2019 - 10 Days: Iconic Pubs of South West Queensland

Classic Outback pubs – if only the walls could talk! They are the centre of many country communities – where famous poems have been penned and tall stories have evolved into folklore. Queensland has plenty of them including Nindigully Hotel – locally known as “The Gully!” It’s the oldest pub in the State serving its customers since 1864. With a local population of less than 10 its hard to believe it can survive - but it has, for more than 150 years!

Over 9 days we will discover the pub where “Dad & Dave” – two of Australia’s most famous folklore characters came to life and a pub in Cunnamulla that has been restored to its former glory twice!! Once after a tornado and again after a devastating fire. Our tour from Brisbane takes us west for 800 ks to Cunnamulla, then north to Charleville and home through Roma and Dalby. And we will supply the stubbie coolers!


Day 1 (LD): Heading Off (Monday/Wednesday)

We have a fabulous 10 days ahead of us, visiting some iconic country pubs. No doubt, along the way, we will meet some real characters as we head out west, via Stanthorpe, to Cunnamulla and then north to Charleville and home via Roma. (Morning flight to Brisbane – details to be confirmed). On arrival we are met by our local touring coach and make our way via Toowoomba for our first stop – Rudd’s Pub. This pub is so much more than just a country watering hole. This is the pub where “Dad and Dave” - two of Australia’s most famous folklore icons - came to life, thanks to writer Steele Rudd and a couple of pints of beer! Next stop is the 1902 Bull & Bailey Inn– located in the quaint town of Cambooya. We have lunch here before continuing to Stanthorpe. We have arranged a locally guided tour of the town before settling into our overnight accommodation. Dinner tonight is at O’Mara’s Hotel. The hotel was built in 1910 and still has the “olde world charm” that made it a big part of Stanthorpe’s history. There is even a resident ghost that still makes an appearance now and then! (Meal Inclusions: Pub lunch at Cambooya, Dinner at O’Mara’s Hotel)

Stanthorpe – 1 night

Day 2 (BLD): To Goondiwindi (Tuesday/Thursday)

From Stanthorpe this morning we head to the little town of Texas. It’s a small town of less than 1000 people located just 2 ks north of the NSW Border. But it has a GREAT pub. The Stockman Hotel is known far and wide for its hospitality so we will stop for a look. We then to Goondiwindi or “Gundy” as the locals call it. Apart from being right on the Queensland/NSW Border it is at the junction of a number of major Highways including the Newell which runs all the way to Victoria. It’s also the hometown to a reasonably successfulrace horse – Gunsynd – the Goondiwindi Grey! 

In the spring of 1971 he won the Epsom Handicap, the Toorak Handicap, the George Adams Handicap and the Sandown Cup. In the autumn of 1972 he recorded 5 straight wins including the Futurity Stakes and the Doncaster Handicap. In the spring of 1972 he captured the Cox Plate, ran a magnificent third in the Melbourne Cup under 60.5 kgs and won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. In his final campaign in the autumn of 1973 he won the Blamey Stakes and a second Queen Elizabeth Stakes. After lunch at O’Shea’s Royal Hotel we will be joined on the coach by our local guide will join the coach and show us around including a stop at Heritage Water Park – a 210 hectare park which is home to lots of native birdlife. Our tour also includes a visit to Customs House Museum, a border customs point before Federation. 

This authentically restored building and its magnificent cottage garden has a colourful collection of mementos of yesteryear. Dinner tonight is at the historic 1920 Victoria hotel. What started out as a modest, single story wooden building with a shingle roof is now one of the most outstanding examples of architecture in Southern Queensland. (Meal Inclusions: Breakfast in the motel, Pub lunch & Dinner in Goondiwindi) 

Goondiwindi – 1 night


Day 3 (BLD): The South West (Wednesday/Friday)

We have just 200ks of travelling to do today as we make our way to St George. We will be visiting two great pubs, the first being the Nindigully Hotel south of St George. This is Queensland’s oldest pub. From here we continue to St George which is 400 kilometres inland from Toowoomba and situated on the Balonne River. Highlights include the Cotton Mural and the Transport Mural painted by well-known artist Kevin Taylor. Dinner tonight is at the Cobb & Co Hotel. It was licenced to John Roberts in 1886. It was renovated from 1914 to 1919 and once advertised that the pub had electricity – how things have changed! (Meal Inclusions: Breakfast in the motel, Pub lunch, Pub dinner)

St George – 1 night

Day 4 (BLD): Cunnamulla (Thursday/Saturday)

300 ks west of here is Cunnamulla – made famous by the Slim Dusty song The Cunnamulla Fella. The township of Cunnamulla was created by Cobb & Co on 3rdSeptember 1879 when the first coach drove through from Bourke. Today it’s the only surviving south-west town along the original route. We enjoy lunch at the Club Boutique Hotel. This pub has the unusual distinction of being rebuilt twice – once after a tornado in 1892 and gain after a devastating fire in 1933. 

