OZ Top Spot #8 Noccundra, Queensland

Thank god for Kerry Packer*! When his Consolidated Pastoral Company purchased nearby Nockatunga station in 1990, the Noccundra Hotel, part of the lease, was almost certainly saved from the oblivion often suffered by historic (aka ‘old’) buildings in areas without a critical voting mass.

Outdistancing its surrounding very remote localities (Thargomindah to the east, Tibooburra to the south, Innamincka to the west and Eromanga* to the north), Noccundra is a welcome oasis for outback travellers.

But while the area is hostile – Andrew Hume perished of thirst nearby while looking for Leichhardt expedition survivors – the locals aren’t. The refurbished hotel (thank you, Kerry!!) with its own airstrip out the front is open for business so modern travellers need not fear suffering Humes fate!

So what’s a nice outback hotel doing in a place like this?

The only original building left from the small town that once serviced the area, there’s still a small population to manage the hotel and facilities. How many? ‘Approximately four’, according to tourist information – is it THAT hard to make a definitive count?! But who cares, when the outback hospitality – and meals! – is so good…

One of the approximate four is the designated pyromaniac – setting alight the contents of the 44 gallon drum bins at the free campground down by the river every afternoon, of course! And despite a 500m walk to the amenities, where a gold coin donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service will buy you a hot shower, the waterholes – what was left of the river in June 2009 before the drought broke – were a haven for birds, and birdwatching travellers!

Oil fields Oil ‘Donkey’
Absolute virgin territory***, a short (by outback standards!) drive west past Jackson Oil and Naccowlah Gas fields to our first ever sighting of the iconic Cooper’s Creek. We were also lucky enough for a sighting of that other great Cooper’s Creek experience – a carload blokes whizzing past, tinnie (boat) precariously balanced on roof rack, and tinnies (beers) in hand intent on the ultimate Aussie male bonding fantasy: fishing the Cooper with two of your best mates!

But … the delights of the Cooper would have to wait! Back at Noccundra, our gidgee wood campfire beckoned – the local pyromaniac being amongst friends – and camped out under a starry outback sky, cooking our stew, watching the flames die down and listening to the great, vast stillness of the Aussie bush who’d want to be anywhere else?

*Australian media magnate

**Eromanga claims to be the furthest outback town from the ocean in Australia!
***Any place neither of us has been to before

Like it? SHARE it!

29 comments

  1. @Joe – thanx! Nothing quite like outback scenery – I don’t think it’s possible (even for someone like me) to take a bad photo of it!! But maybe I’ll prove myself wrong one day …

  2. @Cathy – well, it’s not Paris, but then – what else is?? Just wait ’til you see my post about paradise coming up soon!!

  3. @Manzanita – that’s EXACTLY what it’s like in the outback!! But sometimes it’s more like Brigadoon …
    @Sailor – well, you just keep on coming back here, my friend!! I’ll share all the stuff the others don’t tell you … or that they missed!!
    @PAMO – Neither had I!! In my experience, good food, hot showers AND great hospitality make ANYTHING better!!

  4. I’ve never been to a place this remote. It looks fantastic. I imagine good food and a hot shower make the experience even richer.
    Wonderful post! Thanks.

  5. I have never been to Australia and you have lots of cool information I can’t usually get in the internet. Great post!

  6. Australia must be amazing. It sounds as if you travel and travel through hostile country and then come to an oasis of civilization of yesteryear. Kinda like “lost horizons.” You 2 are adventuresome dudes.
    Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

  7. @Patricia -Most adventurous? Gosh! Are you sure? I generally see myself as a bit of a coward!!

    And abandoned kittens become feral cats – a BIG problem in the OZ outback!

    @ J Bar – thank you so much!!

  8. Whoops! Missed a couple!
    @Windsmoke – too right! The hot shower was essential!!
    @Dianne – all the more reason to go to the pub for a couple of meals!!!

  9. @NJAMB – Sounds like he needs a snake killer!! A length of hose (5+ metres so you don’t have to get too close) does the trick – just whack the snake (don’t have to get too close) and all your troubles will be over …
    @Marie – HHHMMMmmm… yes! I never thought of the paranoia thing … And pyromaniacs ROCK!! Just ask Pilchard!
    @Carolyn – it’s a beauty – and well worth a visit!!

  10. @Lily – afternoon?? Nah, way too short!! Make that a LOOOOONG weekend!! Thanx for dropping by!
    @diane b – check it out on the map! There’s a good reason you’ve never heard of it …
    @Christine’s Pantry – welcome! Plenty more where these posts came from … so drop back anytime!
    @River – you could do worse … no power in the campground, so no idea if TV/internet access. But be warned!! The tourist brochure warns of high summer temperatures and possible insect plagues!!

    I captioned the pic by clicking the ‘edit’ gizmo on the post, then clicked on the pic in the post to get the photo box with instructions for size, placement and caption. I added the caption then immediately hit ‘publish’ again – whole process took less than a minute!

  11. Hee, hee… I had to laugh at the “approximately four”. It’s so typical of Australians to wonder why people are asking and to give a dodgy answer just in case the person asking is from the ATO or some other government organisation. And I am pleased that your camping grounds also have a resident pyromaniac 🙂

    The countryside is stunning as is your picture of life up in the remote north. I can’t think of a better way to spend my days than lazing on a quiet river with friends.

  12. Absolutely lovely photos, and your descriptions of the places make me want to pack my bags and head out there immediately. It’s too bad that my husband faints just thinking about snakes!

  13. P.S. “I’ve now captioned the picture”
    How do you caption a picture that has already published? This would be handy to know.

  14. Lovely area Red. If it wasn’t for family holding me here in Sth Aus, (my choice, they’re not making me stay) I’d head for somewhere like that. But it would have to have digital TV reception and internet access.

  15. Nice photos Oz and delightful story, the way u express yourself, most enjoyed by me. “Fishing the Copper with two of your best Mates”, in tinnie with tinnies, sounds like a nice afternoon. ha,ha Cheers
    Lilly

  16. @Andrew – haha, I thought you were talking about the picture of ‘Pyro’ Pilchard at the fire at first!!! But it’s an ‘Oil Donkey’ – I’ve now captioned the picture … if we were in Texas or the Middle East we’d recognise it INSTANTLY!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.