18 July: Off to the oldest pub in the NT

Author: Mrs A

Location: from Banka Banka Station to Daly Waters, Northern Territory

Wednesday morning saw us pull out by 8.30am, point our noses again in a northerly direction, and aim for our next destination, Daly Waters.The flat dry landscape continued, broken only by the occasional herd of cattle ambling alongside the highway and flocks of black kites feeding on the night’s roadkill.

We had decided to stop over at Daly Waters for tonight, a tiny settlement (population 9 with a roaming population of well in excess of 100 per night) with a pub as the primary feature. Another dusty dry paddock became our home for the night, the caravans all crammed in cheek by jowl – clearly all visitors are simply overnighters.

The Daly Waters Pub as we see it was licensed n 1938, but there has been a drinking establishment here since the 1890s, parts of which still exist, integrated into the ‘modern’ pub. Since the 1980s it has become a place where travellers leave their mark. By mark, I am talking about bras, underwear, badges, hats, flip-flops, name badges, paper currency…even car number plates are attached to one of the walls around the bar. It has a lot of character, even if it is not a very authentic Australian outback bar. The staff are all backpackers, with wide reaching accents from Ireland to Slovakia and it has a good reputation for its food.

We’ve not seen a fresh vegetable in a store for many kilometres and our stocks are running very low, so we decided to enjoy lunch there….and while we were waiting for lunch, what the heck, decided to book in for dinner too!

Our evening meal was set in the courtyard where perfectly cooked medium-rare steaks accompanied by a slice of barramundi were served up promptly at 7pm. We helped ourselves to bread, salad and vegetables from a buffet and sat down to enjoy. How they cook everyone’s steak to order and get it right, I don’t know, but they managed it and it was a great feed.

The backdrop to our meal was a couple of singer-songwriters from Nimbin of all places (back in NSW near Byron Bay), led by Lou Bradley wearing a dress made from a vintage Sisal sheet. She was very funny and their music wasn’t bad either. It made for an entertaining evening.

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