During our visit to Corner Country in far south-west Queensland, we really wanted to visit the iconic Noccundra Hotel. It was built in 1882 from sandstone blocks brought by camel train from either South Australia or New South Wales, depending on which book you read, but it was hundreds of kilometres in any case. With its corrugated iron roof, this style of building is spread through inland parts of Australia.
It has been continuously licensed since, and stands in proud isolation in the flat, rocky countryside. For such a building to survive long term in this harsh environment, it needs to be lived in and loved.
The history of Noccundra Hotel
Current owners, Neil and Margaret Turner, have made some changes that render Noccundra Hotel more suitable for travellers from the local gas industry, pastoral workers and tourists. Meals have been reintroduced and their barbecued steaks are legendary.
The pub was previously owned by Kerry Packer, who managed to have a wall removed and the bar enlarged to a more useable size – not so easy in a Heritage-listed building.
Its low doors are the pub’s most striking feature – our forerunners of the mid to late 19th century were significantly shorter than us.
Camping at Noccundra
Opposite the pub, on the banks of the Wilson River, is a very attractive free camp. Toilets are available in the hall but there are no other facilities.
Campers should be self-sufficient before heading out into these remote areas. On the day we visited, in mid-April, the ambient temperature was 36 degrees and the small bush flies and mozzies were fierce. This made head nets and insect repellant essential; however, the bar in the Noccundra pub is a fly-free zone!
About the Noccundra area
The Noccundra area is steeped in history. After explorer Ludwig Leichhardt mysteriously disappeared on an expedition across central Australia in 1848, search teams were eventually sent out and explorer Hume died of thirst to the west of Noccundra. The Burke and Wills ‘Dig Tree’ (April 1861) is only 180km from the Noccundra pub, which can provide a useful base for those who wish to drive out to the tree without continuing on to Innamincka in South Australia.
Fast facts on Noccundra
The Noccundra Hotel is located 142km west of Thargomindah, which is 1000km west of Brisbane.
- Immerse yourself in this National Trust-listed historic pub.
- Fish and trap blue-claw yabbies in the river.
- Use the pub as a base to visit other historic areas, such as the Dig Tree.
Phone pub owners Neil and Margaret Turner on (07) 4655 4317, or phone the Thargomindah Visitor Information Centre on (07) 4655 3399.
There are two powered sites and camping behind the hotel. Rooms are available in the hotel or you can use the free camping area along the Wilson River.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #533, January 2014. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!