New owner at Mt Dare???

only stopped for 20 minutes for fuel last week but then heard when at dalhousie that Mt Dare hotel has sold with new owner effective 1 July.
wasnt sure ashad noticed David and Melissa's business cards were still on bar.
Got to Mungerannie a few days later and Phil said he had heard it was sold
who has the gen?
cannot find anything on the net
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jul 16, 2015 at 21:37

Thursday, Jul 16, 2015 at 21:37
Haven't got a clue Howard but would like to know also.
I'm still upset at jury service preventing us getting to gathering and might yet get back there in sept , still we did find snow today !
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Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, Jul 16, 2015 at 23:26

Thursday, Jul 16, 2015 at 23:26
Hopefully the new owners will find a way to give it some atmosphere, compared to the old Mount Dare, it is just a big tin shed!

AnswerID: 557087

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 09:11

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 09:11
G'day Shaker

I agree about the big shed and atmosphere ( or lack of ) - I took a group of overseas tourists through there when Phil and Rhonda had the place - got stuck there for 2 days due to heavy rain. Phil was in Alice getting supplies and Rhonda was there on her own. Rhonda opened up the old house for my guests to sleep in and did her best to cook for 15 people - they thoroughly enjoyed their time there and had a ball in the old and small bar. Needless to say the drinks fridges were empty by the time we left and the tourists - a wealthy family who have travelled the world said that was one of the best experiences they have had travelling.

All the best


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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 10:03

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 10:03
I thought the old Mount Dare was great too, but things have to change sometimes not for the better, like the Innamincka pub!
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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Thursday, Jul 16, 2015 at 23:33

Thursday, Jul 16, 2015 at 23:33
Something I penned for a magazine.I think copyright might apply.

Dave Cox, Mt Dare’s Hotelier

The Simpson Desert is Australia’s fourth largest and the contains the world’s longest parallel sand dunes. It spans the corner country, stretching across the north-east corner of South Australia into Queensland and sweeping well into the Northern Territory. The trek across the Simpson has become one of Australia’s iconic outback adventures.

Sitting on the south western corner of the mighty Simpson is the Mt Dare Hotel, run for the past 13 years by Dave Cox.

There’s no actual mountain at Mt Dare and the word “hotel” is something of a misnomer as well, because this is a fuel stop, a mechanical workshop, a spare parts and accessories store, a restaurant, a retail store, satphone rental business, a camp ground, a caravan park, a desert rescue service and, of course, a hotel. Running a business like this demands a very wide skill set.

“I first saw the place in 2002 when was traveling through the outback with my girlfriend,” said Dave. “The Indigenous Land Corporation had acquired the place two years earlier. As a business, it was between a rock and a hard place. It needed a whole lot of work and investment and they were tossing up whether to close it down.”

Dave is a qualified electrician with some mechanical and building skills, but had no prior retail or hospitality experience. But he took over the running of the place and bought the business a year later. He has since added guest cabins, outbuildings and a new building which houses the bar, a commercial kitchen, restaurant seating, retail area plus storage and office space.

Mt Dare Hotel is located half a day’s drive from Alice Springs and can be isolated when the floods come through. In February 2011 the levy wall that surrounds the property was overtopped by a freak flood and the place was inundated with brick-red water. In normal seasons, six months without a drop of rain is common.

“It’s a very seasonal business,” said Dave. “In June each year the Finke Desert Desert Race brings about a hundred cars and a hundred bikes a day. And they all need to fill up with fuel and most need to be fed. Right now, we’re seeing about fifty vehicles a day which will drop to almost nothing during the summer months when the desert tracks are closed for safety reasons.

“Our customers are always very friendly, well behaved and like to hang around for a chat. We have none of the problems that you hear about with city pubs.

“Our fuel comes up from Adelaide and we take a full tanker load of diesel at a time, which usually lasts us about three weeks. For other provisions, I take the truck up to Alice Springs once every few weeks, which is a two day round trip.”

With the arrival of modern airconditioned four wheel drives, desert treking has become very popular, and the three or four day journey between Mt Dare and Birdsville is one of Australia’s iconic desert adventures, where a satellite telephone or radio communication are essential.

“Most desert recoveries or repairs on the track require an overnight stay,” said Dave. “Breakdowns can sometimes be repaired on the track using spares that we carry. Other times I’ll need to tow vehicles back here and order parts from Alice or Adelaide, or organise a further tow to Alice Springs. I also occasionally have to retrieve broken trailers which can’t be left out on the track.”

