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Simone Haag's Guide To Mount Buller + Mansfield

Travel

Simone Haag is best known as one of Melbourne’s most in-demand interiors gurus – but before she was a professional taste-maker, Simone spent years working around the world as a snowboard instructor!

While we’re usually profiling Simone’s fabulous design and styling projects on TDF, today she’s taking us around some of her favourite spots to stay, eat, drink and hang out in Mount Buller and Mansfield. Just in time for the snow season to start again on June 22nd!

18th June, 2020

Simone on the Mount Buller slopes! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Simone Haag
Thursday 18th June 2020

‘What I love about our time at Mount Buller, is embracing something that unites friends and family in a spirited way, without devices and technology.’ –  Simone Haag.

We weren’t a snow-going family when I was a kid – the one trip we went on gave the Griswolds a run for their money! I’m surprised I ever made it back there, but landing a job on Mt Buller in the early 2000s helped the cause, and I am so thankful for that.

From very humble beginnings at Mt Buller, I was lucky enough to go on to Heli-Board in Canada, and work for multiple seasons in Chamonix, France. But I will always see Mt Buller as my home mountain. I even met my husband there – he snowboarded professionally for five years and went on to coach for Team Buller. So it’s safe to say that I am now part of a snow family!

I feel that the Mansfield Mt Buller region demonstrates a slower pace of life – stopping to chat with people in the street; fresh air; warm fires; big coats and red wine. It is a base for so many activities and attracts all walks of life. There is always an event or festival going on! It’s a humble area, where it’s not uncommon to see a few horses tied up outside a pub whilst their owners are getting a parma.

My family is now in the process of designing and building a home at the base of Mt Buller, I’m so excited to create a base for our kids to learn to ski and to host friends and family. We live in the outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, so we’re already a quarter of the way to the region! My favourite part of the drive is when the snow-capped tip of the mountain comes into view for the first time. It’s pretty magical.

Being there reminds me of when I was an adventurous twenty-year-old – driving my red Ford Laser, listening to Chicane on the mini disc on repeat while learning to snowboard. It reminds me of finding love, hiking to the summit to watch the sunset, sliding down to the Kooroora hotel on a tray from the Abom canteen. But more than anything what I love about our time at Mount Buller is embracing something that unites friends and family in a spirited way, without devices and technology, with a long (ish) drive where we can sing loud and sleep soundly.

Today, I’m sharing with you some of my favourite places to stay, eat and shop in the Mt Buller / Mansfield region – just in time for the slopes to open on June 22nd!

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Simone spent a lot of her 20s snowboarding on Mount Buller and around the world! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

A beautiful mountain vista. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design files.

The 2020 Mount Buller season will be opening on June 22nd. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design files.

Simone on the slopes. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The absolutely exquisite Apartment 2 inside of Chalet 5 accommodation, located at the peak of Mt Buller’s village. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Caitlin Coghlan.

Snow luxury at Whitehorse Village! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Unbelievable views from Chalet 5 at Whitehorse Village. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Caitlin Coghlan.

Bath with a view! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Caitlin Coghlan.

Room with a view! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Caitlin Coghlan.

STAY

Chalet 5 Whitehorse Village 
Perched high in the Alpine Ranges, Chalet 5 at Whitehorse Village is a luxury hotel-inspired destination that is about as fabulous as it gets. Think high-end apartment, where the city meets the mountains. The luxury space is softened with textiles, books and objects. And I would be remiss not to mention the extraordinarily comfortable bed! My favourite parts included THE VIEW… the bedroom with a view… the bathroom with a view… and the proximity to the mountain. And did I say THE VIEW?

This dream accommodation is best suited to couples, families or small groups. We had four ladies there and it was super cosy to sit around in the evenings with some chocolate and a cuppa. Could not recommend more highly if you’re after an extra special snow escape!

Chalet 5, Whitehorse Village 
Whitehorse Village Road
Mount Buller

 

The handsome interiors at Black Cockatoo. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Fresh, seasonal produce at Black Cockatoo. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The perfect place for an après ski cocktail. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Spurs Iron Maiden Smokehouse located at the top of the Northside Express chairlifts. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

An added bonus to Spurs is warming up by the smoker! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Brisket and pulled pork roll from Spurs. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

A chic fit-out at The Villager. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Simone with her cheese fondue and beer… is there anything better? Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Corn ribs from The Villager. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Cheese fondue and beer from The Villager. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The Villager. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Eat + Drink 

Black Cockatoo
No day on the ski fields is complete without a reason to get changed and head out on the town – that’s how I met my husband after all! Black Cockatoo is an architecturally designed restaurant that is perfect for an apres-ski drink. The interiors are a handsome mix of raw copper, leather, wood and charcoal, paired with amazing views of Mount Stirling. It’s got a moody, Aussie alpine aesthetic that feels both comfortable and luxurious.

