“He’s a bit loose,” says Jack of Vaughan, “but people seem to love him"
The atmosphere at your average pub on a Saturday or Sunday morning could be compared to the wake after a storm. There are few people about, a clean-up underway, and a vibe of general lethargy. But there is a country pub 20 minutes south of Hobart that bucks the trend. If you turn up at the Longley International on a weekend morning you will find a community of locals, caravaners, vintage car club members, motorcyclists, families and fit cyclists sipping lattes and listening to tunes.
The vibrant atmosphere has been carefully cultivated by the pubs owners Jack and Jill, who after 16 years are now the pubs longest licensees. Jill is as outgoing as Jack is quiet. The yin and yang that drives the culture is clearly an asset. Jack is about as authentic as it gets. He doesn’t say much. But his love of the pub and the community around it is evident in everything that he does from the handmade Huon Pine bar and pergola, to the social club that collects and distributes money to those in need.
On-site a new café called the “McVilly Brew Stop” is open on weekends and public holiday’s from 8am catering to cyclists and tourists riding or driving the beautiful mountain roads between Hobart and the Huon Valley. Half way through their morning ride, cyclists swing by for a coffee and, typically, a bacon and egg roll.
The McVilly Brew Stop is run by local Vaughan McVilly, whose father was the famous 6-time Australian road cycling champion Graham McVilly. Vaughan could see the potential of the pub as a perfect mid-ride rest point and Jack embraced the opportunity to welcome a new crowd to his venue.
“He’s a bit loose,” says Jack of Vaughan, “but people seem to love him. He brings a lot of energy.”
The McVilly Brew Stop is part of a larger southern Tasmanian cycling experience being cultivated by Vaughan, who has been involved with the cycling industry all his life.
“The broader experience includes McVilly Café and Cycles at Hobart’s Macquarie Point. It’s situated at the end of the cycleway that finishes at McVilly Drive, which is named after my Dad. We have bike hire, tours and a shuttlebus service to the top of the souths best trails,” he said.
It’s fitting that the McVilly Brew Stop at the Longley International is now a must stop destination for cyclists as the half way point on their daily rides. The pub was built in 1861 on what used to be the only road south out of Hobart. The pub is at the half way point between Hobart and Huonville, and was built in the ideal rest spot for riding not bikes but horses, from Hobart south. The pub included stables to house the horses so that travellers could stop for the night. Now those stables house a coffee machine.
“If you go half way up the road, there is a concrete water tank on the side of the old Huon Highway for the horses to have another drink before they got to Huonville,” said Jack.
It is also a perfect spot to rest for those touring the region in a car or caravan. Directly opposite the pub is approximately 1.5 acres of parkland on the banks of the beautiful North-West Bay River. The land is owned by the pub and Jack and Jill welcome visitors to camp or stop with their caravan and utilise the pubs facilities.
“People are welcome to camp here. The pub has a really homely feel, which is ideal for families, and we don’t have any gaming,” said Jill.
Campers can enjoy breakfast at the Brew Stop before heading off for their day’s activities and then return for lunch or dinner (for a famous Longley Parmy).
So if you want a place to stop on your travels in the south, that has great atmosphere, great food, great music and an incredible history to view – stop at the Longley International, it was quite simply designed for it.
Other great reasons to stop at “The Longley”
The Longley has a great reputation for carefully curated music. Live music is on every Friday night in the bar and Sunday afternoons in the beer garden. It is ‘home’ to the Wolfe Brothers who have played regularly at the venue for many years and still come back to play every chance they get. The pergola is named the “Mildo Wolfe Pavilion” after the boys father.
The beer garden, where the Brew Stop and outdoor stage is situated, has a pergola that has become a draw card in its own right – it is constructed with massive Huon Pine logs. It has got to be the only Huon Pine pergola anywhere in the world. Jack recovered the timber from Lake Burbury. He used to go out and camp for a week and bring the timber to shore in a 14-foot tinny. The pub is also famous for having the longest Huon Pine bar in the world, and was recently in QANTAS magazine’s feature on Australia’s top 100 country hotels.
Inside the pub the walls are covered with framed photographs of the significant points in the pubs history. The original 1861 pub burnt to the ground and has since been rebuilt twice. A picture of Prince Philip having a beer in the pub after the 1967 fires when he visited with the Queen is just one of many photographs that are well worth a look.
The Longley was also in the recent TV series Rosehaven, as the set for the pub.