BEHIND THE SCENES: OUTBACK PUB EXPERIENCES: Part 1
If you had the chance to experience a few of outback NSW’s most iconic hotels, meeting a bunch of people with the same passions, enjoying some of the most spectacular scenery, while also towing your pride and joy, would you be keen? This group of manufacturers couldn’t wait to kick it off.
The planning has been going on for months, the event was delayed multiple times due to border closures and travel restrictions, but suddenly it was time. But even as the participants left their hometowns, Mother Nature decided to have a say with storm clouds brewing.
NSW was on Armageddon alert by over-enthusiastic fearmongers, while, one by one, outback roads began to close as rain coated the region. Some regions had over 25mm dropped on them, a top-up from what they’d enjoyed only a week or so before.
We were joined on our Outback Pub Experiences with representatives from Bushtracker with two caravans (Matt and Andy), Wonderland RV (Damien), Austrack (Nick and Sam) and our Creative Director, Tim, was towing our long-term camper, the Air OPUS OP4. The legendary Cam Inniss was there to capture the video and stills, while yours truly led the trip in my trusty Prado, capturing stills and morphing into Tim’s Sous Chef.
We were also testing out some gear on the trip that included a bike carrier mounted to the Wonderland from iSi Carriers, a Guzzle H2O water filtration unit from Off-Grid Adventure Co., an Ampfibian RV Plus power adapter, some Invicta lithium batteries from Sealed Performance Batteries and the complete power systems from Enerdrive that were installed in three of the caravans.
The group gathered at Kidman’s Camp in North Bourke and after the initial introductions, Chef Tim prepared a stunning first dinner consisting of Scotch fillets steaks paired with cauliflower and cheese, crushed potatoes, blue cheese lettuce salad and a tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil salad. There was some nervousness about whether the experience would continue with the weather forecast and closed roads, but we were keen to test out the caravans and campers, and so the plan was altered slightly. The next morning, we made a dash for Broken Hill where things were a little warmer and drier.
The westerly wind was blowing a gale, but that didn’t seem to affect the towing ability and handling of the RVs. When we finally pulled into the Broken Hill Outback Resort, the group were quick to set up and prepare for our first Outback Pub Experience. The main resort building is the old Mount Gipps Hotel that began operating in the late 1800s. In 2018 the pub was refurbished, having been closed for nigh on 30 years, and is now a lively hub with a bar and bistro that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It was nice to be able to sit as a group at a large redgum table and enjoy an array of beautiful fare while enjoying a beverage or two, with loads of friendly chatter. That evening we were spoilt, as Matt produced a projector and drop-down screen so that we could watch the latest Bond movie.
The crew awoke to a beautiful blue sky with a few white fluffy clouds, the sun shining brightly. The strong winds over the past couple of days had dried out a lot of the tracks, so our plan was back on track. The morning was spent capturing some video and stills of the RVs being towed down Broken Hill’s main street before heading up to the Line of Lode Miners Memorial for a look around.
After fuelling up, the convoy covered the short distance between Broken Hill and Silverton. Checking into Penrose Park Recreation and Campground lunch was sorted before the group was split into two. One group headed out to the Mundi Mundi Plains to capture some video content while the second group chilled around camp before getting the fire started. Tim was cooking a classic camp oven dinner — a leg of lamb seasoned and spiked with garlic and rosemary and a slab of beef marinated in red wine. This was matched with roasted root vegetables, a green salad and gravy and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The next morning, the second group followed Tim and Cam out to Mundi Mundi while the rest of us explored Silverton. Most of the businesses were still closed, but the Silverton donkeys entertained Nick and Sam, while Andy and I checked out John Dynon’s art studio. We got to have a great chat with John while viewing his unique outback paintings, prints and memorabilia. Having chatted for so long, it was time to quench the thirst and as the famous Silverton Hotel was across the road, that is where we all headed for a couple of cold ales.
What makes the Silverton Hotel so iconic? It has been in numerous commercials, catered to actors and travellers alike, and it’s the glue that holds this small community together. Like the Birdsville Hotel, it’s bloody photogenic and everyone loves to take a photo of their rig parked in front of the pub. Sadly, the Interceptor from Mad Max 2 no longer has a home in front of the Silverton, as it was sold to a collector years ago.
It wasn’t long before we were joined by the rest of the crew and enjoyed Peter and Patsy’s hospitality and homestyle cooking for dinner. The pub is for sale if anyone is interested, but I’m not sure if the donkeys are included.
Once dinner was complete, we made our way out to the Mundi Mundi lookout for a sunset content shoot. I’m sure the onlookers thought us weird as one set up after another made their way down the road before turning around and heading back as the sun dropped below the horizon.
Join us next time for Part 2 of the Outback Pub Experience.
PLACES TO STAY
KIDMAN’S CAMP IN NORTH BOURKE
Featuring camping sites with amenities and self-contained luxury chalets, Kidman’s camp also has two swimming pools, a camp kitchen and laundry.
Ph 02 6872 1612
THE BROKEN HILL OUTBACK RESORT
This resort features a caravan park, which has self-catered laundry facilities, a dump point and a camp kitchen.
Ph 1300 679 688
PENROSE PARK RECREATION AND CAMPGROUND
Featuring powered campsites, ensuite cabins and modern bunkhouses, Penrose Park is located 20 minutes from Broken Hill.
Ph 0458 600 891
THE SILVERTON HOTEL
Stay in one of the Silverton Hotel’s queen bedrooms, with heating and cooling.
Ph (08) 8088 5313