Outback Queensland Pubs of Hughenden – A Guide to Authentic Australian Hospitality

The Flinders Shire has a rich history of hotels. In 1886 Hughenden had 17 pubs to service a population of 1600 people, similar to the region’s population that it has today. Pioneering was obviously thirsty work! Most of the original hotels were victims of fire, however, the Western Hotel, Prairie Hotel and the Oasis Exchange Hotel in Torrens Creek have all stood the test of time. The pubs all have plenty of stories and retain the character of days gone by. Today you can pull up a stump at any of the region’s hotels and receive warm outback hospitality and the chance to mix with the locals for a chat. Trust us nothing washes away the dust of a day exploring more than a frosty one at one of our iconic pubs. If you’re in the area staying for the festival of outback skies, discovering the once-buried secrets of the Dinosaur trail or simply exploring the great outback and the Hughenden region we invite you to experience the heartwarming hospitality of our locals…. each one with a unique charm and story to tell.

Oasis Exchange Hotel Torrens Creek

Nestled in the historic town of Torrens Creek, the Exchange Hotel stands as a welcoming haven for travellers along the Flinders Highway. Torrens Creek’s rich history, from its mail supply centre days in the late 1800s to its pivotal role in World War II, provides a backdrop to the town’s charm. The Exchange Hotel, more than just a pub, offers a variety of amenities, including fuel services, powered and unpowered camp sites, motel and hotel rooms, and mouth-watering meals. The hotel’s air-conditioned bar is a hub for locals and visitors alike, boasting ice-cold beer on tap, slushies, soft-serve ice cream, and a selection of fresh sandwiches and rolls. Trust us, it’s the place to pull over for a quick drink or snack while driving. 

The outdoor beer garden is great for a relaxed chat. Inside there’s a bistro with a wide range of options, you can even eat by the pool if it takes your fancy. The sports bar adjacent to the bistro features air-conditioned comfort, a big-screen TV, a pool table, a dartboard, and card/board games. Outdoors, the hotel boasts a swimming pool and spa bath. 

The hotel also has an impressive graffiti wall that bears the marks of thousand’s of travellers since 1991. Each one is a legacy from a road trip that happened decades ago through to yesterday. Feel like contributing? Ask the owners for a Niko pen and leave your mark!

For campers and overnighters, the amenities block includes separate male and female showers and toilets, a camp kitchen, and laundry facilities. Motel rooms are equipped with ensuites, microwaves, tea and coffee-making facilities, and televisions. Additionally, powered and unpowered camping sites are available, making the Exchange Hotel a comprehensive and enjoyable stop for all travellers passing through Torrens Creek.

Make sure you say G’day to owners Priscilla and Col when you drop in – you can read more about their story here

Great Western Hotel

The Great Western Hotel has become a mainstay for travellers as well as a haunt for the local crowd. Established in 1877 and boasting a rich history, this iconic establishment stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the region. Centrally located in the town of Hughenden, the Great Western Hotel offers some of the best outback hospitality. The restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday, invites patrons to indulge in delectable meals from 12 pm to 2 pm and 6 pm to 8:30 pm. The fully licensed bar has two pool tables, a large veranda, and a smokers’ area all adding to the authentic Outback experience. 

Motel accommodation in the form of comfortable units, a fully stocked bottleshop, and ample free parking further enhance the overall experience. Beyond its offerings, the Great Western Hotel serves as a meeting point for locals and a welcoming haven for travellers exploring the outback. Managed by the Downie family since 2006, their commitment to excellent hospitality services and support for the local community has solidified the Great Western Hotel as a true icon in Hughenden. Whether you’re a local or a traveller seeking an authentic outback welcome, the Great Western Hotel is sure to feature a destination for a memorable experience in Hughenden.

Prairie Hotel

The Prairie Hotel is a haven for country-style dining and a treasure trove of Outback memorabilia that would make any ‘American Pickers’ enthusiast delighted. Located in the small township of Prairie, east of Hughenden, this authentic Aussie hotel is steeped in history as an old Cobb and Co depot.

The Prairie Hotel’s dining room, adorned with stockmen’s hats and knickknacks, offers a rustic charm complemented by outdoor seating on a shady veranda. The best part is the shared dining experiences, the meal is served and shared around massive table and the conversation hums with a true mix of outback tales, travellers’ stories and local legends. It’s a unique experience and probably as ‘Aussie’ as things get. Great food, welcoming hosts and the opportunity to sit down with strangers and get up as friends. 

As you enjoy your meal, take in the fascinating display of “Old Ringers” memorabilia, a unique homage to the region’s rich pastoral history. The township of Prairie, named for its ‘prairie-like’ setting, holds a historical significance dating back to the exploration days of William Landsborough in 1862. With a children’s playroom, pool table, big-screen television, and beer on tap, the Prairie Hotel provides not only a delightful dining experience but also a nostalgic journey into the heritage of the Outback. 

Don’t miss the chance to explore this gem, where antiques, unique pets, and a warm Outback welcome await your visit.

The Royal Hotel Hughenden

The Royal Hotel in Hughenden stands as a vibrant hub for dining and entertainment, offering a welcoming atmosphere for locals and travellers. Open from Monday to Saturday nights, this pub provides a diverse culinary experience with meals and specials that cater to various tastes. Guests can choose to dine on the charming outside deck or in the inviting dining room, creating the perfect setting for a delightful meal. The Royal Hotel goes beyond dining, featuring a round pool table (a huge novelty for any pool shark), pokies, TAB facilities for those wanting a sneaky punt. Dinner is served throughout the week from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, and weekend lunches are available from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. 

With 45 ensuite motel units, four semi-contained units with bathrooms, a swimming pool, and its proximity to a supermarket, The Royal Hotel offers not only a fantastic dining experience but also comfortable accommodation and entertainment options for those exploring the heart of Hughenden.

What’s a country town without its pubs?

Our pubs and their history are woven into our town. A gathering place for locals and a welcoming place for travellers eager to rinse the dust of a long day exploring away. As you explore the pub scene in Hughenden, each establishment offers a distinct atmosphere, from the treasures of the Exchange Hotel to the hospitality of the Royal and the lively Friday night scene at the Western Hotel or the unique memorabilia at the Prairie Hotel. 

In Hughenden, the journey isn’t just about the road you travel but the stops you make along the way. So, pull up a stool, savour the Outback flavours, and let the pubs of Hughenden share their tales, making your Outback adventure truly memorable.

Further Reading and Sources






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