When you’re road tripping through regional towns, pubs are the best places to stop at. They’re the hub of the community and, for a visitor, can give you insight into the character of a town. This summer, hit up some of the best in the state, from a bright pink 113-year-old stalwart to a “haunted” pub – with accommodation – in a restored vintage train carriage.

Apollonian Hotel, Boreen Point

The Apollonian Hotel is located just north of Noosa at Boreen Point, which is also the entrance point to the second largest everglades system in the world (and the only one you can swim in – the other, in Florida, is full of ’gators). The pub was first licensed in Gympie in 1868, during the gold rush days, before it was relocated to its current location in 1987. Built from hoop pine and cedar and featuring large wraparound verandas, this old pub specialises in overnight slow-roasted and smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken wings. You can order them on a plate with salads and a loaded spud, or add them to a burger or souvlaki. On tap are the usual suspects, alongside local craft beers from Heads of Noosa and Boiling Pot. The grassy knoll surrounding the pub is a popular spot to have a picnic, let the kids run around and listen to live music (the pub is named after the Greek god of music and theatre after all).

19 Laguna Street, Boreen Point
(07) 5485 3100
Daily 9am–10pm


Rudd’s Pub, Nobby

It’s hard to find a spot with more character than Rudd’s Pub in Nobby (located halfway between Warwick and Toowoomba). Visitors have compared it to “eating in a museum”. The pub was built in 1893 and was originally called Davenporter Hotel, before the name changed in the ’80s to Rudd’s Pub (in reference to author Steele Rudd, who supposedly used to sit in front of the fireplace in the Heritage room while writing his famous Dad & Dave stories). The walls and ceiling are filled to the brim with framed photographs and memorabilia that traces the town’s history and Rudd’s life. The fit-out alone makes this place worth visiting, but the food is also very good. Steaks are the most popular item here: the two signature dishes are Rudd’s Mighty Mixed Grill and a 400-gram T-Bone called Dave’s Terrific T-Bone.

45 Tooth Street, Nobby
(07) 4696 3211
Daily 10am–12am


Dulacca Hotel, Dulacca

It’s impossible to miss this pub as you drive through the small rural town of Dulacca (located roughly halfway between Chinchilla and Roma). Affectionately known as “the pink pub on the hill,” the hotel has been trading for over 113 years. Currently owned by Danny and Natalie Scotney, the pub was owned by Danny’s grandparents in the 1970s and is where his parents first met. Here, you’ll find the locals perched on leather stools at the bar, having a cold beer and tucking into steaks that come from just 15 kilometres up the road. Choose from a 400-gram T-Bone, 300-gram rump or 200-gram porterhouse, served with your choice of two sides and a sauce. For drinks, there’s the usual pub classics alongside an impressive range of cocktails, including five pink cocktails. Grab your drink and sit in the recently renovated beer garden, or have a roll on the lawn bowls green.

Corner of Glynn Avenue and Bell Street, Dulacca
(07) 4627 6101
Mon & Tue 3pm–late
Wed to Sun 11am–late


The Royal Hotel, Harrisville

Many believe the Royal Hotel is haunted. Once called the Harrisville Inn when it first opened in 1875, the building reportedly burned down in 1916, killing a handful of people. Since it re-opened in 1920, people have reported seeing ghosts in the pub. Regardless of whether it’s haunted or not, you’ll want to visit the pub (located 30 kilometres south of Ipswich) for the beautiful building – which features a wraparound veranda, VJ walls, French doors and a large deck – and hearty value-for-money meals. For starters, you might order pumpkin arancini balls or Peking duck spring rolls. Mains include all your pub favourites, plus peri peri chicken, and herb and macadamia-crusted barramundi. Stay the night in a vintage train carriage that was restored by co-owner Steve Patrick and his father, Denis.

1 Wholey Drive, Harrisville
(07) 5467 1882
Tue 4pm–late
Wed to Sun 10am–late


Bull & Barley Inn, Cambooya

While this 119-year-old stunner has gone through numerous renovations over the years, it’s retained its heritage charm. Located in Cambooya – roughly a 25-minute drive south of Toowoomba – the small country town bills itself as “the heart of author Steele Rudd country”, after the local author (real name Arthur Hoey Davis) who wrote the Dad and Dave stories and grew up in nearby Greenmount. The house-crumbed chicken schnitzels are particularly popular here, with many patrons opting to upgrade it surf’n’turf style with crab meat, prawns, scallops and creamy sauce. Select from a number of beers on tap – or grab a cold drink from the pub’s original cedar chiller box – and sit outside on the verandah overlooking nearby grain silos.

61 Eton Street, Cambooya
(07) 4696 1235
Daily 10am–10pm


Maidenwell Hotel, Maidenwell

Nestled at the foot of the Bunya Mountains, this 108-year-old pub was originally called King’s Hotel after the founder of Maidenwell and builder of the pub, John King. Since then, it has retained many of its original features including the timber walls, picture rails, verandahs and fireplace. Stop in on the last Saturday of the month when they’ll roast a whole pig on a spit, served with roast vegetables, gravy and apple sauce. With plenty to do in the area – such as visiting the nearby Coomba Falls and Tarong National Park – you should make the most of the free camping out the back of the pub.

18 Maidenwell Bunya Mountain Road, Maidenwell
(07) 4164 6133
Daily 10am–10pm


Meringandan Hotel, Meringandan

The Meringandan Hotel may not look like a classic pub from the outside, but it encapsulates what country pubs are all about: an honest pub feed, friendly service and ice-cold beer. A 20-minute drive north of Toowoomba, locals flock to this spot for generous servings of classics such as chicken parmigiana, bangers and mash, and a massive one-kilogram rump, served with salad and chips. Long-time owners Heather and Geoff Murphy have a “traditional first pour” for those celebrating their 18th birthday, where they can pour their first beer behind the bar. Tip: take a seat in the beer garden, which overlooks a paddock full of chickens, goats and two camels (named Chips and Gravy).

30 Main Street, Meringandan
(07) 4696 7146
Daily 10am–10pm