Pub Yarns – Historic Daly Waters Pub, N.T.

On our adventure through the Northern Territory, the one place I wanted to visit above all others was the Daly Waters pub. It was at the very top of my bucket list. My Father has been telling me about Daly Waters pub my whole life, I’ve grown up listening to songs about the place and it’s famous walls filled with bras and undies along with all manner of paraphernalia left by tourists from all over the world including drivers licences’, number plates, currency and bumper stickers.

We were lucky enough to be allowed a photo of us all behind the bar which completely made my day.

One of the most memorable and special moments of my life was having a beer with my Dad at the bar. For so long I had dreamed of getting him there and we’d joke about ‘one day’ we’ll have that beer at Daly Waters pub. To finally be doing it, was a real pinch me moment. It felt like I had achieved a great goal. It was very rewarding and special.

Q & A

I had the opportunity to have a chat with the owners, Robyne and Lindsay Carmichael and found out a bit more about my favourite pub and what travellers can expect if they happen to stop by.

1. When was the pub built and what’s its history?

The pub was built in 1930 by Bill & Henrietta Pearce Bill was a a tin miner who had been working mines throughout the Territory. He built it to service the drovers and intrepid travellers who were opening up the Territory. It opened as a store and later in 1938 he secured a jug license. Bill was also responsible for refuelling planes and feeding the passengers who were en-route from Sydney to London. The trip took 8 days as the planes then had to refuel several times and couldn’t travel at night. The airstrip was originally constructed for the London to Australia air race
During the 2nd World War the pub served as headquarters for the Aust. Airforce and later the American Airforce There were over 2000 troops based in and around Daly Waters

2. Why should people who are travelling in the area, stop by and have a drink or meal in your pub?

We are renowned for the quality of our food and friendly service. Also we are one of the few remote stops on the Stuart highway that serve cold tap beer. Many who stop for a beer end up staying overnight. The pub has become a destination on traveller’s itineraries rather than a quick stop.

3. What accommodation options do you or your area offer travellers?

Powered / unpowered camp sites
Deluxe 2 bedroom cabins
Queen cabins
Standard cabins
Motel units
Budget style accommodation

Image: Daly Waters Pub

4. What is your favourite meal on the menu?

Kangaroo back strap
Lamb mediterranean salad
Beef & barra

5. Most popular beer on tap?

Great Northern & Coopers

6. Do you host any annual events for the area?

B&S Ball
Easter weekend
ANZAC Day dawn service
Daly Waters Rodeo
Australia Day
St Patrick’s Day street parade
(Even though only 11 permanent residents in town we had 11 vehicles entered)
Town Christmas party

Image: Daly Waters Pub

8. What is one memorable moment you’ve experienced while being the publican?

There have been a lot, it’s difficult to single out one … from camels in the bar to Dick Smith landing at the back of the pub in his helicopter unannounced. Everyone has a story to tell.

9. During peak season, what is a typical night like at your pub?

The peak season is during the Dry Season usually April to October. During these months thousands of grey nomads descend on our quiet little hamlet all travelling somewhere. There is free entertainment every night and most partake of the beef and barra barbeque and a few wines and beers. A typical night in June would see the beer garden full and a 130 beef and barra meals cooked. Probably another 100 meals from the other kitchen The place is abuzz with laughter, music and chatter. We liken ourselves to pelicans peacefully gliding along the surface of the water but underneath our little legs are going like crazy.

Image: Daly Waters Pub

10. What is something you love about your town / local area?

I especially love the wet season when everything springs back to life and the wildlife seems to take on a different level of energy. The colours are vibrant and lush.
The history is fascinating and some of the old stories are akin to the wild west with murders and shoot outs in town. I have been fortunate to be able to converse with some who lived here during the 50’s & 60’s when it was pretty wild.

11. Does the area / town have a strong community spirit? What are the people like who live there?

Even though there are only about 11 residents there is a strong sense of community and everyone usually participates and enjoys any town events. Someone is always available to lend a hand when needed and vice versa the pub always provides support for the locals and community. We maintain the tip and road verges etc.

12. How do you promote your pub to tourists?

Through social media, advertising, TV, word of mouth, magazines. We emphasis great service and even better food, friendly staff and an ambiance difficult to emulate.
As a fun place. Laid back and relaxing where you never know who is going to walk through the door.

Image: Daly Waters Pub

Daly Waters Historic Pub is located 600kms south of Darwin 3kms off the Stuart Highway, Daly Water, NT.

To contact the pub for accommodation bookings call 08 8975 9927 or visit

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