The Prairie Hotel was first licensed in 1876, serving beer to thirsty drovers and railway gangers working in the lonely deserts around the Flinders Ranges. When Jane and Ross Fargher took ownership in 1994, they made the Prairie in the town of Parachilna (population seven) famous as one of Australia’s finest outback pubs.
The Prairie front bar is an uplifting experience of colour, cheer and good times – though there’s usually an 8pm respite when people head outside to watch the world’s longest coal train rumble past…
The restaurant is equally renowned, especially for its gourmet platters of ‘Feral Food’ (featuring camel, goat and kangaroo) and ice creams made with quandong and lemon myrtle.
The boutique accommodation is the ideal place for guests to base their outback adventures. The Farghers own neighbouring Nilpena Station, so you enjoy private access to scenic ranges, magnificent sand dunes, a vast salt lake, world-renowned fossil reserves and a working sheep/cattle station.
A two-day cattle droving experience is also available from The Prairie.
Ordinarily, a traveller in the outback is profoundly grateful to find any refuge at all, but the Prairie Hotel, first licensed in 1876, is no raw outback beer stop. Against all odds, it’s an island of civilisation, gastronomy and comfort. – Food & Travel Magazine (UK)
Stretching north from Port Augusta into the sun-seared wilderness of South Australia’s deserts, the Flinders Ranges and Outback is one of the country’s most impressive destinations.
The arid lands feature country-sized salt lakes, ancient seabeds and majestic ranges, places that stay with all who experience their power and solace.
The Ranges themselves – craggy and haunting – are seared into both Aboriginal and European lore. They’ve been sculpted by millions of years of rain, wind and sun to form a fractured, furrowed landscape of deep valleys and fearsome ridges, covered with casuarinas and cypress pines. Wilpena Pound is one of Australia’s most remarkable sights – a giant saucer-like depression with rims rising to 800m.
The natural environment is known for more than beautiful landscapes beneath wide blue skies: the wildlife is highly adapted and the ancient rocks have yielded fossils of the oldest known forms of primitive life – discoveries that have rewritten the science books.
The region’s small towns are outposts of history and charm; its people are resourceful and respected, open and welcoming. The largest regional centre is Port Augusta at the head of Spencer Gulf.
A number of activities are available at the Prairie for an additional cost. These includes:
Four-wheel driving over the shifting dunes that traverse this arid landscape, out to the shimmering salt pan of Lake Torrens.
Aboriginal cultural tours.
Scenic flights over the ancient Flinders Ranges.
Guided walks through the Ranges and Nilpena Station.
Helping on Nilpena Station doing stock work, bore runs and mustering stock.
Mountain bike riding.
Sunsets, Saddles & Shiraz
The authentic Australian Outback experience combines the romance of cattle droving with gourmet food and wine, native wildlife and the breath-taking scenery of the Flinders Ranges.
Experience two days of droving with expert drovers who will match you to your mount. Before long you’ll be ambling along on horseback, hearing about life as a drover, feeling the sun on your back and seeing magnificent desert landscapes from gibber plains to sandy creek beds lined with majestic river gums.
Sunsets, Saddles & Shiraz is a three-night experience, allowing plenty of time for you to become an old hand on the horse. And, weather permitting, you’ll also get to sleep under the stars in a swag – just like a true blue drover (tents are available).
Your adventure includes three nights accommodation (one night Prairie Hotel, two nights swag), two full days in the saddle, all meals and drinks including beer and premium wines with dinner, live entertainment each evening and the Wallaby Watch tour (in search of the rare, elusive but incredibly cute Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby). Saddle up!
The Prairie is known for a delicious and innovative menu of Australian native and feral foods including (for example emu liver pate, kangaroo red wine pies and camel sausages). It also serves the finest local tucker including succulent lamb and prime steaks. The restaurant is open all day, every day of the year.
The Prairie Hotel’s accommodation has been designed to be aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly; the rooms have a choice of queen and double size beds, with en-suite facilities. There are two executive suites with en-suite facilities including spa. All rooms are decorated to compliment the colours of the outback and reflect the environment.
Nearest major City/Town
Town – Parachilna
Light aircraft to nearby Commodore Station from Adelaide takes 2 hours in a single engine & 1 hr 30 mins in a twin engine aircraft with a short 15 minute road transfer to the Prairie Hotel.
The Prairie Hotel is located 530 kilometres from Adelaide (taking approximately 5.5 hours drive).
The Prairie is open all year round and the best times to travel are between March – December. It can get quite hot during the summer months of January and February.