The Noojee Hotel at Noojee Victoria commenced operations in 1925 with the main intent of supporting the local timber industry. The Noojee Hotel has quite a history, along with the township itself, and has provided an important role to the community (other than serving beers) during a number of severe bushfires, an ever present danger for the area. Noojee itself is kind of typical of these old mountain townships that have discovered a sort of revival due to the tourist industry. Every weekend, at least in the summer months, thousands of people travel from north and south to visit Noojee and other similar towns as part of a weekend drive or ride.
We hadn’t been to the Noojee Hotel before, so we decided to try something different and give it a go. Little did we realise that plenty of others had the same idea and the place was packed, with only one table available that was big enough to accommodate our group and right next to the kid’s playpen. The booking of meals was so intense, that we had to give the staff a small break to catch up with orders and, while waiting, I decided to have a look around inside to see what else was about. As luck would have it, I stumbled into the back (or is it the main) bar, which had a table for eight and no one in sight, which I instantly commandeered.
The Noojee Hotel carries through with a mix of old and somewhat later styles, but keeping in mind the bush character from which it evolved. The outdoor area overlooks a marvellous lower garden that fronts the Latrobe River, which is clearly popular with fishing enthusiasts. A wide variety of meals is available and all were of a substantial size, so no one went hungry. Nor did anyone feel like more than a few snacks that night, we were full. I have no doubt that we’ll try it again and maybe even give the Johnny Cash Parma or pizza a go (apparently you experience a Ring of Fire).
The Fish Creek Hotel, located in Fish Creek Victoria dates back to the late 1930s and is another hotel that came about as a result of bushfires that devastated Victoria in those years. The Fish Creek Hotel has quite a history and has become a stopover point for travellers often on their way to Wilson’s Promontory or day trippers to the area, and there was certainly a lot of traffic this Sunday. Host Kevin was another one of those very affable owners who made visitors welcome and I must say the same of the staff, all appeared to love working at the hotel (it’s rare to find such a happy group of staff).
Kevin noted that the hotel was undergoing some extensive rejuvenation at the moment, with the exterior already repainted and the iconic 20′ fish (mullet) on the roof being brought back to its original glory. The interior was also receiving a similar treatment, with everything looking new, yet retaining the art deco look, with memories of its history hanging on walls around the interior. The meal was good and we were delighted that they were happy to allow us to share a single order, as we weren’t quite up to two full meals this day. I also enjoyed the Dirty Granny cider (though just a bit too sweet for my tastes) and my wife enjoyed the Djinta Cabernet, from a winery not far from where we live and which we should visit.
I’m heartened find that increasingly there are more owners of pubs that are putting in the effort to rejuvenate their old facilities, yet retaining the character and history of their establishments, while introducing quality food, local wines and greater varieties of beer etc, which simply brings in new customers, as well as returning customers.