After thirteen years as Mt Dare’s outback publican, cook, servo, mechanic and outback rescuer, Dave Cox has sold the business to Graham and Sandra Scott, who will run the place with their son Tony, his wife Michelle and their four children aged seven to fourteen.

“We’re as excited as we are terrified,” Graham Scott said. “We’ve done a lot of outback travel and were farming for forty-five years, so the mechanical side of things is no problem for us. The hospitality side of things will be a fair challenge. Right now, we can’t do exactly what Dave has been doing. But we hope to get somewhere up to Dave’s standard after we settle in.”

“We’re off to Alice Springs next week to pick up a bunch of computers so that the kids can begin with the School of the Air, or the ‘School of the Internet’ as it should be called these days. Tony and Michelle are as excited as their kids, who see this as the adventure of a lifetime.”

Dave Cox will join his wife and children in Melbourne and will operate a family business manufacturing concrete sleepers. Dave Cox will be remembered as one of the true characters of the Australian outback.

Please join me in wishing the Scott family well.


AnswerID: 557089

Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 00:33

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 00:33
Sad to David and Melissa have sold up. We have fond memories of Mt Dare, we were stuck there for 7 days waiting for the tracks to open after the rain. During that time David and Melissa were terrific hosts, we had dinner at the homestead every night and almost drank the bar dry. There was no hotel at that time. When the track sort of dried out enough we gave David a lift to New Crown Stn to pick up his ute with a fridge on the back. He had to leave it at New Crown when on his way back from Alice Springs, due to the tracks being flooded. This was all about 10 yrs ago.
We wish David the best of luck with his new venture in Melbourne.
We also look forward to meet the new owners, Graham and Sandra. I'm sure they have a lot of work in front of them. I wish them also the best of luck.
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Follow Up By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 11:40

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 11:40
Thanks for the info Keith,
I do wish the new owners the best in their new venture.
I will make sure I meet the new owners on my next trip at the end of september on the way to the Simpson Desert Bike challenge.
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Reply By: Ozrover - Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 00:21

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 00:21
I heard of this happening a while ago & was wondering when it would get out, after working at & managing Mt Dare for five years I've got a fair idea of what they will be up against.
I hope they make it & do well, all the best for the new owners, I'll call in & say G'Day sometime in the next year or so. Lotsaluck & I hope all of the Simpson Desert travellers support them...
AnswerID: 557090

Reply By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 08:41

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 08:41
Well the best of luck to both the outgoing and incoming proprietors! It's always difficult to sell an outback business - it takes special people with big hearts and commitment to live in such and isolated place and provide the great service that Mt Dare is famous for.
But what a life - the great people you meet, the fabulous environment, the safety and freedom for the kids, no pollution, the outdoor stuff you can do etc, etc. Cheers Toni
AnswerID: 557094

Follow Up By: Mtb rule- Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 19:53

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 at 19:53
We stopped in at Mt Dare 3 weeks ago on the way to Finke and the new owner (Sandra I think) said that they were from Melbourne and looking forward to their new venture.

Great place to have morning tea (real coffee) etc. had a great vibe about the place.

Wishing them all the best and hope to see them next year when we do the Simpson from West to East.

FollowupID: 843426

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Jul 19, 2015 at 00:49

Sunday, Jul 19, 2015 at 00:49
Was there on the 9th, overnighted this time, and the new crew looks to be settling in.

Might be a large shed, but the people give it the athmosphere.

AND the did an excellent repair on the Ranger LH rear torsion bar mount !!
Daves welding is up to speed, reckon the hand made part welded in as strong as oiginal, and that's amazing, because it's under so much stress in the task of keeping that torsion bar under pressure.

Came out of the desert on Thurs 9th, found the damage out the back in the cmapground (roads were that bad Purnie out, I didn't even realise it had gone until Mt Dare !) . . . he slotted it in Fri morn, and after fitting some new Landcruiser front struts, THEN, new 2nd hand rear leaf springs to a Hilux, he and (I think) Tony had me over the pit by noon, and on my way to Chambers Pillar by 2pm (made it there by 1945 hrs, tired but caught up with my companions).

It had a real torture test on the way further north, the Finke to Maryvale section of the Old Ghan was absolutely murderous !

Great service and repair work, AND a great price I feel for what they did, and the alternatives :)

AnswerID: 557149

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