The sharing plates-style menu is filled with influences from all over the world, in a distinctly modern Australian style that makes the most of fresh produce and simple ingredients. The cocktails were ‘designer’ but most importantly, downright delicious. Bookings are essential for this hot spot!

Black Cockatoo 
207 Summit Rd
Mount Buller 

Spurs Iron Maiden Smokehouse
Situated at the top of the Northside Express chairlift, Spurs has one of the best views on the mountain. We were lucky enough to be ski-dooed over, VIP style! This American-style smokehouse is exactly what you want to eat for a hearty snack on the slopes. I had the brisket and pulled pork roll which was DELICIOUS – light yet filling, and something I wouldn’t do by myself at home. There’s also the added advantage of keeping warm by the smoker whilst you have your lunch!

Spurs Iron Maiden Smokehouse
Top of Northside Express chairlift
Mount Buller

The Villager
A little hidden away, The Villager is a great bar/casual dining spot with super cool interior design. The substantial kitchen menu features small and large plates – I tried the fondue (what’s not to love about beer + cheese?) and corn ribs with tomato and lime salsa and smoked chilli dressing. Would recommend!

The Villager
2 The Avenue
Mount Buller

Mansfield Coffee Merchant in Mansfield. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Simone’s coffee hot spot on the way up the mountain. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Locals chat and drink coffee at Mansfield Coffee Merchant. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Coffee 

Mansfield Coffee Merchant
A trip to the mountains generally involves a crack-of-dawn departure time, so a coffee spot on the way is a must. Now that we have bought land in that area – one must know where their daily coffee can be had – and the Mansfield Coffee Merchant is it. We got chatting with a really lovely older man while we were there, who told us he visited every day for coffee. During our conversation another fellow came up, who we assumed was his son, but it turned out it was just someone from the community who checked in daily with his older neighbour. This is what I mean about the community spirit here – it’s so wholesome!

Bustling, busy, efficient and cosy, I love to pop in for a little coffee and cake here on the drive up.

Mansfield Coffee Merchant
23 Highett St
Mansfield

Treasures found at Vintage Traders Emporium. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Vintage Traders Emporium in Mansfield. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Harvest Wholefoods for healthy snacks and organic produce. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Simone shopping at Harvest Wholefoods. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Shop 

Vintage Traders Emporium
This massive warehouse in Mansfield is a vintage-lovers dream! Here you’ll find an amazing collection of vintage, retro, pre-loved and recycled pieces including miscellaneous bric-a-brac, fashion, ceramics, plants, local and homemade items. A real treasure hunt with heaps of space to roam – I left with a ceramic bowl and a cactus, to give you an idea of the variety found here!

Vintage Traders Emporium
10 Crosbys Ln
Mansfield

Harvest Wholefoods
A great little health food store and organic grocer to stock up on delicious, healthy snacks on your way up to the mountain.

Harvest Wholefoods
19/20 Highett St
Mansfield

BYO picnic by the picturesque Delatite River in Mirimbah Park. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Caitlin Coghlan.

Delatite Winery (kitchen closed until further notice). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The Cellar Door at Delatite Winery (kitchen closed until further notice). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The beautiful Mansfield region. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Winter sunshine. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

A small church in the Mansfield region. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Misty Mansfield roads. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Do

Picinic at Mirimbah Park
Positioned on the gorgeous Delatite River is Mirimbah Park – an idyllic spot for a BYO picnic on your way up or back from the mountain! There’s also a playground nearby to occupy the kids. The perfect activity for a sunny afternoon.

Delatite Wines
Located on a picturesque rise at the base of Mt Buller, Delatite Winery enjoys spectacular views over the vineyards towards the mountain. The small family-run winery was established in 1982, and these days enjoys a lovely little Cellar Door with a roaring fire where you can snack on grazing boards. Although the Cellar Door kitchen is currently closed due to COVID-19, the retail wine shop is open for business!

Delatite Wines
Cnr Stoneys Rd & Pollards Rd,
Mansfield

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net