AUSTRALIA’S BEST REST STOPS
The rest areas, roadhouses and truck stops dotted along Australia’s road networks are a beacon of respite for our hard-working truck drivers.
In addition to breaking up the rigours of the long drive, the humble Aussie roadhouse provides physical sustenance and the chance to interact with the larger community both using and servicing this road travelling side of life.
These rest stops are so much more than a place for truck drivers to refuel. They’re a chance to stretch legs, enjoy a cuppa and eat a hearty meal before heading back onto the road refreshed.
To celebrate the Aussie truck stop, we’ve scoured the nation and compiled a list of some of the most unique and beloved rest areas our country has to offer.
Nullarbor Roadhouse, Eyre Highway, South Australia
The Nullarbor Plains are renowned for their remote beauty, but the owners of the Nullabor Roadhouse have constructed something that’s anything but sparse.
The Roadhouse has grown into a bustling centre of activity over 60-plus years. In addition to a shop where you can stock up on essentials for the road ahead, there’s a restaurant, motel rooms and a bar for an ice-cold beer after a long day of driving.
You can also rent golf clubs from the roadhouse to play a hole on the world’s longest golf course, or – if you want to switch the road for sky – you can enjoy a scenic flight over the Great Australian Bight that leaves from the airstrip right beside the venue.
Packsaddle Roadhouse, Silver City Highway, New South Wales
In the north-east corner of New South Wales, sits the Packsaddle Roadhouse, a stop that’s equally famous for its food and its ability to unite diverse groups of people together.
Packsaddle is renowned for its delicious dinners – of note their hamburgers – and the good times that diverse groups of people share under its tin roof.
And the accommodation offered at the Packsaddle Roadhouse means there’s always an interesting collection of characters about to enjoy a yarn with.
The roadhouse also serves as the base for the region’s ambulance service, SES and Rural Fire Brigade, meaning there are even more stories waiting to be told over a good feed and a cold drink.
Ports Diner, Footscray Rd, West Melbourne, Victoria
While the outback is home to many idiosyncratic Aussie roadhouses, Ports Diner in West Melbourne proves that the qualities that make our roadhouses great – excellent service and great portions of well cooked food – aren’t entirely absent from the big smoke.
Fifteen minutes’ drive out of the heart of Melbourne, Ports Diner has developed a stellar reputation for offering up hearty fare with a smile, and the spot has become a firm favourite among drivers navigating Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Emerald Springs Roadhouse, Stuart Highway, Northern Territory
The Emerald Springs Roadhouse on the Stuart Highway has earned a reputation for embodying the laidback charm so prevalent in our Top End.
It doesn’t hurt that the food has truck drivers travelling to and from Darwin stopping in time and time again.
Road-weary drivers are near-unanimous in their praise for the offerings at Emerald Springs Roadhouse, from the delicious food and coffee to the gorgeous views that span out from the back deck.
It’s a serene delight for those navigating the Northern Territory.
Birdsville Roadhouse, Frew Street, Birdsville, Queensland
Birsdville, in the south-east pocket of Queensland, has three claims to fame: the Birdsville Races, the Birdsville Pub and the Birdsville Roadhouse. On the edge of the Simpson Desert, the Birsdville Roadhouse offers truck drivers the chance to refuel and stock up on food.
More importantly for drivers navigating some of the nation’s most difficult terrain, the Birdsville Roadhouse has a workshop on site if your machine is far from home and in dire need of TLC.
The roadhouse is also the base of the Birdsville RACQ contractor. So if you broke down in the Simpson Desert, and your savior towed you back there, you’d probably have a new favourite roadhouse too.
How do you feel about our list? Are there any hidden gems you know about where you can get an excellent feed and have an excellent yarn? Let other drivers know about the places they should pull in to when they’re out on the road via facebook comment.