On both occasions it was restored to its former glory and continues to hold a prominent place in the town. This afternoon we will visit the Cunnamulla Fella Museum and Art Gallery. The gallery changes the exhibits often and showcases the works of local artists and talent across Australia. Here, we are standing on the Eromanga Basin, the world’s largest underground river that flows beneath one fifth of Australia. We experience this amazing phenomenon in the Artesian Time Tunnel. The tunnel incorporates an old mine lift which takes us back to 100 million years and down deep into the middle of ancient sandstone rocks that form part of the basin. (Meal inclusions: Breakfast in the motel/Pub lunch/Dinner in the motel)



Day 5 (BD): Charleville (Friday/Sunday)

We head north this morning to Charleville – about 200 kms away. Charleville is the centre of a rich pastoral district and was a frontier town with its own brewery and registered bullock teams. 

Cobb & Co also had a coach building factory here. Ross and Keith Smith landed with engine trouble on their first flight from London to Sydney in 1919. On arrival we take a look at the Steiger Vortex Rainmaking Guns display in the Graham Andrews Parklands. They represent a fascinating outback story. In 1902 Mr Clement Wragge, a Queensland Meteorologist thought he had a ’sure fire’ way of breaking what was later known as the "great drought" (lasting from 1896 to 1902). This afternoon we have arranged some sightseeing including a tour of the American Army Air Force Corps of World War Two. What were 3500 Americans doing here in Charleville? We will see a number of sites where they lived, slept, worked and bathed. Even sites that still exist today but have other uses beyond the 1940’s. We will see a number of the existing buildings that exist on the base and learn of their uses. This American base throughout World War Two was top secret for reasons that we will soon discover! We then check into our accommodation at Hotel Corones for the next 2 nights. This pub is known as one of the truly memorable hotels in the heart of the Outback. Its history dates back to its construction from 1924-1929. Our “Scones & Stories” tour guide will tell us tales of Harry Corones before concluding with homemade scones and a beverage. Dinner tonight is in the hotel. (Meal Inclusions: Breakfast in the motel/Dinner at the Hotel Corones)

Charleville – 2 nights

Day 6 (B): Charleville (Saturday/Monday)

Charleville is the Bilby capital of Australia, with a breeding population of this endangered marsupial. Today, our guide will teach us about the bilby and Australia’s native animal extinction crisis. The Bilbies here are being bred for reintroduction into Currawinya National Park so we’ll also have the opportunity to see these unique little critters. From here we visit the Royal Flying Doctor’s Centre. For 85 years they have provided medical care to Outback Australia. We can see the museum that spans the great history of the RFDS. After our interesting day we return to our motel with time to relax before dinner. Tonight we are in for a treat at Charleville’s best known attraction, the Cosmos Centre

The centre is an audio-visual extravaganza featuring hi-tech interactive displays that will take us on an astronomical journey through the ages, unravelling many mysteries of our night sky. 

We enjoy drinks and nibbles at the Centre whilst enjoying the open-air observatory and viewing the outback night sky. (Meal Inclusions: Breakfast in the hotel)


Day 7 (BLD): Charleville to Roma (Sunday/Tuesday)

Heading east this morning we follow the Warrego Highway to Mitchell located on the banks of the Maranoa River. Mitchell is well known for its stunning artesian baths, located at the entrance to town. We have some time for those who would like to rejuvenate in the mineralised water from the Great Artesian Basin. Lunch is at the local pub before we push on towards Roma. We pass through Muckadilla - a small community, with a big heart. 

The Whistle Stop here houses local memorabilia, including a tribute to Australia’s shortest serving Prime Minister and local lad, Frank Forde. We arrive into Roma late afternoon.

This afternoon we take a look around Roma with our local guide. The region around Roma is known as the Maranoa – an area rich in history where we can rediscover the people, places and events that helped shaped Australia’s cultural heritage. The people of the Maranoa are proud of their cultural heritage and have taken steps to preserve the treasures of the past so that they can be shared and enjoyed by the generations of the future. We will see a number of historic buildings and sites including St Paul’s Anglican Church which features stunning leadlight windows, each with a story. Visitors can gain an insight into how the Church was built (in the early 1900’s) and can also hear the story of each window. Afternoon tea will be at the Big Rig Café, followed by a self guided tour of the Roma Big Rig Oil Patch. The outdoor museum tells the story of the formation of gas in coal reserves, its first discovery in Roma (and indeed the first discovery in Australia); the progression of the industry and finally, the indoor theatre for what is happening in the field, today. 

