Mungerannie: An Outback Oasis

Halfway along the Birdsville Track in outback South Australia, you will come across an old-style pub in the middle of nowhere. The Mungerannie Hotel has been a waterhole for many travellers heading to or from …

Club 4X4 Insurance
Mar 16 2023

Halfway along the Birdsville Track in outback South Australia, you will come across an old-style pub in the middle of nowhere. The Mungerannie Hotel has been a waterhole for many travellers heading to or from Birdsville. Its also been a great point for people to stop and enjoy the outback with some great camping facilities.

If you have been to the Mungerannie Hotel before, you might remember this guy; Phil owned the pub for many years and is quite a character.

The big news is, the Mungerannie Hotel has just been purchased by a group of 4 guys from South Australia and Victoria who are keen on restoring it back to the way it used to look, whilst providing better facilities to travellers looking for more comfort. They have started its restoration with a tidying up of the dusty hats, and removal of some of the old crusty hair hanging from the ceiling to make it a better experience for the customers. I always wondered where all that hair came from? These guys have huge plans to make this an even better destination for individuals, families and groups travelling through who are keen to stay a while.

It still has the awesome camp sites and at $10 per person per night, you would be crazy to travel past this site. You can’t miss it with all the signage, and you really shouldn’t pass it by as there is much to see here. It even has a hot spring pool, which you can sit in or float around while you make the most of your stay.

Mungerannie has much more on offer than that though. There is an oasis. A watering hole abundant with birdlife, it’s a meeting point for over 140 species of birds.

I must admit, whilst there is the beautiful pub, and the hot artesian pool, my time spent here during daylight hours is walking with a camera around the huge waterhole. This waterhole sits on the Derwent Creek and is fed by hot artesian water. It’s a slow walk around as it can be quite boggy around the edges at times, but if you have the patience to crouch down and wait a while, the birdlife in the area can assist you in creating some amazing imagery. The best times are early morning and late afternoon, as the birds come in to settle.

Each time I head through this region, it’s a definite stop-over for me. I just love the place. One of my favourite birds to photograph are Galahs, as they always make me laugh.

Hanging upside down from tree branches knowing they are putting on a show for you, turning their heads to enable them to look at you from different directions.

The following image was captured as I was photographing a single Galah having a drink at the waterhole. There was quite a commotion heading its way with a giggle of Galahs – yes, that’s what you call a group of Galahs – waking up the neighbourhood as they moved from one tree to another. The Galah seemed content taking a drink whilst sitting on a small stump rising out of the warm water, but then became quite alarmed as the noise grew closer. Watching all this unfold through a Canon 400mm f2.8 lens from a close vantage point, I thought, this will be interesting. Then one after another, the giggle of Galahs flew in and tried to land on this small piece of real estate. They were knocking each other off the perch trying to take hold of this prime position.

If you are heading along the Birdsville Track, Mungerannie is a great spot to spend some time. An overnight stay will bring out the best in the location for photography, or you can simply sit back and relax in the pool or join other travellers in the pub atmosphere.

You can stay up to date with The Mungerannie Hotel by watching their Facebook Page, which will be kept updated and their new website will be live real soon.

Callum also tells me their Instagram page will be live soon and, as he’s a keen photographer, he will keep bringing you updated imagery from the area.


-Michael Ellem

Offroad Images

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