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