Tonight we have some spectacular entertainment! Roma’s Big Rig Night Show - an outdoor cinema with an interactive display depicting a traditional oil rig site. The show itself is thoroughly entertaining, giving an overview of the discovery of Oil and Gas in Roma (for the first time in Australia) and the progression of Australia’s Oil and Gas Industry. (Meal Inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Pub lunch at Mitchell)

Overlander Homestead Roma – 2 nights 07 4622 3555

Cobb & Co Changing Museum at Surat

Cobb & Co Changing Museum at Surat

Day 8 (BLD) Surat, Yuleba & Wallumbilla (Monday/Wednesday)

This morning we will be joined on the coach by a local guide who will travel with us to historic Surat– approximately 80ks south of Roma located on the banks of the beautiful Balonne River. We have arranged a fascinating visit to the Cobb & Co Changing Station Museum where we will be welcomed by a local volunteer. The Museum is built on the original site of the Cobb & Co Store – and was once the drop off point for coach passengers and goods. 

Included in the current display is a 14 seat replica Cobb & Co Coach, a 25,000 litre fresh water aquarium and a display of local artworks at the Surat on Balonne Gallery. Nearby morning tea will be served for us at the Community Centre alongside the Surat River Walk on the Balonne River. Late morning we drive along part of the route that was the one taken by the last Cobb & Co Coach Service in Australia to Yuleba and then onto Wallumbilla where we stop for a picnic lunch at Calico Cottage. This facility was established some 28 years ago when (during a period of drought) a group of farmers’ wives agreed that they needed to make an income off of the property. Together, they commenced selling home baked goods and crafts from a cottage located on the highway in town. Today, many of the original volunteers still greet visitors and ‘put the kettle on.’ Devonshire Tea is available and a variety of country-style, baked treats can be purchased to take home. Tonight, back at Roma, dinner is at the 1917 Queens Arms Hotel. (Meal Inclusions: Breakfast in the motel/Picnic lunch/Pub dinner

Day 9 (BLD): Roma, Miles, Chinchilla (Tuesday/Thursday)

Tuesday and Thursdays are Sale Days in Roma so this morning we are heading off for an overview of the Roma Saleyards (easy walk/no stairs) Roma Saleyards is Australia’s largest cattle selling centre. 

On any given sale day, the yards can see up to 14,000 cattle sold through the complex. Now, local retired farmers and graziers give their time as volunteers to show visitors through the complex. A canteen is available on site and is open on sale days. 

Two hours done the road from Roma is the township of Miles.The Miles Historic Village and Dogwood Centre is a must see in this area. With over 30 buildings and countless displays this has become an important tourist destination, featuring authentic and original buildings from the 19thand 20thCenturies. We push through to Chinchilla for lunch at the Club Hotel which was established in 1907 and is a local favourite. Our final night on tour is in Dalby – a town of about 12,000 people situated on the rich soils of the Darling Downs. Diner tonight is at the Criterion Hotel. (Meal Inclusions: Breakfast in the motel/Pub lunch at Chinchilla/Pub dinner in Dalby)



Day 10 (B): Heading Home (Wednesday/Friday)

Our 10 day ‘pub tour” is coming to an end! Our morning stop today is at Jondaryan Woolshed. Built in 1859, Jondaryan Woolshed is the oldest operating woolshed in Australia and the first “purpose built” shearing shed in the country. The complex covers 12 acres and features historic buildings and vintage machinery. We have arranged a short tour and morning tea before heading back to Brisbane Airport to connect with our flight back to Melbourne (Flight details to be advised). (Meal Inclusions: breakfast in the motel)

Tour Price

Price on application.

Tour Inclusions

Tour Price includes accommodation as per the itinerary, meals as indicated (B= Cooked breakfast, L= Light or packed lunch, D = Buffet or limited choice 2 course dinner) deluxe touring coach with seatbelts, attractions/entries as noted. Return airfares from Melbourne to Brisbane

To make a booking/Cancellation Policy

Contact ARJ with the preferred dates your Club would like to travel. ARJ will then confirm all the arrangements in your Club Name – subject to availability. A quantity (50) colour information flyers will be provided for distribution to interested club members. The Club’s Group Organiser or Tour Manager should then collect a minimum deposit $200 per person from those members who wish to travel on the tour. ARJ will fully refund this amount for anyone who cancels up to 60 days from departure. The deposit becomes non refundable within 60 days of departure. Balance of payment is due 30 days prior to departure. Any cancellation within 30 days of departure attracts an additional cancellation fee of $200 per person. No refund inside 7 days. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.

All itineraries are subject to change due to occasional restrictions in opening times/days of some attractions, e.g. churches, wineries etc.  We cannot be held responsible for any changes due to closures, inclement weather etc.