The Mountain View Hotel is a friendly pub that’s the epicentre of tiny Tooraweenah, NSW, as well as being a great dropping-off point for visitors to the Warrumbungle Ranges.
Story By Jenet Stewart
It's a typical Saturday afternoon at the Mountain View Hotel, where a few locals and the odd traveller have gathered for a barbecue. Across the road children play on swings, running and laughing as they go. Nearby tennis courts are occupied with locals competing in fast-moving games.
The hotel is nestled in the central-western New South Wales’ township of Tooraweenah, at the foot of the dramatic Warrumbungles. The mountain ranges roll into undulating pastures of rich volcanic soil and slowly creep into long, flat plains of productive farming and grazing land to the west.
Pushing open the front gauze doors of the pub, you’re likely to be greeted by one of the regulars jumping up from his stool with a wry grin. Publican Peter Petrie stands behind the bar with a tea towel in hand, polishing his beer glasses to perfection and placing them on the drying tray.
Bright red stools surround the dimly lit old bar and as locals call in for a refreshing ale on a hot summer’s afternoon, positions at the bar are taken up one by one by farmers and townspeople dressed in their working attire. Peter’s wife Paula serves drinks and nibbles to patrons in the Ladies Lounge.
The couple came to Tooraweenah five years ago. Peter was an auctioneer for 25 years and “felt like a change” in his life, so he and Paula moved from Dubbo and took up residence in the hotel. “For the first three weeks we did nothing but clean and paint everything in and around the hotel,” Peter says.
Today the old timber weatherboard hotel’s future is positive with motel accommodation at the rear of the pub, delicious homemade counter meals as well as takeaways, regular barbecues and entertainment by visiting and local musicians. “It has taken a long time to convince tourists to travel this track,” Peter says. “For many years the road to Tooraweenah was gravel and they would stick to the bitumen roads, which take them through to Coonabarabran bypassing Tooraweenah altogether.” Now with new roads and a viewing platform of the Warrumbungles scheduled for the outskirts of town, the hotel will see more tourists passing through.
This story excerpt is from Issue #70
Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2010