Five affordable outback breaks

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After being cooped up for so long, many Australians are keen to use the summer break to get out of town and explore their own – very, very spacious – backyard. The red sand and the wide-open plains of the outback are calling, but travel and accommodation can cost you an arm and a leg.

These rural retreats recommended by Traveller offer great accommodation in some of Australia’s most desirable destinations. And most importantly, they’re easy on the budget. While some may be in the process of reopening, you should still be able to plan and book a stay in the near future.

Curtin Springs, Red Centre, Northern Territory
The Curtin Springs Station is a diversified pastoral and tourism business spread over a million acres in remote Central Australia, just 85km from Uluru. The Curtin Springs Wayside Inn offers rooms, a campground, a store, fuel and even homestyle meals.

To stay at Curtin Springs Wayside Inn, you’ll have to book in advance to let the owners know when you plan to arrive. Double rooms with ensuites start at $190 while powerless campsites are free.

The Birdsville Hotel, Queensland
Everyone wants to say they’ve had a beer at Australia’s most iconic outback pub, so imagine saying you’ve spent the night. The weathered sandstone building was built in 1884, but is equipped with all the modern amenities you’ll crave after a few days on the open road. This iconic, award-winning pub has endured fires, floods and cyclones, and has been described as an “outback cultural icon of national significance” by the University of Queensland.

If you’re travelling around the races in early September, you’ll need to book well in advance, though you’ll likely be able to arrive on a whim for a feed and a room at most other times.

Rooms at The Birdsville Hotel start at $160 a night.

Kings Creek Station, Red Centre, Northern Territory
Established in 1981, this cattle station lies just 36km from the stunning Kings Canyon (Watarrka). Powered camping sites are available from $28 per adult and permanent Bush Tents are available from $113.50 per adult per night.

The Prairie Hotel, South Australia
First licensed in 1876, this iconic outback pub is the perfect access point to the Flinders Ranges and countless hiking and biking opportunities. Nilpena Station boasts one of the most significant fossil sites in the world, and fossil tours are offered exclusively with Prairie Outback Lodge packages. It’s famous exotic grill, too, is limited to guests.

room at the prairie hotel in south australia

The Prairie Hotel is a popular destination, so they recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment. Rooms start from $175 a night.

Home Valley Station, Kimberley, Western Australia
You can’t get more outback than this. The station offers fine food, fishing, hiking, sunset and even helicopter tours of the stunning East Kimberly region. Accommodation comes at a range of prices, so there’s something perfect for everyone. Eco Tents are just $170 a night, Homestead Guesthouse Rooms are just $270 a night, and deluxe Grass Castles are $370 a night. If you’re looking for somewhere to pitch a tent or park your trailer, Home Valley Station has two campgrounds for just $22 a night. 

fine food at home valley station 

Have you spent much time exploring the outback? What was your favourite destination? Where do you want to explore next?

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Written by Liv Gardiner

1 Comments

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    Enjoyed a few tours through the outback, I think our favourite was when our base was in Wentworth on the NSW Victoria border, the tour took in Silverton where mad Max was filmed, had a beer in the pub, visited the many art galleries, also visited Broken Hill and went down a simulated mine which was in the main St, the best place we went to was Mungo National Park which is one of the oldest National Parks in Australia ( that’s what we were told ) there were many indigenous middens scattered across the area and in the distance there is a formation called the Great Wall of China. The wild life was amazing, everything from Roos, Emu’s to beautiful Eagles soaring above, our guide told us people turn up towing their boats because on the map there is a Mungo lake, unfortunately there hasn’t been water in it for 20 thousand years, in the museum they have a model of a wombat that stands about 1.5 metres high that was supposed to live in the area a long time ago I’m guessing.


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