The family running Victoria’s most outback pub is calling last drinks.
In a part of the world where the temperature can hit 50 degrees, just getting to the Werrimul Hotel is enough to bring on a hard earned thirst.
More than six hours and almost 600km from Melbourne, it’s a long drive from Carlton and United Breweries, but only about 40 minutes from NSW and South Australia.
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The bar, listed for sale in December, is held up by corrugated steel, there’s a secretive “outback sauce” on the parmigiana and local sporting trophies in a cabinet next to the taps.
Vivian and Trevor Biggs have owned and run the pub at 5543 Millewa Rd for the past five years and said they were surprisingly busy, despite the location.
“It’s the furthest from the GPO in Melbourne, we are the last drinks between Mildura and Renmark, South Australia,” Ms Biggs said.
“But the locals are very good, they make you feel welcome. And it’s a great lifestyle where we can close at 4pm on Sunday and not open until Wednesday morning.”
Most of the beers are Victorian. Carlton Draught and Carlton Dry join Great Northern on tap — and the customers get through them in equal measures.
“We have the occasional South Australian beer, but we only usually do that when there are people from there doing contract work out here,” Ms Biggs said.
While they still serve a pot, you’ll have to sink a schooner rather than a pint.
Except on Wednesdays, when bubbles trump beers as Ms Biggs hosts hump day happy hour for the local ladies.
“I’m just a mum who cooks, so we don’t have any specialties — but we do a really good parmigiana with an outback sauce — it’s more of a barbecue sauce with bacon, without giving away all our secrets,” she said.
Barramundi is the next biggest seller — despite the nearest ocean being some 310km away, across the boarder in South Australia.
“If I took it or the parmigiana off the menu the locals would hang me,” she said.
Other features include all-important airconditioning in the main bar, seven hotel-style bedrooms, a beer garden, a stainless-steel commercial-grade kitchen and a pizza oven.
Despite the remote location they see plenty of patrons making the trip from Mildura on weekends, have had great support from the locals and even see a fair few grey nomads.
But after most of their lives working in hospitality, the Biggs are looking to put their feet up.
“I’d like to try and hit a golf ball, or just sit under a tree and have a wine and read a book,” Ms Biggs said.
CRE Brokers’ Ian McDonald said the pub was priced to sell.
A few recent sales showed there were buyers out there.
“We’ve had a reasonable run in the last while,” Mr McDonald said.