For 15 years, the Snowline Hotel at Harrietville, Vic, has carved out a reputation for excellent local, seasonal food.

Story + Photos Ricky French

An Irishman, a Fijian and an Aussie walk into a rural Victorian pub. Although it sounds like the beginnings of a comedy routine, the melting pot of cultures that has seen Harrietville’s Snowline Hotel carve out a reputation as a High Country gastronomical hotspot is no joke. 

Melbourne-raised Bennett Mountjoy and his wife Anna bought the hotel nearly 15 years ago. Smoke rises from the chimney and dissipates into the cool mountain air. From the hotel’s doorstep, the Great Alpine Road climbs 31km to Mt Hotham ski resort, and a hiking track leads 11km up Bungalow Spur to the summit of Mt Feathertop, Victoria’s second highest mountain. A new 27km cycle path follows the Ovens River to Bright, extending the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail from Wangaratta to Harrietville. The entire region is an outdoor lovers’ paradise, and motorbike riders, 4WDers, caravaners and fishers are frequent visitors. 

Bennett saw the potential of the Snowline Hotel as a food destination when the idea of ‘foodie’ country pubs was still in its infancy. “Back then, tourism wasn’t what it is now, so we had to give people a reason to visit,” he says. “Food became our focus. We’ve worked hard and it’s now something we’re known for.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #143

Outback Magazine: June/July 2022