra
The second entry for NSW’s most remote town, the Tibooburra Hotel looks for all the world like it should form part of the set of the western film someone really should make out here. Hint, hint. It’s a towering two-story watering hole where friendly locals gather nightly as though it were church.
You need only look to the Wall of Fame to see how much they love this place; there hang the Akubras of locals who have passed, weathered, tattered and holey, their names written below in sweet, understated outback memorial.
8. Shindy’s Inn, Louth
"A place that loved a drink, a party and a punt”, wrote the great Henry Lawson about Louth, and the sentiment still rings true today. There’s really not too much more to this tiny, isolated town than Shindy’s Inn, perched on the banks of the Darling River.
The place comes to life during the famous Louth Races in August, in which horses scramble through the dust and revellers scramble to the bar to drink their winnings.