Having to travel almost 2,000 kilometres to get to your job in a different state might sound like the commute from hell, but it helps if you happen to be able to fly a plane.

Happily that’s the case for Talia Ellis, who flies her husband and five kids from their farm in southern New South Wales to the pub they own in Birdsville, in far western Queensland, which takes about four and a half hours.

Key points:

  • The Ellises run the Birdsville pub and bakery, but live 1,800km away
  • Talia Ellis regularly flies the family of seven up to the Queensland town from their farm in NSW
  • Border closures have stopped them flying up as often as they usually would

“Some people might think you’re mad buying a business over 1,800 kilometres away,” Ms Ellis said.

“But we both have an outback background in tourism, and in my flying career.”

The Berrigan couple also recently bought the only bakery in town which had been closed down.

“It was a bit of a sore point for the town having the bakery closed,” Ms Ellis said.

The children, aged between one and sixteen, have gotten used to the routine.

“For them it is a bit like jumping in the car and going on a bit of a road trip,” Ms Ellis said.

“We take a few pillows in the plane and hope for a sleep out of some of them.”

“I do the flying and Court wrangles the children,” Ms Ellis says. “It’s a lot quicker than driving, that’s for sure.”(Supplied: Talia Ellis)

‘It’s become a destination’

Ms Ellis says despite its remoteness, Birdsville is a popular place to stop.

“It was always one of our stops and over the years,” she said.

“It felt like home.

“We knew all of the staff at the pub.

“It’s built a bit of a name for itself over the years and become a bit of a bucket list thing to do — to head all the way out there to the edge of the Simpson Desert.”

Patrons at the bar inside the Birdsville Hotel.(Supplied: Birdsville Hotel)

Border closures

Coronavirus restrictions have affected the family’s routine.

“We’ve only made about five trips this year in and around the border closures,” she said.

“Earlier in the year, we flew supplies and tradies up there to work on the rooms.”

Talia and Courtney Ellis bought the Birdsville Pub at the start of the year.(Supplied: Talia Ellis)

Usually the family would be up there at this time of the year.

“The Birdsville races are meant to be on this weekend, so we would usually be up there for a good stint if we were able to,” Ms Ellis said.


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