Outback Pubs #2: Cradock

If you’re travelling west from Broken Hill across to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, there’s a track you can take to make your trip more scenic and interesting. Turn north onto the Arkaroola track at Yunta, but then turn left a few kms after the Waukeringa ruins, where the sign post points to Hawker. It’ll take you through some isolated but picturesque country as you come into the eastern foothills of the Flinders Ranges. (There can be a few spots on this track where it’s handy to be in a 4WD, particularly after rain. Also, I recommend you have some local maps, since it’s not always obvious which is the track to take.)

When you get to a T-intersection with a bitumen road, you’re at Cradock on the road between Orroroo and Hawker, and just a few yards away on your right is the Cradock Hotel.

It was built about 1881, and was originally known as the Heartbreak Hotel, as, with the encouragement of the government, people took up land grants in the area, built cottages, and tried to grow crops. But Cradock was way to the north of the Goyder Line, and sooner or later it became clear that you couldn’t reliably grow crops in the area (as SA Surveyor General George Goyder had claimed when he drew his eponymous Line back in 1865). Hence the heartbreak of giving up and walking away.

Cradock pub







Today the Cradock Hotel is a delightful boutique establishment, with friendly hosts Peter and Shiree Holden. The rooms are tastefully presented, and the dining room meals are delicious, all without being pretentious. The Cradock has even appeared in Vogue Entertaining & Travel magazine. There’s sometimes a few local characters in the bar, and although the village population hovers somewhere below ten, there often seems to be some special event taking place, such as the Christmas Pageant, the opening of a remarkable wildlife reserve, cricket matches, and even flamingo races (I know that’s hard to believe). Back in 2007, they even had a flood (which gave new meaning to the road sign just near the pub). You can phone the Cradock on 08 8648 4107. Tell ’em Bobby Dazzler sent you.



About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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6 Responses to Outback Pubs #2: Cradock

  1. Sue Emeleus says:

    Thanks Bobby, I can attest to it being a dazzler of a ride to Craddock. I did just happen to be travelling west from Broken Hill, and all the things you say are true. One day I might do it again, given similar travel arrangements. Company was just great. Love from Sue

    • dazzlerplus says:

      Ah Sue, it’s always nice to hear from you! Although I’ve driven that track many times, I always enjoy it. There are lots of little surprises along the way, and often quite a bit of wildlife. And then there’s the pleasure of arriving in Cradock at the end of it, especially if it’s a cool night and there’s a nice log fire burning in the bar.

  2. Mandy says:

    I have a confession to make. When I don’t get a regular post from Bobby Dazzler I feel this irrational jealousy: The Dazzler is out and about having an exciting time while I am stuck here doing something very unexciting such as fencing. Then I read an article about Len Beadell (one of my heroes) written by The Dazzler and the jealousy increases: not only is he out having a good time but he’s doing it on a Beadell Track – and here I am feeling like a Shetland in a Clydesdale harness, dragging a fencing wire up a rocky hill. Grrrrr. But then a post! About a pub and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’m jealous if I don’t get a post, I’m jealous if I do. Thanks Dazzler!

    • dazzlerplus says:

      For readers who may not know who Mandy is, she’s the author of an excellent blog called Rocky Springs Rambles (see http://www.rockysprings.wordpress.com) about life on a property in northern NSW. That’s how come she’s dragging fencing wire up a rocky hill! Country people have to do that sort of thing.

      Although I’ve never actually met her, I know she’s a salt of the earth type, and I regard her as one of my digital friends. And she’s just added to her blog a delightful post called “For Jen”. Read it — you’ll be glad you did.

  3. Pingback: Cradock: The Legend Grows | Bobby Dazzler's Blog

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